Author Topic: Yehoshua's South Africa TR  (Read 16619 times)

Offline Yehuda57

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #60 on: July 21, 2016, 12:30:30 PM »
Why?

It's not a petting zoo, they are penguins living in the wild.
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Offline Proisrael

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #61 on: July 21, 2016, 12:58:16 PM »
Not only are you not allowed to touch them, you're not allowed to interact with them (like talking to them directly). They don't want them to become too accustomed to humans despite the fact that people look at them all day long.

So the Israelis were actually quiet?!?!  :P :P

Sounds like the seals in San Diego....

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #62 on: July 21, 2016, 01:11:15 PM »
Why?
They'd prefer to leave the penguins alone as much as possible so they don't become like zoo animals.

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #63 on: July 21, 2016, 01:34:05 PM »
They'd prefer to leave the penguins alone as much as possible so they don't become like zoo animals.
Good idea. Too many stories of animals becoming very stressed & even dying because of stupid & cruel tourists.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #64 on: July 21, 2016, 02:50:12 PM »
Good idea. Too many stories of animals becoming very stressed & even dying because of stupid & cruel tourists.
lol  ;D

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #65 on: July 22, 2016, 12:49:48 AM »
Friday, July 15, South Africa Jewish Museum and the V & A Waterfront
Since it was Friday we had an early start and were on our way to the Jewish museum by 9:30am. We parked in the paid lot next to the museum (for R20 for the 3.5 hours we were there) and walked over. It had been raining quite heavily on our drive to the museum, but it thankfully stopped by the time we got out of the car.

After going through security to get into the complex that not only houses the museum but also the Gardens Shul, the Holocaust Museum and Cafť Riteve, we walked into the museum to find none other than our Israeli tour group friends.  Unfortunately it was them that spotted us first, and we were promptly reminded that we now owed them some ice cream.

We paid the R50/person to get into the museum and walked around. It isnít a really big museum, basically just 2 small floors, but the exhibits they do have are very well done. We also looked at the special exhibits they had down stairs including one about the hand gestures people taking taxis (mainly in Gauteng Province) use to let drivers know where they want to go. It was quite interesting!


Museum exterior


Stained glass in the shul/entrance to the museum

After about an hour there we walked across the courtyard to the holocaust museum (free). While I was a little unsure at first about seeing another holocaust exhibit, I actually learned a few things at this one that Iíd ever herd before at the bigger museums in DC and Yerushalayim.

Despite its smaller size, we sent about 45 minutes there before heading down to the cafť for lunch. The menu here is decent sized and we ordered easily. I tried a local African dish while DW stuck with the tried and true pasta dish. Both were really good, as was the beet and feta salad that we ordered to split.


Cafť Riteve interior


The African dish


The pasta dish


The salad

When we finished lunch we headed out to the waterfront to look around. The sun had come out by this point, but it was still quite chilly out, so after parking we headed to the shopping mall there.

We spent some time there walking around and looking at the shops. We also walked around a bit outside and listened to some street musicians playing African music. By 2 hours to Shabbos (around 3:30pm) we decided to go back to the hotel to get ready for Shabbos.


Please excuse the vertical format, but I was trying to film it with another camera too and it was just easier to hold my phone that way.

For dinner we went to the parents of the woman we stayed at in Joburg the previous week. After an extremely long davening (1.5 hours with a speech) we met in shul and walked to their house for a wonderful meal.

They walked us back to the hotel after the meal and we immediately went to bed.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #66 on: July 22, 2016, 12:50:11 AM »
Shabbos, July 16, Shabbos in Cape Town
We had been forewarned about davening at shuls in Cape Town in advance, though until shul started I had completely forgot about it. We davened at Morasha (not only because it was down the block from the Protea, but also because our hosts were davening there), and from what Iíve been told, theyíre the quicker ones. Davening wasnít too bad, it took only 2.5 hours. However, there was a baby naming, a siyum, and a speech after davening before Kiddush which added another 45 minutes onto the morning. The Kiddush itself was very nice partially because it was sponsored, and once again like in Joburg, it was dairy. After Kiddush our hosts for lunch stayed for the shiur, meaning we didnít get to their house until around 1:00pm.

By the time the meal started it was almost 2pm, around the time Iím always done with lunch, especially in the winter. Lunch was very nice and went until 10 minutes to mincha at 5:00pm. We walked back to shul, had seuda shlishis after mincha (it was a challenge to eat yet again), and heard havdala after maariv before walking back to the hotel.

