Tuesday, July 28, 2009

I NEED some HELP!

July 31, 2009 4 pm CST

I am home and I have collected Axel from the Veterinary Hospital. Other than a huge incision and at least 1/2 of his coat shaved for various reasons... He was as happy to see me as I was to see him.

I will try and post a picture and then catch up the end of my ZA adventure.

Axel and I both thank you for all your prayes, good wishes and strong light, it WORKED!

More Later-

Beth


UPDATE:

Tuesday afternoon, Axel had an emergency Spleen-ectomy. The Interist, saw that his spleen had twisted and cutting off blood supplies.

I haven't had an update yet, it's 2 am there, but it is a 24 hr facility, so I am planning to call and see how he is.

Thanks for all the prayers and good wishes. He's not out of the woods yet, but I believe we have turned the corner.

More later.

Beth


Dear Friends,


I had planned to recount my visit to Hluhluwe-Imfolozi Game Park and the St. Lucia Estuary and Hippo/Crocodile Park from last weekend, and I may at some point in the future.

However, last night, (here), yesterday afternoon in Chicago, I got a call from my Veterinarians office. My dog, Axel,

Axel July 2007

is ill, seriously ill and has been transferred to an emergency hospital for round the clock care. Needless to say I am terribly upset and barely holding it together. These are going to be the longest 4 days of my life. I can’t change my tickets home and too many things would have to be changed to get me home.

So, please if you are inclined to request assistance from above, Axel can certainly use the help and strength.



Thanks in Advance- Beth

Monday, July 27, 2009

Another Week in Town

Monday I prowled the beach and played with the weekend photos. I had my short lens on in preparation for taking some pictures of the mosaics on the Pier. Not today, they were shooting a movie or commercial on the pier, I didn’t ask, and the placards on the cars said something about Kingdom Entertainment. Pier Movie I also took a photo of the building I have been staying in. It is a 22 story Apartment building, Condo Building (no not staying at the top), and they are building a replica tower. I have been watching the process and have been amazed at some of the practices that have been used to do some of the tasks. Here is picture of pouring concrete! pouring concrete Concrete is brought in by crane, slowly dropped to conveyor, which is then sent to the structure, where it is either distributed by barrow or shovel. No concrete pumping trucks here! Uploading to Flickr and adding to blog, which on the slow Internet here…. takes a long time. I also did some laundry and grocery shopping; you know regular mundane daily tasks.

Tuesday, I had offered to help Brenda make a Caftan type top. Her last experience with making a garment from a pattern was very similar to most of us that took “Home Ec” with an exacting perfectionist instructor. YOU hated the piece and sewing!!! I suggested that she cut it out ahead of time and we would begin sewing it together. We got the bodice in place and the shoulders done before I left. During the day we stopped long enough to take her dog Lou, out for a walk and have lunch. I am going to have to remember her tuna salad; it had cheese, spiral noodles and green olives in it. Very tasty!!!

On Wednesday I met Brenda and her neighbor Verna on the Promenade for a walk. Verna has 2 Yorkies and Brenda has a Shar Pei. We walked the Promenade and stopped at one of the outdoor restaurants for a drink, (people and dogs) and then walked back along the beach. I left them on their end and walked back. On the walk back I spotted a Cormorant Cormorant trying to take a nap on the rocks, but the crashing incoming tide kept waking him up. With the incoming tide the crabs were looking for high ground too. Then I spotted a Kingfisher, looking for lunch. Kingfisher rocks I got a couple of good shots of him too. And as usual the waves.... High Tide and stash Stash

Thursday was back at Brenda’s to finish her top. I forgot to take my camera…. Darn. She will be adding some embellishments to the bodice, but for all intents and purposes her top is done. I had fun helping her with this project and I let Brenda do all the work. I showed her how or what to do, but let her do it all. Not perfect, but I think she will make a few more things NOW and continue to learn and improve her techniques! As I told her this one is not perfect, but she can do like we all did, learn and improve as you go. For my assistance Brenda rewarded me with a fantastic Zebra x-stitch Bookmark and a small x-stitch Quilt Block, and since she paints too, a small landscape featuring the Umhlanga Rocks Lighthouse. I am sooooo lucky! I am already using the bookmark; I’m reading “The Appeal”, by Grisham. I am hoping it lasts until I get home, but probably not.

