Good Bye Bloemfontein, Hello Rustenburg

June 24

This day has gone by so quickly!

We slept in this morning after our late night of celebration and by the time we were completely ready to check out of the Guest House it was a little after 12 pm.

We had planned to go to the Voortrekker museum, but changing our plans from Bloemfontein to Rustenburg occupied most of our day. Luckily it looks like we will have several extra days that we had not planned for in Joburg/Pretoria area so we are going to visit museums and monuments when we get back from the USA-Ghana game.

Went to the Translux ticket counter at the Joburg bus station this evening to inquire about refunding or exchanging our tickets that we had purchased from Joburg to Bloemfonetin. We have not had a lot of success with refunds thus far in South Africa (Gemini & Computicket), so I was not holding my breath. However, a lady at the Translux ticket counter was wonderful and quickly with no hassle agreed to refund our tickets cash back. Thank you Translux!

Alex from England contacted Alex this morning about meeting up to exchange our tickets and it was agreed upon that we would meet them half way in Kroonstad on Saturday to make the swap. I never thought I would ever get back to Kroonstad, South Africa in my life and I am going for my second time in a week period. Once we make the switch Alex and I are driving from Kroonstad to Rustenburg for the 8:30 kick off.

We had a delicious dinner (avo/bacon burger and surf&turf) at Mikes Kitchen where once again our iPad attracted some South Africans attention. Our meal was completed with two delightful after dinner drinks- Alex had hot chocolate with Amarula and I had Strawberry Cape Velvet with Amarula. Mo if you are ready this YES it was amazing; we forgot the camera tonight but will send a picture soon. Tonight we are staying at Leliewijk B&B in Benoni, which is quite lovely.

Tomorrow morning we are off to the airport to return our car and hopefully rent a new one that is not a Chevrolet. I’m crossing my fingers for a Toyota Corolla 🙂

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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)

South Africa vs France

ZA vs. France – Match Day

After a great sleep in a comfortable bed with an electric blanket and a hot shower I didn’t think it could get any better at La Porte Vase B&B, but I was delighted to be wrong. The breakfast was delicious and quite filling. We had fruit salad with pineapple, papaya, and grapes to start followed by Yogurt and cereal for the second course. Our third and final course was scrambled eggs, 2 sausages, a slice of bacon, grilled mushrooms/tomatoes and toast. Although Kroonstad is not a typical place for foreign tourists, if anyone is driving the N1 in route to Port Elizabeth I would highly recommend La Porte Vase as a sleep stop. It was well worth the money.

It was only a two hour drive to Bloemfontein, so we arrived at Grace Cottage just after twelve in the afternoon to check in. In our room the owners had prepared a very helpful world cup packet with all the information we needed on parking.  Bloemfontein was offering a park and walk option which we decided would probably be easier for exiting the game later.

Face painted and anxious to get there we arrived at the park and walk 3 hours before kick off. It was the first FIFA parking to ask to see our official match tickets for entry. I don’t know how it is possible that every time we have parked it has been completely different, I thought they all were supposed to be following the same protocol.

We had a lovely scenic walk to the stadium, passing by the Bloemfontien zoo and Kings park. Bloemfontein is known as the “city of roses” because of the over 4,000 roses bushes in the park and around the rest of the city. Continue reading

Highveld Driving

21 June (lost blog post until today 29 Dec)

A late start today meant that the Museums in Newtown must wait for our return to Johannesburg. A last load of laundry was done as we don’t know the next time we will have that access, and a quick cook up of the ‘minced’ meat that we seasoned with Taco seasoning and sour cream, inside terrible burritos. We thought it a novelty to try out the latest in Mexican food here in South Africa, as we had famously made a large serving of Mexican food while in the dorms at the University of KwaZulu-Natal in 2007. This could not  be topped by our attempt, as the ‘Mexican’ rice was quite a disaster, and the taco seasoning though in a similar package to that sold by El Paso, did not taste like much.

It was a bit surprising in the Pick ‘n Pay (the large supermarket chain started in South Africa and now in many African countries), that the selection has changed very little in the three years we have been out of the country. On a whole, the three major chains, Woolworths, Pick ‘n Pay, Checkers, all draw their products from both the UK and the United States. In most cases it is the best of both worlds (cheap prices on Cadbury Products as there is a factory in Port Elizabeth) and Activa yogurt. However, there are curious absences, such as no tortilla chips or dry stick deodorant. Most stores also seem to plan to sell most of their bakery and dairy products on the same day, as when you enter a store in the evening, the shelves of loafs of bread can be near bear and few bottles of milk left in the dairy section. It is rare to see a large trolley of bread at the checkout as we have seen most South Africans seem to buy what they need for the day, or only two days out. Though we did see a checkout total of R1000 (150 USD) the other day, so perhaps trends are changing. Continue reading