Trip Report 4th and final part

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Jan 23rd, 2006, 04:53 AM
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Join Date: Jul 2005
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Trip Report 4th and final part

January 7, 2006

Pretoria Backpackers Lodge’s name is a misnomer (www.pretoriabackpackers.com) . This is accommodation is better than some hotels we have stayed in and at budget rates. For 280 Rand a night for both of us, we had a spacious bedroom with a double and single bed. The room had an extension outlet for European plugs, a hot water pot with a jar of tea bags, instant coffee, powdered creamer, and sugar. There are four large bathrooms around the house, but the closest was right next to our room. We never had to wait for anyone to get in. The front yard is filled with tropical plants and fountains. They have a travel center on site to help arrange tours, and breakfast is included. I would certainly stay here again and recommend it to others. Best of all, it was quiet.

Fifteen minutes before our full day Apartheid Soweto tour guide arrived for us, the guardian angel of lost luggage showed up at the gate. We once had guests from NYC come to our B and B, when Air France had lost their luggage for 7 days. Their week of horror kept running through my mind, so it was a sweet reunion when they showed up.

The tour guide was a black man named Freddy and we were a group of six. He kept telling us how safe we were going to be in these rough neighborhoods since we were with him. He was funny in both a comical sense as well as in a used car salesman sense. He kept talking about African hospitality and used a word we remember as something like 'Abundi', but every time he spoke to any stranger near our group, he would end it off with "Now what are you going to give me for the knowledge I imparted on you?"

Our first stop was the Apartheid Museum we had 2 ½ hours on our own. Admission was not included in the tour and was 25 Rand each. You are issued a plastic card that has WHITE or NON-WHITE on it, but they are given randomly. Depending on what is on your card determines which door you enter. The museum is heart-breaking, powerful, interesting, unbelievable, yet real. We left with the feeling that we wish there was no need for this building at all.

At 1:00, we met up with Freddie who was giving the history of a tree in the front of the museum, to van driver sitting there waiting for his group to return. As we left, Freddie had his hand out to the driver and asked if he was going to reward him for the knowledge he imparted. Freddie does not read body language too well.

We went to Soweto, Nelson Mandela’s house and coincidentally, Desmond Tutu lived on the same block, so we saw that too. Freddie kept telling us how safe we were as long as we were with him. I was not sure if that was a hint to slip him some ‘protection’ money or not. It felt like a mafia member telling us how well protected we were while they were emptying our pockets. Paradoxically, he would say that we could walk up to any house and be welcomed in since this was the African way.

For lunch, we stopped at a little local restaurant that looked like someone’s garage with no doors or back wall on it. It was right next to a house, so it must have been a converted garage. The food was tasty, but the service was slow. Freddy kept apologizing about the service.

Close by was Winnie Mandela’s house, so we did a drive by there too. Then we went to Johannesburg. What a contrast. The new area was desolate. There was neither a soul nor a car on the street. In the old section, it was like a major sporting stadium had just let out. There were mobs of people everywhere. Freddy told us that only 3% of these people were from South Africa. The vast majority were immigrants from other African countries trying to find a better life. I was grateful we were staying in Pretoria. Everyone in Cape Town warned us that the crime rate in Johannesburg was the worst in the country.

We were going to go to Eastwoods again for dinner, but it was closed for some remodeling. Since there was nothing else close by, we opted for Mr. Delivery. You call one number and they can deliver from over 15 different restaurants.

January 8, 2006

Today we leave for our safari adventure. Viva Safaris and Tours (http://www.vivasafaris.com/index.html) were to pick us up at 8:00 am. The hostel had a place for us to leave our extra luggage since we would return there for one night before going home. Klaus was right on time to collect us in a comfortable van.

What is it with Pretoria? Everyone wants money immediately. Klaus said "Hello, my name is Klaus, I need to collect 4,620 Rand." Wow, Klaus that is a long last name you have. He looked like a reasonable guy, so gave him our voucher showing we had prepaid the trip at the Ashanti Travel Center. Our voucher was for 5,820 Rand. My mind started spinning over the conversation at the travel center and that other little voice clearly remembered the phrase "paid in full". So what is this strange number that is flowing from Klaus's mouth? He looked the voucher over and over again like he had just discovered paper. If I were not so concerned about having to pay another 4,000 plus Rand, I would have found his reaction endearing. He did not know what to do with the voucher, but our honest faces gave him enough confidence to start the van and pull out of the driveway. Klaus said he would turn the voucher into the office and see what they want to do with it. From the way he said it, the voucher could have been a moon rock that was turned over to him for safe keeping. I had the feeling that if the office gave him any grief over the voucher, he would hunt us down like wild game with rabies and make us suffer for his being vulnerable.

