Sunday, November 27, 2011

Putting a smile on their faces

If you had to ask me if today was a good day for biking, I probably would've said no. The wind was howling across the Peninsula and with a pillion the trouble of keeping the bike in a straight line makes it even less inviting. Standing still at the traffic light already feels as if you are doing 60 kmp/h. Now add another thousand of bikes riding at around 40-80 kmp/h in the same lane and I am sure biking does not sound like the ideal thing to do. But, today was one of those days when you face the elements because you know that along with all these other bikers you are going to put a smile on a child's face this Christmas. Yes, it was the annual Toy Run, an event like the Buffalo Rally which most bikers do not want to miss out on. The difference between this and the Buff is...well, this is completely different. Thousands of bikers across the world use this day to collect toys for the underprivileged, something we have a lot of in South Africa.

Unlike the previous years, this year's Toy Run in Cape Town started off from a different venue. Because of the constructions going on on the M5, the local traffic department wanted the bikers to use a different route, so the kick-off point was at the Epping Market. I can just imagine that it takes a lot of planning to put this together, so well done to the organisers. What was a bit frustrating though was the speed at which we were riding. The venue was fine and the road too, but at some points there was a clear problem with motor vehicle traffic interfering and at many points one had to actually stop. My feet were more on the tar than on my pegs and I think I was in first or second gear most of the time during the ride. It felt almost like the bikes were in a traffic stand-still and not the cars. I was however still glad that I was on a bike and not in a car, at least we had right-of-way most of the times. The congestion in Wynberg at Maynarville where the toys are being dropped off, is also a bit of a problem. Finding parking for all those bikes is not easy, but I am sure they can move this somewhere else where more bikes can more easily get in and out, and where the roads are not so narrow like in this old part of Cape Town.

So, apart from those few areas in which they can improve on, the rest of the run was awesome. There is just something weird happening in a man...and I am sure in some women too, when thousands of bikes start up at the same time. For sure you will always have your hard-core bikers adding colour to the event by revving up their bikes to way above the allowable noise level any ear drum can withstand. And this was not even the Buff we're talking about, this is a charity event where everyone was sober and calm. Walking through the bikes leaves one amazed at how many different bikes there are on the road, and the way that some bikers customize their bikes is just amazing. I guess they spend their whole month's wages on their bikes and strangely enough still have some bucks left for petrol.

After dropping the toys in the big Nampak Truck, I decided that I still wanted to do a decent ride today, so instead of going straight home I took my pillion for a joy ride over Chapman's Peak. The wind was still hectic and on a few occasions I had to adjust my speed around the corners due to the wind pulling me this way and that way without any warning. I didn't want us to end up in front of oncoming traffic...and definitely NOT on the other side which is down the cliffs towards the sea. I don't know exactly how many kids are going to have a smile on them this Chritsmas, but I for sure know of one who had a smile on his face today. Until next year..... 

Breakfast Review - Eden Cafe

If all the kite surfers were praying for wind over the past couple of weeks, then this weekend all what they had asked for were delivered over two days. The wind this weekend was hectic, blowing people off their feet, braking tree branches and blowing all my neighbours' leaves in my swimming pool.  Saturday morning was still OK, although at around 9am the signs were already there that the wind was going to blow. That didn't stop me from having my usual breakfast on a weekend.

The location was Eden on the Bay where I just on the previous day experienced the holiday atmosphere that was going on in Cape Town while the rest of the Capetonians were unaware wasting their time at the office. The restaurant was Eden Cafe, right next to the Cabrinha kite surfing shop. The location is perfect, the view amazing and the food is good. I had no complaints about any of that. I walked in to get a menu to see their breakfasts and one cute waitress told me that their breakfasts are "the best in town". She had me convinced to stay put. There are quite a few other options as well if you want to try other restaurants, but I can only do one at a time so I was happy doing it there.

Just like Mugg & Bean, Eden Cafe also has a "Breakfast on the Go". At R28.50 a little bit more expensive than the one at M&B, but if you look at the location and atmosphere, I guess they have the right to add a rand or two. The wind was a bit chilly, and I am sure that when the southeastern is blowing full speed then this would not be the best place to have a meal. You might get sand in your teeth, but if it is the "chilly" that is worrying you, then don't fret, they provide little blankets.

