Archive for South Africa
I woke up early this morning and had my breakfast. Then I went back to the room and packed up. I quickly checked out and drove straight to Johannesburg Airport.
The car needed to be filled up with a full tank of petrol before I could return it back to them but I seriously couldn’t be asked going around and find a petrol station. So, I gave them the car back with almost an empty tank . I was pretty lucky that they do a ‘pumping service’ but with additional pumped up charge. Oh well.. what can you do when you couldn’t be asked. LOL.
I checked in at the Singapore Airlines counter and went straight through security. There wasn’t much to do here at Johannessburg Airport. The shops didn’t interest me so I found a seat somewhere and read a book.
Not too long after that I heard that a Malaysia Airlines plane was about to depart and as it wasn’t too far away from me, I decided to take a picture of it before it flew back to Kuala Lumpur.
Here’s the picture of the Malaysia Airlines Boeing 747 plane
Was the picture above pointless? I mean how many times have you seen a boring plane right? Hahahaha Anyway the reason being why snapped the picture was because I adore Malaysia Airlines and Singapore Airlines services. I think they have the best cabin service amongst all the other airlines out there…I always try and fly with them whenever I get the chance. (I think they should pay me for this ever so lovely testimonial )
My Singapore Airlines flight to Singapore was due an hour after the Malaysia Airlines flight. I walked to the gate and went on board. There wasn’t much things to do anyway. It’s going to be a long 10 odd hours flight so I might as well get my well deserved rest.
Oh BTW, I got this video footage for you as we took off from Johannessburg Airport. I thought it was pretty cool
Enjoy and see you in Singapore.
It didn’t take me that long to walk back to the casino and before I headed to the slot machines, I decided to have another tour of the place and have a quick wander.
The place had everything you could possibly want. Fancy restaurants, retail shopping and even a bunch of cinemas. It was here at the cinema that I took this next video showing the interior decor of the casino.
and here are the pictures:
I then went to do my thing at the slot machines. I almost lost everything not too long after that . I didn’t mind. I was expecting it anyhow….
I went to the cashier and cashed back whatever balance of money I had on the card. Took the cash and dashed straight to the car for the drive back to Pretoria.
It wasn’t that hard getting back into Pretoria. It took me about 3 hours or so. I might do this again. It was pretty cool
I was already in complete state of knackeredness when I arrived in Pretoria. Had to go sleep and skip dinner. Next destination tomorrow — Singapore
I walked straight towards one of the supercool buildings here. I didn’t know what this building represents but it looked fab to me! It was better to be inside than the outside cause I’m telling ya, its super hot outside in the heat. You could possibly boil some eggs here on the pavement!
It was nice and cool inside the hotel lobby and the whole decor and ambience was amazing. In fact, the casino was right in front of me! They even had some slot machines in the lobby! Hehehehehe
Now the thought of playing the slot machines were definitely tempting! I asked for directions at the concierge and he directed me to the main hall where the casino was situated. I am not a gambler and I don’t even know how to play 95% of the gaming stuff but I always love playing the slot machines. I also know deep in my conscious mind that all the machines are computerised and rigged anyway but who cares eh! I wanted to have fun man
The casino wasn’t so bad after all. There weren’t many people there. It was still noon time and you wouldn’t expect many people to be here at this time of the day. Wait till it’s past dinner time and I’m certain this place would be packed like a can of sardines
The gaming system here was quite unique. I had to go to the cashier and pay. In return. I’d get a ‘debit card’ with my money installed in it and all I had to do was slot the card inside any machines I want and play. All winnings and losing would be credited into the card.
Hmmmmm sounds dodgy to me. That means the system would know my activities even if I decided to move to a different slot machines. But what the heck, it’s for fun. I knew I was going to lose anyway so why not enjoy losing…LOL
I sat next to this lovely lady and started to chat her up. She told me that her husband runs a diamond business and to pass time, she makes the constant commute to Sun City and gamble. Hmmm not bad if you asked me…errr only if you can afford it and you have endless abilities to withstand the pressures losing a ton LOL.
I knew it…I knew it.. it took less than an hour before my credit diminished. Why did the house never let me win Hehehehe
I thought that was it. Let me roam about the whole place and play again later in the day.
I left the casino and encountered this huge fancy ballroom. I thought I must tell you all about it on video.
Here’s the photo of the ballroom I talked about in the video. The picture would not give it justice, to be honest. The ballroom was more fab in reality.
I then walked outside and was pleasantly surprised by what I saw. There were a bunch of stone carved elephants lined up in a straight line. There were many other ‘animal’s here too. I guess it symbolises AFRICA In the video below, you’ll get to see the elephants or normally known as ‘The Bridge Of Time’, The Wave Pool and the most magnificient Palace of The Lost City. A Must See!
