Monday morning Katie and I registered our new address and new car at the city building. After we grabbed a great breakfast at the Remarque hotel. Katie dropped me off at the main train station where I took the train to Dusseldorf airport. The train ride was nice and was pretty quick with only one transfer in Duisburg. I arrived at the airport and after a quick check-in I went to the Emirates lounge for some snacks and free internet. Afterwards, I headed down to the gate where I found the flight was going to be delayed about 20 minutes due to a security sweep that had to be redone on the plane we were to board. The flight to Dubai was relatively fast with good food and super comfortable seats (ones that lay completely flat with a huge TV screen). Landing in Dubai at night was really cool but the takeoff was even better since the pilot flew us around the Burj Khalifa (worlds tallest building I believe that was in the latest Mission Impossible movie). Dubai airport was really nice with a lot of high dollar shopping areas. Grabbed a shower, food and some beers in the lounge and worked a little while waiting for my next flight (4.5 hours later). I even got to talk to Katie via Skype which made it a lot better. On the way to the gate I stopped by the Starbucks to see if they had any gift cards that I could get for Marcel, my brother-in-law, since he collects them. Unfortunately they did not have any.
The flight to Johannesburg was also rather quick since I was able to sleep most of the time. Upon landing I cleared customs quickly (had to stand in front of a thermal scanner to ensure I did not have yellow fever). My boss’s flight landed about 10 minutes after mine (even though he left Germany about 5 hours later but booked earlier so he got a better flight via Air France). We picked up the rental car and headed on our way to the Green Haven Guest House in North Pretoria. The weather is great down here and it feels like a land based St. Thomas (similar foliage, weather/humidity, driving on the left side of the road, etc.)
The Green Haven Guest House is a great place to stay with awesome staff that really make you feel at home. Four huge German Shephards guard the house all day long but are super friendly when approached slowly (I was told that running around the hotel would probably not be the best idea). An armed guard out front also helped to feel very safe (even though at no point have we felt unsafe).
After a quick shower and getting our things together, Henning and I headed to the ZF Rosslyn plant. We worked there for the rest of the day on project topics and then headed back to the hotel. We dropped off our things and headed back to Pretoria where we drove around a bit (Henning was a great tour guide since he has been here a couple times) and visited the Union Buildings which have a great view of the city. Afterwards we headed to downtown Pretoria and grabbed some food.
Wednesday was filled with more project work at the ZF plant and afterwards we headed to the Voortrekker monument (http://www.voortrekkermon.org.za/). Unfortunately it was closed but we got to see it from the gate. A great monument to the Voortrekker (Dutch) colonists.
Today we got up early and flew down to Port Elizabeth.