The breakfast itself was good, cannot say anything bad with it. The service was good, waitrons friendly and the place was quite full for so early in the morning seeing that it only opens at 9. My son had a Smiley Breakfast which came from the Kiddies Menu. His breakfast at R22.50 was the same as mine, except that he had a viena sausage instead of bacon. As usual he filled himself with his juice and bread and I ended up eating his scrambleg eggs. I have to admit that the scrambled eggs tasted funny, like they've added flour or something to "extend" it. I get the impression a lot of restaurants add something to their scrambled eggs to make it more, 'cause when you ask for scrambled eggs instead of two fried eggs, you usually get much more than two eggs worth of egg on your plate. Anyway, that is just speculation at this point that needs further investigation.

But, all-in-all a very nice experience and definitely a place I'll visit again when the wind is not blowing and the holiday vibe has really kicked in.

Friday, November 25, 2011

Traffic 101 - The Roundabout

So you live in South Africa and you have a valid driver's licence. Not the one you bought threw a friend of a friend who does not want his name known. This means you can go on the road and risk the life of others because you have passed the exam and the "pass-out" drive. You drive on the left hand side because you have figured out that it actually works better because all the other vehicles also do the same and it was actually mentioned in your driving training too. Then one day you reach something which was never covered in your training or pass-out, it is called the roundabout or traffic circle. You see familiar signs, like the arrows painted on the road and the white lines, but you miss a few things like a stop sign and/or traffic light. All of a sudden this new road layout confuses the crap out of you and you have to make quick and intelligent decisions in a fraction of seconds before you cause a major pile-up. What do you do?  

Below is a picture of just one of the many roundabouts in South Africa. Strangely enough South Africans find negotiating their way around one of these very difficult. The fact that the arrows on the road actually tells you in which line to be on your approach depending on which direction you want to go once you exit the roundabout, does not seem to help either. So, here is a little test (with the answers at the bottom) for you to see if you have mastered the roundabout......

You are approaching the Roundabout from the south (lanes A or B) and you want to do the following:

1) You want to go straight and exit the roundabout at D

a) You make sure that you are in lane A well before you get to the roundabout. Once there you keep on the outside lane of the circle and you go around and exit at D
b) You take any lane (A or B), you cross whenever you want with no indication to and make sure that you end up at the exit in lane D
c) You do the same as in (b), but you try to justify your moves by using your indicators.

2) You want to turn right and exit at E.

a) You make sure that you are in lane B, you indicate that you will be turning right, you stay in the inside lane of the circle and move over to lane E as soon as you have completed your half circle.
b) You get into lane B, you first indicate left, then right and as soon as you reach lane E you indicate left again and exit.
c) You stay in lane A, stay on the outside lane of the circle, but use your indicators the way you see fit to get to lane E.

3) You want to turn left and exit at C.

a) You make sure that you are in lane A, indicate that you are turning left and proceed cautiously.
b) You stay in lane B, wait until the last minute, indicate left and swerve over to make sure you don't miss your exit at C.
c) You approach from lane A, save your indicator for later use and turn left when you get to exit C.

Because this is such a hard topic for many drivers to understand, "right of way" was not included in this exercise and will be covered in the next lesson. Hope you've figured out what the correct answers were.

Drive Safe

(Answers (1.a, 2.a, 3.a)

Nice Shots, Dear

(This post is dedicated to my wife who walked onto the beach today while being sandblasted by a 20 knot wind, nonchalantly lifted the camera, took about five shots and then left because the wind and sand was too bad. Still ending up with three nice shots of me kite surfing. Job well done.)

So, the story behind the pictures. When I went to the beach today after I had my lines fixed, I was still hoping of using my new lines and my new harness. When I reached the beach the wind was really getting strong and I knew that this was not the time for testing lines and harnesses and immediately took out my old trusted hardware. I was really looking for a nice session rather than struggling against hanging myself on a new waist harness. So, it was back to square one where my harness was concerned, but the aim today was to at least have a good session before I take the plane to Angola next week. Mission accomplished.

I think that after today will do the following. When the wind is gentle and I go out with my 10, then I will use my waist harness. When the wind is strong like today and I go out with the 7, then I will use my seat harness. In the meantime I will look for some protective wear that my wife can put on to protect her legs and my camera against the sandblasting. But all-in-all, today was just a great day.

Where to draw the line

Today was another awesome day in Cape Town. I put in a day's leave because I had some important issues to sort out before my next trip into Africa on Monday, like fixing my pool pump and sorting out my kite lines which has been left since I bought the kite. When I bought my Cabrinha Nomad earlier this year, I found that the lines where not the same lenght. Because I had another bar with lines, I kept on using that and never went back to have my lines sorted. Today was the day for fixing that problem, so I went to the Cabrinha shop at Eden On The Bay. 

