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Ireland Bound-The Wheelchair Wizards

The Wheelers (2)

Ireland, A trip to remember.

At the insistence of our children, my wife and I decided to pack up our home in South Africa and emigrate to Ireland. Given our age and many other vital factors, we decided this would be the wisest thing to do.

It was late 2020 and under severe lock-down conditions that we made our flight reservation. With all our paperwork and forex on the ready, we began the packing of our four suitcases. We sold our apartment, cars, and other possessions and put, what remained of our lives into four bags. This was a remarkable feat on its own, as these contained our lifelong possessions.

Seniors Seats

Understanding that we were leaving on Thursday, we were busy packing early on Wednesday. Our travel agent called to remind us to be at the airport before noon. “You mean today?” My heart skipped a couple of beats! “Yes,” he replied. Pandamonium broke out in my family’s home. How were we going to pack and still make the airport by 12? We all began running around like headless chickens, with me in the lead and yelling, “It’s impossible; how will we make it?” Moments later, the travel agent called again. He apologized profusely saying, that our flight was Thursday, not Wednesday. There we were, six family members, having different expressions of relief. Some were angry at the agent’s error, others, including me, lying on the floor, gasping in relief.

Once all settled down, we reverted to a more leisurely packing process.

Our Daughter-in-law called from Ireland to check all was running to plan and casually asked if we had requested assisted travel, as we were both over seventy, “I thought that was just for minors,” I remarked. She reassured me it was a wiser arrangement to make. I duly called our agent and organized it with him.

When we arrived at the airport, two gentlemen shepherded us to wheelchairs. I was shocked, as I was sure we didn’t need wheelchairs.

Family

It turned out the best arrangement for the two of us. Our carers wheeled us to all the correct checkpoints, ahead of the long queues, and knew which documents were required, helping us select these from the huge pile we were carrying.

On boarding the aircraft, we were seated in a convenient place (near the loo) without another passenger squeezing into our three-seat row.

On landing at our first destination, we enjoyed a similar treatment on both arrival and departure.

What amazed me was, on our arrival in Ireland, we were afforded the same treatment. Our trip was seamless because three different sets of carers in three countries were skilled, compassionate, and understanding.

We arrived, if not a little weary, in our new country, safe and sound. A surprised (at how fast we came through the red tape.) but relieved family welcomed us, and we drove to our new home.

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others. Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers. Often, when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2020-01-20

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’ Button.)

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Bags & Bags – Johannesburg, South Africa

Reblogged from: Bags & Bags – Johannesburg, South Africa – DanVenture Travels

Earlier in the year, I wrote about flying home for the first time in a while. I wanted to share an experience I had on my way back & give some advice to help you avoid being in the same situation.

After having 2 weeks at home, it was time for me to go back. I packed my bags & kept valuables in my hand luggage & other items in my checked-in bags – as best as I could. I weighed the checked-in bags & I was underweight – Perfect! I headed to the airport.

Checking in for an international flight is not as quick as it used to be so it took a while for all my documents to be checked & finally my bags were looked at. I know this happens often, but it has been years since my hand luggage has been weighed so I have developed a habit of stuffing as much as possible into the poor bag. It weighed 12kgs & the airline allowed 7kgs. The gentleman working at the check-in counter asked me to remove some stuff & place it in the checked-in bags. I happily complied. Some of the stuff I removed were sweets & treats (Important info for later). I would strongly advise you to follow your airline’s baggage weight restrictions & this is something I will be taking a lot more seriously from now on.

I said goodbye to my parents & then boarded my flight. Everything went smoothly from then onwards, the flight was great & the arrival procedure was so much easier than I expected. I was on this wonderful travel high… and then I got to the baggage belt.

I knew something was wrong when I saw the front compartment on my one bag was open; I never leave that open. So I take my bags off the belt & notice that both have had their locks & zips cut open. I reported this to the airline & then I went to my apartment to see what had actually been stolen. I lost 2 pairs of shoes, fragrances, biltong & those sweets & treats I mentioned earlier. This isn’t the first time this has happened to me flying out of Johannesburg & I am quite certain it happens to dozens of people daily just at that airport. Having said that, I don’t promote negativity & DanVenture Travels is not intended to incite anger. It did happen though & unfortunately, it is a risk you take when traveling by air.

The first thing I would recommend regarding this is making sure there are no valuables or important/sensitive documents in your checked-in bags. Secondly, get your bags wrapped. Most airports offer plastic/saran wrapping for bags, but it can be quite pricey so perhaps buy the plastic at a supermarket & do it yourself.

I sincerely hope this never happens to you & wish you the best of the travel experience.

