Saturday, June 13, 2009

Day 15 - Final Day of Classes

6:30 PM
6/12/09

The final day! We finished up the class and tried to give the final test but again the people speak and understand English but have a hard time reading. I gave up after 3 hours then we said our goodbyes . The mine managers would not put their supervisors in the classes so they asked if I would give one supervisor a crash course. We set at the bar at the hotel and I hit the high points of the course. It took about four hours in between all the interruptions we had.

We will be leaving at 9:00AM on Saturday. The mine is not going to fly us to Ndola, so it's a 4-6 hour trip back over the road from hell. We will then be leaving Johannesburg South Africa at 9:00 PM for a 17 hours flight to Atlanta and then 4 more hours to Salt Lake. I made a lot of friends here and most of them want me to help them get into America. One student just got his first car (1972 Toyota) and he is a very happy man at present. Gas cost is around $5.50 /gallon. He said "I hope with my new job I will be able to buy more things for my family". Miners make about $500.00 / month. That's 100 time more than the average.

* Attached is pictures of the class trying to take the test
* The man I gave the glasses to
* One of the beautiful trees along the road.

Friday, June 12, 2009

Day 14

9:00 PM
6/11/09

Today was the final full day of class #2. I spent all day in the class room, but no hands on training. The class is doing well not having any exposure on mining equipment. The supervisor that was to be in class didn't show up. I was told he would be in class tomorrow, I said we are going to work 1/2 day and testing the students. I was told to conduct a crash course in the afternoon on Friday.

I showed the pictures of the spider that was in my bathroom yesterday to the students. I was told the name of the spider (octo something) I asked if it was dangerous? It can kill small children and small animals, but it only hurts an adult. So I was told.

I overheard today that one of the South Africans from the mine, hit and killed one of the locals. The driver said the man was on a bike and drove in front of him.

We also had a brush fire just outside the hotel. The locals burn the grass in small areas to help clear the ground. I guess the fire got out of control. The fire reached the driveway and burnt it's self out. We had a lot of nervous people here.

We will talk again.


* Attached is pictures of the fire
* The meal at the Indonesian's home - the skinny chickens and fish heads.
* The little girl is a grand daughter of one of the local trainers.



Wednesday, June 10, 2009

Day 13

8:00 PM
06/10/09

I had a good day in the training class. The guy I gave the glasses to had his wife make a special case for them. He really is protective of them. The men all like the chocolates. They've had some candy in the local stores but the American chocolates are the best they say.

The regional service rep. from Komatsu was at the mine for a day. I had a little meeting with him about some of the problems the trucks are having. The man is a Frenchman and he comes with a Frenchman attitude. After I was done with my presentation he told me "You must input a TSI (a technical service information) to me, Japan and Komatsu America and you must do it today". I am not to fond of the French anyway, so I was getting a little put out.
I keep my cool and said "Yes I will it will cost you $100.00 /hour".
"What do you mean"? He asked.
"I do not work for you, Japan on Komatsu America, I am a private contractor and will be glade to input your TSI for pay".
He did not reply but by his expression I could tell he was mad and wanted to sat something. He stayed on the mine site for a few more hours and then had to go back to France. But before he left shook hands and let the issue die. We then exchanged business cards and said our farewells. He told Barry, who took him to the airport "I don't understand Americans? They always want pay for their work. They are very independent". He did say the training is the best he has seen and took one of my manuals and said he will request me in the future for training.

The mine insured me I would have their maintenance supervisor in the class today. That didn't happen. I was told tomorrow for sure he will attend. I would not bet on it. I got into the shower this morning around 5:00AM and had a visitor, a big brown spider. I don't know if it was harmful, at lease this one is not harmful any more. Attached is the recently alive spider, the class checking steering pressures, and for you Mark this is how they collect oil samples. Looks like a lot better system than you had (ha! ha! ha!)

































Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Day 12

8:30 PM
06/09/09
(click on images to enlarge)

Today was the second day of class and the mine put 2 more new hires into the class (10) total. Who knows tomorrow maybe I'll have even more or none at all. We (Jim and I) go day to day with the mine. Today we did get a truck in the afternoon for hands on training. I split the class into groups to check out items on the truck, one group on the ground, one group on the deck checking out the brake circuits, and a group in the cab going through the monitor computer. Every group wanted me for something. I crawled up and down the ladder, under the truck and in the cab all afternoon. In the U.S., if I split the class, one group would work (the group I would be with) the rest would be sitting around. These people want to learn all they can and get all the information I can give.

One student, Harold (that's not how it's spelled but it's how I pronounce it) is 49 years old, an old man in Zambian society, was having trouble reading the shop manual. He would move the book back and forward trying to focus, so I got a pair of beat up reading glasses out of my case. One of the nose pads were gone and the ear arms were bent out of shape. I was going to trash them and get another pair. I said "Try these Harold". He was so thankful! He said this is the best he has read in a long time. I said "Keep them they are yours". You should have seen the expression his face. I will never forget it!

The candy has been a big hit! When the students answer a question correctly I would give them one of the Tootsie Rolls. American candy is a big hit. On the way out tonight Harold said he has 7 kids "Have you got any sweets for them" I gave all of them candy for the kids on the way out. One guy, not married, said "Sir I have 4 kids at home and can I have sweets for them?" He had a big smile on his face when he asked.

I'm having a great time with this class. They are running me ragged and at the end of the day I'm very beat, along with a sore back and leg.

* Attached is a photo of the class.
* photo of Harold
* A hitch pin that keeps the rear of the truck attached to the front, I reported this to the management last Monday, still not fixed.
































Monday, June 8, 2009

Day 11

06/08/09
8:30 PM
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Today I arrived at the mine at 7:00 AM to start my second class. One of the trucks had been down on the fuel dock for about 12 hours but the mine technicians could not repair it. I then I was asked to help. I asked for a set of prints and a volt/ohm meter to trouble shoot the problem. This mine has a total of 3,000 people working here, about 40 mechanics in the truck shop. They had to go into the field and get a ohm/meter from the electrician, the prints could not be located and the hand tools could not be used until the other technician gets done with them. They say the mine is making money, but I do not know how. After waiting about an hour for the tools we found the fuel shut off solenoid was open. I then removed the holding spring out of the solenoid, started and moved the truck. I was told a new solenoid would take 21 days to receive. I said "Order it from the states and get it flown in on next day air". No response yet from the mine.

Around 9:00 AM I met my new students. There were eight total and all new hires, their first day on the job. They did not go through the safety training and were sent directly to me. They have a mechanical background, but have never been around mining equipment or Komatsu for that matter. Even with those disadvantages they seem to pick up on some of the information. We could not do the hands on training because their safety gear has not been issued. The biggest obstruction to making money, is the lack of committment in trying to make improvements from the management.

I was told last Friday the mines shop supervisors and senior technicians will be in this week's class. This did not happen! I cannot understand why they pay the money to have us over here and not USE US!!!! Oh well, I will do the best for the week and leave them to themselves.

The attached photos are of the water falls (ha,ha) we were told we just HAD to see.
The single photo is of Nick the Cat rep. He is 6 foot 8 inches tall weights 320 pounds. You should see him in the little shop trucks they run.




























Sunday, June 7, 2009

Day 10

9:30 PM
06/07/09

Not too busy of a day. I did get to go to a local water falls about 15 KM north of town. Again it was a rough dirt road and then we had to walk about a mile to the river to see a small rapids. I guess the locals have never seen a waterfall. It was good to get out. Came back to the motel and chilled out until 7:00 PM.