When I arrived at Eden On The Bay, I could see that the holiday fever has already hit some people around Cape Town. The restaurants were full and girls in bikini's were distracting my thoughts as I was heading for the Cabrinha shop. I immediately thought "Camera!", but then realized that taking pictures of girls at my age is a I stayed focus and went on with my intended business. As usual the guys at the Cabrinha shop were very helpful. They looked at my lines and realized that some replacements will be needed. Because it was going to take a few minutes, they offered me a free coffee at Vida e Caffe which I couldn't refuse. As a matter of fact I would've bought my own coffee just to stay longer and watch the scenery. The beach vibe was just amazing.

When I returned to the Cabrinha shop Pongo was still working on my lines. I took the opportunity to watch what his was doing and asking him about his childhood and the meaning of his name. "Praises to the king", he said. After Pongo had finished with my lines I went to thank the guys at Cabrinha, took a few more shots with my phone and left to go check out the wind at Kite Beach. Although it was still windless the wind prediction looked good and I was hoping to have another session later today.

Thursday, November 24, 2011

Test-driving the Mystic Warrior III waist harness

I have been waiting a while now that the wind will be favourable for testing my new waist harness. I have just converted from a seat harness to this new and fancy waist harness with the hope of improving my kitesurfing skills. Apart from the things mentioned in my previous post on my new harness, I was really hoping that with the new harness I would progress faster and be more maneuverable in my lower body for wave riding. So, the first day that came for me to test my new harness was 2 days ago.

Day 1

The wind wasn't very strong, around 10 knots. I used my Cabrinha Swichblade 10 and hooked in. The first thing I found was that there was something missing on my harness to click in, but then realized later that the missing safety hook I have on my waist harness is just positioned at a different spot. So I eventually went in without being clipped to the safety hook. No real issue, the only problem is that I might loose my kite in case of emergency, but with such a weak wind, I very much doubted that. The sea was a bit choppy with a lots of sets rolling in, so no clean face waves, just whitewash spoiling an otherwise beautiful day.

My first concern was the take-off. Was I going to be able to stand up, seeing that the kite will be pulling from a different point? No issues in getting up, actually managed to get up in very low wind with no effort. Approaching the first small wave, clearing it was no issue. So basically everything was feeling the same. It did however feel as if my lower body was doing its own thing underneath me, but isn't that what I was hoping for...?

Day 2

If the conditions were "bad" on Day 1, then Day 2 was worse. The wind was at 20 knots gusting to over 30, the waves were significantly bigger and the sea more choppy. Definitely not the perfect day to further test my harness, but I still wanted to feel what it can do and if the transition was going to be easy. I was quite pleased after Day 1, so I was hoping Day 2 would seal it. I went out with my Cabrinha Nomad 7 seeing that I was just about to have "lift-off" from the beach where I was standing wondering if I should take my 10 or 7 kite.

When I entered the water I realized for the first time that this was not the seat harness I was used to. Because of the strong wind I inevitably had to keep my kite straighter up than normal and that immediately did what everybody else was complaining pulled the harness from my waist up to my torso. I still managed to start relatively easy and was heading to encounter my first wave when I felt a bit reluctant to do the first jump. Unfortunately for me the decision wasn't mine and I made quite some air before I landed perfectly and continued my ride further in. I did feel different than my seat harness jumps and instead of feeling like I was flying (like in my paragliding harness), it felt like someone was lifting me from under my arms. The position of the harness was uncomfortable and I could feel it.

The second thing I noticed was that I was losing ground and was going downwind with each turn. Because the harness was further away from my feet, I was finding it harder to dig my heel in, resulting in losing grip that prevents me from going upwind. I stopped on the beach, pulled the harness down and went in again. This time it was better, but then the third problem arose. When I did my jibe and brought the kite over, the harness was pulled back up to my torso, leaving me back from where I started. Even with the jibe I couldn't dig in to do a short turn and at times I was actually lifted from the water as I brought the kite over. I lost my board twice while doing this, something which haven't happened in many months now.

What bothered me the most was that the harness close to my chest was actually making it difficult to breath, so more than once I pulled in my stomach with the hope of getting it down. This had the opposite effect. I remembered someone telling me that I should fly my kite lower, but with the strong wind I was going too fast and was thinking that if the sea wasn't that choppy that it might actually work. Today it didn't, I was going to hit a speed bump and swim hours to recover my board. I was not not in the mood for that.

