Friday, March 27, 2009

South African Adventure!

Just got back from ten days in South Africa. It was a business trip to Durban, but I also managed to get a few days in Cape Town and an overnight in a game reserve (Phinda) which was completely amazing.

We got so close to this male lion that it was literally terrifying. He was just sitting there, very quietly, but then got up and walked toward our (open) vehicle. He walked right along side the jeep (next to me), close enough that I could have touched him. I could not BREATHE. But he just looked up and kept on truckin'.

We saw tons of game, as well as amazing birds, bugs and snakes! The lodge was gorgeous and had an outdoor shower. But I didn't enjoy my shower so much as there were monkeys in the trees hooting and hollering at me so I ran indoors like the sissy New Yorker that I am.

Here are some great images from the trip. Some of these were taken by my colleague who brought a better camera, so I can't take credit for all of them...

The people of SA are truly amazing. Sometimes you go places where people seem very friendly but you know the second you turn your back they are making funny faces at you. (or am I just paranoid?) Here, everything that people say and do is so incredibly genuine. Even when service at the hotels or restaurants is a little kooky (serving 7 dinners to 8 people and not quite understanding why one person, me, is sitting there with no food?) they are so adorable about it you can hardly get pissed off.

Prices were so good that I ended up buying a backpack to carry the clothes I bought! Of course, had I paid the almost $10K in airfare that it took to get me there, it might not have been worth the couple of hundred dollars I saved. :) But that's the joy of traveling on business! Not to mention the frequent flyer miles...

One of the best parts of the trip, though, was the domestic flight from Durban to Cape Town on my way home. The flight attendant who was delivering the safety information was hilarious. First, when explaining the usage of the life preserver, he suggested that we tie the ribbons around our waist as opposed to our neck. Then he pointed out the light "for shining into the sharks' eyes". And lastly, he told us this was a non-smoking flight and that there are "smoke detectors and video cameras" in the restrooms. LOL

It was a great way to see who was actually paying attention!

Next stop... Istanbul in May.