Holidays, More car trouble and is it Swine “flu?
Holidays, More car trouble and is it Swine 'flu?
On Holiday again
I have been a way again, but because of my recent car troubles. My dearly beloved and I decided to fly on our latest venture.
We have really good friends who have retired and live in Knysna. They have been nagging to visit for some time now. We also have a friend who lives in JeffriesBay (about 160km north of Knysna) and dearly beloved has some ex- family who live in PE. We decided after our abortive Mozambique trip, to set matters right by taking on an Eastern Cape adventure. We decided to fly to George (about 90km south of Knysna), hire a car (if it breaks down, who cares - its hired), stay in Knysna, drive to JeffriesBay, stay there a day or so and head on home by flying Via PE.
Anyhow, I got onto the trusty Internet, made the bookings, found I could leverage some credit card miles on the flights, and for a mere bagatelle could fly for less than one tank of diesel (about 750km). Are you still doing the math? Anyhow the numbers looked good.
Packing and leaving
Now I should reveal a secret, despite my healthy lifestyle, every time I get on an airplane, 2 days later I have a cold! So true to form, but I digress!
We packed our bags. For me this is simple, but for dearly beloved, the weight restrictions imposed by airlines are a real burden and making packing somewhat of an arcane art form, which includes sneaking odd articles of clothing into my suitcase!
We now decide to drive to the airport an park at the long term car park. Now our beloved airport has been upgraded, revamped and extended to accommodate the 2010 soccer world cup. So every trip to the airport is an adventure. I used to know the airport well but it seems we have become strangers and become estranged recently.
However, even allowing a good margin of time, we had a couple of challenges. Firstly we heard on the radio that our regular route was closed due to building and blasting. All our major highways are being maintained and upgraded and the Gautrain (a Metrorail – mostly subway system) is in advanced stages of construction. but still, blasting takes place from time to time, so we had to choose an alternative route to the airport. On arrival we could not find the long term parking and found ourselves trapped in the regular parking. We now needed to exit this parking and leave the airport to find the long term parking (which I had never used before). Lucky me I have a cell and can phone my son asking for directions to long term parking as he uses it regularly.
We now take bus trip to the departure terminal.
Lovely flight, on time, comfortable. We arrive in George, on schedule, and pick up the hire car. Lucky us, an upgrade is available for no extra charge. We get a little Kia Picanto instead of the tiny VW Chico.
The holiday and the 'flu
At any rate we arrive and the holiday begins but my throat is a little sore but just a tickle, overnight. But the next day the tickle becomes a full blown sore throat and my nose starts to stream. By day 3 I am blocked up and coughing much to the annoyance of dearly beloved.
As part of our holiday, we arise early every to take long walk to the local café (about 2km) to collect a daily newspaper. Our friends ask us what we think of the Swine ‘flu issue. He also casually mentions that a couple in Mossel Bay (about 150km away) have been quarantined with suspected swine ‘flu. OMG I think as I cough, cough, cough. Did they come in from the same airport (George) on the same day? Did we pass at the airport (there was an old geezer coughing badly at the baggage claim). So you can imagine my thoughts. At any rate it turns out they were clear! Thank God! So at least I don’t have Swine ‘flu.
We complete our Knysna leg and pack up to go to to Jeffrey’s Bay. We leave behind our thanks and a possible couple of people with colds (they were sniffing on the day we left). Dearly beloved seems immune (so far).
We arrive in Jeffries and our friend asks us how we managed to scrape the car!
I look at the left rear fender and see large scrape, covered in travel dirt!. Now I never saw this when took delivery of the car, but it was dark and the damage is not clearly visible in bad light. I am now in a state of panic! It is 5 days later and the first time we have used the car since driving from George airport to Knysna. It was safely parked all the while. At any rate I phone the rental help line and they direct me to a yellow damage card in the glove box. This is a general schematic of a car has a couple of black lines drawn near the wheel where the damage is. The helpline as “Don’t worry the damage is not yours, it has been recorded” Phew what a relief cough, cough (getting worse).
My cold just gets worse and finally two days later we head for PE and the Airport.
We fly home and once again our luck holds, we get upgrade from a budget flight to a luxury flight, which includes drinks and dinner ( a welcome bonus) as it is an evening flight.
On arrival our baggage comes out pretty much number one and two on the carousel. We set out for the bus to take us to the long term parking and it arrives as we do, so no waiting. Great! Considering I am feeling pretty lousy Cough, cough.
More car trouble
We arrive at the parking, find the car. No mean feat, I can tell you in that large parking lot. We pay the fee after putting the credit card in the wrong way (no clear instructions. Oh well, what can I say – blame the cough).
As we leave, a burly security guard taps on the window and says I have flat tires!
On inspection, I see I have one flat tire and three nearly flat tires (they are low profile tires so it is difficult to tell in the dark.
We phone our car companies help line, who offer to tow the car. They have never had such a call before (flat tires). I am now pretty peeved at the help line so I phone the AA who promptly come out and pump up the offending tires and we finally get home many hours later.
I should point out that sitting in a broken down car in the dark, in a quiet spot is not a safe thing to do in SA. Carjackers and robbers are constantly on the prowl and we saw some dodgy characters and cars around while we locked ourselves in the vehicle awaiting the arrival of the AA.
My car has run flat indicators which should tell me when the tires are flat. But this did not work. So even when I fly, my car lets me down! Bloody computerized car!
Retirement certainly looks attractive right now cough, cough (I am still coughing).