So to be honest, today I felt like a beginner again. The kite was pulling me around, I lost my board on various occasions, I swallowed water and I had to do the "walk of shame" about four times.  I will however keep using the harness until I am just as comfortable with it as I am with my seat harness. I have already experience the possible "freedom" I am going to have on the water and waves with this new harness, but for now I need to work on getting my heel in and keeping the harness around my waist. I might also have to fasten it tighter, get rid of my beer belly and work on my pecs. That might keep the harness down and solve the problem ;-)

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Beach Life

Wrong Harness, Dude!

I have been kitesurfing with a seat harness since I started kitesurfing. The only reason why I have never changed over to a waist harness was probably financial reasons. It is hard to support all my hobbies with my mediocre salary. I should've considered barefoot running instead. Anyway, lately I have realized that I have to make the harness change, for three reasons basically. One...the seat harness looks like an adult nappy. Two...lately it has been crushing my nuts as my kiting is getting more ambitious and daring, and three...I find the seat harness a bit restrictive when wave riding. So, as I usually do before I go out and buy something, I did some research on the Internet first. I typed in "body harness" and what I found was a bit of a shock to my system and not exactly what I was looking for......

Eventually I narrowed my search down to "kitsesurfing waist harness" and along with the help of a kitesurfing buddy I eventually found the harness I was looking for, the Mystic Warrior III. A bit on the pricey side but one cannot go skimpy when your life depends on your equipment. Not really hey, but telling myself that makes me feel better for the money I spend. I was told that the switch over to a waist harness is going to be tricky at first. I will not be pulled from my nuts anymore, but from my back. It might pull me over and I will end up with "excruciating stomach pain". I was a bit worried about the "stomach pain", but when I heard that the stomach pain would be the result of abdominal muscles now doing all the hard work instead of my ass, I was comfortable with the idea. Six-pack exercise included in the price, not a bad deal at all. I wonder where the dude in the photo got his six-pack from though? All I can do now is sit and wait for the next southeaster to return so that I can try out my new gear....

Saturday, November 19, 2011

Surf's Up....not exactly

I have been surfing for nearly 30 years now and I realized the other day that I don't have ANY pictures of me actually surfing. I guess it is probably because I have no friends that have waterproof cameras or cameras with lenses long enough to reach the backline. This morning while having breakfast at a restaurant overlooking Blouberg Beach, I noticed that despite the waves being very small, that they are breaking close to the beach. Close enough to take a picture I thought. Knowing that I have a lens that might just make me visible on the picture, I decided to have a quick session and asked my wife to play photographer. She hates that job because she says I am never happy with the end results of anything she has taken in the past, but that is not entirely true. I have one or two pictures that she has taken of me that are good, but none of them in the water unfortunately. The waves on the other hand was not really picture quality waves either and the few times I managed to get up on the lazy ice cold waves, she was either running after my son on the beach or the wave had closed out before she could get the focus right. What she did manage to do though was to take a good picture of a perfectly executed duck dive which I might blow up and post on my wall some day. One might think that after 30 years of surfing that I could get a better wave than the one below, but sadly that is all the Atlantic Ocean had on offer today. But even though she might not think that I appreciate her efforts, at least I have one picture of me surfing and that means a lot. I think I will try Outer Pool in Mossel Bay next time, there she can sit on the rocks and fire away. Watch this space.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

Location, location, location

Any job can be good, it just depends on where they put you up for your stay while traveling. This is what I have to endure when I travel to Mtwara in Tanzania....

Saturday, November 12, 2011

Breakfast Review - Voila!

It's not always easy doing a breakfast review when you were invited for breakfast by someone else. I mean, what would your host say if you decide that the breakfast sucked while you didn't even have to pay for it? So when my wife invited me this morning, I didn't take my camera with, but when she asked me where my camera was I knew I was free to speak my mind.

Voila! Restaurant is at The Cape Quarter is in Somerset Road, close to the Harley Davidson shop. That should already tell you that you won't find cheap surfer dudes like me hanging around there. It was indeed true, the people that frequent the square spend more money on their wardrobes than what I spend on Christmas shopping. The shops are quite trendy and if you want something for your house that no-one else in your street has, then this is the place to buy it. I didn't know what to expect on my plate, but I was sure that it would not be a breakfast for twenty bucks. Fortunately I wasn't paying.