We went directly to the airport to pick up two ladies who were just arriving and then we were on our way. Kirsten is from Cape Town and is an au pair. Margosia was originally from Cape Town, born to Polish immigrants. When all of her family continued to immigrate to Canada or the States, she left nine years ago to New Zealand. She and Kirsten’s mother are good friends and she just happened to be in Cape Town for six weeks of holiday when the trip came up and she decided to go along. The places we passed were: the mine dumps, the gold mines, the dams of Benoni, the town of Witbank, and then Belfast. As the name implies, it was named by an Irish immigrant and boasts the highest railroad station (2025 meters) on the Eastern line. Next were Dullstroom, Lydenburg, and Pilgrim’s Rest. We were supposed to stop briefly at all of these places, but the weather did not cooperate. It was raining in buckets. We did have bathroom breaks and a short shopping stop.

At Pilgrim’s Rest, we did stop for lunch and this is where we said good-bye to Klaus and hello to our next driver Alex. Alex pointed out Graskop as we passed through, but we did stop at God’s Window. The timing was excellent, it had stopped raining and we were able to go see the view. God’s Window has a drop of 1000 meters with a view across the Blyde River Canyon to the north, the Kruger Park to the east, and forest covered mountains to the west. We also stopped at Blyde River Canyon advertised as “a spectacle surpassed only by the Grand Canyon”. It runs for 50 km.

There were other places we would have stopped, but the weather had started getting temperamental again. We arrived at the lodge at 6:30 pm, where we met Mark our safari guide. He took us to our rooms, showed us where dinner would be served and asked that we be there by 7:30 pm.

The lodge was great, but all four of us were disappointed since we had booked the tree house experience. This was a lovely lodge and the rooms were fine ensuite rooms, but not up in a tree. When we met up with Mark, he started explaining the night’s agenda, so none of us remembered to ask.

Dinner was served and at 9:00, we gathered for our first night safari drive on a private reserve. Mark gave us a talk about enjoying the experience even if we do not see any animals. He said the weather had been strange, so this could change their behaviors.

We had our cameras at the ready and climbed into an open 4x4 with our seats elevated and Mark below driving. The vehicle had no windshield, windows or roof, perfect for viewing. We set out and Mark pointed out tracks of different animals. We did see some duikars here and there. Mark explained that their solitary behavior was a self-preservation instinct since alone they were too small prey for lions to bother with. We did see some owls and other birds. We were enjoying the drive, which was to last two hours. Suddenly, without any warning, a downpour started. It was a warm night and none of us had jackets on. Within five minutes, it was like we were under Niagara Falls, Victoria Falls, or Iguazu Falls, whatever you are familiar with. We were soaked to the skin, each of us trying to protect our cameras under clothing that was useless protection from the rain. It rained with such fury, we could not open our eyes, but we felt the truck lurch forward and speed back to camp as we bounced along like we were on an amusement park ride. It took over 30 minutes to return and there was no hope that our clothes would dry overnight.

When we reached the covered parking lot, Mark admitted that he basically drove from memory. He was not able to shield his eyes to see and shift the truck at the same time. It was great fun.

Before we said good-night, he told us if it were not raining in the morning, we would have a bush walk at 6:00 am and then breakfast at 7:30.

January 9, 2006

Our first bush walk outweighed the need to get up at 5:00 am to be ready by 6:00. Kirsten slept in, so it was only Margosia, Ron, and I with Mark guiding us. The fact that he was carrying a rifle brought back memories of all those years of watching Tarzan movies and jungle shows as a kid. I was thankful he had it, but hopeful it would not be used.

He told us to stay close to him and to keep as quiet as possible. He identified spoor from elephants, giraffes, and impala. He explained why the make-up of each was important as he picked up pieces from each and crumbled them to identify contents. The elephant does not digest their food well, so much of their remnants contain a lot of seeds. These mixed with the manure give back to the earth what the elephant has taken from it.

We came across a dung beetle working away on a large piece of elephant dung. We all felt like we were transported into a National Geographic special. It was amazing to watch this beetle work. He pushed the ball he had created while the female just went along for the ride. After a short time, he found where he wanted to be and started digging a hole to bury the ball. The female sat on top waiting. Just incredible!

