Matilda is on here way on the boat and the boat is underway and so are we. We're moving into an apartment.
Its barely cheaper than the hostel,,,,in fact not really cheaper at all as the hostel were giving us two nights free. So the apartment works out more expensive, just. The hostel also comes with breakfast and the aprtment comes with a sofa, TV and kitchen (that we can use) and pots and pans. Its not in the best location but its an OK location. Can it be any more noisy, we shall see. The train line is close and the apartment is on the 12th floor.
At the moment we need to print something out and this is a problem.....
We are having a deal of difficulty finding someone to help us get car insurance for Matilda. We have two weeks to do it or she's staying on the docks.
More pictures of the room, outside. Notice reception nearby and the terrace! The window is our window. My trip advisor review will be completed in a few days. I will, as always, give it a proper review with proper star rating. The sign here says its a 4 star trip advisor.
At the moment its nice. A cup of tea or two and a light breakfast. What will we think of it in a 22 (or more) days....
$200peso per night small room with an even smaller toilet. You'd really have to have thin legs to shut the door. Some pre-planning is needed if you want to close it. Cleaned every day and sheets and towels. It pretty noisy been next to the reception but the MASSIVE FAAAANNN covers that noise at night. Julie has a stiff neck because of the fan and where are the pain killers,,,,,in the car of course.
The Breakfast comes most days with Dulce De Leche which isn't half bad. If i had to tell you what it tastes like its honey mixed with 1% peanut butter. Only the slightest hint of the peanut butter as its been nowhere near a peanut. The drink of kings....Tea a plenty. Its nice Tea and we now know what brand we will be buying down here.
Yesterday we went to see the Malvinas protestors. Said hello and ran away....we said it very quietly....they hate us probably. It not my fault. Politics again and we have an entire page on the problem this causes....nothing in it about this problem but its a problem all the same. If the Argentinians learnt to speak English we might be able to discuss it with them. My Spanish is poor to non-existant and Julies is just,,,, poor.
We've found a cinema with Skyfall showing in English. Yay !!!
We got a SIM for my phone and I've learnt something. I'm embarrassed to say I found out something I never knew. Its technical and I should have known. I apologise to all that think i'm infallable. My Nokia E71 cannot get data in South America for the most part as they use different frequencies for 3G than the rest of the world (at least most of it) Why I cannot get GPRS Edge i do not know but that doesn't work either. So this means unless I buy a new phone we are limited to Internet Cafes. Something we've only have to do twice in the entire 13 months. The more modern phones have the capabilty to do all frequencies but being a quad band phone isn't enough. Mine is quad band so calls work fine but the $100peso credit was wasted.
I've added a translator to the blog on the right. Obviously if you can read this your don't need it and If you can't read this you still won't get the message so I hope you see it Mr. Not English Person. Thanks.
After an epic flight(s) yesterday we are here,,,,,,I say we, as Matilda is still in Port Elizabeth in South Africa.
We are in South America in Buenos Aires.
The flights went without much excitement. I ate 8 airline meals in the 27 hours of flying. We spent 35 hours in the hands of Qatar Air. They still managed to scare the hell out of me with the onward tickets as the desk staff didn't know who we were and wern't briefed even though we'd been to their office just an hour before and saw the lady who said they would be briefed!
We were annoyed all the way to Qata by a screaming child who was louder than the numerous babies on board. If i were its parent(s) it would have rceived a slap. It screamed every time It didn't get what it wanted, and as seemingly usual, they gave it everything it wanted to shut it up. They were also only just the other side of the bulkhead from Business Class. Had I been sat in business I would not have been happy about that at all.
The taxi ride from EZE Buenos Aires airport to downtown San Telmo with Remis Taxi's was $200Peso and quick. They dropped us at the front of Hostel Tango Argentina and we checked in. The room is basic and small and right next to reception. The 24inch fan masks any noise. Its just like being in the back of Malitda. Its about as hot ! Trip advisor to come on that. We might be here for weeks.
More updates later today with photos of the room.
Out of Africa.....
The LR4x4 Forum Members, Mike and Margaret, Chris Parsons, Intercontinental Hotel Staff Cairo & Aqaba, The Staff at Marriot Sharm, The guide with the wire like wiskers at Karak, Mustafa & Family, The Police Mess Musoma, Dragonaires & Guy & Family, Malcolm & Jenny, Kobus & Alett, Des & Brenda, Bruce & Family, The Kruger Pensioners, Oppi Koppi & Vital, Ivan & Family, Walvis Bay Yacht Club, Des and Hennie and Nick and Vicky.
