Travels: Late 2003 & Early 2004



1-Taxi rank

2-Vendor at taxi

3-PC office in Pretoria

4-Jacaranda

I took the first two photos while waiting for my “taxi” to fill in Taung. Vendors walk up and down the rows selling food (raisins, ice cream, fruit, biscuits, candy etc.) and goods (belts, cell phone cases, scouring pads, dish towels, jewelry, . . .). The taxi’s are Toyota or VW type busses which don’t travel until full: 4 in back seat, 3 in each of 3 additional rows and 2 in front with the driver. Often there is an additional rider who is the driver’s helper – opens & closes doors, collects money from passengers, helps with groceries & luggage – which ranges from 75lb sacks of maize meal (corn) or flour to big wash tubs to brooms to blankets (haven’t seen live chickens as I did in Central America). Usually there are also babies held by mothers & children under 5 who don’t count as passengers, ride on laps, but do use up air space. I try for a seat by a window that opens if I have a choice. Away from the village taxi ranks, one stands by the road and points the direction she wants to go when she sees a taxi approaching. For really long rides I sometimes opt to pay twice as much for a seat on the InterCape Bus which is much more comfortable and runs on schedule.

The next photo is me in front of the Peace Corps office in Pretoria with Terri & Ric, good friends that stay in a village about an hour away from me (couple from DC). Have to go to Pretoria occasionally for official business or special medical problems. A six hour ride… once the taxi fills… last time I waited at the rank 4 hours before the 15 seats were filled.Trees along Pretoria streets were glorious!

Next is Terri & Ric with their neighborhood children and an outstanding sunset! At Thanksgiving (not celebrated here of course) a bunch of us were able to get together to housesit at the home of some folks that live about a mile from me and you can see the contrast to terrain in photos of my home – landscaping & very typical upscale American type home furnishings & amenities. These are British South Africans that have large farm land and own a grocery store in town of Hartswater, south of me. There are extreme, obvious contrasts throughout the country which can mostly be identified as lines between black & white populations. The very small minority of whites have the vast majority of the wealth/land/big businesses.


5-Terri and Ric

6-PCV Thanksgiving

7-Nice Lawn...

8-...and pool

9-...and trampoline

10-Workout!

11-Hi kicks

12-Dance troop

I was very fortunate to have friends come for two great vacations for me! I am including only a tickle of photos and tales as there is too much to include here.

Pictures 10 to 25 are a series from a trip down the east coast with my friend Trudie who came over for a couple of weeks at Christmas. We rented a car and went from Johannesburg to St. Lucia then hopped down the coast to Cape Town before flying back to Johannesburg. A high school group of dancers earning money for school fees, a drive through a game park – highlight was coming upon a lioness just after she killed an impala.


13-The provider

14-Regal

15-Buddies

16-Water buffalo

17-Up the Touw

18-Nice falls

19-Mossel Bay from Train

20-Sleeping quarters

Morning canoe trip up a river to pretty waterfall, night on an old train with beautiful beach view/access. Multitude of penguins. Beautiful Cape Point where waters of the Indian & Atlantic Oceans mingle.


21-Indian Ocean

22-Penguins

23-Cape of Good Hope

24-Cape Point from lighthouse

25-A long way to home

26-Table Mountain with cloud

27-Trudie and our trusty steed

28-Impala at lodge
Beginning at 28 are just a few shots from a trip with friends Kris & Alda at the end of March. They very generously invited me to join them for a week in a time share by Kruger National Park. This is in the Mpumalanga area where I originally thought I was going to be living (Peace Corps sent everyone in my group the wrong packets). There was beautiful deep green land and elevation variations and road signs for fly fishing every 100 yards… well that’s an exaggeration but they were often enough to have me itching. The lodge was beautiful – impala grazing on the golf course & a river running through it and I got to shower every day! Panoramic drive with stop at delightful brew pub and areas reminiscent of the Grand Canyon. We found beautiful animals on treks into the park and to a couple of wonderful animal rehab places.

29-Waterfalls

30-Potholes

31-Elephant

32-Giraffe

33-Cheetah

34-Eagle

35-Alda going to the birds