After the walk, we had breakfast and then packed our things again to move over to the other camp. On the way, we stopped at a cheetah sanctuary where we saw one of the cheetahs that was rescued and raised by humans. Her name is Savannah and her mother had been killed when she was a newborn. They are training her for life in the wild.

We had not had a chance to see our accommodations yet as we had to leave our things in the lodge. We had three Brits and 2 Germans join us, before we set out for a whole day in Kruger National Park. The Brits were a mother, father, and adult married daughter. Mother and daughter were like best friends, but dad seemed like he had had a stroke in the past and had not fully recovered. The two Germans, though young, did not speak much English, so communication was limited.

We were in an open 4x4 that seated 8 people with one sitting up front with Mark. Mark had instructed us to assist him in scanning the landscape for animals and to tell him when we spotted something so he could stop. He reminded us that he will scan too, but he had to keep an eye on the road also. He was amazing at identifying birds and animals and giving a background on each as we spotted them.

Almost immediately after entering the park, we spotted impala by the dozens, duikers, giraffes, baboons, monkeys, zebras, waterbucks, and lionesses at a distance. Eventually, a male lion walked out on the road in front of us. He was a bit scruffy looking. We were all counting off the BIG 5 and hoping to check them off of our list. We had the cheetah in the sanctuary and a lion so far. It was a full day in the park, not leaving Kruger until 6:00 pm. They close the gates at 7:00 pm. By the end of the day, we were all exhausted with excitement and being exposed to the cold air all day. As Mark Twain supposedly said “The coldest winter I ever spent was a summer in San Francisco.", well I have to paraphrase it for South Africa. We were all wearing jackets and were still shivering.

Upon our return to the lodge, we were each taken to our ‘room’. Ours was literally a tree house and exactly how I had hoped it would be. After all, every little boy regardless of their age has a dream of a tree house. We climbed up log stairs to get to our room. Inside the room, there were trees growing through the ceiling. It had two beds with mosquito nets, nightstands, lamps, a fan, a small built in wardrobe, an enamel potty for nighttime use, and a back door leading to a balcony. The balcony overlooked the river. Outside our front door and about 100 steps away was our shower room and next to it a toilet with a sink. The whole thing was built from tree branches. It was perfect! We went to visit some of the others, which were nice too, but built on stilts and not really tree houses. Kirsten had an ensuite room.

Ron had remembered that he had left Don Pinnock’s autographed copy of African Safaris in the bedside stand of last nights room. He had asked Ronald to call Mark to bring it, but their mobile phone service is not reliable. Ronald tried calling five times and could not get through. Finally, we used our phone with the Vodacom and we were able to reach Mark.

Dinner was at 7:30 pm. Ronald the manager, was quite a talker and told us stories of his Zulu upbringing. Once he started, it was difficult to get a word in, but he was interesting. That evening a large group of South American exchange students arrived. They were finishing their ten months of high school studying in various parts of South Africa. They were having their last adventures before returning home again. Some of them told us that they could not speak a word of English before arriving, but their language skills were impressive now. They had studied English writing and grammar, but never had the opportunity to practice communication orally. They had incredible stories about how the ten months have transformed them.

It was a long day, but definitely fulfilling.

January 10, 2006

We received a call from Trevor, the owner of Viva Tours. I thought for sure there was a problem with the voucher and we would owe more money. Unfortunately, since the mobile service is so poor, he could not hear me though I could hear him. He said he would have to try later, so this put me on edge for the day. I still was uncertain why we had paid 5,820 Rand to Ashanti for the two of us, but what Klaus wanted to collect from us the first day, was 4, 280 Rand. This was a great experience, but not worth 10,100 Rand for the two of us.

As it turned out, what Trevor had wanted was for us to stay an extra day. We were to leave on the 11th for Pretoria, but his driver called in sick and he did not have anyone to drive us back. We explained that as much as we would like to, we had to be at the airport in Jo’burg on the 12th at 3:00 pm and would not make it back in time. He said he would have to work something out and get back to us. So it was not about the money, then I started thinking we had paid 1,540 Rand more than they had wanted to collect. Was this Ashanti’s commission for booking it? I still do not know.

We were scheduled for another full day in Kruger. The Brits left to go home, the Germans left for a farm-work experience somewhere in the country, but we picked up a woman from Sweden, a man from The Netherlands, and a French couple. The French couple did not speak a word of English.

It rained continually the entire day, but the 4x4 had a roof, so we were somewhat protected. It was colder than yesterday and with the rain, it bore into our bones. We started out at 8:00 am and by our 1:00 lunch stop, we had not seen one animal. The four of us from yesterday were disappointed, but the new group and Kirsten were devastated. She whined like someone could coax the animals out of hiding.