Special thanks to my mother (sometimes father) for looking after stuff in the UK and to Jo at Santander for looking after my money.
We've rescued or helped (I think) 16 stranded motorists on this trip. They range from the first with a broken timing belt to the last with a flat tyre (it was a taxi!). We've been stuck three or four times and needed towing out only once. We also tow started a car the same day after i'd out all the towning gear back in the box under the seat. We paid one bribe for a speeding ticket. We were speeding. We left one driving licence with a copper who said we were speeding when we wern't. We switched off the engine a few times and told the official to "take a running jump" or just plain "no way" for things ranging from toll prices to fire extinguisher size. We waited/squatted 1h:15mins for the fire extinguisher one.
We've met a lot of lovely people. So if your not on the list above please don't be mad. I might have forgotten but Julie certainly hasn't and you'll be in the book if we ever do one (probably not). You might even be in the film of the book played by some movie star. Julie is doing a diary so when we are old and grey theres no arguments about where we went, who we met and what we did. Keep in touch Africa, Over and Out.....
Some problems with the money transfer to pay for the shipping now sorted and the receipts stamped by customs for the stuff we've purchased whilst we were/are in South Africa we're almost good to go. Matilda is in a container and on her way to Port Elizabeth for here 9 day layover. We on the other hand set off tomorrow for the 30 hours of flight(s) with little chance of rest or proper sleep as we have 27 hours in the air via Doha. We'll try to keep up on the blog but this might be it for a few days until we get to the accomodation in Buenos Aires.
We've learnt quite a bit about shipping to South America from South Africa so if anyone wants to know who we used and how much it cost just drop us a line.
Pictures of Seal, The Boat, Us and Us.
Clear and Present Danger...
Just like the film. See the action live....
The wait in Port Elizebeth,,, which we were not told about makes me angry. We could have saved a LOT of money had we been told !!!! 10 days of hotels to be precise and $400 USD !!!! We paid for this and would expect that this little snippet of info would hve been passed on. We were in PE and came back here to load !!!!!! We could have stayed in PE !!!!!! and saved money....ARGH!!!!
Track Matilda from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth
Track Matilda from Port Elizabeth to Buenos Aires
You might need to go to the second or third page on the links above to see the current leg of the boats sailing schedule. Using the right hand bottom page selection button to do this. Send me a message if you have problems.
The container is MOAU670593 if you want to track it here. Pretty pictures and everything.
We've managed to find a hostel in BA for a princely sum. Hopefully its OK. My trusted trip advisor says it is but you can't tell sometimes as they all seem to give everything loads of stars for no reason. Lets see what a real review reveals. Its not too late to cancel and we are still looking.
We've made contact with the shipping agent in BA and after the panic of yesterday I hope everything goes smoothly at that end.
I've forgotten to mention quite a few things on the blog recently and its been family asking questions thats reminded me.
We got back the £12,000 for the carnet we managed to swap over in cape town SARS office. The RAC in the UK were actually pretty quick so well done to them. We DHL'd the carnet back for a whopping £10 and it took longer to get from Heathrow to Bristol than from Cape Town to Heathrow. The delivery was a special rate. We used the DHL office just down the road from the SARS office.
We left my portable Hard Drive in the UK by accident.
This was UPS'd back to me using Interparcel.co.uk and a phenominal service. Picked up by UPS literally 30mins after it was booked for collection from my mothers house around 3pm and in Cape Town by 11am the next day. This time it was £35.
Matilda is in the container as you can see from the photos. We had to pay for shipping va wire transfer from the UK. £25 of my money paying for them to send my money in Rand over here with a really crappy exchange rate. So not only do they charge you for the service they make a fortune from the exchange rate. Bloody banks....anyhow good service and nice people on the phone.
To get here in the container with a door height of 2.28meters we needed to remove the roof top jerry cans and gas bottle. This got us down to 2.32 or something so we then had to let a lot of air out of the tyres. With three on the rear step she went in the container fine. Pumped up the tyres and tucked her in.
Not two hours after we loaded her they changed the ship from one that arrives in BA, Argentina on the 11th Decmeber to one that arrives on the 18th. This is way too late for our current plans so I complained and after a frantic few hours wondering what we would do in BA for a month, they moved it back. Thank goodness !! Thanks to the shipping company for saveing my Xmas and giving me two hours of stress.