Today, (Friday), I am preparing for our weekend trip to Hluhluwe (Shish louie) Game Reserve Hluhluwe-Umflolzi Game Park and St Lucia Estuary Boat Tour St. Lucia Estuary Tours . Brenda and her husband Carl will be joining us. Carl and my DH have been to Hluhluwe, but Brenda and I have not! We are both so looking forward to the trip. It’s about 3 hours from Durban, so we will have a bit of a car ride and opportunity to see more of the countryside.

Yesterday and today the weather is a bit cloudy and very blustery. Huge whitecaps on the sea and the winds were really stirring up the dust on land. We did see about 3 rain drops too. Brenda lives on the 11th floor facing a very long stretch of sand and sea. So for some entertainment while we waited for lunch to arrive, (we ordered in) we watched a couple kite surfers sail up the coast.

More Later!!!

Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Up Up and Away

OK my last up date was on Wednesday of last week… and I have been a little busy… with the camera of course. During the weekdays I am on my own as the DH has to work. Besides walks on the beach, along the promenade or in the village I don’t do too many things during the week. There are some American ladies here, who either work for or whose husbands work in association with the US Government also. So, whenever they have to go out shopping they invite me along. I went out twice since Wednesday (Thursday and Friday) morning. Neither expedition was particularly enlightening and my wallet did not suffer in the least. Well I did buy some food and wine from the grocery stores, but that was the extent of my shopping. I cooked dinner twice last week and I baked some ‘blondies’. Cooking has been an interesting adventure… First of all- the only measuring device in the condo is a really awful measuring cup in metric. That wouldn’t be too bad except in grade school when they tried to tell us that the US would be converting soon to metric…. “I said nu uh… we like it the way it is”. I was right, but I should have paid more attention. Aside from the one really bad measuring cup, there isn’t any other measuring device, so it was more of a guess by volume… than by absolute measurements. I like eating out much better. I did buy a set of measuring cups and spoons at the grocery, and guess what -they are US measurements!!!! So DH can cook without conversions now. The blondies were nice, but their idea of chocolate and mine are nowhere near the same… I will be shipping DH several pounds of Chocolate Chips when I get home!!!

On Saturday we visited the Durban Botanical Garden http://www.durbanbotanicgardens.org.za. What a neat place. It is open to the public and free, and the public is encouraged to spend time there, picnics, parties, weddings, etc. They also sponsor several music events too. There were many families and groups in the park. Since it is the middle of winter here, not too much was in bloom, but I did manage to find a couple of interesting items. One of the more interesting places was the Orchid House. Where there were about 30 different orchids growing or blooming, and many of them are native to the African Continent. ZA OrchidsAnother interesting plant is the Bromeliad and of course the hibiscus. There are many neat birds that live there, I managed to capture a couple of birds in digital too, and interestingly enough one of them is a sparrow! Simple Sparrow ZA We stopped for coffee and scones at the tea house, where there were several Ibis and cats wandering among the tables and the cats avoided the birds.

Our next stop was to the Umgeni River Bird Park http://www.umgeniriverbirdpark.co.za. Africa has some really colorful birds and lots of parrots, the smaller ones, not the huge macaws or cockatoos. One bird that was eye catching was a Peacock feathered Pheasant. Peacock Phesant feather In one area, lots of the little parrots were free flight and one thought DH looked particularly tasty. I always said he had a bird brain.Bird Brain It was so shady in this park it was difficult to take some pictures. But I did get a few birds. This park is going to close soon, and a casino bought all the birds, so I guess they will become casino d├ęcor.

After lunch we made a trip over to the Gateway Mall. I need a coat and hat for tomorrows adventure. DH has booked me a flight on a ‘helicopter’… but not just an ordinary helicopter… and I am finding out more every day. So like most of us… when he says helicopter I’m thinking big comfy you know room for 4. DH says “no” a little smaller, it seats just 2… OK I’ve seen lots of those flying around here… So I’m thinking I’ll get some interesting photos. Next he tells me that the cockpit is open and it says it get cold while flying. Now I’m still thinking ok… some decent photos, no windows to get in the way. So we get up early Sunday morning, hit the road by 8:30 with my new coat and hat in the back seat. When we get there, I’m not thinking too many good thoughts… the airport is deserted, but the place we’re looking for is behind the airport and when we get there isn’t too much of an improvement…. I’m telling DH that this isn’t looking too promising and I’m not sure I’m going to fly… He has told me I am or he’ll be very mad at me. The pilot arrives and unlocks the hanger… Now my expectations have been brought down from this regular copter to this small copter to ….
THIS
My Ride

