About Me

I ramble about a number of things - but travel experiences, movies and music feature prominently. See my label cloud for a better idea. All comnments and opinions on this blog are my own, and do not in any way reflect the opinions/position of my employer (past/current/future).

29 February 2008

Credit Catch 22

Having been out of the country for over 6 months has had some interesting side effects. One of that being a non existent credit rating, which has made some things very tricky.

The first, which was a major surprise, and a sign of things to come, was opening a new bank account. After my troubles with Standard Bank in Germany (see here), and further troubles while I was in Brazil; I decided to change banks. After getting all the necessary documents in order, I was quite surprised that ABSA (which had the best package in terms of fees and services) were somewhat reluctant to open the account of my choice, given my non-existent credit rating. However, sanity somewhat prevailed (after the sales rep, who has been most helpful - a very pleasant change to Standard Bank, and FNB for that matter), and I have been assured that everything will be up and running on Monday morning.

The second, of more immediate concern, was trying to set up a cell phone contract. My new job provides a sizable cell phone allowance, and I know quite well that I will be using that allowance, and probably more. And, while I admittedly left it quite late in trying to get a contract sorted out (I was hoping to sort out the banking issue first), getting a business cell phone contract has, so far, been impossible. It seems, that because I have no debts, I am not to be trusted with a business cell phone contract. Hopefully, I can get more time to reason with the sales staff (more importantly, the people who approve of the contracts), and get this sorted.

It seems to have a good credit rating, you must first be in debt. Surely that is a bit counter intuitive - a person who can prove that they can pay their debts should have a better credit rating than a person who can prove that they have debts?

27 February 2008

Next Trip

So after my South American trip, I am already thinking of my next holiday :p It will not be a long trip (maximum 3 weeks), and I have a number of ideas. While traveling alone does have its advantages, some of the ideas I am interested in would be far better in groups, so if I can get a group for any of the ideas, I would be happy to do the organising!

1: Carnaval 2009

Carnaval in Salvador was definitely the best party I have ever been to, and very much lived up to the hype. I am keen to go again, although not necessarily to Salvador (Olinda/Recife and Rio De Janeiro are the obvious alternatives). However, for this trip, I would be only keen if there are 3 (or more) other interested people. This is also a very expensive trip (easily 1 000 Euros for about 12 days); so I think that would be a big constraint for most people.

2: Road Trip to Namibia

This is a trip Jay and I planned (though not in great detail) about 18 months ago. Starting and finishing in Cape Town, it is a 2 - 3 week trip going through, amongst other places both the Fish River Canyon and Etosha Pans. Cost wise, it depends on the number of people and the petrol price; but Jay and I planned it mostly as a camping trip to keep the costs low.

3: Egypt

I went on a very short family holiday to Egypt - just to Cairo and Alexandria. I would like to go back, and spend a lot longer; especially in the south, to Luxor and then also the Middle Kingdom.

4: Jordan and Turkey

Petra - that is why I want to visit Jordan. Apart from that and the major cities, I am not sure, given the extensive security problems in the area, whether Jordan can really be explored in much detail. Thus the addition of Turkey to the itinerary, although, the limited time would mean just one or two cities in Turkey.

5: Ethiopia

Rudy has raved about it. I have wanted to go ever since I seeing a documentary on the ruins of early Christian churches some years back. The country is the advertisement of all Africa's misfortunes, but it is also the seat of the AU, supposedly the future of Africa. That alone makes it a reason to go.

6: Senegal and Mali

They are probably the most stable countries in West Africa, and their music is great! And, I have always wanted to go to Timbuktu.

7: Oman and Yemen

Possibly the most expensive places to travel in the Gulf, but it is also, possibly the most authentic. I have been to Oman before, and would like to go back. Although, I hear that getting in as a tourist is a lot more difficult.

8: Iran

I would really like to travel to one of the points on the axis of evil - it is after all one of the oldest inhabited places on earth. I have met a few travelers on my recent trip who have been to Iran, and they have all raved about it.

9: Trans Siberian Railroad

I met Dutch couple in Rio (and subsequently met up again in Sao Paulo) Lourens and Leonie, who gave me an interesting expansion to the normal long trek from Moscow to Vladivostok or Beijing: do a pre-aranged stop over tour, where you stop over at various towns along the way and stay with the locals. Lourens (who has travelled to an amazing number of countries) has done the trip 3 times, and insists it only makes sense to do the trip in winter.

I love trains, and I have always wanted to do the trip - but this is an expensive trip, thus the last of my current options.