We didnít have any plans for motzei Shabbos despite the early hour, so we just hung out in the room until we went to bed.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #67 on: July 22, 2016, 12:50:39 AM »
Sunday, July 17, CPT-DOH
After shachris at 8:00am, I walked back to Checkers to get some food for breakfast, as well as for 3 meals on Monday while weíd be in the Middle East. All the food I got (mainly bread, rolls, muffins, carrots and cheese) came out to ~$18 for 2 people for 4 meals.

Since I showed up just as the store was opening, most of the bakery items were still hot, including our favorite purchase, the garlic snail. Picture a cinnamon bun style roll, but instead of sweat itís filled with pieces or roasted garlic and spinach. It was warm, tasty and super enjoyable.

Since we had a few minutes to kill after packing up after breakfast we decided to take a walk along the boardwalk/promenade. It was a super sunny day and it was really nice and relaxing for our last hurrah it Cape Town.


Interesting rocks along the shore


The promenade

We headed to the airport at 10:20am and filled up at the BP station at the airport to avoid more fuel surcharges at Hertz. We dropped off the car and made it to check-in by 11:00am for our 1:20pm flight. Itís a good thing we arrived early, since it took 40 minutes for us to check in. No, there wasnít a line when we arrived, but it took them a while to get my daughterís ticket sorted out. They were able to see the ticket, but it still needed to be attached to my ticket, and despite my calling to verify that it was, it wasnít. I had to run to the ticket sales counter to have them attach it before running back to check in again.

Fortunately, they were able to sort it out and didnít make me wait in line to check in once I got back to the check-in counter. We got our one checked bag checked all the way to LAX (via DOH, AUH and JFK) since it our tickets were each only one ticket number all the way CPT-LAX.

Security was a joke (like the agent made us empty our 500ml water bottle with water for our babyís bottles in to the bottles themselves before letting us go) and we even spent some time in the Bidvest lounge for a few minutes. We stocked up on some more kosher cheese, relaxed a bit and fed the baby before heading to our gate.

We boarded early, pushed back early, and even took off a good 20 minutes early. We were not offered any pajamas on the flight (since it was a daytime flight), though we were offered some small amenity kits.


Our ride

The kosher meals on the flight were catered out of France. While the food was good, it wasnít very plentiful and left a bit to be desired. Iíd rank in between the food offered out of LAX on EK and the food offered out of DXB.


KSML


KSS (Kosher Snack)

The flight attendants on this flight were very attentive, coming around every 30 minutes or so to refill my water and see if we needed anything.

We landed in Doha a bit early and were the first ones off the plane. I really like the fact that in Doha you just exit straight into the terminal for transfers without having to go through security and/or customs first. Within 10 minutes we were on the lift up to the famed Al Safwa First Class Lounge.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #68 on: July 22, 2016, 12:52:53 AM »
Monday, July 18, Al Safwa Lounge, DOH-AUH
We were really hoping to use a quiet room for the night in the lounge. Itís basically a hotel room with a private shower and toilet all for free. At the lounge check-in we were informed that all the rooms were in use until 1:30am (we arrived around 11:45pm). At that point our daughter started crying, so they rushed us off to the family area as to not disturb guests while they looked into the quiet rooms again.

No more than 2 minutes after dropping us off in the family room we were informed that they did actually have a room available and we could go in immediately. What a relief!

The quiet room attendant took our boarding passes (as collateral for the room key) and showed us the room and offered a wakeup call at 7am in anticipation of our 7:40am boarding. After a quick shower we both fell right asleep.


Our room in the Al Safwa lounge

In-Room Bathroom:






I woke up a bit earlier than 7am so I could daven before the flight. FWIW the wakeup call didnít come until 7:15am, so itís a good thing we woke ourselves up and didnít rely on the call.

By 7:35am we were out of the room, collected our boarding passes and were informed we could board from the lounge at 7:45am. I wasn't aware that this lounge offered boarding from the lounge itself. Turns out we were at a remote stand and were just taking a bus from the lounge.


Lounge sign as we were leaving

After fighting with the gate agents for 10 minutes convincing them we could in fact take our Doona on the plane (an A320) and put it in an empty F seat, and no we couldnít check the stroller all the way through to LAX, they let us go. They sent a gate agent with us though just in case we were wrong and they needed to take the stroller after all. Sure enough only 5 of 12 F seats were taken, so it was not problem putting the Doona in an extra seat.

The plane itself was an Al Maha plane as opposed to a Qatar Airways branded one. The main difference is the color scheme, which is green for Al Maha and maroon for Qatar. The leather seats were very comfortable and clean, and the whole plane seemed very new on the inside.