My expectations have been lowered and had this little thing had even one speck of dust on it, I would have said NO WAY! But it was clean and shiny and very well cared for. So bundle up I did and with camera in hand took off for the wild blue yonder. Not knowing what to expect I wasted several good photo ops just after takeoff, but once I had a feel for it, it was a blast! I’d do it again in heart beat and hopefully on a much clearer day. I got some really neat shots of the land, hills and formations. I would really like to have a mid length lens for something like this. My telephoto was too long and my small one just too small. I’ve of course put several shots up on the Flickr page:

After the flight, we went back to the Durban Harbor to the Pier for lunch. What a great place. There are about 10 or 12 restaurants in a row with lots of outside tables. So we had lunch and I took a couple of more photos of the harbor and then we went back to the condo to download and look at the photos.

Then for dinner we met with one of DH’s associates that flew in that morning from Southern CA via London (33 hours). We had a nice dinner at one of the local outdoor tables. I really like eating out!!! By the time we were done with dinner it was nearly 9 pm. Not too much day left over!

Today, I had planned on going out to a fabric store, but those plans got changed so we could go to another wild animal park next weekend!!! Hum fabric or wild animals? Maybe both, there is still a good chance I can get to the fabric store before I leave.

As usual there are lots more pictures on Flickr than here... http://www.flickr.com/photos/27231432@N02/ so go have a look and tell me what you think!

More Later!

Wednesday, July 15, 2009

This Week in Town

Finally I have recounted my adventure up north to Pretoria/Johannesburg and this weekend is so much quieter. Yesterday, as with most days I prowled the beach and promenade just below the condo. The beach isn’t very wide here and the sand is a bit gravely and there is a rock shelf too. When there is a low tide we can play in tide pools, where I have seen some fish that you can buy at an aquarium shop, anemones, hermit craps, sand crabs, rock crabs, and assorted other rock clinging life… I never tire of watching the waves crash against the rocks… but I’m sure that to some- one crashing wave looks much like another. I did get a nice shot of a butterfly, a rock crab, the Durban skyline and I got a nice little bird in the last few days.

Butterfly,A Crab

Durban ZA skyline 7-11-09, A Little Bird

Last night, (Friday), we were invited back to the Consulate Generals home for informal cocktails and dinner with some representatives of the DOE (Dept of Energy). I was fun to go back under less formal/stressful conditions. Jill Derderian was fun to talk with and a wonderful hostess. Many of us talked about our adventures in Africa and the animals we’ve seen and where we found them. Dinner was on a Mexican theme, vegetarian and beef enchiladas, a lime scented couscous, beans and a corn soup that was spectacular. I think one of the guys my DH works with is going to ask for the recipe. Hope so. Dessert was flan, brownies and sorbet. After dinner the ladies; Jill, myself and several others went to look at her quilts. She has 5 hanging in the entry/stairwell and one in the dining room. I took some pictures this time with my iPhone, but the lighting was not ideal… I do have one I can show… CG's Quilt, the rest will have to wait until I can get them out of the old point and wait camera.


At the Consulate’s July 4th, party the Consulate General, Jill Derderian’s speech had 2 Zulu quotes in it that I particularly liked. I’m sure we have something similar in English… but they are way too wordy.

“Umuntu umuntu ngavantu” -means ‘a person is a person, because of other people’ and “Inkosi yinkosi nagvantu”‘a chief is a chief, because of his people’.

Today we went into the downtown area of Durban to visit the Victoria Street Market, which is mostly small shops owned by East Indians, and one of the malls downtown. We really didn’t find much. I was told there was fabric in the Victoria Street Market, but we didn’t find any. I asked the DH where he found some of the stuff he bought before I got here so he took me there. It was at the African Art Center, I bought 2 more pieces!!! I think I have about 40 yards of fabric now!!! When we got back to the condo, I sent the maker an email. I have plans to visit the shop on Monday and she has information about a quilt guild meeting on Tuesday. I’m thinking if I go and take a stitch I will be an “International Quilter!”

