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A long time ago in Italy, we met a family from South Africa.  We were on an Italian cruise line waiting 3 hours for our passports to be returned to us.  And we talked.  They told us that if we ever wanted to go on a safari, South Africa was the best destination.  [Especially now that they have a government [in contrast to the past and to neighboring countries.]  Then, Ron’s former boss went there—they make antenna simulation software there—and we were convinced.

We’re not getting any younger [although recently, we have gotten lighter], so we thought sooner rather than later, and booked a trip with Gate1, who led our successful Greek tour a year ago.

The cheapest flight took us through Dubai in the United Arab Emirates and then several hundred miles back to the west to the toe of Africa.  We drove up to Washington DC and stayed in a hotel near the airport, since it was a fairly early flight [10:10, check-in 3 hours ahead].  We never get cheap when it comes to making a flight; DC traffic is as bad as LA.

Leaving our car at the economy parking and sitting in Economy class on the plane is ‘us all over.’

The 13 hour flight to Dubai saw us sitting in the center of the plane, hoping to get some sleep.  We didn’t.  But I watched: the opera “Turondot “ twice, “Bright Lights: Starring Carrie Fisher and Debbie Reynolds [surprisingly interesting], “The Mummy” with Tom Cruise [awful]; “Guardians of the Galaxy 2” [really really groot]; all the while being buffeted by clear air turbulence.  We also got fed twice, hot food, no additional charge!

Ordinary menu----



How do you get Golden Arches out of Arabic?---
   

We had a brief layover in Dubai, enough to go shopping and take a few photos of the world’s tallest building hazed by a sandstorm.  Now, here is the problem.  I am going to count UAE as a country I have been to, since we actually set foot on the tarmac, could see downtown AND I bought a souvenir [a camel key chain].  Ron does not count this as a true visit.  So now I have 1 more country on my list than he does.  This is not MY problem. 

The world's tallest building as seen through blowing sand--


The airport is the most exotic I’ve ever been to, filled with nationals from around the world.  It truly is a hub and the Emirs that envisioned it thus were very smart men.  There were an amazing amount of Indians there, which makes sense as a stop on the way to India.  I just hadn’t thought of that.  And folks from all over Africa, and even China.  I rank the prayer room facing Mecca IN THE WOMEN’S RESTROOM as the highlight of my visit to Dubai.


Ron had booked us window seats for the flight over Africa, as we were hoping to see the Great Rift Valley, but in fact, most of the 8 hour trip was over water.  Then, we flew almost directly west to Cape Town.  I watched “Marilyn Monroe Declassified” which seeks to prove she was murdered by the mob, which story was well known even back then.  [Which reminds me: in Dallas there is a Kennedy Museum in the former book depository.  One tourist signed the guest book, “Oh JFK, where are you now?  We need you!”  And another guest wrote below, “I’m in heaven having sex with Marilyn Monroe.”]

But I cannot leave us hovering above Cape Town, waiting to land.  [Not in heaven exactly, but what we like to say is “Ron and Carol in their natural surroundings—traveling somewhere.”]

Sunset over Cape Town--                                           


Table Mountain with tablecloth of cloud-- 



The end of our 2 day jouney saw us greeted at the airport by our Gate1 guide who whisked us to Victoria Junction Protea hotel.  We stayed in Proteas all over Greece.  They are quite nice for the most part.

We asked Stuart where we might get some cokes and,  after warning us that the streets of Cape Town are never safe, he said, “Spa.  Look for the green tree emblem.”

With the help of some friendly drunks, we found SPAR, the British grocery chain.  We ate croissants, with cheese from the airplane for supper.  And with Coke Light, lights out.
 

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