(Its the birthplace of Kung Fu
We saw a guy hurl a pin needle through glass like a bullet!!!)
Caleb and Rachel
So lets explain we almost got mugged because our bus from Windhoek arrived in Joburg at 7:30 pm which meant all public transport was shut down and either we pay for a cab to the airport then take a shuttle from there or find nearby accommodation and figure it out in the morning. Fortunately Rachel befriended a local journalist who helped us find a local hotel for $299 rand which is a great price. The bad part was we had to walk about 200m down a dark alley to the gates of the hotel with two full backpacks, 1 duffel bag, 2 smaller backpacks, and 2 shoulders bags. As we breached the exit of the bus station we immediately noticed a group of transients in the shadows on the left. These would be the people I would inevitably drop kick and throat punch in defense of my dearest Rachel…ok that didn’t happen but it could have. Anyway we made it to the motel and when I asked if it was ok to go get some food from the local store they said it was not safe to go outside. Praise God nothing happened. Next is free shipping at Joburg.
After a night in a shady motel next to the bus station we easily got a taxi ride to the airport for $240 rand (outrageous but unavoidable with all our luggage) Just taking the bus and getting to the airport showed us carrying all these bags was not going to work. Once we arrived at Joburg International we started asking around about shipping from airport to airport and really didn’t get anywhere. Finally we were referred to the Delta offices and found one of the most helpful people I had met in our experience overseas. He seemed to completely buy into helping get out things shipped at a reasonable price, this being Easter Sunday and a public holiday. Being a master of the inter-workings of airline luggage systems he figured out a loophole for us to get our luggage shipped back to John Wayne at no cost. This was awesome and a complete blessing because it could have cost us upwards of $200 USD to ship all that stuff home. As it was we got to stuff my backpacking (4800 cbi) and the duffel to the brim for free. Wahoo!!! Now we were down to 1 large backpack, 1 small backpack and 2 shoulder bags which is must more doable.
We took a flight from Joburg to Cairo to enjoy our 12 hour layover in Cairo. We took a quickie tour with Karnak tour company accompanied with EgyptAir. Would not recommend them as our guide didn’t speak English well and rushed us around from site to site only slowing down when we refused to move so we could take in the wonder of the Giza Pyramids. It was a total tourist trap which we knew was coming but try another tour company if you’re interested in seeing the pyramids in a day. Part of me was wondering whether I would really marvel at the pyramids having read about them and seen videos etc. but there is really nothing like seeing them with your own eyes. When you stand next to Cheops in the Giza complex you realize how amazing they are and how absolutely enormous they are. The Egyptians essentially built mountains with stone hauled from as far as 1000km away according to our guide. The biggest is approx. 140m tall (420ft) and built with stones some of which are over 100 tons whilst cutting them so precisely you could not put a piece of paper between the seems, aligning them with stars and seasons as well as precise angles and measurements throughout. How is this possible? I have no idea! Well done though guys because these babies have been around for 5000 years and they seem to be doing pretty well:)
A few warnings for fellow travelers when doing a day tour on a layover in Cairo you will have fun but if you choose not to go through customs they will keep your passport all day and reluctantly give it back to you an hour before your flight. After asking for it like 6 times we literally went and stood outside of the glass walled office of the customs agent who was supposed to do our passports and just stared at him until he did it. I guess that works too.
IstanbulWe spent two days in Istanbul which was a lot of fun. Istanbul is pricey though so watch out! Highlights were definitely the Aya Sophya (Hagia Sophia), underground cistern, channel boat cruise, the food and the people. People in Turkey are SO nice and helpful!!! At every turn people are helping us find our way and figure things out. And this country gets millions of tourists!More picture to come...