At the lunch stop, there is a large bush that is loaded with weaver bird nests. These are beautiful yellow birds with black markings. The male constructs a nest, but the female has to approve of it. If she does not, then he starts all over again. We watched the males building as well as the females inspecting and seemingly rejecting. There were a multitude of nests in various stages of development, like a bird condominium.

Mark had told us over and over that seeing animals was the luck of the draw. Where some were spotted at one moment, could change within the hour. He kept reminding us that there was more to the experience than spotting animals. The must have been the charm. Our luck seemed to change after lunch. We saw dozens of giraffes, zebras, Cape buffalo, blue wildebeests, impala by the dozens again, elephants, zebras, wart hogs, hippos in the river that refused to leave, and lots of other animals and birds. The only one of the BIG 5 that we did not see was the rhino.

At one point, Ron spotted a bull elephant off amongst the trees feeding. Mark stopped the truck and we watched him. The elephant then started toward us and we were overjoyed with our luck. As he got closer, Mark said that this bull was going through the male version of estrus. He was ready to mate, which meant he was being overloaded with hormones to the point of leaking out 30-40 liters of fluid a day. As he was talking, the elephant was coming faster and faster. Then the ears started flapping, while he thrashed his trunk through the air like a fencing champion.

With a calm loud whisper, Mark informed us that this elephant was going to charge us. He was not a happy camper and our presence was not welcomed. The elephant made it to the road and then charged. Mark drove about 40 miles an hour in a backward direction. Since we were all facing the elephant still, we were being rushed with endorphins and snapping pictures like crazy. If the elephant reached us and tried to overturn the truck, then we would be worried, but until that point, it was a great adventure.

By 6:30 when we returned to camp, we were all exhausted from the rain, the cold, the rush of excitement, and the fullness of the day. The Dutch man and the Swedish woman were returning to the lodge we had stayed at the first night. The French couple was at our lodge. We coerced Ronald for a hot pot and teabags, but with the large number of exchange students, the staff was overwhelmed. We were promised that after dinner, there would be some.

At the end of the day, Mark had received a call from the owner of Viva Tours. His solution for the lack of a driver was to put us on a public bus at 7:30 am. Normally, this might not be such a bad thing, but we missed the tour on the way back as they were to take a different route, plus the van was much more comfortable for a seven hour ride.

Margosia and Kirsten were staying a day longer, so they were scheduled for a three hour bush walk in the morning if it did not rain. The chances of that were not promising according to the weather forecast. We were told that they have had a drought for the last four years and this rain was welcomed by them, if not by us.

We had dinner at 7:30 and then we were given our tea on the patio. When we headed for our rooms, Margosia and Kirsten wanted to see our room. They both fell in love with it and wanted to move in after we left. Ronald the manager is a nice person, but does not handle change well. His management skills are lacking.

The leader of the exchange students, who is from Cape Town, told us she has her degree is Hospitality and Tourism. She is a trained chef. She was saying that many people take jobs as cooks or maids in the resorts since they cannot find other work, but they dislike their jobs and therefore have no skills in being part of a service industry.

Margosia was telling us the primary reason she left the country was due to the deteriorating educational system. She is an elementary teacher, so had first hand knowledge. There is a social promotion system for the people of color, but white students have to pass exams to be promoted. Blacks and coloreds are admitted to the universities with different entrance requirements than white students. Whites have to pass exams to get in, while the others are admitted on a quota system. Being an educator, I found this interesting, but did not have a chance to verify it with others. It was due to this that she migrated to New Zealand nine years ago.

January 11, 2006

Ronald the manager said he would take us for a bush walk at 6:15 am, this morning. He was not ready until 6:30 and acted like he had forgotten all about it. Somehow, the French couple was up and ready too, though they were not scheduled for a bush walk. Ronald was a bit put out that they seemed to think they could go, but we did not understand why it mattered. It would only have been Ron and I anyway. Ronald did a fast walk, hardly pointing out a thing. Unless Ron and I pointed out something and asked about it, he just walked on by. He seemed to be out of sorts that the couple was with us or that he was left doing the walk. It was a major change from our walk with Mark. Regardless, the Frenchman seemed to be having a great time and we did see a buffalo. The woman trailed behind. We had the distinct impression that this whole thing was not her idea of a vacation, but was appeasing her husband.