Use #DanVentureTravels on your Instagram posts so I can follow your adventures. Follow the DanVenture Travels Facebook page for other travel content.

Keep traveling, keep safe.
DanVenture Travels

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Thirst Quenchers Around The World

This is a reblog from Danventure Travels: https://danventuretravels.com/2021/08/07/thirst-quenchers-around-the-world/

Soda. Soft drink. Pop. Whatever you call it, you know what I am referring to – a carbonated, sugary beverage.

I know soft drinks are not healthy at all, but I love them & they might be my biggest guilty pleasure. Different countries have different soft drinks & very often international brands make country specific products. It is super exciting for me to try different soft drinks along my travels. This is a massive topic & could go on for ages so I’ve decided to limit this post to just a handful.

Thums Up

When I was in India with my brother in 2017, I ordered a Pepsi or Coca-Cola in a restaurant & the waiter replied with “Thums up?” and gave a thumbs up. I thought this was an odd response, but I assumed he was just confirming my order so I gave a thumbs up back to him. The drinks arrived & he had brought a Thums Up cola… and the earlier interaction made sense.

Thums Up was launched in the late 1970s when Coca-Cola pulled out of India & it quickly became very popular. Later, when India opened the market, Coca-Cola bought the brand & intended to phase it out & replace it with their own brand. However, it became apparent that consumers would buy Pepsi if Thums Up was not available. Coca-Cola then relaunched the drink. To date, it is the leading cola soda in India.

Rivella

The first Swiss products which come to mind would most likely be chocolates, cheese, watches & Swiss army knives, not a soft drink. Enter Rivella. This beverage has an interesting taste but is actually really good. It is made from milk whey as well as herbal & fruit extracts. The taste is difficult to explain, but it is less sweet than a typical soft drink & has an almost gingery flavor. The drink is very popular in Switzerland & has been on sale since the 1950s.

Fanta

This brand alone is large enough to produce many blog posts – I’m just going to list a few facts here. There are over 150 flavors of Fanta worldwide which means if you are traveling to another country, there is a high chance of you getting to try a new flavor. Orange seems to be the most prevalent flavor worldwide, but the formula differs. It will be sweeter in some countries than in others. The color varies from a neon orange to a light yellow. I grew up in South Africa where the flavors pineapple & grape are produced alongside orange. I now live in Qatar where strawberry & citrus are popular.

Fanta Exotic found in Sweden
Fanta Orange in Ethiopia

L&P

Lemon & Paeroa, or simply L&P, is a soft drink produced in the country which is often left off of world maps, New Zealand. It has been on the market since 1907, but it is very difficult to find outside of New Zealand. Being a lemon drink, it does have a slightly sour taste, but it has a good balance of sweetness. I think this refreshing beverage might be New Zealand’s best-kept secret.

Sparletta Creme Soda

Okay, so cream soda is not an exotic idea since a form of it is available in many countries. The flavors & colors vary greatly from country to country. Sparletta Creme Soda finds itself in this blog post because it is my favorite soft drink. From what I’ve found out, it entered the market in 1953 in South Africa. It is green & the cream soda flavor is not as strong as other cream sodas, but it has been described as having a ‘floral’ taste. It is sometimes called ‘green ambulance’ in South Africa because it is believed to help cure hangovers.

What are some soft drinks you have found to be interesting? Are there any from your country you think I should try?

Use #DanVentureTravels so I can find your posts on Instagram & follow the DanVenture Travels Facebook page for more travel related posts.

Keep traveling, keep safe.

DanVenture Travels

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Mother Africa

I read this article on FaceBook Dec 13-20“WHAT AN AMAZING PIECE DESCRIBING SA. Despite being grateful to be in a country where there is basic safety for all, ohhhh the magic of Africa runs deep……. May my birth mother survive what is being done unto her, by those who do not know her value and do not appreciate her true beauty…

Author J. Ikin

I sit here quietly thinking about what it means to me to be South African, a visitor to South Africa or even African. It seems easier to explain the effect that this land has on me…

Continue reading Mother Africa

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Trust Yourself, You Did The Right Thing

 

For what it’s worth I have found there is some commonness in the severity levels of events and how we humans respond to them.Dreams 8

One scale said that the following events stressed humans more than others (Laid out in order of their severity):

  1. Death of a loved one.
  2. Divorce.
  3. Moving.
  4. Major illness or injury.
  5. Job loss.

I, for one have suffered all these traumas and I’m certain there are those among you who have suffered some or all as well.

I mention this scale because I am convinced that few people appreciate what a trauma ‘moving home’ is. Greater still would be moving home to another country.

