A quick update from here in California:
Our site URL has become simply theafricanfile.com, taking over from our World Cup site, which will receive a make over and become better stocked with out videos and photos. In the meantime you can check out the YouTube channel and MobileMe gallery which contains the media from our two months in Southern Africa this past winter. Check out these links below:
As a result of the URL change, some of our links are broken and don’t properly link to the blog posting they should. The search bar on the right hand side has been updated and you can also search for specific topics by clicking on either of the two tag clouds on the right.
Alisa has made it to her final village in Kenya, near Kitale, which is just a few hours north of where she was before near Kisumu: Continue reading
We woke to the sound of someone yelling “TEA, COFFEE” early this morning on the Shosholoza Train. I thought it was insanely early for tea or coffee, and when we had a knock on our compartment’s door I pulled myself out of the cocoon of my sleeping bag which I had slept in on the bench with my backpack as my pillow. This would have been a fine set up, except that I had tried to sleep on my side and destroyed both of my shoulders. I find this out as I rise and move to unlatch the door. I find the Train’s conductor standing there, the same stout woman who was kind enough to upgrade us to the 4 person compartment yesterday. She calmly tells me that we are on the Orange River and that there has been a derailment ahead of us Continue reading
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,
Another fine night’s rest at another splendid B&B (based on the pricing of backpackers and B&Bs, the outrageous exploitation of the backpackers means the difference in cost is less than normal, and the amenities and hospitality at the Afrikaner B&Bs have been top notch). We were up early as we had to return the car to OR Tambo as our booking had run its course. However, with our change in venues for the Round of 16 match for the US match, we now needed another car as public transportation would not be feasible for getting to Rustenburg. After experiencing the organization of Ellis Park in Johannesburg, Loftus Versfeld in Pretoria, and the stadium in Bloemfontein, it made much more sense to us when South Africans refer to Rustenburg as a small town. I wonder how games at Polokwane and Nelspriut were taken in as they are both small towns compared to the big cities of Durban, Cape Town, and Joburg. However, both of those towns had brand new stadiums, and looking at the layout of the security on our booklet from FIFA with our tickets, it looks like the design makes much more sense in terms of getting in and out. Rustenburg has hosted four more matches since England and the United States opened up on the second day of the tournament, thus hopefully they will have gotten their act together, as making the front page of a national newspaper for having fans walk 3k+ (like we did) to get transport must have not gone down well with organizers.