Archive for March, 2012

Musings on Johnny Jet and Toto’s Africa

I was very honored when travel guru turned television host Johnny Jet asked me to part of his Travel Styles series. Johnny is one of my travel role models and he’s a great guy. He’s always fun to see at a tweet up in Beverly Hills or on the rare occasion I get a direct message from him on twitter asking me for travel advice about the Narita Express. You can check out the post on his newly revamped website here:  “Travel Style: Jen Pollack Bianco” Thank you, Johnny, it was very nice to be included.

Last night in Johannesburg thunder, lightning and rain kept me up late. Today during my flight from Jo’Burg to Port Elizabeth the rain created some epic clouds and also quite a bit of turbulence. It was impossible to not have Toto’s soft rock anthem “Africa” playing in heavy rotation in the soundtrack in my head. The song has lyrics so overwrought that they have been often quoted as bad travel writing (i.e. “As sure as Kilimanjaro rises like Olympus above the Serengeti”). And it is a very, very sticky tune. So here for your viewing pleasure, is a little movie I made on my iPhone during a torrential downpour to show you why I won’t be blessing the rains down in Africa anytime soon.

Hope you enjoy it. It’s late here now I need to see if there are any “moonlit wings reflect the stars that guide me towards salvation.”

Please note: wifi is tricky here at Kwandwe. So once this post is published I think I’m actually going to take a few days off and enjoy this kick ass safari thing.

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Colorful #Frifotos: Pictures from London to Los Angeles

Rubber Duck in bathroom of 45 Park Lane

Purple Rubber Duck in a bathroom of 45 Park Lane.

Today’s #FriFotos twitter photo chat’s theme is “colorful.” Since I just arrived in South Africa I haven’t yet had a chance to see much colorful here in Jo’Burg other than the adorable organic African products I bought as souvenirs.

For this #FriFotos I’m sharing some of my favorite pigment packed pictures from my recent travels to Amsterdam, London and Berlin.

I think my most colorful travel images are from my trip to the Pushkar Camel Fair in Rajasthan, India. The colorful clothes, turbans, and pigments all stick out in my memory so I’ve included a few of those images. My adopted hometown of Los Angeles also has a colorful side. It’s a town where hipsters hang out at all hours at Fred 62 Diner in Loz Feliz, and the street art on Fairfax is worth photographing. Be sure to check the #FriFotos hashtag on twitter to check out some more colorful (and “colourful”) photos from around the world.

 Colorful pigments for sale in Pushkar

Colorful pigments for sale in Pushkar

This guy in Pushkark in dof looks like PrinceColorful saris in PushkarColorful turban satthe Pushkar camel fairWoman rocking a colorful sari in Rajasthan

Colorful clothes in India: turban satthe and saris in Pushkar, Rajasthan

Fred 62 waitress color the passFred 62 waitress colora

I loved this fierce waitress at Fred 62 in Los Feliz. I even went outside to photograph her.

Selection of colorful South African souvenirs

Selection of colorful South African souvenirs in Johannesburg, South Africa

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Scenic route to Jo’Burg: A Photo Essay

It took 25 hours in transit to get from Los Angeles International Airport (LAX) to Johannesburg’s Tambo International (JNB).

First stop: Washington’s Dulles airport (IAD) where I had a layover, changed terminals, and connected to my South African Airways flight.  After 8 hours in flight the A340-300  landed in Dakar, Senegal’s at Dakar-Yoff-Léopold Sédar Senghor International airport (DKR) to re-fuel, change crews, and let on new passengers.  Africa is a big continent so it took 8 more hours in flight before touching down in Johannesburg, South Africa. I took a taxi from the airport to my hotel on Nelson Mandela Square.

Here’s a trip report in pictures. (Note: a different post with a flight review and video about my experience on South African Airways will be in a separate upcoming post.)

Ready for takeoff at LAX

Waiting on the tarmac ready for takeoff at LAX

Sunrise from my window seatWatching the sunrise

Departing before sunrise has an upside, like these view from my window seat

Departing LAX before dawn

Departing LAX before dawn

In-flight breakfastTea at 30,000 feet. mobile photography

In-flight breakfast aboard United Flight 272 aboard a 757-200

Up in the clouds

Up in the clouds

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Scenic Route to Jo’Burg

Route to Jo'Burg

I’m taking the scenic route to Jo’Burg or Johannesburg. The first leg LAX-IAD (from LAX to Washington, Dulles) where I will have a layover before catching my connecting flight on South African Airways.

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On Safari in South Africa: Bob Marley and The “Big Five”

Note: Tonight, if all goes as planned, I will be headed to London to catch a flight to South Africa. The trip will include visiting Johannesburg, Capetown, and going on safari at Kwandwe private game reserve.

This will be my fourth trip to one of the world’s most spectacular countries. It’s a very special place te me because a version of the post I wrote below was one that of the first blog posts I wrote in 2010 for then just launched Tablet Hotels Tablet Talk blog, which has changed formats a few times and now longer exists. I’d encourage you to check out the new Tablet Hotels site and their new magazine section.

Bob Marley & The Big Five

It’s a moment I’ll never forget and it happened on safari in at in South Africa. A half-hour before dawn. A local tribesman, who also worked as a security guard for the camp, came to my hut and escorted me to the main lodge. Using his flashlight to show me the path, he stopped and pointed to the nearby bushes.

“There buffalo,” he warned me calmly. Having grown up protecting his father’s cattle, my guard was utterly unfazed by the giant creature a few meters away that could have easily charged and gored both of us to death.


Cape Buffalo- One of the Big Five game animals

As we continued on our way, the guard began singing to himself, “Buffalo soldier….”

Without thinking, I joined in and finished the lyric, “…dreadlocked Rasta.” The guard stopped in his tracks. It was the first time I’d seen him startled.

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