The operator trainer at the mine invited us over for a Indonesian meal. The company was all Indonesian, so it was hard to understand what they were saying, but they all spoke English. They gave us a spoon and a fork to eat with. The Indonesians use their hands, no utensils. They served chicken, rice, fish, fruit and vegetables. They have a hot sauces for the chicken, I like hot spicy foods but I met my match with that hot sauce. They really enjoy it they put it on everything. The chicken served was very skinny (not much meat) the fish that Jim had was not very good he said full of bones, no taste, but the watermelon was good. The Indonesians eat the rind and all. I got some strange looks when I through away the rinds. We had a good visit with one of the men had his 2 year old granddaughter. She was a doll! A very active girl, just like any two year old. Barry took a picture of me and her with his camera, I will send the picture when I get it.

I will write tomorrow about the second class.

The photo is of the local market place.

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Day 9 - Visiting the Animal Reserve

6/6/09
6:30 PM

I had the day off so we did a little sight seeing. We were told of a animal preserve about 100 KM (55 miles) away. The trip took about 2 hours back over the road from hell. Lots of pot holes! Barry, the guy from South Africa, drives very fast and swerves to avoid the pot holes. The speed limit is posted at 80 KMH he hits 120-150 KMH. All the locals walk alone side the roads and he came close to hitting a couple.
I shouted "watch out people are on the road".
Barry replied "They will move. One less Kafka is OK".
On the return trip Jim drove back the pot holes were still there but the speed was less.

We had a great day at the animal farm when we finally got there. We didn't get to see many animals in the wild, a few monkeys, but that was all. The farm was started 50 years ago when a couple took pity on an abused chimp from Congo. They got a trust grant from the government for 99 years. Which sets aside 3,000 SQ KM for the protection of abused animals. The Congo and other African countries has a high poaching business. they kill the chimps and made ash trays out of their hands. Disgusting! They take the animals in from all around the world and care for them. The farm has chimps, birds, monkeys, hippo's etc. At the farm office a small monkey that had his mother shot took to us. Climbing and jumping all around. He got into my pockets, untied my shoes, played in our hair and when we left the farm he jumped into the car with us and didn't want to get out. Great time! The chimps are free to roam at their will in a large, large wild area. It's surrounded by an electrical fence 15 foot high to keep them in. Some are quite smart. A few would get a large log, lay it across the fence, climb over the fence and escape. If they were left to roam wild the locals would kill them. One chimp took a stick forced it under the fence wedged it up with a rock and got out under the fence. This chimp has to be keep in a special cage and not released into the compound area. A "BOSS" chimp didn't like us around watching them. He picked up a large stone threw it at the fence and just missed hitting myself, the rock bounced off Barry and hit Jim in the side. I got a great video of it. Jim has a good size bruise on his side. The farm has signs posted warring of the chimps throwing stones. I believe it now! Jacob one of the care takers stated Nick (the thrower) "That's the one that breaks many windshields out".

Last night at the bar Barry, Jim and I were siting around discussing the mine and today's work. We were joined by a couple of more South Africans also working at the mine.
After they had to many beers Barry said "You do a good job of training but you should not be so nice to the Kafka's".
I asked "What do you mean"?
"These people have to know who is in charge and who is superior". he replied. "You damn Americans, the way you treat the blacks is making it harder on the rest of the world". (Kind of like what happened in Tanzania last year.)
I got a little hot! I looked him straight in the eye and told him "If you people would treat them civil maybe you can get the work out of them that you bitch about all the time!"
The rest of the men got quite until I quit staring him down. Nothing else was said on that subject the rest of the night. I do not understand why the South African whites think they are so much better that the rest of the world. Jim or I would be talking to someone else and they will just interrupt and starting talking about something different. Of course the drinking of the beer brought out his true feelings. As I've said "If you want to hear the truth ask a kid or a drunk." We had a great day and Barry keep the racial remarks to a minimum.


Attached are great pictures of the animal farm.
