Back by 7:00, we were told to hurry and get breakfast as our ride was due at 7:30. There was no breakfast out yet, so we had to wait anyway. Then we rushed through breakfast and this woman from Viva came to bring us to the bus stop. She confirmed with the driver that our fare was paid by Viva Tours and wished us well. I asked how we were to get from the bus station in Pretoria to our hostel since the service was to be door to door. She called Trevor and he asked her to give us 100 Rand each for a taxi when we got there.

The bus held 85 people and there were only 7 of us white folks. This was a real interesting experience in itself. If the bus were not so overcrowded without any knee room, it would have been an excellent cultural experience. The seats were newly upholstered or cleaned, but the head and arm rests were covered in ripped leather. The driver only made three stops for bathroom breaks and they were only 10 minutes. There were other stops for picking up and letting off people, but we were not allowed to get off. Since the majority on the bus was women, I felt for them, with the lines at their bathroom curling around the gas station.

I hate riding in cars or buses for more than 2 hours at a time, so I had to hypnotize myself to sleep in order to get through it. It was raining again, making the humidity as high as a giraffe's horns. There was no air conditioning running. No one would open a window. The very young man sitting next to me would open the window at each stop and we filled our lungs with fresh cool air like we were about to take a dive into the ocean, but within minutes the woman in front of him yelled at him to close it. People were actually sitting with down coats and wool hats on like we had taken a wrong turn to the Artic Circle. There is nothing more precious for hypnosis than hot, stale, recycled air. Wham, I am in the dead zone.

When I was awake, I tried talking to the young man next to me. He was very polite and only about 12 years old. He was traveling alone and not once did he leave the bus. Behind us was an older man who was disheveled and really hefty. Each time we stopped, he would push his girth down the aisle chanting “I need a smoke.” The driver sent him back a couple of times. My chant was “Give me some fresh air.”

Seven and a half hours later, we were in Pretoria. The taxi ride to the hostel was 40 Rand, so we were able to pocket 160 Rand for discomfort and lack of a tour back, not really equitable.

Back at the hostel, our room was changed to their second house, a half block down the street, where we had an ensuite room. The room was huge with a double bed and a bunk bed. The bathroom had a tub plus a stall shower. Again, we had a hot water pot with all of the fixings for tea or coffee.

We returned to Eastwoods for dinner. This was my last chance for steak. They do not have the cuts of steaks as we know them in Hungary, so I needed to get my fill as I did with pumpkin and sweet potatoes in Cape Town. I had a T-bone with pap. Pap is corn that is ground, then soaked in something and then cooked. It looks like mashed potatoes, but is also similar to polenta. Ron had chicken kebabs and we each had a large beer. The servings are more than satisfying. The bill with the tip came to $22.00 for both of us (I checked it on my Visa statement).

Our flight the next day was not until 8:40 pm, but we wanted to get there early to check in and go to the Diners Club lounge to check e-mails for possible bookings for our B and B. We arranged for our ride to the airport for 3:00 pm at a cost of 160 Rand.

January 12, 2006

Our flight leaving Jo'burg was not until 8:40 pm, but I had misread the ticket and thought it was for 7:00 pm. Ron wanted to see if the crafts in Pretoria were different, so we traveled on by foot looking for the places they told us about at the hostel. We walked quite a distance, but could not find the place since there are few street signs. We finally found the government building where there were supposed to be craft booths, but as we approached the stepped gardens to climb to the top, all hell broke loose in the sky again and the rain came flooding. We had umbrellas, but the heaviness of the water soaked right on through. Even our waterproof boots that have been in seemingly worse situations were leaking. As we went from one level of the garden to the next, we asked guards about the craft sales. Yes, yes, at the top was what we were told. When we reached the pinnacle, there was nothing, not even a trace of vendors who may have come and gone. The police officer in the buidling could not understand our English, so we had to repeat ourselves three different ways. He kept trying to send us off to the downtown area, but finally he had an epiphany realizing what we were after. The booths that are normally there have not been due to the rain. Since we were soaked anyway, we went downtown fighting the rain with our umbrellas like Don Quixote fought the windmills.

We wanted to leave for the airport at 3:00 pm to maximize our time at the Diners Club Lounge again. The Domestic terminal had a luxurious lounge with Internet connections. We had not checked mail since Jan. 5th, so this was opportune. I had convinced the woman at the DC Lounge at Cape Town Domestic and Jo'burg Domestic to let me in without my card, but Jo'burg International was a hard sell. I offered to call Diners Club for her, but she did not know how to make a collect call. I was getting testy and said, I pay my membership dues for this privilege and I am not paying for an international call in addition to it. She finally realized that she was not going to win this fight and waved me in.

