Ruth, with our friend Andrei at the Orheiul Vechi Historical Complex at Trebujeni, Moldova. Photo taken December 2, 2016.
Where are Kevin and Ruth right now? Chisinau, Republic of Moldova.

Where are they going next? Transnistria. The country that doesn't exist!

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Arrived in Namibia, Africa!!!

We are so excited (and so tired!) that we don't know where to start. Of course it makes sense to start where we last left you...we were leaving our couchsurfing host Ike's apartment (thanks again Ike!) yesterday morning and heading for New York's JFK airport to catch our 10:40am flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

So we had left the apartment at around 6:30am...figuring that was enough time to get across New York City during morning rush hour traffic...

And it pretty much was. But we did cut it pretty close! We were waiting for a train that said "JFK" and none of them did. Eventually, we checked the subway map and asked the conductor of the next train that came. She said it was the next train. And yet it didn't say JFK either! By the time we figured it out, we wasted about a half hour because a train had already gone by that we could have taken. Fortunately, the train we ended up on was express, and we made it to the airport with time to spare. Well, a little bit anyhow!

There's our plane that will take us from New York to Johannesburg, South Africa.

The flight was fine, in fact it was so quiet and smooth. Good thing, because it was almost 15 hours on the plane! But the seats were well spaced, and Ruth lucked out with an empty seat beside her, and I had an aisle seat so we weren't crowed. Each seat had it's own entertainment center with a huge selection of on demand TV shows and movies. Even video games!

We had pre ordered "gluten free" meals, and we got served before everybody else! Almost felt a little guilty about that. Almost.

Rice cake, salad, fish, rice, veggies, fruit cup. It was good.

And it came with your choice of South African wine!

The only bad thing we have to say about the flight? They let you wait too long between meals, and with no snack service. It was a 14 hour flight. They served us lunch almost as soon as we got off the ground (just before noon) and then breakfast came around just after the sun came up. Remember, we had a 7 hour time change in there as well. So we were pretty much dying of starvation by the time breakfast came. Ruth even ate all the mushrooms on her plate! Note to self...bring our own snacks and munchies for the return trip in March!

Okay, so we arrived in Johanessburg, and we thought we had a two hour wait for our next flight to Windhoek, Namibia. But we were a few minutes late landing in South Africa, and then we learned we had to go through a customs lineup and then another baggage check and security lineup that made absolutely no sense. After all, we were just connecting so we should have been able to simply walk through the terminal as we had already been through all that crap leaving New York. Okay, whatever, it's part of air travel. But it still is poor design! So, we had to rush through OR Tambo airport...which is huge...in order to get our flight that they said was boarding while we were still in a huge security lineup. Turns out we made it, but a lot of other people were late too and the flight was 10 minutes late leaving.

Kevin, just got off the plane in Windhoek, Namibia. Seconds after Ruth took this, the sweatshirt came off! 32C (89F) here with blue sky and sunshine!

So then we had to get through customs. Ruth had no problem at all, but the girl interrogating me wanted to know exactly what date we were leaving the country, and she wanted to see my return ticket...which of course I didn't have because we are leaving Namibia by land and then flying out of Johannesburg in March. I just answered her questions as best I could, and she said a bunch of stuff in another language to a girl sitting beside her, stamped my passport and wrote in it that I am god until January 6th. Where she pulled that number from, I have no idea! Ruth is allowed to stay until January 26th, and we don't know where that number came from either!

A car service picked us up at the airport. This was part of the prize that all of our facebook fans won for us! You all know who you are, and this trip is for you! We hope we can take enough good pictures to satisfy your own urge to visit Namibia one day! Anyhow, it's a 40 km (26 mile) drive from the airport to the city.

All of it is on the wrong side of the road!

Now, we've been to England before...but we've never driven a right hand drive vehicle on the road before, and that's exactly what we're going to be doing tomorrow when they drop off our 4x4 camping vehicle!

The scenery around Windhoek reminds us of Mexico, north of Monterrey! Just over that hill, we saw some baboons by the side of the road, but not quick enough to get a photo! I'm sure we'll be seeing more.

We're staying at the Rivendell Guesthouse tonight. But it's only one quick night in luxury, because tomorrow we start our 3 1/2 week Namibia safari and camping trip!

We'll tell you more about the Rivendell in another post. Because we come back here for another one night stay at the end of our camping expedition!

We had to go get some groceries and we wanted a cellular internet stick so that we can be sure to tell you about our activities every single day! So we walked the 15 minutes to a shopping mall and we bought an MTC cellular stick...for $19 including 1 GB of usage. It's pay as you go, so we'll have to add to it later, but it's not a bad deal providing we don't have to use it every day.

Downtown Windhoek, Namibia.

Lots more to tell, but we're exhausted. We think we maybe got 3 hours sleep in the last 30 hours! And of course there's a seven hour time change in there too...it's currently 8:36 PM compared to 1:36pm EST! We are at least six hours ahead of most of you North Americans!!

