Monday, May 21, 2007

PSA - check your pockets

I just emptied the washing machine, only to discover my bluetooth headset in the bottom. I had it in my pocket when we got back from the weekend away.
I tried to turn it on, it flashed frantically in blue, then green, now it looks dead.

Ah well

Trip to Snowdonia

This last weekend, the CU lads had a weekend in Snowdonia. Original plans involved camping, but weather reports meant we booked into a bunkhouse instead. We started the weekend by visiting a local forest on Friday night, for study and worship, then, after about 4 hours sleep on the floor in Andy's lounge, set off for Wales on Saturday morning. We spent much of Saturday in Beddgelert forest, then Sunday morning we climbed Y Gribin, a ridge which runs up the 'back' of the Glyders. We finished the weekend with the traditional pub lunch, then drove back in time for the evening service.

It was a great time of fellowship, getting to know the other guys better, and being able to marvel at the world we live in - such a wonderful creation.

Chris drove his frog/lawnmower and had a little trouble keeping up...

They're not making rude gestures, as it may seem. Rob, in the back was talking to our car on a radio, Chris was scratching his eye. Just an unfortunate moment to capture

Saturday, May 12, 2007


Whilst we were running round Joburg airport, trying to locate a staff member to find us our baggage, I encountered Wolverine* on an escalator. After a brief struggle, I overpowered him, but sustained slight injury. The result, which had slightly healed when I photographed it, can be seen below.

*Ok, so I was running on an escalator, and I slipped. Those edges are sharp. When they say don't run, they aint kidding.

The journey home

This was where the real fun of the trip began.

We left Lily at around 1PM on Friday 13th April. We drove down to Durban, had lunch, dropped off the car and were checked in nice and early, to give plenty of time. They still couldn't give us 3 seats together. We boarded, and I was delighted to find that my seat, just behind business class, was actually a business class seat, with legroom to match.

Sadly, the delight was shortlived. We were informed by the pilot that the flight was not being allowed to take off, due to thunderstorms in Joburg. We waited over an hour, getting more and more nervous about the time. We eventually took off, and landed in Joburg with about 30 minutes to spare before the Iberia flight went.

We hadn't been given boarding passes for the whole trip, as we were travelling on two seperate tickets. This meant we had to check in again, but Iberia had closed the flight. There were only 2 Iberia staff around, everyone else had gone home, and they sent us back to SAA, as it was SAA's 'fault' we didn't make out connection.

SAA told us there was no chance of a flight that night, the next available flight with free seats was the following Thursday. They gave us vouchers for a hotel. We tried to locate our luggage, only to be told to go back the next day, as everyone had gone home.
The hotel, D'Oreale Grande, was very nice. We didn't feel really in the mood to appreciate it, so after midnight waffles, we went to bed.

The next morning we were back at the airport for 7.30, where we were told to return at 1, and they would get us on a flight. We located our luggage, returned to the hotel to shower, change and eat lunch, then back to the airport. Sure enough, they got us on a flight to London, via Paris. It was leaving at around 7.45PM. Wanting to be sure of a seat, we checked in there and then, and spent the next 6 hours in the departure lounge, trying to find things to spend our remaining Rand on.

The flight to Paris was uneventful, but on arriving, at around 8AM, we were told our Air France connecting flight was cancelled. The next available flight was at 5PM. Unwilling to wait, we were told to buy tickets for Eurostar, and Air France would refund them.
We enquired about our baggage, as it was supposed to be going to London on a non existant flight, and were told to return in an hour as they were looking for it.

We headed for the Eurostar terminal, only to be stopped by 3 soldiers. In my very tired state, I waved my passport at them as they babbled in French, as it normally works like magic. It turned out that there was a suspicious package, and we had to wait until they had checked it.

We made it to the ticket office, bought 3 tickets and returned to the baggage claim office. They had not found our bags, and filling out the paperwork took so long we were not going to make our train. So we returned to the ticket office, exchanged our tickets and got a train to Gare du Nord, where we once again went through customs.

We got on the Eurostar, but my ticket had no seat allocated, so I had to sit in the corridor until we discovered a free seat. There was a group of French schoolchildren going to Ashford on exchange, and a slightly batty American couple.
This couple talked non stop, loudly, about controversial topics (including mocking a disabled person), were very arrogant, anti French and for some reason pro English, to the extent that they began singing 'White Cliffs of Dover' when we emerged from the tunnel.

We arrived in London late, said goodbye to Katherine, and got picked up by my parents, who got slightly lost getting home. We finally arrived home some 54 hours after starting, having travelled by plane, train, bus, car and on foot.

Points to learn about this trip are as follows:

Avoid connecting flights where possible
Joburg departure lounge is boring, though the toilets are nice
Something else can always go wrong
SAA food is much nicer than Iberia
The French army don't have any bullets in their guns