They only had 2 computers with the slowest Internet connection I have used in 20 years. The Domestic Lounge must have clout. Their Internet was fast as a cheetah. The little voice in the back of my head told me to check our flight from Paris to Budapest. I waited 10 minutes for the page to load and then it would not do a thing after that. I went for a smoke and thought about trying again later. I did an hour later to realize that our flight did not exist any longer. In a minor panic, I called Wizz Airlines in Hungary.
Wizz - "Oh yes, we cancelled your flight last week. We could not reach you, but we did send you an e-mail"

Disgruntled consumer - "Really, when was this sent? I have been checking my e-mails up to Jan. 5th and there has been nothing from Wizz."

Wizz - "Let me see, it was sent out on Jan. 2nd"

Hot tempered consumer - "It seems to me that if you sent it on the 2nd and I checked my mail on the 5th, I should have received it unless your Internet system is as inept as the Magyar Postal system."

Wizz - "Yes, well all we can do is rebook you. The 15th is the soonest available flight."

Raging consumer - "The 15th is two more nights in Paris. We need to be home tonight."

Wizz - "That is the best we can do."

On the verge of a stroke consumer - "Fine book us for that flight, but we will see if there are alternatives."

Options, well we could stay the two nights with the B and B guy we stayed with prior leaving for S. A. Problem, we no longer have his phone number. Possible solution - go through the booking service and then apoligize that he has to pay the commission again. No solution - His place is not showing as available.

Step 2 - Try the other places were we ourselves advertise. Problem - The ones available either do not answer the phone or are over 100 Euros a night.

Step 2 additional problem - Our flight starts to board in 45 minutes.

Alternate possible solution - Change airlines. SkyEurope has a flight tomorrow night from Orly to Budapest. Cost 252 Euros for both of us. Pondering, pondering, pondering... two nights accommodations in Paris, add in meals, add in transportation, add in museum entrance fees for whiling away the time, add in any extra shopping that we may be too impulsive to resist = a hell of a lot more than 252 Euros. Book that flight!!!

Step 3 - Run for the plane. Opps! Ron was sucked into the souvenir store like light in a black hole. Try to retrieve him before we spend more nights in Jo'Burg. Okay, great...slept a couple of hours on the plane and we made it to Paris De Gaulle Airport at 7:00 am; however, our flight for Budapest does not leave until 8:10 PM.

January 13th

What to do, what to do, with only 13 hours to kill? Well the logical solution would be to go into the city and spend the day, BUT when you have 70 kilos of luggage to haul around, it is not the option that most people opt for. There is no where to store luggage at airports like there is at train stations. No one leaves bombs in their luggage at a train station. We spent 4 1/2 hours at De Gaulle reading, writing, and now we are official tour guides for every bathroom, restaurant, and place to smoke in this airport. We took the Air France bus to Orly for 16 Euro each. Very convenient. Orly is much larger than we expected and you can smoke inside, an added plus when you are ready to unravel your sweater for entertainment.

7:20 PM time to go through Passport Control and Security. Passport Control is speedy, no line. Why is there a man blocking our way to security?

Unusually friendly Frenchman -Are you going to Budapest?

Distraught wannabe travelers - Yes, we are.

Frenchman turning ugly before us - You have to wait then.

Beleaguered really wannabe travelers - Feeling like little children sent to the principal's office we drag ourselves for another sit down of waiting. This is someone else's nightmare that we have traveled into. We will now live permanently at the airport and never see home again.

11:00 pm, we finally walk into the door of home. We have no water. The house sitter had to turn it off since it was leaking into the downstairs neighbor's bathroom and his ceiling was going to cave in.

For the next three days, we had a plumber here.

Ryan James Living in Hungary
[email protected]
www.budabab.com
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Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:45 AM
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Wow! What an incredibly detail report! Thank you for sharing. Will you be posting photos?? And - would you like to go back?

Cyn
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Jan 23rd, 2006, 10:56 AM
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Hi Ryan-
Can you post the links to the first three - it looks like a wonderful report that I would like to start from the beginning with! Even though I havn't started the 'South African Trip Report Index yet, I'd like to read this one in advance!
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Jan 23rd, 2006, 11:49 AM
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Hello Ryan,
Thanks you for sharing your wonderful and very detailed trip report. Great primer for anyone heading to SA.

Would love to see your photos, if possible.
Sherry
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