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
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
This day was one that I had looked forward to since I had first started reading about South Africa history back at UC San Diego in 2007. Journeying to the heart of South Africa which drew the world to a spot on the edge of the Kalahari desert and the veld. We awoke and passed on the breakfast on over at the Victorian Guest Lodge.
We set off directly to the Big Hole Complex that we had walked around the night before. It was not as dead as before, but certainly not as busy as one might expect for a winter holiday. We had just missed getting tickets for the Big Hole tour at 10am, so we bought two for 11am and set out to walk around the ‘town’, a replica of Kimberley during its boom years. The doors to the buildings were open and we were able to walk through them. While the town itself was a replica, the buildings themselves were authentic. One of them was a church that had been erected in the early 1800s. It’s always remarkable to find these little treasures in South Africa. There are few things of such fragility remaining from American boom towns, so to find a 200 year old wood church in the middle of Kimberley was quite unique. Even more remarkable. It had been in use up until just 50 years earlier when it was finally moved to the complex for preservation. We stopped to reenact the moves by our new friend Emo Adams, at the cable car before we headed in to take our tour. Continue reading
19 July (written 5 months later)
Today we departed Hurlingham Manor early with Elna to get a ride to Park Station. She had a appointment at Wits University (or Univ of Joburg), so she was kind enough to give us a lift for our morning bus ride to Kimberley. We were going on our fifth week in South Africa and had spent much of our time in Gauteng with Elna. But it was on this ride to the train station we learned the most about her. She had grown up in Mafikeng, a border town with Botswana, where her father worked for the train company. She told us one of her earliest memories about Mafikeng was her out on the traintracks watching black migrant laborers heading to the Rand. One of the passengers had spit out a massive piece of chewing gum. Elna picked it up and chewed it, whereapon her mother found out what she had done when she arrived home and proceeded to wash her mouth out with soap. Elna seemed to make it seem that it wasn’t necessarily picking gum off the ground and eating it, but the fact that an African had been chewing it that was the part that needed cleansing.
It has always been of interest to listen to white South Africans, especially Afrikaners for their memories of the second half of the 20th century. They’re made out to be such vile and racist people, yet they were very similar to white Americans of the same era. Continue reading