[This is the first of the catch up Diary entries after returning home safely to the UK]
We arrived in Dubai Airport in the middle of the night but despite the air-conditioning it was already very hot, but then I was of course still dressed for UK autumn weather with my jacket-with-many-pockets to extend my ‘hand-luggage’ allowance. A quick look in the camera shop revealed that the D600 had not made it this far yet. I had feared that I could have bought it here at an even greater saving, so in a way, a result!
By 8:50 local time we were back in the air. The second leg of our journey was in a Boeing 777. Not quite the comfort ride of the A380, but still better than most long haul flights that I’ve been on.
We arrived safely and on time in Cape Town, around 16:25 local time for the usual queue snaking towards immigration and passport controls. Why are half the desks always unmanned? It would greatly enhance the welcome experience on entering a country – first impressions do count.
Just like Phoenix Airport, last April / May, the car rental companies were all housed in a separate building, but here we had to carry our luggage through an underpass. As usual it took a while to process the paperwork for our 9 week rental – done in two slices to overcome the problem of a maximum rental period.
Cliff took the steering wheel of our home for the coming two months, a Nissan Xtrail, and got us safely to the Upper Eastside Hotel, a modern and comfortable hotel where the car was safely tucked away in a multi storey underground car park in a neighbourhood undergoing a much needed facelift.
Our room offered a view to the Grote Schuur Hospital, the famous hospital where Professor Christiaan Barnard performed the first heart transplant operation. Set back a bit farther was Table Mountain, with a ‘table cloth’ of clouds covering the top. My UK autumn gear was not so silly here as the weather was as cool as an average spring day in the UK. TV weather reported a weather system coming in from the south (i.e. antarctic, still very cold this time of year).