May 28, 2003

Waiting clearance...

I'm still in Umkomaas and did not manage to dive these last 2 days. The weather is beautiful but a depression off the coast is sending huge waves and doing a surf launch with boats even so possible due to the talented skippers over there will not give you anything. Diving on the reef might be similar to what you feel trapped inside a washing machine. This is the same situation from Sodwana Bay till Capetown. Wait and see.

I went today to Durban International airport to rent a car. Not without problems. For the little story, none of the rental agencies had a car at their disposal and after selecting AVIS, I had to wait about 3 hours to get it.

This is a VW Golf Chico. No autoradio, no A/C, no power steering but luckily I have seats and wheels . I rented this for R97 / day (as of today $12) for about 3 weeks. This is the price without LDW, CDW, PAI since I use my VISA Premier card and all is included (mmm.. did not realized until now that VISA and AVIS were anagrams, anyway...).

While I'm at it, someone should tell these people what is a VISA Gold card since they don't have a clue about what is it and the services provided by the card. Some second zone agencies did not want to give me a car without taking their own insurances, otherwise I had the following behaviors:
- Quoting me a more expensive price without insurance than including it ('I know it's a little bit confusing but it is a special all-included price, blablablabla'...)
- Asking me to ask VISA to fax them an acceptance form saying that they were managing this (I probably have more chance to have a reply from aliens in outer space)
- Some others were simply honest: "Ah really ? Oh I'm sorry but this is the first time that I see this type of card so I did not know about it"...

After this soap-opera episode, I managed to take my car and drive back using the wrong side of the road (read 'left side'). This is not really confusing, what is more confusing is changing gears with the left hand while I'm so used to the right one. I have a very hard time right now not to skip the 2nd. Moreover the car does not help as it got a funny speed pedal similar to a go-kart one. Hopefully this should improve by the next days.

A little word on the road in SA. From what I saw right now, they are really first class and well maintained. What is dangerous is the fact that we are in Africa and of course we have a bunch of idiots that decide that it is faster to walk across the fields AND the highways rather than using the bridges. Other think it is fun to hitchhike on the highway, or why not selling vegetables or simply walking on the emergency lane... After all there are only a couple of lanes and cars don't drive less than 120kmph... why bother ?

Anyway, now that I have the car I will be free to move around anytime.

Posted by stephane at May 28, 2003 04:47 PM