Friday, June 5, 2009

Day 8

6/4/09
5:00 PM
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Finished up the first class. The students took the final test and did real well. They picked up the maintenance of these trucks very fast. Danny, the youngest student (19) said he had to work at 2300 tomorrow and then he could go home to Ndola about 150 miles away and see his family. I ask how many kids he has and he told me two; a 4 year old girl, and a 2 week old boy. I asked have you seen you new baby he said no that's why he wants to go home on Sunday. He got married at 14 and his wife was 12.

I was called to the maintenance office around 1500 and was told that the weekend training was off. This place is so unorganized I can't see how they make any money.
I asked "Do you have the number of students for next week"?
"You will have to wait till Monday" was the reply.
We spent most of the night trying to get a price for the extra training from the states, because the mine needed the price by 7:00 AM today. Lots of time was wasted. They did let us have a car so we are going to sight see some of the country. About 100 KM away is a park with a water falls and an animal reserve.

We dropped by a golf course and housing project the mine has set up for the X-pats to live. A great place to stay. The mine is building houses and people move as soon as they are finished. I was told for my next trip they will let me stay in one of the houses. I didn't know I was coming back!?

We stopped by the road side shop that we visited yesterday to buy some gifts. The man who did the carvings was very thankful for our trade. I guess the three of us spent K 300,000 sounds like a lot, it's less that $70 dollars. I was told that he average about $50 a month.

Check out the photos:
Early morning breakfast for the locals outside the motel wall.
Sunrise (around 5:30 AM).
RONHUT means control center.
Wood carving gifts I paid about $35.


Thursday, June 4, 2009

Day 7

Thursday 06/05/09 9:00 PM
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Today was a good day, but not much to report on. The mine had the two trucks hit head on last night. One driver was high on drugs, lucky the drivers were not hurt. I've been here for seven days total and the mine has wrecked trucks on four of those days. The Komatsu truck that was hit by the loader last night and is back in service. Today I had hands on training with the trucks and the students and they are really understanding the systems. I keep asking questions and they had the right answer. After I showed them something I ask them "A-CUM-WA" this is understand in Zambian. I asked them at the start of the class to teach me some of their language. Felix said I was the only white man that asks how to speak our language. It's a good ice breaker and puts people at ease. I had to repeat it for a couple of days before I go the right accent on the word (a hillbilly trying to speak Zambian sounds a little different than the locals). Tomorrow they are going to tell me what excellent is. I asked and they said that this word is not in their language but they will ask around for a word close to it.

One of the TV channels is Aljazeera (muslin TV) and I can see why the people are so against America. The Obama trip was the big story and every word and interview was anti-American.

The mine wants me to work the weekend and put on a condensed course. The supervisor said we should use me all they can while I am here. I said to myself, "If the training is so important to the mine why did I sit around on Monday? The mine had no students to send and nothing organized for the training".

We stopped by a road side shop and checked out the wood carvings that the man has done. There was some very talented and beautiful work. I did not have any Kwacha with me and told him I will be back. He said "You promise boss". Very cheap item in American dollars.

Talk again tomorrow.

photos are of the road side shops and a 15 foot high ant hill.











































Jim, Barry and I on hotel deck














School girls going home














Wednesday, June 3, 2009

More Pictures

This is how they transport the miners, a practice we quite 39 years ago. It's very unsafe as you can imagine.
















This how plugged the dust collectors are. They should be cleaned every shift; these have never been cleaned since they got the machine new six months ago.



Day 6

Day 6
9:45 PM 06/03/09
(click on pictures to enlarge)

I had a good day training today. The men are more relaxed around me and are asking lots of questions, all most too many. Most of the supervisors are South African and they yell at the men, call them names and will not give them any guidance on the jobs they assign to them. When the supervisors talk to me they tell me how stupid the Africans are. Why do people think this is the way to treat another human being???? The skill level of these students are much better than the group in Tanzania last year. All three have worked on heavy equipment in the past, they are all in their 20's, and very eager to learn about the trucks. The equipment at the mine is in poor,poor,poor along with poor maintenance conditions. The three Komatsu trucks are only 6 months old and are really beaten up. The condition is the same as most trucks 16 years old. I've pointed out many maintenance and safety items to them. All three expressed many thanks and stated no one has ever told them about these things. I think they may start changing.