On Sunday we went to the harbor with friends. There are shops and good food there, as well as some touristy stuff. It was interesting to see more of the harbor since I get to see lots of ships resting just off shore. We now know that they are biding their time in friendly waters, because of the pirates up the western coast. I usually count the ships in the morning and again in the evening, and as it turns out I am not the only one. Some days there are as many as 20 and as few as 5, and Monday, I counted 28 out there.

Today, we went on a tour of a US destroyer that is in port here in Durban, the USS Arleigh Burke. They are conducting a joint training exercise with South Africa. It was a nice tour with lots of information. I got a couple of nice pictures,the Navy's idea of 'uploading'USS Burke  uploading and the ships tower USS Arliegh Burke tower, and one of Durban from the harbor, Durban Harbor City. My DH had to go back and work the evening on the ship, and it was said spouses can’t go. Well not so, but I’m glad I stayed in. We saw more of the ship and were much warmer in the morning.

The seas out there are rough today. Rough Seas It was supposed to rain today, but we have a good chance of that the rest of the week here…. It is winter here!!!

As always there are more pictures on Flickr, , if you are interested, and please leave a comment either here or on Flickr, I want to hear what you like too. More later!!!

Saturday, July 11, 2009

Pretoria to Durban on the N3

Our last day in Pretoria began in its usual delicious way, with breakfast!!! Fanie once again out did himself with bangers and eggs with a beautifully mild rye bread. So mild in fact that it was difficult to tell it was a light rye. We hugged Elmarie goodbye as she went off to work. Next we showered and prepared our stuff to leave.

At about 9 the 3 of us piled into the car. Fanie is a game hunter and guide here in South Africa, and had met Jock through the course of business. Jock manages a very large tannery. Now before we all get up in arms… many of these hides are obtained through animal management and farming… just like we raise animals for needs in the US, many of these animals are raised for the same reason…. But some are trophies…. Just like at home with deer (just about the only thing left to hunt). It was interesting to note the equipment and the process that is used and to tell you I didn’t smell a thing!!! Not chemicals, not wet animal, or decay. Maybe a little damp…. But nothing bad. There were so many different kinds of hides and one really interesting one…, a fish skin not scales, but a skin from the Nile I think. I would have bought one, but I didn’t think to ask and the one they showed me was a purse, and I didn’t really like the purse. It was soft and very very supple. I have included a few pictures from inside the tannery. A picture of a mangle Tannery Tour Mangle , that rolls out most of the water after the processing, a large pile of Springbok skins Tannery Tour Skins and a zebra Tannery Tour zebra skin being finished. Some of those skins have fur that is soft as butter and others like the Wildebeest are pretty rough.

An hour or so later, we hit the road for Durban. As we passed through Johannesburg I snapped a skyline shot… Joberg skyline Not the best and from somewhere on the Toll road… Outside of Johannesburg the suburbs and industrial areas started to give way to flatlands and farming. I have included several photos and where in the US they remind me of. The Badlands-
ZA badlands-like N3
Nebraska- an Ostrich in the field, not cows
ZA ostrich cornfield N3
Salinas Valley-
ZA Salinas Valley N3
As usual there are more pictures on http://www.flickr.com/photos/27231432@N02/

I don’t know what the weekend has in store for me. I think we are spending time in town, and visiting the harbor and local interests.

More Later!

Thursday, July 9, 2009

Sunday at Rosebank

Our last full day in Pretoria was a much laid back day… It started with breakfast and kept on going…. a day of sports for the guys… some time at the Driving Range and other dude stuff and a day of shopping for the ladies. Our goal was Rosebank Mall African Craft Market in Johannesburg, where you can buy some native works, (similar to our first experience) but much more polite salespeople, that understood ‘just looking’ and ‘no thank you’. We made a round just looking and determining if there was anything we’d like to have. I was on the lookout specifically for beads and fabric. Beads are difficult to find… and fabric is bit easier, and I found some!!! They are from Kenya. I got about 5 meters total, of 3 different prints! Not a lot, but since that’s all I’ve found so far…. I had 700 Rand with me and I spent it all!!!

