The Year of the South African World Cup

This year has been one of fantastic adventures and difficult challenges. Alisa and I began the year in Washington DC having started entry level jobs at the most innovative technology company on the planet, but with no real plan for the future other than to save up and return to Africa, where hopefully we would find employment. When the email came from FIFA on the 5th of February notifiying me that I had won tickets to all the matches I had submitted for during the random drawing, it gave me what I thought would be new purpose to life. I finally had confirmed tickets to return to the country I had fallen in love with only 3 years earlier. It would finally give me a reason to book my plane tickets and set off, hoping that Alisa would tag along for the World Cup part even though she sought to find a ‘real’ job in Washington DC. The year took on new meaning when just seven days later, I received another email accepting me into the African Studies Program at the University of Califorinia – Los Angeles.

I had lost hope of getting into graduate school when I saw my GRE scores flash on the screen the previous December. I thought I had blown my money on apps and the test as well as the chance to improve my chances for ‘real’ employment in the near future. So when UCLA sent the confirmation email of my acceptance, I was relived and surprised that I had got in. That surprise grew when just a few weeks later I learned that the Masters of Public Diplomacy at the University of Southern California had also extended it’s acceptance letter to me. Suddenly I had a reason to return to the United States after the World Cup, and I set out to convince Alisa to embark on this journey of a lifetime. Continue reading

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Lost Posts of 2010

Over the course of 2 months in Southern Africa this summer, Alisa and I strove to blog about our experiences everyday to provide friends and family a look into our daily adventures but also as a way for us to document the journey. Hopefully this will allow us to look back in the years to come and get a clearer picture of all that we did and where we went. The blog helped serve as our motivation for keeping track of things we did, as we also felt a responsibility to pass on the insider information we acquired throughout the region so that future travelers would have smoother sailing.

Blogging from the iPad exclusively in Mozambique was difficult as it was our first leg of our adventure, and the least amount of data coverage we would come across. While we sought to review each place we ate and stayed, we quickly realized that our nomadic lifestyle wouldn’t allow for hours of writing each day. Thus days were back logged and reviews were left in drafts. Moving back to South Africa we retrieved Alisa’s Macbook Pro from safe keeping and we were able to write in a speedier manner and catch up to just a day lag for our blog posts. However, we’ve found that days that were written about were not posted, or they were deleted (thanks to the glitchy WordPress app for iPad, which has by now of course recieved many updates making it a much more reliable app). Over this holiday season, Alisa and I were able to pour over our writings together for the first time. We found that our memorable 30 hours in Kimberley never got documented at all, the day before and day of the  France-South Africa match had been lost, and that our days of driving back into South Africa were of such tedium that they were never written down.

While back in the US, the blog will primarily shift back to postings articles on African studies and news, but it will fire back up for the preparation for the next trip back to the African continent!

Below are links to the ‘lost’ posts:

Kimberley Day 1

Kimberley Day 2

Bloemfontein Day 1

Blomfontein Day 2

Final Day in South Africa

27 July

We wake in the patient room in Elna’s clinic this morning having slept downstairs instead of in her bedroom because she had been sleeping the evening away before she came to fetch us and wants us to take over her bedroom tomorrow with all of our packing. However, with the clinic opening we get everything upstairs fairly early, and both Alisa and I shower since leaving Cape Town two days ago.

Alisa starts to unpack everything, and get her stuff that she needs washed organized while I post all of our Botswana reports and start to organize Alisa’s electronics for Kenya. She has decided to take the iPad to Kenya instead of her Macbook Pro, as she hopes that she’ll be able to get a 3G Sim card from either Safaricom or Zain, whoever has a shop at the airport. Both seem to have reasonable prices for data bundles, and Safaricom recently extended the life of a bundle to 90 days, just in time for Alisa’s stay of three months!!

In trying to figure out which bag Alisa should take, we check SA’s baggage policies to Kenya, and find that she’s allowed 30kg. We call SA to confirm and they do so. However, we realize that the website doesn’t specify how many pieces of luggage, so Alisa calls back to inquire, Continue reading

Relieving All The World Cup Aches in Cape Town

24 July

We woke early this Saturday to see if the spa a block away had returned Alisa’s request for an appointment. Alisa sounded pretty horrible this morning, and as this was no less than the 7th day of this cold, her need for relief was of the utmost necessity this morning. There was no reply, so she rang them and learned they she would have to choose between a massage or a pedicure at 1pm, not both. Disappointed, she called her back up, who she thought was also close, but was actually located on Klook Rd in Seat Point, rather than Kloof St here in the City bowl. She was given a bunch of different times, and 11am was the most convenient so we dressed, had reception at Cape Town Backpackers call us a taxi and we were off. Continue reading