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Archive for September, 2012

Thursday, 20 September 2012 – Dubai to Cape Town

[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).


Wednesday 19 September 2012 – Amesbury – Heathrow – Dubai

Despite a morning of last minute panic of packing, while trying to get the last plants into the house for winter, I still managed to leave home without the boarding pass that I had printed off yesterday. Eunice Thompson saved the day by being able to download the boarding pass onto her iPhone and so we arrived in good time at Heathrow Terminal 3 where we met up with Cliff Thompson and David Neville.

Thanks Angie, for doing the annual airport run. At least next year you’ll be coming with us.

As some of you may know, I’m a bit of a camera nut and for the last 18 months had been searching on Nikon Rumours for details of a new affordable replacement for my D300. Well, about a week ago, the D600 was announced at Photokina in Cologne and said to be available in the UK from 18 September. Usually these are ‘wish dates’ rather than reality. The price was also higher than I was prepared to pay, so imagine my pleasant surprise when Eunice pointed out that the tax free camera shop had it in stock – body only, at more than GBP 400 below UK internet prices. Too good to miss, so I’m dragging yet another camera around.

Nothing else to report, except to say that Emirates gets my vote as my favourite airline. It was my first flight on an Airbus 380 (Thanks to Brian & Rene for spotting my dyslexic keyboard), the double decker monster that has the potential of making boarding and disembarking a nightmare, but it all went remarkably smoothly – well done! Comparatively spacious seating, much better than the usual flight food and excellent soundproofing. A very smooth flight.

Tomorrow we land in Dubai for a 2 hour stop over.

Our home LHR to Dubai

Our home LHR to Dubai