This is where ‘South Africans Moving to Ireland (SA2 Eire)’ features. I am most grateful for the people who founded and manage this site. To say nothing of those that populate it with their stories and requests.

Continue reading Trust Yourself, You Did The Right Thing
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Lockdown – continued

We may just be able to end the national lockdown safely and re-start the economy – Alan Knott-Craig

BY ALAN KNOTT-CRAIG@GOODTHINGSGUYAPR 7, 2020 70,338 0

Johannesburg, South Africa (7 April 2020) – Alan Knott-Craig wrote an opinion piece that is going viral about how we need to get our minds around why it’s possible to be optimistic about South Africa right now, even during the COVID-19 lockdown.

With all the constant negativity being shared around COVID-19 and lockdown… Knott-Craig’s opinion piece on some of the positives right now is like a breath of fresh air.

He has permitted us to repost it to our readers and we believe it is an incredibly positive outlook in very uncertain times.

Read the full piece below:

South Africa might just get lucky

In February, our country was in bad shape.

Our stock market was over-heated. We were heading for a recession. We were heading for a downgrade. And then COVID-19 happened.

Our stock market collapsed. We’re now in a recession. We’ve now been downgraded.

Before COVID-19, Cyril Ramaphosa was bogged down in ANC political in-fighting, and Eskom was load-shedding every week.

Cyril now has no political opposition, everyone is too busy scrambling to fight the pandemic.

Eskom has stopped load-shedding thanks to the national lockdown easing demand from businesses.

Before progressing, let’s acknowledge that it is possible that this is Armageddon.

Health, economic and political Armageddon. The end.

Millions could die. Millions could lose jobs. Political upheaval could ensue.

Ok, got that.

But it’s also possible that COVID-19 is the best thing to happen to SA since the 2010 Soccer World Cup. South Africa sailed through the Global Financial Crisis thanks to the state-sponsored infrastructure projects for the 2010 World Cup.

We were lucky.

By some bizarre irony, our country’s ongoing battle against TB may just be lucky too.It may just turn out that most South Africans are safe because it’s mandatory to have a Bacillus Calmette–Guérin (BCG) vaccination when they are born to prevent life-threatening TB later on.

“We found that countries without universal policies of BCG vaccination, such as Italy, the Netherlands, and the United States, have been more severely affected compared to countries with universal and long-standing BCG policies,” noted the researchers led by Gonzalo Otazu, assistant professor of biomedical sciences at NYIT.

Let’s compare Spain to Portugal.

Portugal forces BCG vaccinations at birth, Spain doesn’t.

As of 5 April 2020:

  • Portugal: 10,524 cases, 266 deceased. 0.1% infection rate. 2.5% death rate.
  • Spain: 126,128 cases, 13,897 deceased. 0.27% infection rate. 9.5% death rate.

Spaniards are almost 3x more likely to get COVID-19, and 10x more likely to die.

India, like Portugal, administers the BCG vaccine to millions of children soon after birth to combat TB (tuberculosis). And like Portugal, Indian has seen a much lower infection rate, especially when you consider the higher risk of infection due to cramped living conditions and poverty.

And yet the USA, where there are no mandatory BCG vaccinations, has the highest number of infections, in spite of the USA’s being is 4x smaller, 28x richer and 13x less populated than India’s.

Thanks to South Africa’s mandatory BCG vaccination policy, we may just be less affected than many countries in the world.

We may just be able to end the national lockdown and re-start the economy.

Ending the lockdown will benefit SA in seven ways:

  1. Millions of jobs will be saved. Millions of families will be rescued from economic hardship.
  2. Universal BCG vaccination gives our country a comparative advantage over countries that don’t, i.e.: all developed countries, and all developing countries that don’t have the systems and/or economic means to enforce mandatory vaccinations.
  3. Cyril Ramaphosa can use the economic crisis as leverage to implement the much-needed structural economic reforms our country needs, without the ANC in-fighting that has previously hamstrung his efforts.
  4. People have opened their eyes to the power of online education. No need to have the world’s best math teacher living in Butterworth. No need to print and deliver millions of textbooks. No matter where you live, you can have a world-class education (assuming you have affordable broadband).
  5. Less flying and driving. Even the most hide-bound of executives have now been forced to telecommute. Turns out it ain’t so hard. Good for traffic. Good for the climate.
  6. It means Eskom’s grid can take a breather whilst essential maintenance is carried out and IPP’s prepare for selling directly to customers, reducing our reliance on Eskom, ultimately creating a stronger and more resilient power grid.
  7. It means the Moody and Fitch downgrades are pretty meaningless. Everyone is being downgraded.

Ending the national lockdown will be the best thing that our government can do to save our economy.