I have been at the mine for three full days and they have had three damaged equipment property. Today one of the new Komatsu's was ran into by the loader and destroyed the grease injectors on the rear. I was talking to the shop foreman (from South Africa) he said the mine has 43 haul trucks. Today he has 24 of them down for maintenance repairs or equipment damage. The mine has given him only 4 mechanics to do the repairs, of course he says they are too stupid to do any repairs.

On the way back to the motel, we saw the spring bucks again. What a beautiful animal! When a car stops to look they seem to pose for them. We go to the mine around 6:30 AM, on the way we pass dozens of kids going to school all walking from Solwezi about 2 miles. They are dressed in clean uniforms, the boys have ties on and the girls all have matching dresses, and they are looking sharp. The people are very poor and still they dress their kids to go to school. What happened to the schools in America?

The red dust was blowing again today. I've got dust in ever pore of my body. I think I will have the dust with me forever. Talk again tomorrow.

Attached are pictures of the truck damage.
This truck ran into the back of another.

Along with a picture of the red dust blowing all the time













Day 5

Day 5
9:30 PM 06/02/09
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Finally, I got three students in the class. The ice was broken once they realized that I will not snap their heads off if they don't understand the first time I present the materials. They are eager to learn, but little understanding of the basics. I did get a truck to work on in the afternoon for hands on training. The weather is very hot, along with red thick dust blowing around and the African sun is brutal other than that things are great. I must have drank 3 gallons of water today. The students could not understand why I was sweating so much "IT'S WINTER TIME" they told me. I guess I am lucky the classes are not being held in the summer.

The equipment is very poorly maintained, not only Komatsu's, all of the equipment. When I showed the students some of the items what the on-board computers can do for them, they were total amazed what could be done. I hope what they learned will stick and they will use it.

On the way back to the hotel we came upon some Spring Deer. They are African antelope that can jump a 10 foot fences and run is short distances at 45 MPH. They have a beautiful set of horns.

Today I decided to get some local money for small store items instead of using the credit cards. I got $100.00 changed into Zambian Kwacha. The exchange rate is K 5,230.00 to 1 US dollar. It's a great feeling to have 500,000.00 bills in your pocket! A cheese burger, drink and fries cost K 45,000 ($8.60 US). I was told by the CAT representative to be sure to shake my shoes, clothing etc. at the start of the day. The bugs like to find warmer places to hide in the winter. When I grabbed a clean folded towel this morning a large black spider jumped out. I told the representative I was expecting a lot more insects at the motel. Compared to Tanzania, the bugs are not bad here. He said because most of the westerners stay at this hotel, so the mine sprays for insects twice a day.



Pictures of a Spring Deer.


Monday, June 1, 2009

Day 4 - First Day at the Mine...sorta

Day 4-- 06/01/09
9:30 PM
(click on images to enlarge)

First day at the mine A DAY OF FRUSTRATION! We had to be at the mine at 7:00 AM for site safety training. The training class was to start at 8:00 AM. We could not find the training manuals that were shipped a month earlier. Started tracking the FEDEX number and after a hour found they were delivered to the mine, but could not locate the man who signed for them. He is the training manager for maintenance that set up this training. One would think the guy who set up the training 4 months ago and paid the money to Komatsu ($40,000) would be around to see the training gets set up correctly. I got the classroom set up and decided we would get the students in class after lunch. That didn't happen. I then checked with maintenance, they said no one told them about the training. Then I wen to talk to the regional manager who was on his semi-annual visit (from England) he got the people in charge, chewed them out and said to get the training organized. I was told I would have six students tomorrow. The place is very disorganized but people preach good safety practices. However I saw people in the shop wearing soft shoes, no hard hats, no safety glasses, and no safety vest. Mechanics were working under running trucks, operators in the cab, and using no wheel chocks. People stand around in groups of 3 or 4 waiting for someone to tell them what to do.