Then we ventured up one level and found a more artsy type stuff. Good thing I was out of cash. I might have bought more stuff. I did see some oil on canvas paintings that if the artist had stopped gossiping long enough to say hello or boo, I would have bought one of 3 pieces, for my DH, well ok, for me, but to justify the expense… for him. They were all of wildlife… and wonderful!!!!

I am not yet sure how I am going to get all of this stuff home… but if there is a way.

While walking through the market there were lots of food vendors. Elmarie asked me if I’d had and Biltong and another rope like dried meat product. Nope… I hadn’t. It is the South African answer to beef jerky and delicious, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Biltong . While visiting with Fanie and Elmarie, we had several other types of sausage/hotdog/tube type meat, but quite frankly my brain is fried and I can’t remember any of the names, but all of them were tasty!!! I never knew there were so many different kinds of sausage/hot dogs. And I say this because when we got back to the house, we had a snack of 3 more kinds of sausage that I had not had before! Although, one meat seller at Rosebank, offered a taste of one and I said it tasted just like kielbasa, which is not known here. While we ladies were still shopping Fanie started an Osso Bucco stew that was outstanding for supper. He also just "whipped up’ a loaf of beer batter bread that was perfect!!! And a salad rounded things out. If you ever get up from the table at their house still hungry, it’s your own fault!!!

Tomorrow we are heading back to Durban, but instead of flying we are driving. Fanie has to be there for business and this way we will be able to see about 373 miles of the countryside… We are also taking a short side trip to a local hide tannery before we hit the road to Durban.

Let me close with a picture of todays (7-9-2009) sunrise over the Indian Ocean, the best color yet
Sunrise 7-9-09
and a bonus… Tonights (7-9-2009) moon rise over the Indian Ocean.
ZA moonrise 7-9-09

My 4th of July (Saturday)

Saturday, the 4th of July dawned bright and cool in the Gauteng Province, (both Pretoria and Johannesburg are located in the province and it is the only Province in S. Africa, to not touch a foreign border), of South Africa. OK, cool just might be too mild of a description! It was cold, not Chicago winter cold, but cool when you have acclimated to summer. Most of the houses in South Africa do not have a central heat source. What they lack in central heating they more than make up for with HOT water. Showers are lovely.

Our day started out with breakfast, cooked by Fanie and assisted by Elmarie. We had bangers (a pork sausage), fried eggs to order and toast with juice. Top notch cooking. After breakfast DH and I knocked out the dishes. We get it done in a hurry and without too much discussion. After breakfast we loaded up in the car to drop Thornton at his cousins. School is on holiday for a week or two more, so he is going to stay with them for a few days. So it was hugs and farewell to Thornton, we’ll miss him today.

Elmarie grew up here and showed us where she spent her youth. Some of the houses she grew up in and the schools she attended. Her father managed one of the gold mines here. The area is full of very large rolling hills and flat plains that are called the bushveld. Most of the homes here are either brick or stucco and the walls are very thick and the ceilings are high for the summer heat. Most of the roofs appear to be tiles. One of the interesting things here is the laundry. So far all I have seen are the front load washers, which aren’t all that unusual, but it’s the dryers that are different. They don’t vent to the outside at all. Instead they vent through the door, and the door is also the lint trap. If I live there in the winter my dryer would be running nonstop!!!

Next up was a trip to a different kind of orange aid! It’s fermented and tastes fabulous, http://www.monatesitruskelder.co.za/. It was great fun, for 30 Rand, we were able to taste about 12 - 15 different flavors and alcohol content. We spent about an hour tasting the products, the liquors at 11%, 15% & 24% alcohol, the Mampoers at 50% alcohol and the Adoonsi at about 5% alcohol. We were feeling pretty good by the time we were done! Some of the liquors were very sweet, and some tasted better than anything "orange" I’ve had at home! Of course we have a few bottles of the stuff. Sure hope I can bring some home.

