Thursday, March 10, 2016

YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN AFRICA....


YOU KNOW YOU'RE IN AFRICA....

When you're called Muzungu a hundred times a day!

You hear "Come to my shop" or "Come to my brother's shop!"

Some days are so hot, sweat drips off the tip of your nose.

You hear 'hello' one million times - I'm not exagerating.

Cool animals are everywhere - elephants, giraffe, zebra, wildebeast, monkeys, gorillas, Great White sharks, antelope, hippos, rhinos and hundreds of birds but only one snake!


It's a place where, except in South Africa, people eat to live.  Where's the fun in that?

Namibia has miles of dusty gravel roads and we found most of them!


The night sky is enormous.

Toilet paper?  What's that?

Wifi exists usually for brief and weak moments.

Beer, wine and local concoctions are plentiful but ice certainly isn't.

You've found the best pineapple in the world.

Chicken on a stick isn't that great.

People are poor but happy.

Hassle? No hassle!

Acacia trees are everywhere and their thorns can go right through the sole of your flip flop..


Meat is tough, even chicken sometimes.

Hot water in showers?  What's that?

Most days are sunny and the sky is blue but when it rains, you've never seen rain like this.  It comes down in buckets - straight down - and doesn't stop!

There are miles and miles and miles of desert.


So why visit Africa?  You will  never meet more curious, friendly and happy people-


 or see more wild animals anywhere else in the world-


The continent is huge and heavily populated with few resources yet they struggle on, working or not and survive.  I've had an unforgettable experience!





Monday, March 7, 2016

Cape Town to North Battleford, March 6-8, 2016

Day 4-


I flew from Cape Town to Dubai -


which is a 10 hour flight, had a 9 hour layover, then flew 14 hours and 30 minutes to Toronto on a  huge Airbus A380.  It's quite the plane with suites complete with spa showers in first class, Wi-Fi, Google Street View and a 'bedroom' for staff.  Unfortunately the staff seemed to spend most of their time in the bedroom - they even changed into pyjamas!  I was disappointed with the service and food although the JD was pretty fine!


The A380 is a double decker and holds 525 people.  I chose to fly Emirates because of their reputation but .... We were on the plane 3.5 hours before we were offered anything.   I had a 3 hour layover in Toronto and barely got through customs and to the gate on time.  Then I had a 3 hour flight to Saskatoon.  Mom and Dad ❤️  picked me up and I spent a short night with them because I was back on the road at 5:15 am, heading for North Battleford.  From the time I flew out of Cape Town to the time I got to N.B., it was 52 hours!

I had an excellent adventure: I learned a lot and saw even more.  However, I think my overlanding days might be over - where I want to go next is easy to do on one's own so.......   Stay posted!

I'm excited to be home - looking forward to regular life - working a bit, enjoying my condo and MY NEW GRANDSON-


Have I mentioned him yet? 😜  

Saturday, March 5, 2016

Gansbaai, South Africa, March 5, 2016

Day 3-


After a 3 hour drive through traffic and fog, we arrived at Gansbaai-


for white shark cage diving.  White sharks are the largest predatory shark and are apex predators which means they have no predators besides man.  This isn't really diving. You stand or float in the cage and go up and down depending on the guides instructions.

Our boat easily accommodated 17 people-


The cage is hoisted on the back for transporting.  

After a 15 minute ride we were ready to go.  I was in the first group-


and we saw 4 different sharks, ranging in size from 2.5 to 3 meters.  A 2.5 meter shark weighs about 2.5 tonne and a 3 meter shark weighs 5 tonne!


A tuna head is attached to the rope and the sharks are teased with the bait-



One of our divers was left in the cage with the lid open when this giant went by-


He didn't know the shark was behind him until the shark hit the cage with his tail!

On our way home, a guide was baiting this endocytic skua.  They have just arrived to spend the winter-


and love racing the boats to catch the bait.

My journey has come to an end.  Since October 1, I've been wearing the same few clothes, sleeping in a tent or occasionally a bed, eating different foods, listening to different languages, enjoying the weather and loving every minute of it - well, almost.  


Looking forward to heading home tomorrow!

Cape Town, South Africa, March 4, 2016

Day 2 - Nico, chewing on his foot-


Robben Island was used as a slave prison (1657-1846) first by the Dutch and then by the English and later as a political prison from 1962-1991-


 It was the home of Nelson Mandela for 18 of his 27 year prison sentence.  His cell-


and the courtyard where he used to grow tomatoes-


Other South African Presidents who have spent time here are Kgalema Motlanthe and current president Jacob Zuma. 

Our guide was a former prisoner from 1984-1991-


Prisoners slept on the floor with a pad and blanket until bunk beds were introduced-


Various buildings on the prison grounds include the Kramat where Muslim prisoners were buried-


The island was also used as a leper colony beginning in 1845 and many are buried here-


Prisoners sentenced to hard labor spent many hours in the limestone quarry-


February 11,1995, more than 1000 former political prisoners from all over South Africa, Mandela included, had a reunion where they all placed a rock at the quarry to build an Isivivanne - an African monument of remembrance for the fallen soldiers who fought against apartheid and a symbol of the unity of all people against apartheid-


The island has an area of only 2 square miles and is home to many penguins-




and Bank Cormorant -


The view of Cape Town and Table Mountain is beautiful.  Table Mountain  is 3km  across the top, with   Devil's Peak to the east and Lion's Head to the west- 


Today about 200 people live on Robben Island.  They are mainly workers at the museum and there is a primary school for their children-


It is unbelievable that so many died and lost years of their lives fighting for things we take for granted: dignity, respect and human rights.  Looking at some of the townships and other inequalities on this continent, there is unfortunately still room for improvement.

Another interesting  toilet sign- 


I found a sushi train for supper-


Crab salad, tempura shrimp, salmon 'roses' and salmon and tuna sashimi.

I even splurged on dessert.  I love the presentation-


Looking forward to great white shark cage diving tomorrow!

Friday, March 4, 2016

IT'S A BOY!!!!!! March 3, 2016


Nico Mitchell Wall was born tonight around 6:30 pm.  He weighs 7 pounds 6 ounces!  My first grand baby!  I still say I'm too young to be a Grandma!

Thursday, March 3, 2016

Franchshoek, South Africa, March 3, 2016

Another day, another bottle of wine ... or two! 

Le Lude is a brand new winery, reminding me of Versailles-


with fragrant rose gardens-


and magnificent views of the mountains-


The wine was pretty good too!  Their speciality is the Cap Classique which is South African for champagne.  Only wine produced in the Champagne region of France can be called champagne.

I've never seen quince growing - it's a fruit with apple and pear characteristics that turns yellow when ripe-


La Petite Dauphine has an elegant eating area-


with fabulous desserts-


and a resident rooster who hangs out on the grand piano-


The grapes at Holden Manz-


are almost ready to harvest.  What a beautiful area-


I had the best meal ever at La Bourgogne: olive oil for dipping as well as olives produced on the farm-


and chutneys, cheese, salad and fruit-


My last winery belongs to Sir Richard Branson, the British billionaire, where all wine is aged at least 6 years after it has been removed from the oak barrel.  It was very good-


Wall art made from corks-


I kept things together today -


Looking forward to going back to Cape Town tomorrow!