Pretoria in A Day: Voortrekker Monument and Union Buildings

June 30

We endeavored to get an early start today, but sadly our journey back from Graskop and Mpumalanga in the evening had been quite strenuous (for me at least) and our late arrival meant that starting early the next day was always going to be hard. Driving in South Africa is generally a breeze, and quite fun outside the major cities with a proper car. This is not so much at night, where a small percentage of the motorway is lit, and even though the roads are in proper condition, driving at the speeds on the motorway with the blinding light of the cars on the other side of the road as the main illumination means that your concentration is needed the entire time. Additionally, there is a general disregard for traffic signs and postings, more so than I noticed when we drove in 2007. This is our first significant experience in the Gauteng area, and I now understand the impatience that the rest of South Africa associates with the area. The general feel the Pretoria-Johannesburg Metro area is not as fast paced as Washington DC, but on the roads they drive with an irrational need to move along faster. Going 10 km over the speed limit on residential thoroughfares is not fast enough, and you will often be overtaken by the BMWs, Mercedes, Jaguars, etc. On the motorways if drifting along at 40 kms because of congestion on a two lane motorway and a space of more than two car lengths opens between you and the vehicle in front of you,
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New Pretoria and Bloemfontein Photos Posted

Photos from the US – Algeria game in Pretoria at Loftus Versfeld and from Free State Stadium in Bloemfontein have been posted to our MobileMe Gallery and are ready for viewing. No videos as we’ll post those when not paying for wifi and have a faster connection. The links are below:

Bafana vs France (Bloemfontein) [May not be all the way up till out next WiFi spot]

United States vs Algeria (Pretoria)

US – Algeria Recap & The Return to Bangkok Wok

An early rise was required today to make the 500km trip north to Pretoria, so on the road by 720 and we made the return trip up the N1. We hit some of the densest fog I have ever seen in my life just as we ended the highway in Bloemfontein. Then we actually drove through piece that was being windswept by the Sun and burning off. Then we hit another fog bank, but the road took us beneath it. It was an extraordinary side, being in a small valley with a think bed of clouds directly above us, with the morning sun stating to cut through an illuminate the lowfeld. Quite a start to our day, and we arrived in Joburg just after morning rush hour, allowing us to do the quick jaunt around the western bypass and up to the Pretoria suburb of Waterkloof where our B&B was located.

It took a bit to get inside the place, as the domestic workers knew nothing of a guest house nor the name of the place we were at, but two young girls arrived who apparently knew of our coming arrival, and helped get us our room and then offered to take us to the game as it was just a 4km drive down the ridge. We thought this was very generous and would allow us to avoid the hassle of the park & rides. This would have consequences though for us post-game. Continue reading