If you did watch the video then you’ll understand that I had edited it so that it would give you an overview of the whole place including The Palace of Lost City. But, if you’d like to see the bit by bit storyline then here it is.
Below are pictures within the perimeter of The Bridge Of Time.
Not too long after that, I saw this atrium which I thought was worth to be photographed for. Don’t ask me why I snapped it. I just thought it was cool
And next to this atrium was this huge fancy pants wave pool. I tried to resist it but failed miserably. I had to go in and dip in. No time for procrastinations. The weather was hot and it’s darn one good excuse to stay cool
This is the wavepool.
I ended up playing at the pool with the rest of the South Africans for more than an hour and half. They had fake sands and all – just like being by the beach! I’m telling ya that it was great fun and the skin on my hands were all shrunked up the minute I got out of it. LOL
Here’s the video after the great dip
The Palace of Lost City was really something. I thought it was worth the 3 hour drive to get here and be able to witness the building. The architecture was out of this world and looked totally unreal in a dry deserted land! They even made this glorious waterfall and beautiful water feature surrounding it.
I think this building made Sun City worth coming for – even if you’re not a gambler. and yes, you must try staying here for a night or two. Unfortunately, I didn’t stay the night here as I wasn’t planning to come here in the first place but if I was given the opportunity to do so now that I was in Sun City, I would not even think for less than a second. The place is superb. First class decor and service everywhere. Definitely, a good place to relax and get all the pampering you want in South Africa
Ok, before i forget here are two pictures of The Palace of The Lost City. You can also watch it on video. Just click play on the first video if you haven’t done so already
It was about 4PM or so when I was done touring this place. My stomach was grumbling. I didn’t have lunch yet so now it’s munchy munchy time at the fancy casino restaurant
Next trip – Back to the casino!
I woke up early again and did the usual thing – shower, breakfast bla bla bla. I then gathered all the maps and driving instructions given to me yesterday and started studying them. I had to do this purely because I didn’t have the SatNav with the mank of a car I got off the hired car company. Reason given to me was that they had given all the SatNav away to all their customers on that day and it seemed that the minute I was asking for it – it was gone. Yeah, I wonder why I tend to always get that. Hmmm…
Anyway, this journey would be a long one and I was getting a bit nervous. Driving in a foreign country in a different continent of the world which I had yet to set foot on until a few days ago proved to be a bit unnerving but at the end of the day, it’s what we call ADVENTURE. I mean that’s what life all about right?
So here I went driving in the car and armed with all the necessary manual ‘paper’ tools that would seem to be the prime guidance for me to get to Sun City safely. If I could go to Brixton in London and back home, then I was sure I could do this. Hehehehehe
The journey started off with me driving off the normal or which I usually call the A road that lead towards the motorway (or highway to some people ). About 45 minutes later I was at the motorway toll station and as I was paying the amount due, I had to ask the man if I was heading in the right direction. Hey, you never know about these things
He did confirmed that I was doing just fine and that I should get there in 2 hours or so. That made me smile. I mean BIG SMILE.
With the newborn confidence, I switched on the car radio on full blast and chilled. The weather was nice but it was starting to heat up. But who cares right, I was just having the joys of my life here….
I saw the sign to get off the motorway and back to the A road. This A road journey was a long one indeed and there wasn’t seem so much ‘life’ around. Deep in my conscious mind, I hoped that the car would go smoothly and wouldn’t break down as if it did, I would be in deep s%$^. Who on earth would be able to come and help me! Even the AA would take ‘years’ to arrive.
So enough of the negative mindset here and to cut the long story short, I did finally got into the Sun City entrance alright.
Now before you are allowed to come into this Sun City, you had to pay the entrance fee. I could not remember exactly how much it was but I got my ticket along with a big gold coin that I could use at the casino.. The gold coin was HUGE!!! I mmediately felt privileged and insanely RICH. Hehehehe…Now that was good marketing!!!
I parked my car next to one of the casino complexes. I then looked at the time. It showed 11 ish. It seemed that it only took me arround 3 hours to get here. Not bad after all!.
(PS: If you arrive direct from Johannesburg Airport there is a shuttle bus service from there. I suppose you can always query at the tourist desk)
It was quite of a relaxing sleep from yesterday. I felt so much better and more revived. The weather was really good too. It wasn’t that much of a difference than in Cape Town. Nice, hot and sunny.
I had my breakfast and I immediately planned on what to do or see next. I decided that I wouldn’t want to join any tour companies. This time I was going to do it myself.