When I open a menu I search for the cheapest breakfast first. If that is not "bacon and eggs" then I move my way up until I order something slightly more expensive or I leave the place to find a cheaper joint. Today I was sponsored so I stayed put. My bacon and eggs on the menu called the "Voila" breakfast, was a whopping  R56! Normally that would've been my cue to leave, but my wife guaranteed me that the food was good and you don't argue with your wife on an empty stomach.

My wife ordered scramble eggs for R55. Mon Cheri it is called, with "home made pesto, cherry tomatoes, spinach and feta". I could not figure out why it was only one rand cheaper than mine, with spinach and feta it should've been at least twenty-one rand cheaper. Someone who likes spinach and feta probably wouldn't agree with me, but what would the world be like if we agreed on everything?

When the meals arrived I was somewhat upset that my whole breakfast was covered under more rocket than what my tortoises at home could eat in 3 days. But, when I removed it to the side, I saw a reasonable good looking breakfast on Di Marshall's Wonky Ware plates, exactly the same as what we have at home. I took out my camera which prompted the waiter to indicate that he would take the group picture. I told him that I was taking a picture of the food and mentioned that I always take pictures of the food in case I need to show it to the doctor afterwards. He thoroughly enjoyed that one.

What did catch my eye on the Wonky ware plate though was the bacon, nice crispy strips and probably three portions larger than what I had received at Oona's a couple of weeks ago. The white toast was good, the eggs soft but not "easy over" as I have requested, and the single mushroom looked a bit sad.  I have to be honest, the breakfast wasn't bad at all, but I cannot see why a person has to pay R56 for that meal. Maybe for them to pay the rent, but definitely not because of its exquisite taste. But then again, how do you make bacon and eggs taste "exquisite"? My suggestion? Make it cheap and you will see me again. I will bring my wife with, she does  not mind paying R55 for spinach and feta. But R56 for a cheap skate like me? You will probably never see me again unless I am sponsored like I was today. I have to admit that I did leave with a full stomach and that I really liked the overall experience today. Go check it out, even if it is just to see how the real Capetonians with nice clothes and fancy hair styles look like.

Friday, November 11, 2011

Home Sweet Home

I just arrived back in Cape Town from my trip to Tanzania. There is nothing that gives me that contented feeling than seeing Cape Town from the air when coming in for the landing. Home Sweet Home indeed.

Hallo Darkness my Old Friend

Three o'clock in the morning. I can't sleep. Nothing unusual when I know I have to get up early to catch the taxi to the airport the next morning. Especially when pick-up is at 4.30 and I still have to shower, pack and check out. The only problem is that it is pitch dark around me. Have I lost my sight during the night, have I died or is the power off? Usually it is the latter in Africa, but strangely enough only my room is dark. The rest of the hotel has light. I need to shower and pack still.

I try each switch in the room. On, off, on, off, nothing, I even locate the distrubution board and find no tripped switches. On, off, on, off, nother there either. I have just finished a book by Joseph Murphy called "The Power of Your Subconscious Mind", but not even telling myself that the power will come on, helps. I decide I need 3rd party help, like the night watch who is sleeping behind the reception counter.

The night watch enters my room with a torch whose batteries are weaker than my state of mind. He tries each switch in the room. On, off, on, off, nothing. He even locates the distribution board and find no tripped switches. On, off, on, off, nothing there either. At least the first steps of troubleshooting was done correctly by me, I thought to myself. Would like to see what his next step is going to be. The man is baffled, he goes through the process again, each time from trying the switches to tripping the distribution board and then adding another step like looking in a cupboard, then looking under the bed, then looking outside the door. He gets help from what looks like another member of the staff who is on night duty and heard a commotion as he is opening cupboards and doors. She is just as in the dark (pun intended) as he is. This goes on for some time and I am running out of time. I need to shower. What is the rest of my day going to be like? I call in the power of the subconscious mind to convince myself that this is the practicle exam of my latest study in human phsychology and that everything will turn out fine. Can I change the rest of the day by staying positive?

The night watch man takes out his phone, makes a couple of calls. He speaks in Swahili, so I have no idea if he is getting the information he needs to shine a little light on the problem. He disappears down the corridor. The other member of the night staff is still flipping switches in my room. I wonder how many times one has to do that to realize that it is not going to solve the problem. Suddenly the lights come on, fortunately not while she was flipping a switch, otherwise I might have believed that it actually workes. Let's see how the rest of my day goes....

