Saturday, November 17, 2018

South Africa Day 10

It was not a too early day, and the day mostly involved travel. Our coach took us to George Airport where we took a domestic flight to Johannesburg. The camera had a bit of a rest. Another coach collected us from the airport with a new driver and we set off for the destination for the night at Nelspruit, striking distance of Kruger Park. We stopped off for a break at Alzu Petroport, which was really good and had a bit of wildlife happening down below in the fenced land.

As there isn't much to see for today journey, let me tell you about tipping in South Africa. Yes, it is a tipping country, and Australians hate having to tip. At the top of our voices we want to yell, pay your workers proper wages and get rid of this tipping nonsense. At home, we do tip a little, but it is not expected. If your bill for a meal is $38, you will probably just leave the change from $40. Pizza delivery people don't get paid very well, just the bare minimum, so we usually tip a couple of dollars. We usually do round up taxi fares to the $5 or $10 mark. They are paid very badly as they are never employees but self employed. I have given a big tip at times in Australia when someone really did something special for me, or us.

R always wants to do the right thing about tipping when in a foreign country and was quite happy to press the 15% tip button on the credit card machine in Canada and the US. But we argue about tipping. I will tip when I have to but on my own terms. Ok, I am not doing in Rome what I should, but I don't care. So my tips are lower than R's. I thought I had shot this matter in the foot by doing separate tips for our two different coach drivers and our tour guide. The first coach driver was a bit friendly and a competent driver, although there were things about his driving that I did not like. I think I tipped him $20. The second driver, as I recall, was a first class driver, but not at all friendly. He was with us for half the time and so I tipped him $10. Our tour guide had indicated what level to tip the drivers, and with plenty of self interest, that was how people worked out the tip for him too. I can't remember the figure now, perhaps it was $40 a day. Maybe these figures are wrong as I can't remember now, but our tour guide certainly did not receive a $40 per day tip from me. Perhaps more like $10 per day. I know R would have tipped the full amount and I did not shoot tipping in the foot, as R kept asking me how much I had tipped.

I am afraid to service staff and local guides in South Africa, our tipping was very ad hoc.

Here are a few photos from day ten.

The hotel in George was pretty nice. It had a large fountain with koi.



Our plane from George to J'burg (I am sick of trying to spell that word) was a rather bilious colour, but certainly stood out among the crowd. My fears of it not being a proper plane were unfounded, although the seats were not at all comfortable. R's suitcase had baggage from other passengers as the luggage limit was only 20kg whereas all had arrived in Africa with a 30kg limit. One of the Irish lasses managed to turn herself out glamorously every day, including shoes. How she kept within the limit, I do not know. Perhaps her clothing was light weight. Actually, yes it was.


At our lunch break, buffalo did what they do in the middle of the day.


There were ostrich too but I spied this foreign critter. Why is an Australian emu in a South African animal park? I informed my fellow travellers about this foreign type in our midst and they too were surprised. Seems we export more than just gum trees to the world.


The hotel in Nelspruit was nice, in the public areas.


The grounds were nice too. I saw bunny rabbits and peacocks,  but it was a very steep hill walk down to our accommodation. Well the problem was more going up. For the second time we paid porters to carry our luggage.


Our room was rather ordinary, but there was worse to come the next night, where we stayed for three nights.


We must have arrived quite early at the hotel and we were feeling quite relaxed. We had a nice buffet dinner; we had many buffet dinners and breakfasts, and a few drinks while chatting to our travelling companions. I decided I should take out the SA SIM card from phone and put in my Australian SIM to check for messages or missed calls. I was terribly careful with the tiny cards. I will die without the internet and my phone. Job done. I had found a special place in my backpack to store my Aussie SIM with my SA SIM details. Next morning on the coach when I remembered about me checking local Aussie phone stuff, my Aussie SIM was not where it should be in my backpack. I entered a world of pain for the day. I had put on a clean shirt in the morning and R assured me it would be in old shirt pocket. I worked through things in my mind. Well, I still have phone numbers within my phone storage. I still have text messages. Google does some back up thing with my phone. It will be inconvenient once back home to get a new card, but not the end of the world. How could I have been so stupid to get carried away with the niceness of the evening and totally forget about what I had been doing with my SIM card.

When our luggage was available that night, of course the SIM was in my dirty shirt pocket in my case. But it should have been where it belonged in backpack. No one is more critical of me than I am and believe me, I gave myself a good and hard telling off. 

24 comments:

  1. I have travelled with a few Aussies who had no idea about tipping especially in third world countries where many workers depend on their tips to make ends meet. I need someone like you to sort out my phone and Sim card whilst abroad. I am always worried I will rack up an enormous bill. I usually turn my phone off and hope my hotel will have wi fi and I can use Whatsapp!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Marie, perhaps we Aussies choose to have no idea about tipping when travelling. We are well known around the world as being problematic when it comes to tipping. While a high tipping fee was added each day when we cruised the Mediterranean, on the same ship when it cruises using Australian ports, there is no tipping fee added.