First Class seats on Al Maha A320 (notice the green stiching)

Over the course of the short 37-minute flight they served breakfast (though we brought our own from Cape Town) and a few rounds of drinks. We used fast track cards on arrival in Abu Dhabi, though no one checked we actually had them or collected them. Within a few minutes we were outside waiting for our Uber driver.


Abu Dhabi Welcome sign

Turns out after 10 minutes of waiting outside in 105į F heat our Uber driver cancelled the trip claiming he couldnít wait longer. This is despite the fact that I texted him a few times telling him where we were and asking if it was ok, to which he responded it was. We were charged AED 10 as a cancellation fee which Uber gave back as a credit, since we didnít cancel the trip.

We took a taxi that accepted credit cards to the Hyatt Capital Gate where we spent the day The taxi came to AED 62.50 (~$17) which was a bit more than the Uber quote, but we didn't have to wait longer. Iíve found that while hotel pickups for Uber are extremely hassle-free, airport pickups can get quite complicated depending on the airport and its policy regarding Uber pickups. It was 18 minutes from the airport, had decent views of the area, and was most importantly super cheap at around $71/night including all taxes.


Hyatt Capital Gate atrium as seen from the 31st floor (2nd from top floor)

Hyatt Capital Gate Room Pics:














In terms of what we did during our stay in Abu Dhabi, it really wasnít much. For most of the day I worked on this TR while DW and DD slept. At around 4:30pm I went out to the Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque. DW really wasnít interested in going, so I just went alone. Uber cost ~AED 15 each way and took around 5 minutes.

I took UberX both ways, and I think itís worth noting that it took the cars around 10 minutes to come each time. There donít seem to be nearly that many Uber drivers in Abu Dhabi so itís something to keep in mind if you need to get somewhere asap and are planning on taking Uber.

I didnít take any official tour of the mosque, rather I just walked around for about 30 minutes by myself. I went into the main prayer hall and walked around the grounds a bit (the prayer hall is air conditioned, outside it was still 100į F.

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque Pics:
















Once I got back to the hotel it was time to nap. We ate dinner, showered and got ready for a nap. We slept for 7:00-11:00pm, got up and by 11:45 were on our way to the airport once again (with Uber).

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #69 on: July 22, 2016, 01:06:10 AM »
Tuesday, July 19, AUH-JFK in EY F & JFK-LAX in AA F

Check-in once again took longer than usual because of the babyís ticket. Iím not sure exactly what the issue was, but the agent said it had something to do with the fact that we were booked in different fare classes since we were using miles and the infant was a cash booking.


Etihad First Class Check-in

After 20 minutes it was sorted out and we got our boarding passes all the way to LA. Right after immigration and security (where they made us dump out all water unlike in Dubai) we went to the recently-opened Etihad First Class Lounge. Itís literally right in front of you after security.


First Class Lounge

Both DW and I booked our free massages (there were both male and female practitioners available this time) and went to relax and eat in a private room in the restaurant area. We had some food that weíd brought with us from South Africa as well as some fresh fruit and vegetables from the lounge. The chef was nice enough to cut up some tomatoes, cucumbers and red peppers to make a sudo Israeli salad without any dressing.



[
Chef-prepared fruit and salad

After our massages at around 2:10am we left the lounge for US Preclearance.  We had to go through security again where they were stricter than TSA is in the US. They took away our carrots (expected) and looked at every food item we had scrupulously.  We then went to use Global Entry at the only working kiosk (the other one was broken).

As expected, DW and I had no issue but DD got the ďno biometrics on fileĒ error and we were escorted to the front of the line. Unfortunately, the agent we got was not familiar with GE at all. We handed him the slips for us which he promptly glanced at and set aside. He then started processing all our passports as if we didnít use GE at all, asking us all the questions and even stamping our passports.

When I asked him why we couldnít just give him our papers and be on our way like in the US (and heíd process DD manually) he said he wasnít sure. He even asked the agent next to him who seemed equally unfamiliar with the GE process. So much for time saving (in all fairness it did help us cut the queue, but the US citizens queue wasnít long anyway).

We found ourselves pre-cleared and in the Preclearance lounge by 2:45am. Our flight was originally supposed to leave at 3:35am, but the monitors showed they were planning on leaving early at 3:20am. We started boarding at 3:10am; no way we were leaving at 3:35pm, because even the quickest boarding processes in the world canít board a full A380 in 10 minutes.