The mechanics (15 on day shift) work out of one tool box. If they work on a truck they take only one tool at a time to do the job. If one mechanic has a tool needed by another mechanic, the job just stops. The mine has had an average of 10 equipment accidents per month, with some injuries quite bad.

I am with a Komatsu mechanic from South Africa who has been with the trucks for about 4 months. The power windows of these truck are burning up the motors (8 total at $1,000 each). When one would burn up they just put a new one in and would last a month or so and burn up also. I asked him what is being done, the electrician supervisor for the mine (also from South Africa), a total CAT man said the Komatsu were a bunch of ---- and totally STUFFED!

These trucks have 12 volt window motors, the power is received by center taping two of the batteries. When this electrician hooked them up he hooked the wire to 24 volt instead of 12 volts like the schematics told him to do. I showed him and the Komatsu mechanic the problem, the mine electrician was very P.O.'d and the Komatsu hand went to the manger and took total credit for finding the problems. Oh well that's OK.

Going to and from the mine, we pass lots of people walking the roads; kids going to school in the morning dressed in their uniforms; groups of men standing around while the women are doing all the work. Hopefully we wil be able to start training tomorrow and have a better day.

Pictures of the motel
































The electric fence around the motel
















A Zambian ant hill
















Flowers outside my room

Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 3

Day---3 5/31/09
9:00 PM
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Flew from Johannesburg to Nbola Zambia about a 3.5 hour flight. Had a great conversation with a Zambian about his country. He runs his own business buying and selling parts to the mines. Sounds like he is doing well.

The mine had sent a young driver (19-20) to take us to Solwezi, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) away. The speed limit is 80 KMH, being a young man he drove 120-130 KMH. The road out of Nbola was a good 4 lane highway and the kid was doing good. Then road turned into a good 2 lane highway, some people walk and some have bicycles, very few personal autos. The gas price is K 5,272.00 / liter (about $4.50 / gal.) The average wage is about $55.00 / month. All through the trip people were walking on the road the driver didn't slow down all the time, quite scary .Then the road turned to a not so good road with lots of chuck holes. Then to a road with nothing but pot holes; a road from hell the driver still didn't slow down. He was listing to a radio station that was playing RAP (my least favorite) to hear RAP in Zambian made it much worst. The road turned to dirt with pot holes and now thick chocking red dust. The trip took about 4.5 hours. We dropped our luggage off at the motel the Royal Solwezi, (not quite as advertised on the net but better than a Tanzanian tent with no facilities) went to the mine another 10 KM meet the mine managers and got set up for start of classes tomorrow. Went back to the motel for drinks, meet the CAT mechanic supervisor. Had a great conversation about the skill level of the technicians. Sounds like Tanzania all over again. Will let you know how the first day of training went.


Pictures of houses on the road to Solwezi. No water,plumbing or electricity. Unlike Tanzania they have a community well to get water.




Day 2

Day 2--5/30/09
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Jim had a room mate in collage from South Africa he had not seen for 25 years. They both played on the Quincy ILL. college soccer team and were good friends but lost contact with each other after school. Jim called and his friend (Eddie Oliver) and Eddie invited us over for the day.

Eddie has two sons (6 & 9) and his youngest (Richard) was having a soccer match at 1:00PM, so Eddie picked us up at the hotel and we had a ball. Watching those little guys run their hearts out and kicking the soccer ball was a real treat. I wished the school had soccer where Tiff and Nicole were going. I thing both of them would enjoy playing. Richard's team won 3 to 1. Thomas the 9 year old changled me to a match. I was the goalie and I had to stop his kicks. I think he got 25 out of 30 balls pass me.

