Trip Start Jul 10, 2007
Trip End Mar 11, 2008

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Saturday, November 3, 2007

It is on the east coast of South Africa bordering the very cold waters of the Indian Ocean.  I was spoiled in South East Asia as I don't find 14 degrees very warm for water anymore.  We stayed in this region at a great Bed and Breakfast for four lovely days to try to settle our internal time clocks again due to the insane jet lag. The boys caught up on their school work and Ty tried to help me add highlights in my hair. After seeing the beautiful strands of pumpkin orange colour on my head, we decided to visit a professional who tried  her very best to fix the disaster. We then occupied our time, away from my "cheveux",  and visited the area sites. 
In Umhlanga, there is an organization called the Shark's Board that employs scientists and marine biologists to set up, patrol and fix nets along the coast to stop sharks from coming to feast on unsuspecting  surfers and swimmers.  It is not without controversy as many other animals can get caught in the nets and die.  The scientists are testing sonar, magnetic and shark repellent equipment to keep the sharks away.  
At this center, we witnessed the dissection of a female hammerhead shark caught in a net.  To see and smell what was in her stomach could make someone a little queasy (me).  We also learned that the great white is a "puppy" compared to the Zambezi shark we know as the bull shark.  This marine specimen loves murky waters, morning hunts and can survive in fresh or salt water.  After the presentation, I am convinced the boys had serious concerns about Ty's tales of the bull shark that lives in the cold depths of Pappie and Mamie's lac Beauclair in Masham.
A big adjustment for us was to have to deal with understanding the violence and the high crime rate in many parts of South Africa.  Houses and communities are gated, fenced in with barbed wire.  Going out at night is not safe and precautions must be taken.  Restaurants, hotels and homes are guarded by security systems or officers.  It is very sad to see that some exotic and beautiful parts of Africa must live under a cloud of hostility.
While staying in Umhlanga, we met up with a wonderful family, the Mills.  A colleague from Ty's work is from this area.  His parents, his brother, sister and law and two children live outside of Durban.  I was touched by the kindness and generosity of the Mills.  We were invited for a "braai" (a BBQ); it felt like we were going to my family's for dinner. We enjoyed the fascinating conversation about South Africa, eating and sipping wine in the cool night air.  We could truly feel the passion and pride this family feels about their country. They are dedicated to see it prosper during these very trying times.  We thank them for the invitation, the great food and for the inspiration.
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