Tuesday, 27 November 2007

Slideshow all in order (at last)!

I am as happy as a small amphibian in a large predator-free lily pond - I have finally sorted out the slideshow so that it is actually showing my photos. The others that it was showing were admittedly much prettier, but I did feel like a bit of a plagiarist (albeit an unknowing one, seeing I have no idea who the pics belong to or why they ended up on my little blog).

Now I can sleep at night. If my vacuum-obsessed neighbour, snoring husband and and crazy cats shut up, that is. The house sounds like some eery percussion band at night. A bit like the song from Triplets of Bellville, actually.

Well, toodle-doo for now. Be blogging again soon. Unless I die of sleep deprivation.

Wednesday, 21 November 2007

No impact people

Check out this fascinating blog: http://noimpactman.typepad.com/blog/

This guy, living in the middle of New York City (not the cleanliest place in the world), decided to live for a year with as little environmental impact as possible. He took his wife and daughter along for the ride, living by beeswax candlelight, recycling his own excrement and other crazy stuff that I would never dare to do. Makes for interesting reading!

Tuesday, 20 November 2007

Tis the season to be sleepy

Today is a November day, which means that my brain is suffering from severe end-of-year-itis. I have been saying things like "there is a silver cloud to every lining" and losing my lunch inside my office organiser (although I haven't as yet, as my colleague has, put my shoes in the fridge).

Simply put, this is the time of year where brains switch off, although work continues. The result is that next year, when we all return to work, broke and miserable with the sound of shopping-centre-tinkly Rudolph the Rednosed Reindeer grating away at our abused ears, we will have to re-do everything we did between mid-November and closing time anyway.

Which is why I am blogging instead of getting a headstart on my January work. After all, I did just find myself writing holiday instead of Holland, and sleep instead of slight. I think a break from the real world in necessary.

Wich gives me a verry good reasin for terrible spelling ennyway!

Until the next post, wishing the world a merry pre-holiday!

Monday, 12 November 2007

Nationwide: bolts to blame?

For a pic of the engine that got away, go to:


There are now suggestions that no birdie flew into the engine, but that there was a problem with the bolts. As this is not our first bolt incident (http://www.mg.co.za/articlepage.aspx?area=/breaking_news/breaking_news__national/&articleid=261832), I would like to put forward that perhaps an SABS official was bribed?

We need to stand against this - South Africans should not condom *ahem* I mean condone such behaviour. (for those who don't get it: http://www.doh.gov.za/docs/pr/pr1022-f.html)

Thursday, 8 November 2007

Nationwide airplane drops the engine

Transport around South Africa is a favourite subject that everyone enjoys moaning about. Usually the thread of the conversation centers around how terribly our minibus taxis drive, the lack of bus and rail services we offer and the mess that the Gau-Train is creating in Sandton.

Of course people also moan about airplane delays and SAA's blatant disinterest in customer service (or is that just me?), but rarely do we have to close one of our major airports twice within the week. Maybe the fact that the entire Cape Town International airport is approximately the size of the waiting area at Heathrow or JF Kennedy makes it seem unimportant to the rest of the world. The fact, however, that it is the gateway to South Africa's tourism hub of the Western Cape, makes it pretty damn important to us.

Now there may be a saying that any publicity is good publicity, but I think in Nationwide's case this may may an exception. After losing one of its engines during take-off, the airline freaked its passengers out just a teensy bit. Fortunately nobody was injured. Those of us lucky enough to be on other flights were, however, treated to three hours of enjoying the warmth and hospitality of the airport.

With not enough seating to cater for even a third of the people waiting for the airport to re-open, the crowd in the departures lounge were able to practice their balance (shifting from one foot to another for three hours of standing with yor luggage can be beneficial), patience and people skills, while shorties like me practised holding their breath (being at armpit level in a crowd SUCKS). We could even fill in convenient little cards answering the question, 'Have you enjoyed your journey through our airport?', distributed thoughtfully in boxes on every available wall by the South African Airports Company just for this reason, I'm sure. Needless to say, their customer services department will have some colourful reading material coming its way.

My airline was kind enough to realise that, with the only coffee shop packed to the max, and after hours of standing, its passengers migt be a tad hungry, and dutifully provided us with gourmet refreshments comprising a tiny packet of peanuts and a bottled water or juice box.

We were at no point told about the engine-dropping incident (probably wise not to tell a crowd of grumpy passengers that one of the airplanes they were hoping to embark onto had decided to shed an engine on take-off). Instead we listened to a recored message played over and over about a plane running into some problems with debris (the word for engine in airlinese) on the runway.

Luckily, the captain on my flight believed in honesty being the best policy, and informed us all of the situation as we were about to take-off after finally boarding. He obviousy also has a gift in evangelism, as I've never seen so many people on a plane start praying so quickly.

After landing safely, albeit many hours late, I realised that we had been very lucky. Rather 3 hours late than leaving earlier and being on the flight that lost an engine.

There was a hit song in the 80s of the classic song with slightly different lyrics. Here are my suggestions:

Drop the engine
Let's try an air balloon
Drop the act now
We'll never reach the moon
Drop the pretence
This is no easy ride up
Don't use your right wing
We only need the left one

Liable, damages, prosecute, grievances... you'll see me in court, you'll see me in court!

Friday, 2 November 2007

Tell the world on hellopeter.com

The death of chivalry and service in SA

Today's a day for a good rant about South Africa's (lack of) service.

Let's start with Sun City. One of South Africa's top tourist destinations, Sun city offers a world of facilities, a range of accomodation and, of course, much gambling. Hubby had never been there before, so as a joint birthday present for the two of us from my folks this year, we were given a weekend at the Cabanas family hotel there.

Our room was not up to scratch (single beds when we'd specifically requested double and phoned to check, shower that didn't drain, bedside lights that didn't work etc), so I wrote a polite letter to the general manager detailing the problems we had experienced. I got a phone call from him awhile later. He couldn't remember what my complaint was about (the first sign of bad management), but he wanted to give me his cell number so that I could call him next time I came to the hotel and he would check the room and give us free breakfast.

So, instead of assuming responsibility, this moron wants me to spend my airtime calling him so that he can check a room that should already be in good condition (seeing I will be paying good money to stay in it), and give me a free breakfast that is already included in the price of staying at the Cabanas? That's fantastic service, isn't it? I think I'll recommend the experience to all my friends: "Visit the Cabanas - you get shoddy rooms and an incompetent manager, but at least you don't have to pay for your complimentary breakfast if you complain!"

Sun City, however, is not a patch on South African Airways.

I don't have a credit card, so I asked my mother to do me the favour of booking a flight to Upington for hubby and I to visit the in-laws in December. She did so, but booked it in my married name. As my ID book is in my maiden name, she needed to change the booking to the correct name, so she called them back to make the adjustment.

They don't do adjustments.

She had to cancel the tickets, forfeit a portion of the price and book new tickets. The woman who booked the tickets gave her two wrong numbers to call, told her she would have to pay double the original amount for a new set as the lower-priced ones were not available (despite the fact that my mom had just cancelled two of those, making a pair available) and generally had no clue about how to do her job.

But what else would you expect from the airline that issued my husband and I tickets on opposite ends of the plane on our first day of our honeymoon? As SAA is the only airline flying to Upington, you have no other choice, so they really don't give a flying (excuse the pun) ehm... truck about customer service.

All this sunshine journalism about South Africa being a great tourist destination forgets to mention the bit about getting to that destination.

Ok, enough for today. If you want to check out more ranting, visit http://www.hellopeter.com/, a brilliant South African customer service website.