After the match we went to Eddie's house for a bry (cook out). He had his parents, sister and friends over to watch South Africa play New Zealand for the finals (on the same scale as the Super Bowl) for rugby. The people really get into the game. It was being played in a suburbs of Johannesburg, the stadium was full (110,000) according to Eddie. South Africa killed New Zealand 52-13. I enjoyed talking to his friends and relatives and I asked if this a special occasion. They said no they get together about once a month to have dinner and relax. The security risk going down town after dark in South Africa is high, so they go to each others houses. Eddie's house is in a gated sub division with gate guards. He has a strong steel gate into his house and high walls. Some of his neighbors have 30,000 volt electric fences or razor wire on top of their walls. Linda (Eddie's wife) and his sons were mugged by 3 men armed with machine guns last week when they were shopping. Richard has been having nightmares ever since, they are sending him and Thomas to crisis management. Eddie's father (73) and I had a long talk about problems in general. Last year all South Africans had to turn any guns into the government and a private citizen can not own a gun, he told me he did not turn his in "What are they going to do to a 73 year old man?" He said. "Only the crooks have guns now and can do what the did to Linda and the boys in broad day light". Don't you let that ----- president of yours take your guns. We finished off the day with BI DAUNK A (thank you very much).

I'll fly to Indola Zambia (3-4 hour flight) and drive 4-5 hours to Solwezi tomorrow. The Internet is not working at the hotel so I will send this out first chance I get.

















This the family I spend the day with. We are at their youngest son ,Richard soccer match.
Left to Right :
Jim Sandercock (the other trainer), Eddie, Thomas, Richard, and Linda Oliver. Linda is a runner and has had a hip replacement. They all asked me several times if I need a coat. The temperature here is 23C (46F). Of course I drove all of them nuts thru out the day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 1 - a side note

PS - I just found out the exchange rate is $1=7.97 South African Rand so the steak dinner is a good deal for room service ($31.00) + Tip.

The guy that took me to my room and carried the luggage I gave him a $5.00 tip, that's 40 Rand I think he saying to himself "rich fat American" he was smiling a lot when he left.

Later.

Day 1

5/28/09 9:00 PM
(1:00 PM Utah time)

Total of 20 hours of flight time. The flights were great! I got upgraded from Salt Lake to Atlanta. Nicole got me exit row seats from Atlanta to Johannesburg South Africa. It was great to have the leg room (thanks Bear). I am traveling with an operator trainer (Jim Sandercock) this go around, so the trip should be a little different that the Tanzanian adventure. I can't believe it's been a full year. The motel room in Johannesburg is a 5 star (American) rating. Too bad Eve couldn't come on this trip she would love this place! Still you either have to drink bottle water or wine, the tap water is not good for the body. Lots of bottled water and wine in the room. The diet cokes are the same taste as Australia aka very little taste.

On the flights I got only 20-30 minute cat naps, so when I got into the room I called home and crashed. Woke up too late to go to the restaurant, so I ordered room service. Had a great steak dinner it cost 250 Rand. I don't know what the exchange rates are. It's going to either be a great deal or the most expensive steak of my life. Hopefully I will get over the jet lag and do a city tour tomorrow and get some pictures.

The international soccer finals are going to be played here on the 14th. Jim and his sons are big soccer fans, so he is going to stay a couple more days and go on a hunting safari and try to get into the games. The clerk said the stadium holds 25,000 people. The town is expecting 100,000-200,000 people just for the games. GOOD LUCK getting in Jim.

The TV is the same as in Australia 16 channels: 12 dedicated to sports, 2 to the news, 1 local information, and 1 classic movie channel (I am watching Speed). It looks like this trip will be more luxurious than last years trip (I guess that will be OK). Of course Zambia is a lot more backwards than South Africa.

Talk to you tommorrow.

Zambia: The Next Adventure

Just like I did for my father when he went to Tanzania last year, I've set up a blog for his next big African adventure...Zambia!

I hope that you enjoy the daily updates that he'll send us, but I ask for the next 3 weeks you keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he is in a very dangerous part of the world.