Matilda is on the MOL Grandeur from Cape Town to Port Elizabeth and then the MOL Gratitude from PE to BA. (we hope!) Departs here on the 19th Nov and arrives BA on the 11th Dec. If you are shipping is quicker from PE. Much quicker but we've only just figured this out and really we should have been told by our suppliers. More on the entire shipping process after its all happened.
We've been to see Bourne Legacy. Wow. Really enjoyed it. Strangely the new James Bond film does come out here until the end of November so unless a miracle takes place and its on in Argentina in English we won't get to see it at the cinema. We'll just have to illegally download it because of the silly release dates ! Here is me willing to pay for it as well. Are you listening Mr MGM?
We've rented a car in lieu of Matilda. I hope shes not the jealous type. Its a one litre Kia Picanto. Since both my Mother and Step Mother have one of these, it seems to run in the family. Its not bad although the boot is small. We can fit the case in the boot,,,just. The cases we used form coming back from England are being recycled.
We found a bed a breakfast without the breakfast (cheaper that way) for 400rand per night. Its got a king size bed so we are happy. Its really near some shops and bars and stuff in an area we now know very well. Its in Table View near Dolphin Beach. Its walking distance from Ocean Basket and/or Cattle Barron. Des and Hennie.....only three nights left.....
All the receipts we have from stuff we have purchased are in the SARS office waiting to be stamped. Hopefully we can claim back the VAT. I'm not holding much hope on this as they have some impossible rules that I cannot meet. If we were flying home with the car as baggage we get all the tax back in the airport but since Matilda is off to Argentina I don't think they will give us it back and we will have to get some stamps in Argentina and pay import tax there before they will pay us it back here. This will be next to impossible as the stuff is all fitted to the car so is tax exempt there so how can we pay tax there on something now included on the carnet. Watch this space....
A few productive days!
We've been back to the Garage to have the transfer box looked at again so they took it out again.....the thing was leaking again. Looks like the O ring on the inter shaft was duff. It was meant to be a VERY good one but looks like it wasn't. Anyhow its changed and it was all done for free. Wilson the box "fundi" or expert was on hand to sort it out. The're a nice bunch at Roverland.
We managed to get somewhere to stay for 400rand a night near to restaurants and stuff so we can go out in the evening. The lady did us a good deal as its normally more expensive. Why can't all hotels and B&Bs do that? Its either you stay empty of you make money with a discounted rate. I know what i'd rather have if I ran a B&B, someone staying and make some money.
We also managed to get another fan for insode the car. This is our only means of keeping cool on those hot nights so we have got another. They arn't cheap! They are designed for Yachts/Boats and have very efficient motors that arvery reliable. The one we have has been run for at least 100 nights for 10 hours. It hardly makes any impact on the car battery as it only takes 300mA. The new one is a little bigger and draws 550mA. These are the things I spend my days thinking about. Sad I know. The place in Cape Town is C-Dynamics for all your boating electrical needs. To an overlander this means all stuff we use in the cars like Gel batteries and LED lights and stuff. They were really helpful. The fn was an OK price considering. Cheaper than the UK but not a cheap as they are in ther USA. Worth it for a nights sleep though.
We need to start making preparations for leaving. We need to decide what we are taking and get it packed. Once the car is in the container thats it, we are on our own. This is on the list for tomorrow. Thursday we go looking for a retal car to get us around once we load Matilda. Do we leave Dash in the container with Matilda for company. I think we should.
So we are back in Cape Town at the camp site where we've stayed quite a few nights already. Problem is we lose the car next Friday. What do we do then? The current idea is rent an apartment for nearly a week. Actually its only four nights thinking about it. Then when we get to Argentina we need to do the same....In Spanish ! Julie took spanish lessons before we left. Lets see what she remembers.
We also need to rent a car here which is no big problem to the budget however the accomodation, it seems, may be....The backpacker places are more than a hotel. What are they thinking? I'm sure we can get a flat for ~300rand...it doesn't have to be pretty. 400 at a push.....
We've not taken any photos recently as we are, to be honest, sick of South Africa and want to leave. Its not that we don't enjoy it here and all the people we have met but its just that we've been here TOO LONG ! Arn't we meant to be travelling? I bet you're getting bored of the blog too. You want to see some South American scenery and stuff. Well me to !
A lot of updates on the shipping with photos of loading the car we hope and info on prices and who we used will come later. I will try to make a page just dedicated to shipping so you can use our experience as a guide in case you are foolish enough to attempt the same.