So here I went, on my own, driving to Pretoria. Weird thing was, I didn’t stop anywhere. I just drove and drove whilst I took in the view and its surroundings. Reasons? Well maybe I had yet to recover from the story-telling phobia at the airport.
There were loads of nice places to see here in Pretoria but I suppose, I would just have to come back with a friend or something. It’s rather sad to miss it all while you’re here but I ain’t doing it all alone. I blame it on the kiddo at the airport!
For obvious reasons, it didnt take that long when I was driving back to the hotel. Suddenly, I had a jolly good idea. I thought to myself, wouldn’t it be great if I could drive all the way to the Sun City. I mean C’mon. It’s the PLACE to be. Everyone and everybody is going to be there
I parked the car and went straight the hotel’s reception. I queried with the Concierge and they gave me a detailed map and driving instructions. Now this would be an adventure indeed!
The rest of the day was spent doing almost nothing. Watched CNN and other movie channels. In total, it was just a relaxing day and preparing for the next big day tomorrow for Sun City.
The flight from Cape Town to Johannesburg went really smoothly. We didn’t go through the usual ‘passenger tunnel’ entry. We were taken in the usual airport bus to the South African Airways plane parked a distance away from the airport terminal. I have nothing to say about their service. It’s always good
I was brimming with excitement as we landed in the land of Johannesburg. Unfortunately though, my travel plans wasn’t planned. Nothing was booked. No hotel, no taxi, no specific travel plans etc. It’s just pure adventure so we just have to see when I get my bags from the carousel
As I was waiting for my bags, I nudged this young South African airport chappy and asked him about Johannesburg etc. I told him that I had no pre-planned travel plans. I also told him that maybe it was a good idea to hire a car and drive all the way to Johannesburg. He then looked at me as though he just saw a ghost or something
Anyway, he explained that as a first time Johannesburg tourist, it was not advisable to drive on my own and wander about in the city. I would stand out like a sore thumb and would attract unwanted crime. He also shared some of the crime related stories that happened to tourists.
Now, I’m sure Johannesburg is a safe place like in any other cities in the world and I definitely do not want to give a bias review of this place. Most of my friends truly enjoyed Johannesburg and have asked me on numerous occasions to come. Well, this time it was different. I definitely didn’t want to end up in the wrong place of the city. I’d rather be safe than sorry
Immediately after having the short discussion with the young chappy, I called my friend in London seeking for advice. He told me that the last time he was here, he drove a car to Pretoria. Pretoria is a bit safer. There are plenty of embassies around and I thought hmmmm maybe that was a good idea. And so I did..
I went on the internet and booked myself a hotel in Pretoria then walked out of the airport to the hire car centres. I finally got myself a small car. I asked for a Sat Nav but unfortunately, they didnt have it. Darn..
I was a bit lucky that the staff were really friendly and gave me a detailed route map. Let me tell you, I would follow the route given to me almost religiously No time to try any scenic tourist routes here
It was rather nerve racking to drive in place you’re not used to but I thought, what the heck..It would be a cool adventure
The journey to the hotel to Pretoria wasn’t that difficult afterall. The roads had clear signs everywhere so it was easy.
It was already dark when I got to the hotel and I decided to have dinner at the hotel’s restaurant. I then went back to the room and slept.
What a day!
We were driven back to Cape Town via a different route. I didn’t mind because if we were to travel on the same route like earlier in the morning – I would freak out Imagine going downhill next to a big gorge separated with just a few metres away. Maybe it has no effect on you but for me it was an absolute BIG No No.
Although it was not the same route, we still passed through some of the most scenic places here in South Africa and these include some amazing views of the ubiquitous vineyards.
Here’s a picture of another vineyard taken en-route back to Cape Town.
Our tour guide stopped us all for a wee break in a nice place overlooking the hills. The unique bit about the hills were that there were burned by some unscrupulous someone who must have thrown their cigarette butt in the bushes and it ended up burning the whole place – including the surrounding areas. You can see it here…
See, it’s all black! and all the bushes were gone and only a few bits that was left out Hopefully, it can grow and make the whole place greener again.
Anyway, that wasn’t the cool part. The cool part was when we were informed that our ‘amazing’ tour guide had left the keys in the van and guess what? It left us all stranded, all alone in the group with nothing much to do.
Our guide immediately called the local AA and as we were far away from civilisation, it took them 2 odd hours to arrive. And in the meantime, all of us in the group ended up in the bar having a good jolly time Well, the experience wasn’t so bad after all.
Due to the intense delay, we got back to our respective hotels at night. I immediately pack up my bags. Tomorrow, I’m off to my next destination – Johannesburg
Now that would be interesting…