If the positive scenario pans out, South Africa will be the equivalent of a golfer hitting a duck hook into the water, ricocheting off a submerged rock, bouncing back to the green, and the ball coming to rest three feet from the pin.

We may just be pretty damn lucky.

The whole world is in it together, but, by some miracle, South Africa might be the best place to be in it.

Sources: Opinion Piece – Alan Knott-Craig 

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Have something to add to this story? Share it in the comments or follow GoodThingsGuy on Facebook & Twitter to keep up to date with good news as it happens or share your good news with us by clicking here

Click the link below to listen to the Good Things Guy Podcast, with Brent Lindeque – South Africa’s very own Good Things Guy. He’s on a mission to change what the world pays attention to, and he truly believes that there’s good news all around us. In the Good Things Guy podcast, you’ll meet these everyday heroes & hear their incredible stories:

We all need to hear positive words about our country’s current status. Even if you do not agree with a particular opinion, its a lot better than the negative vomit that we are receiving from all over the place.

Share this if you think it might lift another person’s spirits.

 

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Chevy Lane – Food Experience with a Difference

Chevy Lane 1

A Restaurant Review.

We decided that we just felt like having a burger and Spur seemed like an obvious choice……..

Continue reading Chevy Lane – Food Experience with a Difference

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The Long Haul

Almost casually, my Son mentioned to me that he was flying down to Cape Town from Johannesburg to ferry a pick-up truck and drive it to his home in Johannesburg.

Typically, alarm bells went off in my mind. I expressed my concern about him attempting a journey like this on his own. A journey, in this case, which would beMap_of_the_N1_(South_Africa)_with_labels.svg traveled mostly at night. The N1 Arterial carries 300,000 vehicles per day and is the second longest road in South Africa, some 1900 kms (1200 miles).

Without giving it thought, I offered to assist with the driving; After a couple of weeks my Son accepted the offer and bought me an airline ticket to Cape Town.

The airline brought me to Cape Town at 11.30 am on a Friday and by 1pm, my Son and I were on the road to Johannesburg!

After the death of my eldest Son to a long-suffering, rare cancer, it was good to spend time with my remaining Boy, however taxing, the drive.

In short, we drove 1400kms (870Mi) in the space of 13 hours, only 4 of those in daylight. Our only stops were for fuel and for take out coffees and toasted sandwiches. I drank 8 cups of coffee along the journey (ordinarily I drink only one cup in the same Engen Wimpytime frame at home, so my eyes were wide open continually)! I don’t drive at night in the normal course of events, when I’m home, primarily because I am partially blinded by oncoming headlights. But I knew many family members and friends were praying for us as we drove though the dark.

A few years back, I would have considered the trip a nightmare, but this time, I loved every minute. We chatted and laughed a great deal. All the while the South bound traffic was passing us at approximately 120 vehicles per hour consistently, 90 % of which were heavy goods vehicles, to say nothing of the slow-moving vehicles moving Northbound (ahead of us). Finally, we arrived home at 3.30am Sunday morning.

We live in a time where much of the population complains, even violently, about the economic, political and poor governance of our country. Among the many complaints is that of the condition of our roads and behavior of lawless drivers – the list is endless.

In closing let me say that every day I extend my gratitude for everything in my life and that includes the roads and other drivers.

On this trip, I would like to say thank you to our Roads Agency for the excellent road surface on the 1400 kms. of the N1. The clear reflective markings on the road, which made driving a lot safer in what was a very dangerous driving condition. The provision of splits in the road that allowed for the overtaking of slower vehicles.

Thank you to the truckers, who do not have an easy or safe livelihood, for their amazing courtesy (headlamp control, moving over where possible).Truckers

Unless it was in the case of great importance, as this journey was, I should not like to do that journey again and I am so grateful to our airline pilots and crew who make flying in our country, safe and comfortable. The airline companies, through their initiative, making flying affordable, enabling me to continue using their services in the future.

“For those who choose to be grateful for that which they have, great is the reward of what will come to them in the future”.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2018-01-20

 If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site; www.adcrucemchristi.com

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’

button).

 

 

 

 

 

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Saint Pinard

Saint Pinard

 

 

Saint Pinard

I recall some years ago a conversation I had with a French family, concerning my origins. At the time it raised much mirth among them resulting in the only member of the family, who could speak English, confiding in me.

“Peter” he said, “This name, Pinard is a beet of a joke in France”.

Continue reading Saint Pinard

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Chevy Lane – Food Experience with a Difference

Chevy Lane 1

A Restaurant Review – Not Sponsored

We decided that we just felt like having a burger and Spur seemed like an obvious choice……..

Continue reading Chevy Lane – Food Experience with a Difference