Next up was the Elephant Sanctuary, and not too far up the road from the distillery!!! At the Elephant Sactuary we got to get up close and personal with the elephants; pet, walk, feed and learn about elephants for 2.5 hours. Our guide Sam-guide started out by giving us a brief introduction to elephants and the purpose at the Sanctuary. Next we were introduced us to the elephants and their handlers. There was only the thinnest of cables to keep the elephants inside. Here we got to pet the elephants, feel the skin, eyelashes, ears, tummy, knees, tail and a look inside the mouth. After the touching and feeling they have the elephants trumpet… what a sound that is. Several folks nearly lost their seats the first time, and the second time weren’t so surprised! This is where we were allowed to receive an elephant kiss A Kiss . If ever in the same situation, pick the elephant with the smallest trunk! Next up was a chance to take an elephant for a walk. You hold the trunk with your fingers and they follow you around, H Elephant walk (in some cases a little encouragement from the handler is required). We could have ridden an elephant for an extra fee, but we chose not to. The next step was a little elephant anatomy and a chance to feed the grand dame of the Elephant Sanctuary. All in all it was a wonderful afternoon learning about a very gentle giant. These elephants do seem to be very healthy, active and alert and I would also venture to say happy! Elephant 1

We headed back home for some dinner after a stop at the grocery store to pick up needed supplies. Fanie and Elmarie did the cooking again, and this time it was acorn squash, salad, roasted Portabella mushrooms and pan seared steaks. Delicious!!! We also had a “Milk Tart” for desert and a very moist cake that was cross between a sponge and pound. They were both very tasty.

Tomorrow, shopping at the Rosebank Mall in Johannesburg!!! Where there are African booths and art work.

Wednesday, July 8, 2009

My 4th of July (Friday)

Our trip to Pretoria was absolutely most fun I have had in a very long time. I have never felt more welcome in a home than we were there. See the cast of characters on Flickr www.flickr.com/photos/27231432@N02/ for photos of my new family.

Our flight left Durban for Lanseria, a regional airfield outside of Pretoria, at 7. But because we didn’t know if there would be traffic or how difficult it would be to get through the security… we had to be up at 4 am and out by 5 am. Not really a problem… just felt sleepy. The flight was uneventful, but if you ever have the chance to fly Kulula Airlines, http://www.kulula.com , do IT. Absolutely the funniest safety walk through I have had to listen to, EVER. Just about every announcement from the flight attendants was funny, in a way much like Southwest used to be in their early days. Very tongue in cheek.

Our hosts, Fanie (said Farnie) and the kids, Thornton (13) and Heilize (19) (said closely like Eliza) met us at the door with the bukkie, (pickup truck), this one was a quad cab 4x4 with a shell where we threw the luggage. Without even pausing for air we were off!!! We stopped at a place for breakfast and some souvenir shopping. Breakfast is obviously not the speedy meal it is here in the states…. But it finally arrived. Once we sat down we all ordered coffee for the warmth. Ok, it is winter here… but in Durban it’s in the 70’s, in Pretoria, it was in the upper 30’s lower 40’s, not exactly warm. We all had the same thing… 2 eggs, some bacon and toast. It was served with a grilled tomato on the side. The meal was very good. Next was a stop in the African Market. Here they have booths set up and you look and buy. Don’t touch, because they think you REALLY like it and will buy it, and then commences the bargaining. We wandered our way through just one booth and then we were done. It was just too much with the begging salesmen, and there were lots more booths, but just didn’t want to fight to look!! We did manage to spend a few bucks… though.
Next was a ‘self drive wild animal park/safari’ called Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, www.rhinolion.co.za, where we spent the next 5 or so hours driving and photographing wild animals. We saw, lions, tigers, cheetahs, rhino, zebras, springbok, black wildebeest, cape buffalo, gemsbok, ostrich and warthogs!!!
cape buffalo , Bengal Tiger Cub , Cheetah , Sable Antelope
I may have missed one or two… but you can see them all on my Flickr page: www.flickr.com/photos/27231432@N02/ . All of these animals are wild and there are some really strict rules about driving through the park and not putting your car in park… because the lions have been known to bite your tires… and they also caution you to keep your car window rolled up at least 1/3 of the way. In one area of the park they have a young animals/breeding area. There for a fee you could play with the cubs. There were 3 Bengal cubs, 4 African Lion cubs and 2 young adolescent Cheetahs that you could play with. Other than a guide, you were not supervised or told what to or not to do!!! I chose the Bengal cubs because they were soooooo cute and active. The lion cubs were all sleeping. We also saw a few other animals that were young, but we didn’t get to play with them… Some Bengal tigers and some white Bengals, a pygmy hippo, some birds…. From here we made our way out of the park and on to the road to their home.

