Tag Archives: motherland

South Africa Part 10: The Return Back Home

The last thing that was a big treat for us was that  my boyfriend and I got a free upgrade to business class during our layover in Dubai.

img_6206
Us in business class. Can you see how excited we were to be there!

The amount of excitement that we were filled with was that of a child being able to eat ice cream and cake for dinner!  Don’t get me wrong coach on Emirates Airways is really great but Business Class takes your flying experience to a whole other level.

For instance, business class is located on the top floor of the plane (Yes, this plane has two levels). As soon as we got to our seats we saw how big of a difference it was flying business class. The biggest thing were seats that could be laid out horizontally with a push of a button so that one could sleep on the flight the same way that you sleep in your bed. This was so BOMB!

The second major difference was the food. Though the food in coach was delicious, the food in business class was much better. The food seemed fresher as though it was cooked by a chef on the plane (although I know it had not) and as soon as we sat down we were given a choice of champagne, and mimosas before take off. Oh and did I mention that they had premium alcohol in business class.

In business class they feed you, LITERALLY, all through out the flight. I thought we were pretty well feed in coach, but in business class they come around with many different things such as: warm croissants, pastries, and warm nuts.  There is also a lounge area in the back of the plane and a fully stocked bar! My boyfriend and I took this as a chance to try some expensive alcohol that we probably will never buy with our own money! In the lounge they had even more snacks for us to munch on during the flight  including cheese, small cakes, and crackers. And yes we did get fed three meals while in business class, so all the extra snacks were just an added bonus! Flight attendants also  laid out linen table clothes for each person before we ate. We also had actual glasses and silverware in business class that made you feel a little bit more at home.

Because our seats converted to beds I slept way more on this leg of the trip than I did when I went to South Africa. I am not sure when I will ever get an opportunity to fly in business class again (considering for one leg on Emirates it can cost you upwards to 5k for a business class ticket), but I sure did enjoy my 13 hour flight from Dubai back to the United States!

Advertisements

South Africa Part 8: Discovering Cape Town

img_6201

After our tour of Robben Island we decided to go  to lunch and walk around Cape Town a bit. Unfortunately I did not take as many pictures as I should have during this leg of our day. We stayed down by the water front and took in the atmosphere of this tourist town. We walked around and grabbed lunch at a restaurant right by the water front. The wait staff was very polite and was very attentive. As I said in other posts, service in South Africa is top notch and the people who work in service seem to be extremely grateful to be serving customers.

img_2925
People walking around the water front of Cape Town

After we ate we proceeded to walk around and take in the atmosphere. We went to the mall and saw how similar the mall in Cape Town felt to the malls in America.  We also got a chance to take a picture with one of the signs that says “Table Mountain”, with the back drop obviously being Table Mountain. These signs are actually sprawled out around Cape Town for tourists to take pics with.

The first thing that I would say that I didn’t not expect while in Cape Town was the obvious European influence in its architecture (obviously if you know the history of South Africa this isn’t that surprising). Even though I haven’t been to Europe yet, I could imagine, that this is how some places there would look. Although there are a lot of Black people in Cape Town, I would say I was also surprised at the diversity. There were Indians, Chinese, and White people. It felt a little bit like Trinidad to me.

South Africa Part 7: Robben Island

We had one more day in South Africa and we were going to use that last day discovering Cape Town and visiting Robben Island.

We purchased tickets to Robben Island prior so that we knew for sure we would have a place on the tour. They offer about 3 tours a day. Each tour takes about three hours. An hour each way to and from the island and an hour touring the island. We took a small boat to Robben Island.

img_6144
On the boat from Cape Town to Robben Island

The first part of the tour was the bus tour around the island. We had a guide who gave us the history of Robben Island and its many uses. Unlike what most think, Robben Island was not only for prisoners, it had many other uses including a place for leapers to live. The views from this island are amazing and breathtaking.

img_2860
Robben Island main entrance

The final stop of the tour was the prison where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of his 27 years imprisoned. The tour started in a holding area where prisoners would first be brought to be booked and processed. While we all found a place to sit, a man came to the front and began telling us some of brutal history of the prison, and he revealed that he himself was also a prisoner for many years with Nelson Mandela. The tour continued as he walked us around the prison grounds telling us about the different sections of the prison, and some of the things that prisoners were forced to do. The tour finally concluded with us passing by the cell that was designated to Nelson Mandela.

img_2881
Entrance of the prison that held Nelson Mandela for 18 years

img_2895

Holding cell of prisoners

 

Grounds of the prison

img_2909
Mandela Prison Cell
img_6195
Our tour guide was a prisoner here during the same time as Nelson Mandela

Being on this tour was a great way to end our trip to South Africa. Walking the same steps of one of my heroes was a transient feeling that I will never forget. Walking the grounds and thinking of being imprisoned behind those walls for years was a sad feeling that reminded me how much people had sacrificed all over the world for black rights.