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Would you trust this?

I was sitting at the airport in Dar Es Salaam hoping to find WiFi access. I was a bit reluctant to click on the only one that was available......

Welcoming Party at Mtwara

When I arrived at Mtwara I was surprized to find a welcoming party for me.....

It turned out that they were indeed waiting, but not for me. A class from a local school was out on a day-trip visiting the airport and they were waiting for their tour through one of the aeroplanes from Presicion Air. Most of these kids will probably never ever get the opportunity to fly in one of these, but hopefully their first experience with a plane will encourage them to work hard and never to give up on reaching for their dreams.

Dress Casual for Tanzania

I have been traveling to Tanzania a few times now, and I like to compare it with countries like Angola to show that on the eastern side of Africa things seems to work a bit more effective than on the opposite side. Take for instance the arrival procedures at the airports. I have written many times about the time it takes to move through the airport in Luanda, and even about the difficulties in acquiring visas for Angola. In Tanzania, getting a visa is very quick, you can even get it on arrival with no extra documentation needed other than a passport.

So, I have gone through the Immigration counters in Dar Es Salaam a few times, effortlessly and in a reasonably quick time. I applied for my visa in South Africa and eventually received a multiple entry visa valid for a year. Things couldn't be more on my side.

So, I was due for another visit and arrived at the airport in Dar. This time not armed with my magic passport with the multiple entry visa. That passport was lying at the Angolan Consulate in Cape Town waiting for a visa to go to Luanda. Needless to say procedures were not followed by the visa team and I have not received my passport back from the Consulate. As a matter of fact, my letter of invitation is still stuck somewhere between two fax machines. Fortunately I have two passports, so I took the second one and was ready to get my visa on arrival at Dar Es Salaam Airport.

When I arrived it was business as usual. Fill in the landing card and instead of going to the Immigration counters, line up for a visa. Once in the line I noticed everyone else had a white paper as well. You know how it goes in most of these airports, you have no way of knowing what you have to do, so you look and listen what others do. Ah, I had to fill in a white paper too, with exactly the same questions than the landing card, except that it asks you what your business is in Tanzania. This apparently determines which visa you get. Note, visa prices range from 50 USD to 600 USD, from single entry to "'special visa", so make sure you know what you have to say to get away with the lowest priced visa. From those who know your dress code also plays in important role. Look like a business man and your in for a heavy business visa; wear work boots and you have to apply for working visa, and dress like me and you might get away with a single entry for tourist for only 50 bucks.

Being the honest person I am, I decided that I will tell them exactly what I am doing there. Funny enough the guy in front of me was doing the same, so after he said "Four nights in Tanzania for a meeting", I decided that the 250 USD is a lot but if that is what you have to pay for a meeting in Tanzania, then so be it. "Your business in Tanzania?" I was asked. "Uhm...", I started, still wondering if a lie could not save me some bucks here. "Fifty dollars" the gentleman replied before I could even say anything.  OK, I can do with that, but why was I not interrogated like the people in front of me, I wondered?

That was quite quick and easy I though, but soon I was to find out that "quick" is still not a word very often associated with Africa. Once the gentleman who decides which visa fits your profile best has taken your passport, your landing card, your white visa application form and your money, you have to wait for your name to be called out from behind a window to complete the last steps in "getting a visa on arrival". The problem here is that your name could be called out at any time, and if you were first off the plane and in line, that does not mean that you will get your passport back in that same order. After every ten or so passport collections by the gentleman in the uniform, the passports gets put on a pile where someone pastes the visa in your passport. From there it goes to the Immigration officer that calls out your name, looks to see if your face matches the photo in your passport, and then instructs you to put your fingers on the fingerprint scanning device. There are no receipts, so I paid the visa out of my own pocket. Fortunately I looked like a tourist and only had to cough up 50 bucks. What was NOT so fortunate was the time I stood there waiting for my name to be called out. You have no idea where your passport is lying in the pile of passports in front of the Immigration officer. I stood there 45 minutes before my name was called out, which is longer than a good day at Luanda Airport.

Tanzania is a great country and definitely worth a visit. I do however suggest that when you visit Tanzania to make sure you have your visa before your arrival. If you cannot do that, then at least make sure you have patience and that your dress code says something in the line of "Tourist".

Loo with a view

If you secretly hide a desire to expose yourself in front of a plane full of people, you can now do it legally in the "Toilet with a View" at the SLOW Lounge at Cape Town International Airport.....