Just a few house dusting things… Firstly welcome back to the movement, real life moved faster than the virtual could handle, sorry about that. Secondly I am writing this on my phone (laptop has gone on vayk) at 4 am EST which is about 11 am back home, hence the title, I am still between time zones (also I will be using the R10-$1 exchange rate). So please forgive me as I get back into the writing….
So the movement is back on the travel thing; with some education blogs that will creep in. I have made it to the US of A and would like to take you through the first 48 (or could be 24) hours of the trip. It started with some drinks and supper at one of my favourites spots at OR Tambo Airport International side, Byte. The food is reasonably price and MUCH better than the Cappellos (or most Cappellos). You should look at spending about R150 ($15) per person on a meal and a drink. Of course I had a beef burger with cheese and bacon with my favourite Hunters Dry (things I will miss from home). It is always a great idea to get to the airport early so you can also share those last few in person laughs with your favourite people because once the process starts, time flies.
It takes about an hour to 1 1/2 hours to notify your bank, exchange money, register large electronics with customs (which I would highly recommend- comes in handy if you get selected for a customs/SAPS search upon your return), weigh and wrap your bag and then check in. Lucky for us our airline was fairly empty so we did everything in about 30 minutes. Then it’s the crossing over and going through passport control, which could take another 15-20 minutes. Next thing you know it’s boarding time.
So we started our 10 hour 50 minute journey to Heathrow, where we met our last team members (I will tell you more about them in another post). We had about 3 hours before our flight to Washington DC so everyone went on their own. We were also assisted by the fact that we stayed in the same terminal for our next flight. Some connecting flights need you to take a train or shuttle to the terminal so try keep that in mind when booking. Give yourself enough connection time. I ended up stopping at Yo! For some sushi and iced tea, which cost about R240 ($24) and then -to my wallets disagreement- I decided to endulge in a small tub of Ben and Jerry’s for dessert (R68/$6.8) because ice-cream duh!
Soon enough we were a completed group boarding our next 8 hour 40 minute flight to DC. On both flights we flew Virgin Atlantic, which provides great food and services, but I would still recommend Emirates for all that and additional space and comfort. Obviously the choice rests on affordability as well. Either way Virgin Atlantic was a great option to get us there. We then took a shuttle to passport control and thanks to technology the process of getting in is so fast. I was also concerned about travelling twice on a visa I last used in 2010 but I had zero problems and the rest of the team came through just as easily. We found our bags circulating on the carousel and in no time we were here in DC, tired, hungry and smelling of yesterday or two days ago depending which time zone our minds were in.
Thank goodness for our local team who were waiting to take us to our hotel. We had about 2 hours to freshen up before we headed to Alero for Mexican food. The menu had a lot of options including appetisers and mains ranging between $7-19 (R70-190), which is what you would expect to pay for a sit down meal on these streets. I had a chicken fajita, which will set you back $18,90 (R189) but was TOTALLY WORTH IT. Of course the only thing left to do after all of this is sleep… and sleep I did.
Very eventful few hours and this is just the beginning of my working holiday. I hope I will be able to keep you up to date online. Let me try nap before the sun rises.