On the move again

Trip Start Jul 19, 2009
Trip End Oct 25, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  , Gauteng,
Thursday, March 8, 2012

The next couple of days were uneventful.
  Just lazing around this lovely place, and I went birdwatching with Roger, a tired English gentleman who had fled England under the Thatcher regime and landed up here. He's a primary school teacher but his real passion is birds. 
 We trudged along the bridge and road, the sun still hot at 4.30 pm and he spotted some amazing birds, their full beauty only visible through his binoculars, I didn't know they came like that, you could count the feathers, they were that sharp. We left the road for a field but by now all I could think of was a drink, my throat was parched.
  'Where's your water bottle?' he asked. Good question, wish it had entered my mind before I took off. 
 Anyway, we eventually get to a hotel and I gulp down a cider. 'Steady', he says, 'long walk back.' But we cut it short, he didn't like the idea of me getting home in the dark, and to be honest, I think he thought I was a lost cause as far as ornithology goes. 
Today is my last in Maun, the bus to Gaborone leaves 5 am tomorrow and I'll have to get up at 4 am!
  But first I want to visit a basket weaver in the village and go horse riding in the late afternoon. Then pack, it looks as if a bomb exploded in the dorm. My stuff strewn out over several beds, in search of a credit card. 
'Is that just you?' one of the two new ladies gasped, 'But how long are you here for?' Hmm...
 We got talking, one had been working for the peace corps, very interesting, especially as she was 74 years old. I was in awe, she was living with and just like the villagers, simple hut, no luxuries, not means of transportation. She'd been here for two years now and was thinking of a new assignment. Her name was Jean and her daughter-in-law Liz from America, was visiting her. 
 'Do you snore?' she asks tentatively. I do, a nasal passage problem that needs an op, but as it's a horrible procedure, I'd rather be embarrassed.
  'Ah, good,' she say relieved, 'so do we.'
  Will we tune into each others snores, like in breathing? I wonder. I soon found out as I lay awake listening to the inharmonious grunts and 'purrs'. 
Maybe I should get it fixed after all:)
Basket making is not my forte. You are supposed to manage to make one in the three hour lesson, I ended up with something no bigger than a large coin. 
 'But are you satisfied?' Thitaku Kushonya, my teacher asked me, holding up the thing between finger and thumb, as if she didn't know what to make of it.
 "Look,' I said, 'you and me both know I am never going to make a basket, not even if I sit here for three weeks. It will make a nice button for my coat.'
She laughed, we laughed a lot, surprisingly, she was the first Botwswana woman I could relate to as with someone close at home. Instead of looking disapproving for my travelling alone, she gave me a high five and said 'Me too, I like to travel alone.' 
 I assumed she meant from town to town here, surely not abroad. But later she told me she'd been to the States 6 times, and had visited several European countries, even Holland. 
 'What, with your baskets on your head?' I joked. And she said, 'Yes, that too, but mainly as an ambassador for my country.' 
 Right, well that taught me never to assume, just because she was a traditional Botswana lady, weaving her baskets by the side of the road.
I abandoned all attempts at basket making and concentrated on what the lovely Thitaku had to say. We spoke of marriage and religion, of sex and children, of dreams and reality and found there was very little difference between us.
  But most of all, we laughed and laughed.
 Good luck Thitaku, if you ever find yourself anywhere near Amsterdam, you are more than welcome to stay.
Not much to say about the horse ride other than it was very enjoyable and I must take it up when back in Holland.
Next morning I didn't get up at 4 am as I had suddenly had a change of heart and just wanted to get back to South Africa as quick as possible. Home, I thought, I want to go back home.
 Funny how it feels like that, I'm visiting Botswana, but South Africa's home :) 
 So I took the 12.25 hrs plane to Johannesburg, where I am now.
It seemed only right to spend a few days here as I have often passed through on a flight but never entered the city. Well, I arrived yesterday, booked a dorm at the first lodge that promised to come and fetch you from the airport, 
 Brown Sugar Backpackers. Sounded exciting too, ex-Mafia mansion built in 1970 by an infamous drug lord. But actually it is a nice, big, English looking place, in the suburbs, so it could be anywhere really, and to my great sadness, for all its history of drugs and crime, you can't even get a drink here - no license.
I'll spare you the details of my 2 hour walk in search of one - why do I still fall for the African time trap, 20 minutes each way, they said, ach!
So yeah, early to bed, what else? But I was dead tired anyway. 

 This morning I booked a tour. Just one day here so it seemed to make sense if I was going to see anything.
Before leaving I managed to get my washing done first, I counted 33 items, just in case any got blown away from the fence. Not that it helps to know really.
  Anyway, the tour was a bit of a dud, I didn't want to go to the Apartheid's Museum, nor Soweto as I have seen the likes already. My guide gets nervous, but, again, I was the only one and asked him to just show me the city. That didn't amount to much. 
 We European are used to London, Paris, Amsterdam, Rome - beautiful cities. Johannesburg is just a lot of brick blocks, straight square buildings, nothing fancy about them, but they were all pointed out: 'That is a government building, that is a university, that is the Vodacom, the bank, the bus station and on and on.

  I really had to peer and do my utmost best to find anything remotely pretty. 
Then we went to the Museum Africa, and though there were some nice things to see, it somehow wouldn't come together as a serious museum. 
 Okay, I was tired, so it could be that, and I was glad when my guide took me back to Brown Sugar 2 hours early, as even he seemed to have run out of ideas.
 Besides, the weather had changed dramatically - ''Take your umbrella,' said the receptionist when we left, 'it's gonna be a scorcher.' But I only needed it for the downpour when we got back, buckets of rain and thunder and lightning.
 Oh, my washing.....
Well, it's just let up now so I will see what's left of it and chuck it in the drier - early day tomorrow as I'll be on my merry way to East London. 
Things to do, promises to keep, preferably in dry clothes.......
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jockmcconn on

And then onto Grahamstown? Hoping so.

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