A Quick Update

I know I haven’t been posting much lately but I have been extremely busy. I have been spending most of my time planning my winter trip to Central and Southern Africa along with the Indian Ocean nations; which has been a total nightmare with flights, logistics, visas, costs, etc. Additionally, I have been away the past few weekends in San Francisco and New York respectively and I will be in Las Vegas next weekend. All are not bad things obviously and I am certainly looking forward to getting things started with the African adventure but it is a huge trip to plan and requires months of planning, research and visa acquisition.

Simply finding flight schedules on some of the African routes is very difficult. The other problem of course is that sometimes African airlines schedules don’t hold true to form, well often actually. They can just say, “we don’t feel like flying today, maybe we’ll go on Thursday”-when it’s Monday! What that means is that it’s hard to plan exactly what you’re going to do. The advantage is I have time on my side but the long overland trip times are daunting and bumpy and can be nearly as costly as the expensive flights which can save you literally days. Also, there are issues with visas and double entry visas where needed. They are very expensive and can take weeks or even longer to obtain.

I have already started with the visas but some countries, namely Angola and the Democratic Republic of the Congo, can be a real pain. I am still awaiting letters of invitation for each. Angola is such a pain that it has become the single largest hindrance to my planning because I cannot plan entering into Cabinda via Pointe Noire if I don’t know if I will get the visa in time. So this effects several aspects of my trip including the gorilla trekking part in Rwanda where I need a reservation months in advance for a specific date. There are only so many permits allowed per day and they cost like $500. So anyway, lots of moving parts on the actual continent itself.

Then there are the Indian Ocean islands (Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mayotte, Comoros, Rodriguez Island, Zil Elwannyen Sesel, Reunion). There are allegedly air passes which can save some money on these crazy routes around the islands but they are hard to figure out especially when you have to call France at the closest (otherwise Mauritius or the Seychelles) to book them and no travel agents seem to know how to book an Air Austral pass. Even the one who was to allegedly call me back said she didn’t know if she could help me and she was from Air Austral! So we’ll see. Either way, I cannot wait to get to that part of the world an saving some money would be nice too!
To be continued, but this is easily the most challenging trip I have ever planned and I have planned some big ones before. There will most likely be little purchasing of tickets before hand. That is fine with me because it gives me more flexibility but at the same time-you never know. The only thing I will probably book for certain is the gorilla trek in Rwanda and perhaps the Indian Ocean flights if the pass does in fact exist and actually save money. If anyone out there has experience with any of these aspects please do email me and offer some advice even if just on the specific country you visited with hotels, etc. I have gathered some information from websites like www.shoehero.com on what appurtenances would be necessary for treks and hikes, but for the most part, I rely on others.
When I was in the bay area visiting my best friend Dennis and my adorable new Godson Lincoln in Walnut Creek, California, I was fortunate to have lunch and drinks with Charles Veley. He is of course the man who’s record I am chasing and is currently the world’s most travelled man. We sat outside at Nettie’s Crab Shack on Union Street in San Francisco, which was excellent, and chatted about travels and other such interests. He was a great guy and I really enjoyed our conversations and look forward to seeing him again soon. Dennis and I also hit up the new Indian Casino’s around San Francisco and Sacramento. They were actually pretty nice and I won so I was happy!
In New York, I had a back breaking schedule, while visiting friends and hitting up my favorite places to eat and I cannot wait to get back there full time next year as I miss it greatly. I highly recommend Keste (271 Bleecker Street near Morton Street) as a new pizza place that is a must in the West Village. It is straight out of Napoli and possibly the best pizza in New York City which is saying something-especially from me!

Anyway, I head back to Arizona tomorrow to try to finalize plans for Africa and beforehand. I have a mess right now with Delta Airlines as I am trying to use miles for my “shell” flights into N’Djamena, Chad and out of Mahe, Seychelles but they keep screwing it up. We shall see how this goes. Normally, I wouldn’t care but I had to buy extra miles to get the available seat on one of the flights in business class but after I did they said it wasn’t available even though I had it on hold. It is no wonder why Delta is the worst airline on earth and I really hope I get the flight so then I’ll be out of Delta miles and never have to fly them again!

Stay tuned…

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  1. Remember that http://www.optifly.com is a great resource. You cannot book tickets through them but it will tell you who flies from point A to point B anywhere in the world and then a link to the airlines website.

  2. Air Seychelles has an air pass for the I.O. countries too you may want to look into if you are not getting anywhere with Air Austral.


  3. Thanks Ryan, I was going to try to skype them tomorrow for even some of the countries. It’s made slightly more difficult because I am not taking a flight directly into the islands from Europe which is what triggers the pass most times. I will be coming from most likely South Africa or possibly Kenya depending on how the Angola visa goes and then I fly out from Seychelles on Air France (assuming this Delta Skypass ticket works out). basically theres a lot of uncertainty as of now but it’ll come together eventually-always does. This is just more of a pain than normal.

  4. That sounds like an amazing trip. I would kill to join you!

  5. Lincoln is sooooo cute!

  6. Hi Jemma, it’s been a while since you’ve commented, welcome back! He is the cutest baby and so sweet. I had a great time with him. Hope all is well out in Northern England as you prepare for the misery of winter!

  7. Very cute picture of Lincoln and you! The trip sounds amazing and I cannot even imagine planning that much! How long is the trip?

  8. Hi Linda, the trip will be about 7 weeks long give or take depending on the actual day I can leave depending on how this skyteam ticket works out. I have it on hold for two days more.

  9. Of the following you mentioned; Madagascar, Mauritius, Seychelles, Mayotte, Comoros, Rodriguez Island, Zil Elwannyen Sesel, Reunion…I have only heard of Madagascar, Mauritius and Seychelles. So I googled the others and they look amazing and I am seriously jealous! Please post pictures!!!

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