At the house we were shown to our room which was prepared for us with chocolates and a card handmade by Heilize with a handwritten note inside, on the pillow imploring us -“to make ourselves at home and to have as much fun as is humanly possible!” Next it was a snack, of a sausage and chips, I thought it was dinner…. because it was late-ish about 4:30. Sometime between 5:30 and 6 Fanie started cooking a traditional Afrikaan casserole of minced beef (ground beef), onions, mushrooms, potatoes, eggs, and a spice blend. At about 7 pm in walks Fanie’s new bride (of about 4 weeks) Elmarie, she had to work today, but will be with us on our outings over the weekend! We sat down to dinner and then some conversation and tea after dinner. We all turned in early, as we had another adventure in the works for Saturday!!!

The Elephant Sanctuary!

Tuesday, July 7, 2009

Time in Pretoria, ZA

I think it’s been a week since I posted to the blog, and what a week it’s been.
But I’m going to make up for it over the next few days!!!


Sneak Peek….
Went to a party and met a prince,
Flew to Pretoria, ZA
Played with Bengal Tiger cubs,
Got a kiss from an elephant,
went shopping, acquired a new family,
took 1000 pictures, (really 1000)

and much much more!!! all of this in 4 days!!!

I don’t know where to begin. Let’s start with Wednesday July 1st. Not that anything really exciting happened… I don’t think I really took any pictures… Just the morning photo. cr-sunrise 7-2

I spent most of the day either preparing to go to the US Consulate Generals July 4th Celebration party on Thursday or to Pretoria on Friday. Preparing for the party was pressing clothes and getting ready for Pretoria was doing laundry.


I went into town to find a dressier pair of black sandals, no luck there and to get my nails done. They aren’t much every day, short, thin and not very long, and they certainly weren’t much more after… just even, clean and shiny.

On Thursday, July 2nd, we were to be at the Consulate Generals between 10 and 10:30 am, to assist with the setup. But when we arrived, all the work had been done.
The party was outside in the garden of the Consulate Generals home. The weather was spectacular, about 76 degrees. It is winter here, so many of the plants were not in bloom, but there were a few that were. I took a camera, the point and wait, with me to the party, but I don’t have the means to get the pictures out… oops. The house is an older very spacious home, with a few interesting modifications… for larger functions. She had a nice collection of quilts hanging on the walls (I have pictures).

While we waited for the party to start… I met many of the staff of the Consulate, we chatted until the party started at 1:30. I met some really interesting people including the Durban Consulate General Jill Derderian (I would hope so since we were at her party at her house) and
Prince
Mangosuthu Buthelezi, who is also the leader of the Inkatha Freedom Party, (I was photographed with him for the local newspaper). I wanted to post pictures of the CG and the prince, but I don't know how to post pictures from the internet to my blog, yet. My party duties were to assist with the guest circulation and conversationalist. I had an interesting discourse with a gentleman that was curious about ‘Chili’… we decided that Chili was a region dish in the states and the ingredients varied by taste. Then I met the Director of the University of Durban Libraries and many of her friends. We talked about lots of things including a really odd bird here (an Ibis) otherwise known as the dodak bird because of the sound they make, Wildlife parks, ‘the go away bird’, the Ibis, bugs and of course books. I also met many other folks including the CG’s neighbor and they invited us to dinner before I leave… They also invited the CG, this is going to be very interesting. There was lots of food, served by waiters, provided by McDonalds. The foods were on a theme of Durbans Sister Cities, Chicago and New Orleans,. There was President Obamas chili, perogie, a jambalaya, shrimp and rice balls, Mc D chicken strips & apple pies, bananas foster packets, beignets, NO style fish, and much more. There was a cake for desert that was absolutely the best sheet cake I have ever eaten!! A Tira Misu style cake, with espresso in the layers. We of course had some speeches and a bit of entertainment; a native South African Soprano (for the life of me I cannot remember her name and worse yet what I do remember I can’t spell), she sang both the South African National Anthem, (in both Afrikaan and English), and the US National Anthem -a cappella!

The guest stayed until about 4:30 and then the party was over. We helped clean up a bit and then we were done for the evening. We grabbed a quick bite in the village, and then home to pack for an early morning flight to Pretoria. Like up at 4, to catch a 7 a flight…

Next Bengal Tiger Cubs and our hosts!