South Africa Part 6:New Year’s Day

After the wedding my boyfriend and I went to the Airbnb that we were staying in on the property of Val De Vie. This place was HUGGGEEEE. We stayed there along with some of the other wedding guests. One thing that we had no idea of until we got there was that this was the exact same house that Prince Harry stayed in when he came to Val De Vie. We were mind blown once we found this out by seeing a picture of him and the house attendant standing in the house. Considering we all paid about $150 each for two nights,  we couldn’t believe that we were staying in the same place as Prince Harry. “If it’s good enough for Prince Harry, It’s good enough for me” became my motto for our stay there. Our Airbnb also came with a house attendant who made us breakfast each morning. Once again I can not stress how amazing the people were while we were there. The lady was the care taker of the house, as the owners of the house only used that home to vacation, was amazing. She was so kind and warm and she seemed very happy to see black people renting out the home.

The day after the wedding my family decided to have a braai (BBQ) at the cottages where my parents and other relatives were staying. All guests were invited! Because it was New Years Day many places, including some grocery stores, were closed so we decided that we should purchase some extra food just in case there wasnt enough food for everyone. We all came to the consensuses that we should get a few extra buckets of chicken and french fries from KFC. I stand with my statements that KFC tastes wayyyyy better overseas than it does in the United States.

As we were driving off of Val De Vie property, I looked over out of the window, and what did we see but wild Zebra running around! This was so awesome and very unexpected! As we pulled over to look at them it seemed as though they were looking back at us like “What are these stupid humans doing?”. img_20170101_203037_267We eventually drove to KFC, got the extra food, and headed to the cottages where the braai would be taking place. Once we arrived it was surely a sight to see as we had to drive through a vineyard to get to the cottages( every place we went in South Africa was a sight to see). It was so great to be surrounded by family, friends, food, and a scenic background for another day!

img_20170101_191417
Driving through a vineyard to get to the cottages

South Africa Part 5: The Wedding

The morning of the wedding I woke up after three hours of sleep and headed to my sisters cottage to begin the prepping for the day. I got my makeup and lashes done and all of us bridesmaids began doing what we had to do to get my sister ready for her big day. It was December 31st so this meant that we would be bringing in the new year with family and friends and celebrating my sisters big day!

 

My sister’s wedding was extravagant. It was truly a dream wedding. From the flowers, to the food, to the Rolls Royce that was sent to pick her up, everything was perfect. Her wedding was held at the Val De Vie Polo Club. As mentioned before ,this place is most well-known for Prince Harry taking part of polo matches. This club is in the wine lands and is surrounded by beautiful mountains and made for a beautiful backdrop for my sister’s wedding day. There was a cocktail hour where servers passed around an array of fresh cooked foods (so fresh that I burned my tongue). The servers were also taking requests of any drink that one wanted. Champagne was flowing as a marimba band played. There was also a caricature artist who was drawing pictures of guests. Once the wedding space was opened up to guests we were met with a beautiful place setting with our names on it. We also had a three course meal and an open bar that seemed to be stocked with everything and anything. The servers were amazing. I can not stress how grateful I was to those who worked my sister’s wedding because their kind nature, willing spirit and overall good attitude made the evening that much more pleasant. As midnight struck we all entered the new year together. It definitely was a magical night.

Whats next???…South Africa

My next BIG trip is coming this December and that will be to  South Africa. This will be my first time to the “Motherland” and the furthest Ive ever traveled before. The reason that I have the chance to go to South Africa is because my sister is getting married there. Her nuptials just add to the excitement of me being able to travel to South Africa. The great thing about us going in December is that, that is when its South Africa’s summer! Anyone who knows me knows that I love nothing but warm weather. Not having to layer my clothes or wear a jacket is the best thing in life to me (but I digress).

Because we are there for a reason, my time will be spent, of course, with my sister and family preparing for her wedding, but I am hoping that my boyfriend and I will be able to do a few tourist things while we are there. Unfortunately for me when our flight was booked I did not think that I would be able to take a lot of time off from work so I will only be there for about 5 days. Most of those days will of course be spent doing wedding stuff.

There are two things that I want to make sure that I do when I am in South Africa and that is go to Robben Island and take a tour of a township. I should be purchasing Robben Island tour tickets today (Lord Willing), but trying to organize a tour of the townships is looking to be a more difficult task. The biggest thing that my sister reminded me was that I need to be careful of scammers because in South Africa there are a lot of them. So purchasing tickets  online does make me super hesitant, but im trying to do my due diligence and look up things on trip advisor and other reputable travel sites to ensure that I am not being SCAMMED!!!!

We are about 70 days out from the wedding and I still don’t have all of my accommodations for my boyfriend and I, but once I get a chance to sit down and really look at all the things that still need to get done Im sure I will be good to go.