      Delete
  2. I am with you on the tipping front. Unsurprisingly.
    Who knew we export emus as well as the eucalypts. I expect they thrive there too.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. EC, yes, similar climate. Similar vegetation. They would be quite happy there.

      Delete
  3. Awesome that you've made it to J'burg, the only place I've visited. Looking forward to your posts.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. James, from what I understand before and after our visit, J'burg was not a place to hang around.

      Delete
  4. Tipping has been something that has actually changed for me over the 30+ years I have been traveling with Jack. Way back I always tipped with American dollars and left a few at a time if I was happy. Back before the fall of the Berlin Wall and the Euro, American dollars were worth something in most all of Europe. Well, all but the UK.
    Now I try to leave a good amount overseas, and here if the waitstaff has done a good job I leave 25%. Our waitstaff are not paid a lot and so tipping is really needed for people who are "working for a living" the hard way.
    Although yesterday we had a waitress who was just plain rude. Told hubby to leave 10%! I know, I am a mean woman!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Maribeth, 25%! That is a quarter of the bill. Yes, it part of people's pay there, but should it be?

      Delete
  5. Well our weather is simular so I would say the emu feel at home there but maybe would like a friend to talk about old times to.
    Tipping is something I never think of so I guess they think I'm mean .
    Merle........

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Merle, yes, perhaps the emu gets bored with ostrich talk. Don't worry, people do know about Australians and their bad tipping.

      Delete
  6. I wouldn't be into tipping unless I really had to.
    When you visit another country you are supposed to live by their rules, pity the same wasn't always done when people come to Australia..

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Margaret, it is a hard for us understand the tipping culture, but in many countries it is just part of people's pay and basic manners to tip. I get your point about people coming to Australia.

      Delete
  7. Having lived in South Africa and Portugal I know all about tipping, as unfortunately people aren't paid enough and rely on tips to supplement their income, but I don't tend to tip on percentages but according to the "good" service rendered. In Australia I also round up taxi fares and leave tips to wait staff in restaurants if they are nice. Hope the driver didn't expect a $40 a day tip from each person, a bit excessive specially in South Africa where wages are so much lower than Australia.
    It's annoying to have one weight limit for international luggage and then if you have to catch a domestic flight it's much lower. I'm going to try out just taking 7kg hand luggage on my next trip to the Philippines. Didn't know that airline but you can't miss the plane for sure!
    Glad you find your sim card Andrew, once I took my son and daughter in law to the airport and kept their house/car keys just in case they were needed, and when they returned I couldn't remember where I had safely stored them. After searching 8 or 9 drawers in my bedroom I finally found them!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Sami, yes, $40 per person or per couple perhaps was what was suggested, and of course that was then the indicator as to what our guide should be tipped. I thought it was excessive and I certainly did not tip that much. I think the airline must be quite new. I can't see how a woman could travel with just 7kg of luggage. Surely even men would struggle with that amount. Oh yes, the safe place to put something, when it would often be better to let it lie around until you had given some thought to where to put it.

      Delete
  8. My attitude towards tipping is that I don't like carrying loads of worthless brown shrapnel in my pocket, and if someone wants it, I'm perfectly happy for them to have it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Cro, I know a euro is silver, so you are not talking about much money when you talk about brown coins.

      Delete
  9. Like you, I give myself a good telling off when I fail to put something where it belongs.
    I don't agree with tipping, but in countries where service people rely on it, it must be done. I would take more notice of the service though, and if I thought a person didn't warrant the full tip amount I would give less. For instance in America where wait staff constantly hover or return to ask if everything is ok, is there anything more I can do for you etc, I find that extremely annoying and wouldn't leave any tip.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. River, yes, it must be done. But surely we can do it a bit on our own terms, with our own values in mind. The cloying service in the US is annoying and even happens here at times.

      Delete
  10. The emu and ostrich seem very similar, don't they? And they seem to thrive in the same type of hot and dry climate.

    In fact South Africans and Australians are altogether quite similar.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hels, that seems a bit loaded. Naughtily perhaps I suggest we are a bit like South Africans but a little bit more refined.

      Delete
  11. We really are lucky here in Oz re the tipping thing, it can be pretty awkward when not used to it. Most people use the J'burg abbreviation ☺ sounds like you had good and sometimes fairly ordinary accommodation along the way. Enjoying your trip so much Andrew, especially as I don't have to get on any pukey green planes 😀

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Lol Grace. Isn't it just a revolting colour. Thanks.

      Delete
  12. I only tip when I am in a country where the tip is part of the salary which they get. In Egypt it is so low, that you want to tip them. Here in Europe nothing, because it is included in the bill. Of course they don't say it to tourists ! Some waiters here get so much tip as my monthly pension or more !

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Gattina, I think your style of tipping is good.

      Delete