Saturday, February 20, 2010

Heading home...or maybe not..

February 3rd...

So, we arrived at the airport at 4pm for our 6pm flight.  We checked in and our flight was scheduled to leave on time.

We went through security, passport control etc. to do some last minute shopping to use our few remaining Rands.  We got to the gate 30 minutes before the scheduled flight just as they are announcing that our flight has been slightly delayed.

No problem...a cute and young (20's) Australian girl sits next to me and we start talking.  She tells me all about her incredible 7 week safari all throughout Africa.  The countries that she went to were amazing.... 

After a while, we look up at the board and now it says that our scheduled departure time is 22:00 (10pm)!  Okay, still no problem...more shopping time for me.

An Emirates representative tells us that a plane (not ours) had a "minor" crash (no fatalities) on our runway.  The airport was working on moving the crashed plane and cleaning up the runway.  Meanwhile, our plane had been circling for some time and now was running low on fuel.  So, they were re-routed to Durban South Africa (1715 kilometers away) to refuel.

So, my new Australian friend and I continue to talk.  A little while later, she glances up at the board and sees that we have a new departure time...  13:00+ !!  That means 1pm the NEXT DAY!!

The representative comes out again and explains to us what happened:

1.  The crew from the plane that was re-routed to Durban couldn't fly to Cape Town because they were above the FAA rules for flight time per day (?) or something along those lines.

2.  Our crew had to fly on South African Airways jet to get to Durban and bring the plane, passengers and crew back to Cape Town.

3.  When our crew arrived with the plane back to Cape Town, they couldn't continue on to Dubai right away because they would be breaking the flight hours law.

4.  So, we had to wait until 1pm the next day, when they would be able to fly again.

So, we got to spend another night in Cape Town!!  Yipee!  Plus, there was a huge mining convention in town and there were only really expensive rooms available.  Yipee again!!  Our room was 2 floors and bigger than our apartment in Paris! And...they gave us a glass of champagne at check-in!!

Looking from the second floor down...we had walls of windows!!

We even had a microwave and fancy coffee maker!  We don't even have a microwave in our apartment.  We then headed down to waterfront and ate a delicious dinner outside.

Next morning the airport.  Tom is not even in this picture yet because he at the very end of the line (at the top left side of the picture).  Everyone that had connecting flights in Dubai had to get new connecting flights.  We would arrive in Dubai around 12:30am and the next flight to Paris was at 8am.  So, we got to sleep in Dubai airport.  The first time that I have ever slept in an airport so I was very excited! 

And no...we didn't leave Cape Town on time today.  We were delayed another hour because we had to wait for the caterer to deliver the meals.

An exciting end to a wonderful vacation!!

Thursday, February 18, 2010

Paarl, South Africa

February 3rd

We packed up and headed over to the Fairview Wine Estate in Paarl.  Our plane was scheduled to leave at 6pm so we were lucky to have enough time to visit one more winery.  This winery produces wines, cheeses and also top notch olive oils.

In front of the winery is a goat tower.

Relaxing and enjoying the view from the top of the tower...

The winery paired each wine with a specific cheese - it was so delicious!

Of course, we bought a couple of bottles to bring home.

These goats were busy butting heads when they noticed that I was taking a picture of them.

They paused for a second and looked at me so that I could take this cute picture.  Very photogenic!

And now we're off to the airport...

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Stellenbosch and Franschhoek

February 2nd

Groot Drakenstein Prison - In 1990, Nelson Mandela was released from this prison.  This prison is where he spent the last few years of his incarceration.  Many celebrations were held in South Africa this month commemorating 30 years since he was released from prison.  This prison is now a minimal security prison amongst the vineyards.


I just saw the movie Invictus.   Invictus tells the true story of how Nelson Mandela joined forces with the captain of the South African rugby team, Francois Peinaar, to help unite their country.  It is a truly inspirational movie.

Invictus means incapable of being defeated or beaten.

Our first winery today was the Cabrière Estate.

Tom working while waiting for our tour begin.

Once again...breath-taking views..

Cellar tour...

Our tour guide Eden...

Walking around Stellenbosch...

Oom Samie se Winkel...this means Uncle Samie's Store.  It has been operating as a general store since 1904.  This store is a Stellenbosch institution and is also a national monument.

Tom's new friend...

Since our dinner was so amazing last night at Noop's, we made a reservation for tonite as well.  Our reserved (Bespreek) table.

The viewed from our bespreeked table - so gorgeous!

Monday, February 15, 2010

Cape Town and Franschhoek

February 1

First thing in the morning, we headed to Cape Town.  Tom "needed" to pick up more toys - especially the Zulu ebony club (used to kill animals).

Some of Tom's toys.

We then headed to Franschhoek which means French Corner.

Our first winery was Mont Rochelle.

Beautiful views...

The Huguenot Memorial - In 1688, the French Huguenots fleed from religious persecution in France.  Approximately 200 Huguenots arrived in the Cape of Good Hope.  They were assigned farms around Franschhoek where they planted vineyards.

We had an absolutely wonderful dinner at Noop in Paarl.