Just finished a real nice dinner with a $2.50 bottle of nice wine, and a 750 ml bottle of Windhoek Lager beer that cost $1.50 (equivalent of $16.50 for 24 standard sized bottles!). We think we are going to LOVE Namibia!

30 comments:

  1. Sounds marvelous. I think I am going to love following along.

    Enjoy this special adventure.

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  2. well at least the booze is going to be cheap!!!

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  3. Hope you have a good long rest so you can start your African adventure(as I`m sure you will) Be safe out there and enjoy.

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  4. what can I say besides WOW so exciting.

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  5. Well, at least there's not a lot of traffic for your first time with right hand drive. First time for me was in Birmingham, UK. That was a butt clencher.
    Can't believe you had the energy to even write *anything*. I'm usually so wiped after a flight. I can't even imagine.
    And by the way, I'm pretty sure most airports were designed by monkeys. Hey, maybe some of those baboons you saw at the side of the road!
    Although technically I suppose they're actually apes. Same skill set.

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  6. I googled it, it's 1:30 here and 11:30pm there, can't wait for lots of photos of your adventure (since I helped you get there too!).
    the place looks swanky for sure that you are sleeping at tonight. rest well, lots of adventure for you ahead!!!!!

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  7. I'm amazed at how well you jump through all the hoops and deal with the unknowns in trains and customs etc. Did you fly South African airlines? Looks like a fabulous place they have set you up in tonight. Get good rest -this is SO exciting.

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  8. Looking forward to hearing about the safari. I have been to Africa a number of times, but never had a chance to take a safari.

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  9. With beer at those prices, I'll be amazed if you get anything accomplished.

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  10. OH MY, this is so freaking exciting! If you run into our old Rotary Exchange Student, Julian Nagy, from Johannesburg, tell him we said HI! You two are the bestest tour guides ever - have fun!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
    Connie & Barry in PA

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  11. I am so excited and happy for you guys. And soooo looking forward to the pictures and posts. Get some sleep and have a great night of luxury.

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  12. Add me as another follower, courtesy of George Yates' blog. Will love seeing Africa through your eyes,

    Barbara B, in MA (FL in two weeks)

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  13. Most people looking at these pictures wouldn't believe you were in Africa! Can't wait to read more. We always take our own food on the plane, you never know if you'll be left on the tarmac for hours! Also an empty water bottle so that after passing through security we can fill them up with water from the water fountain. Have fun!

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  14. Very glad you arrived safely. Let the adventure begin!

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  15. I can't imagine how exhausted you both must be! I'm so glad you made it safely and managed to get through all that stressful airport stuff. II can't believe you took the time to get us up to date and I know you're tired but I got a good laugh from your typo -- and don't you dare fix it!
    --I am god until January 6th...--
    I don't think it can hurt to at least feel that way! LOL!
    Can't wait to follow this journey we sent you on!
    Grace (in Tucson)

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  16. Going to be fun traveling along with you......

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  17. Hello friends congratulations. for togetherness in such exciting safari I will like us to see his return to comment on your stay in africa, greetings

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  18. SAA does put out good food, but not frequently. Guess you have to enjoy the free booze instead. I always get 90 days when I land in Joburg. And being I'm returning in January I look forward to your journey in Namibia.

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  19. Glad you arrived safe and sound. It's going to be quite an adventure and we'll all be looking forward to hearing more. Have a spectacular time and be safe!

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  20. So pleased you've arrived safely and very excited about your trip. Hope you managed to pick up some decent wildlife and bird books so you can name all those exciting animals (the birds of Southern Africa are my favourite in the whole world!).
    Don't forget to make time for Etosha National Park to see those Black Rhinos.

    Sft x

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  21. Welcome at last to Southern Africa! I hope that you love it here. Just a small point of correction - we drive on the correct side of the road, you lefties are wrong!

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  22. I love to drive in Africa and I'd like to say that I can't accept that How long will you maintain it. I think, this is great effort in one of them.

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  23. It sounds like you're off to a great start. Looking forward to your upcoming adventures and pictures. Happy trails, amigos!

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  24. Howdy Ruth & god, (that's twice you've done it, K)
    We're so glad you're on the ground, IN AFRICA, SAFE & SOUND, but UNRESTED..
    Kevin, be extra careful in driving on the wrong side of the road; if you get distracted and forget where you are, you'll automatically swerve to the RIGHT... Please, get plenty of REST BEFORE beginning OUR TREK !!! Even if it's cheap, WATCH THE BOOZE !!!! Prayers go with y'all...
    Hope y'all have a HAPPY DAY !!!

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  25. You are God until January 26th? A very tired god I think.

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  26. Arrived safe and sound and ready to explore after a good nights rest. Have too much fun there.

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  27. A little known fact is that on the majority of scheduled airlines you can visit the crew and they have loads of snacks and drinks that they can provide you with (free of charge) between meals. Had to laugh at a slight type that you are god until 6 January !

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  28. Hooray! You made it ad the recounting post is great. Thanks. Can't wait to get on with this adventure. Get some rest and some Calories in and GO!

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