Quirks and interesting things of our trip

In our 97 days travelling around the world we had fun learning and discovering all sorts of interesting, strange and essential needs.

InkedInkedworld map a clickable of countriesRed = flights; Blue = cruises;  Green = cars

Planning for the trip actually started a year in advance. Originally the plan was to do a trans-Atlantic cruise from Copenhagen to Boston. This meant stopping at 2 Schengen visa countries but the only overnight stop would be in Copenhagen. A Schengen Visa is issued by the country in which one will spend the longest time and to obtain a Danish Visa for 1 night was expensive and took time. Thus, we decided to use holiday points and spend a week in Lisbon before flying to Copenhagen which meant obtaining the visa from Portugal. A little cheaper and less time.

Then the trip ‘grew like Topsy’. As we ended this cruise in Boston we decided to see the Niagara Falls and Washington DC and then decided that, as we had friends in the mid-West, we ought to visit them. Well, we had now planned to go into the hinterland so let’s go and see the Grand Canyon and Las Vegas. We were now on Califonia’s border so might as well see LA and San Francisco. Best to keep travelling west but there was no cruise from LA to Australia so we had to go to Hawai’i. As we would be so close to NZ we agreed to fill a bucket list item visiting this country. Perth is on the Australian West Coast and we had friends there so that was to be the last place to visit before flying back to South Africa. All this resulted in the following numbers, excluding any costs.

4   Continents     14   Countries    41   Cities/Towns     8   Visas    14  Flights     2   Cruises    3  Cars    22  Hotels/Guest Houses    2   Private Homes

South Africans need visas for most ‘Western’ countries and they do cost. There were 3 which were more irritating than the others –Greenland, New Caledonia and Shetland, UK. Although Greenland is independent a visa has to be applied for via Denmark and they were most expensive and we stopped for 1 day. New Caledonia is still a French Territory and the visa required ad to be applied for through the French Embassy. Shetland is part of the UK and these days a Transit Visa is required for those not staying overnight. If you plan to travel be sure that you have all the relevant visas applying to your country and for those countries you will be visiting.

Plenty of Palm TreesView of New Caledonia

It was fun to return our cabin, or stateroom as it is known these days, after dinner every 2nd evening to see what different animal or bird the cabin steward had made for us.

Towel DinosaurElephant

Towel duckA duck

Towel elephantElephant

We soon learnt that, unless you are in an upmarket hotel, do not expect porters to assist with luggage or tea/coffee making facilities in your room. Also, bathroom samples and treats are now being significantly reduced as money saving has become a priority. Most smaller and/or 3* and lower hotels don’t offer meals as part of the basic cost. Generally it is room only. Laundry is not done as previously, at an enormous price, but a laundry room with coin-operated washers and dryers is provided. For us this was a very convenient option.

With Fernando Pessoa 2With statue of Portuguese poet, Fernando Pessoa, in Lisbon

Where tea/coffee facilities were provided we were often rather perplexed. It would seem that, at least in Europe and the USA, kettles are now completely out of date. They all had versions of the Nespresso machine. I had seen one at our daughter’s but each one in the hotels was different as to where to fill with water, how to turn on and off – one actually required the on switch to be pressed once to turn the machine on and then 2 quick presses on the same switch to turn it off. Strange ??? 

A fascinating sight met us in our Washington DC hotel - I called it 3 generations meeting

Harrington Hotel where 3 generations meetTelephone - 1950s; Clock Radio - 1980s;  Lamp - 2000s

Then we had to get accustomed to the different ways of flushing toilets. Some do so automatically when you stand, others do so after a few seconds, then there are those that have a push button on the floor whereas there are some with which we were familiar. There were 2 very interesting toilets. One had a fitting on the side from which one could select warm or cold seat, different water temperatures if you wanted to use it as a bidet and then the timing for flushing could be set. The other one could be opened by moving one’s hand over the lid and it closed automatically. Unfortunately, it was so sensitive that just stepping into the bathroom meant that the lid lifted up. So annoying.

Toilet in hotelInstructions on using the toilet in Waikiki

It is time that the world started to use standard forms of electricity plug points as everyone now has cell phones, Tablets or iPads and other electronic equipment which need daily charging. Of course, there would have to be conferences, committees and discussions with stakeholders to decide which design and shape plug points would be used. If you plan to travel to different continents and countries make sure that you that you have different adaptors for different countries. These are available from Automobile Association (AA) shops in South Africa probably in similar shops in other countries. The problem was that in countries where our SA round 2-pin plugs would not fit I had to be quite creative at times. Yes, I was the ‘MacGyver’ of the 2 of us. Once the relative country’s adaptor was inserted then the 3-way adaptor so that all items could be plugged in and then an individual adaptor for each. The difficulty came when the wall plug-point was up a bit of a height on the wall as then the weight of all the adaptors meant that it didn’t stay plugged in. This meant using items around the room to take the weight of the adaptors. Quite fun actually. These were some of my inventions.

BananasBunch of Bananas was perfect

loaf of breadLoaf  of bread on a file for this one

Tissues and a glassAnd in Brisbane it had to be a box of tissues and a glass

Now you can understand why the quote with my logo is “Expect the Unexpected”!

About Me

I was born into the early part of the Baby Boomer generation, the 3rd of what came to be a family of 6 daughters. Although both our parents, who are now deceased, had been raised in rural Natal (now KwaZulu-Natal) and the 2 eldest daughters were born in a country town, the other 4 of us were all born at home in Durban. Read More

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