Turns out we were delayed way longer. Apparently a cargo container was suck in the cargo door, and it couldnít move forward or backwards. It took the engineers 2 hours to fix the problem, and by the time we finally pushed back at 5:25am it was already light outside.

Etihad First Class Apartments Pics:











AUH Air Traffic Control building

Since we were delayed so long, we took the opportunity to have our beds made up and eat a quick meal. The kosher food on the flight was catered by Stogel, though I found it quite interesting. Each of us were given 1 breakfast meal, 1 dinner meal and 1 snack. Both the breakfast and dinner meal were identical and features chicken as the hot entrťe. The snack featured a turkey sandwich.

As a vegetarian, I rely on the fact that at least one meal will be pareve so DW and I can switch: I have both pareve meals and she has both fleighig meals. Oh well. It almost didnít make a difference that they only loaded 1 set of KSMLs initially, though they did go back and get a second set.

After takeoff we both went to sleep and slept for about 7 hours. While we didnít have a bassinet on the plane for DD, the small area in between the two beds we padded and just the right size for our daughter.


Area between the two beds

When I woke up I showered, ate some oatmeal I brought and some fresh fruit provided by the on board chef and relaxed a bit. DW ate the chicken meal and relaxed as well. We all chilled for the rest of the flight and finally landed in JFK at 11:08am, a few hours behind schedule.

Once we landed in JFK it was a mad dash to our flight to LAX. Etihad lands in terminal 4 while American leaves from terminal 8, and thereís no airside connections available. Etihad was nice enough to have someone meet us at the gate, though the person who met us didn't help. All she did was help wheel our suitcases all the way to the AirTrain where she left us.

We took the AirTrain 3 stops to terminal 8 where we faced the mess that is security. We found the First Class security line where we were told that Pre-Check had just closed, and we were forced to wait in the regular line. After waiting for 10 minutes in line someone decided to re-open the Pre-Check lane. We (and half of the line) ran over to Pre-Check where we had to wait again, but at least we didnít have to strip and empty our carry-ons of all electronics.

We quickly walked to the gate, C40, where we arrived just as boarding was starting. Just as we were about to board we were told we had too many carry-ons. We each had a roll aboard and the Emirates F bag. I also had a backpack and DW had the diaper bag. We travelled on all flights (after EK) with all this as carry-ons except on Mango since we were in coach.

We were told only 2 items per person, and even though the EK bags were smaller than some peoples Hudson News bags they wanted to check our suitcases. I pointed out that in F we had ample room to put the bags up, though the gate agent said we could only put 1 piece up. We then proceeded to stuff the contents of our EK bags into the diaper bag and backpack. The gate agent didnít like this and said those bags wouldnít fit under the seat in front of us, even though we were in First.

At this point he walked on board with me where I proceeded to put the backpack under the seat. The gate agent said I couldn't keep it there because I was in First, but I also couldn't put it up because I could only put up one bag. Clearly he was on some kind of power trip, though his attitude always remained calm and non-confrontational to his credit.

To settle matters, I suggested we ask the purser, who not only said I could keep my backpack there, but I could put it up if I wanted also. The gate agent was upset he didnít get his way, but again he remained calm, professional, and not the least bit sassy or rude. It was quite weird.


AA First Class seat, A321T

We left JFK on time and had a pretty choppy ride most of the way to the Rockies. The KSML was catered by Bornsteinís though I do say the parts I ate were quite good (I didnít have the hot entrťe of beef and potatoes).


Bornstein First Class KSML first course

We landed in LAX a bit early (around 3:10pm) and quickly taxied to a gate. Despite being one of the first ones off we had to wait 10 minutes for our Doona. We then went to baggage claim where low and behold our bag was nowhere to be found. Turns out it wasnít on our flight, but rather placed on another flight to LA that landed at 8:10pm (I tracked it on the AA app). AA agreed to deliver the bag the next day.

It really was a great trip and we had an amazing time. We met some really nice new people, experienced some incredible first class products and saw some animals as well.

Thanks for reading!

End

Offline yochiek93

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #70 on: July 22, 2016, 04:57:25 AM »
Nice read

Offline Myccrabbi

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #71 on: July 22, 2016, 05:19:44 AM »
Nice TR!
Very detailed and amazing wiki.
If u work for a living, why kill urself working?

Offline Yaalili

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #72 on: July 22, 2016, 07:32:32 AM »
Excellent and thorough TR.

Offline Yehoshua

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #73 on: July 22, 2016, 08:59:53 AM »

Offline ponash123

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Re: Yehoshua's South Africa TR
« Reply #74 on: July 22, 2016, 09:59:09 AM »
AMAZING!