So we've finally booked the shipping to South America (Cape Town to Buenos Aires) with stuffing (loading the car into) the container on the 16th November. The car should be in SAm by the 21st December. The cost for this little excursion for Matilda is $5,200 USD. OMG ! (about £3400)
Flights are booked to get us to Argentina a few days later on Qatar Air. I'm begining to regret this already as thier customer service is shocking and the flight is 30hours via Doha. It stops in Cape Town, Joburg, Doha, Sao Pualo and BA. The connection in Doha is 55 mins....so we will miss the connection, i'm sure of this but they say 45mins is plenty. The other stops are for picking up people so all included in the 30 hours we will be in the air for 27 of them. Another OMG !!!
We've also had to book another flight in SAm due to the silly airline rule that you cannot fly on a single ticket. You must have a return or a ticket somewhere else. Theres no way round this as this is the same thing that happened to us when we came back to South Africa. They wouldn't let us come. In reality they blame immigration and immigration just don't care as long as you have enough money to get you home or out of their country at some point. Even a bus ticket is good enough but seemingly its not good enough for the airlines. The cost of the flight is £920 for us two to Buenos Aires and then the flights we won't use is another £400. We can refund the one we will not use 100% which is why its a bit expensive for the 150mile flight from BA to Montevideo. So take note that Argentinian Airways do a 100% refundable ticket.
The last few days we've completed our detour around the garden route and are now going back to Cape Town to rent a car and get an apartment or hostel for the duration till we fly. Once we get to SAm we will also need an apartment or hostel or something to do....more money. Total is ~£6000,,,, anyone want to sponsor us ??? We've collected £400 for charity so I think we deserve it. Oh wait thats another overland team, not us. I feel like another rant over others that do charity and I again point out that you MUST collect more for the charity than you spend on the trip. Rant over.
We met Kobus and Alett in Port Elizabeth for some drinks and food. We also borrowed their shower in their apartment. Thanks again guys.
My stress levels are high as we have a lot to do before we can ship. Lots of stuff to sort out like paying the locals in Rand via bank transfer from the UK.
Last night we slept in a Truck Stop just like the ones you've all seen. It wasn't too bad actually and half the price of any of the rubbish camp sites in the area. The showers were hot and the toilets were OK. A bit grubby but OK for the price. What else do you need in a campsite? It was in walking distance of the 24 hour store and fast food outlet (choice of two!). The entertainment was the drunk truck drivers in the TV lounge. I had a conversation with two of them. Well actually they had a conversation with me as I didn't understand 50% of the first one and any of the later one at all. Its a mix of Afrikaans and English and usually starts as Afrikaans and turns to English when the reaslise i'm not. In the case of the latter conversation I can honestly say I didn't know what language he was speaking. Drunkaans possibly.
Tonight we sleep on the street as the campsite is, to be honest, just too awful to stay in when you have to pay for the privilege. Port Elizabeth is actually an OK place and the wind has finally let up so the weather is good. Finally. I'm not sure how long it will last as after having almost a year with good weather we have sort of got used to it.
Picture of the bungie bridge Henning was supposed to jump off. He didn't.
I'm going to try to post a fuel costing sheet on the costs page. Lets see how that goes. Weebly is rubbish at cut and pasting.
So yesterday we finally met up with Henning (and Fridah) in George. We had some food and chatted about our adventures. We also delivered his medication, maps and stickers he'd ordered whilst "online shopping" at the "overlandbirds shop". I didn't know we had a shop on our site but we must have one as we had all sorts of stuff he'd ordered off us !!
After the long anticipation of meeting up we departed again this morning. Following the long tradition we camped on the street outside his hotel. The hotel wasn't willing to let us sleep in the car parked in their carpark but was willing for us the park the car in their carpark and sleep in Hennings room for free. I can't see the difference. A parked car is a parked car, even if we are not inside it. Anyhow its their choice. So we slept directly outside the hotel in the car almost 10 meters from where we wanted to sleep.
The shipping quotes are coming together and it won't be long till we depart Africa for South America. We are planning on leaving on or around the 20th of November. If all plans fail we have a mind to drive back up to the middle east of go to India via Iran. We've also had an idea about getting a round the world air ticket so we don't get lumbered with no return ticket in South America. It maylso be cheaper, as daft as that sounds even to me.
Name that bird....the one in the last photo.
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