Bet you didn’t know . . .

* Johannesburg is at a very high in elevation, so can be a bit of a problem catching your breath
* Johannesburg air makes Toronto’s air seem as pristine as if it was in the Yukon. The air here is so full of diesel fumes that your specs seem as if they have had salad oil poured on them when you come in from a day out.
* Johannesburg is over 13 MILLION people and has over 600 distinct, named and “themed” (by national origin mainly, I hear, as well as economic strata) subdivisions. I’m learning my little neighbourhood of a few square blocks, but the entirety is overwhelming.
I went to the lion park yesterday, and it was pretty boring. Not as good as Lion Safari, except here you get to pet some lion cubs. I was hoping to see the guy that does the training do some of his stiff, but didn’t – Oh, well . . .

One really interesting thing there, though, is how the giraffes have adapted to the tourists being able to buy hay pellets to feed them. Normal giraffe behaviour would be to have their long flexible tongue come and wrap around the food and scoop it up – that’s what they do with the grapes I feed them at Lion Safari, or else just pick them up with their lips, like a horse. But these guys, I think have gotten so used to tourists trying to feed them but flinching and/or dropping the food, so they’ve learned to quickly wrap their tongue around your whole hand, bringing it up to their mouth where they grab the food with their lips. It’s just a hoot!! Movies to follow, but probably not til I get home.

And the city looks like an armed camp – trying to download some pics here, but haven’t been able to so far. Walled compounds topped with razor wire, windows and doors all barred, every house with an advertising sticker for their armed security service. And the most bizarre thing imaginable – the banks have kind of like air-locks!! For security. If the light is green on the entrance door, one person can go inside. You are then in the ‘air-lock’. When that door closes and locks, a few seconds will pass then the inner door will have a green light and you can go on in to the bank. The same proceedure on the exit door. Gives you a distinctly weird feeling.

I want to get to the art gallery today, so got to get a move on. I have to go to Durban tomorrow, and found out I have to buy a ticket in advance. I have been to two travel agents so far, and neither of them handle bus tickets – so off in search of the next recommendation.

More soon, but it looks as if no pics . . . . PICS NOW!!!

Electric fence and razor wire

Bank “air-lock”

Favourite picture at JAG

Favourite sculpture at JAG



  1. Rhonda said

    Gee, maybe we (Toronto) can sent J’burg ourr Mayor. He wants a clean-air city….

  2. Phil said

    Good for you Marilyn,

    I hope you have a wonderful time in S. Africa.
    Be careful. We’ll check up on you from time to time.
    God bless.


  3. Eli Jakeman said

    Stay away from Zebras, Maw. We wouldn’t want a repete.

    BTW, I read your last couple blogs before this, with you leaving, the racoons, etc. I never knew you were such a great writer.
    Love ya, be safe (that means stay away from zebras).

  4. Ruth Schmid said

    Song for primary:
    Head and shouler
    3x knees and toes
    Eyes ,ears mouth and nose.
    (same melody as ‘London bridge”)

    The more we get together, togerther, together,
    The more we get together the happier we will be.
    Because your friends are my friends, and my friends are your friends.


    Hi Ruth! Thank you for those – I remember them now that you mention them, and totally appropriate. Say “Hi” to Booker for me, and I hope you are having a wonderful summer with all those dance classes.

  5. Sandra said

    Maybe This Little Poem will be of help. If there are no rabbits you could change it to something else.
    There Was A Little Bunny
    There was a little bunny who lived in the wood (2 fingers)
    He wriggled his ears like a good bunny should (wriggle fingers)
    He hopped by a squirrel (take one hop)
    He hopped by a tree (take another hop)
    He hopped by a duck (take another hop)
    And then he hopped by me (point to self)
    He stared at the squirrel (stare)
    He stared at the tree (stare again)
    He stared at the duck (stare again)
    But made faces at me(make a funny face)

    Don’t know tha author but learned it in Brownies. And here is something else from Brownies. How to tell directions.
    Find the North Star or the setting sun and the verse isi: Never Eat Shredded Wheat (N. E. S. W) It just follows the sun around. So simple and so helpful..

    What about ‘The Teddy Bear’s Picnic”?
    I forget all of the words but it starts like this:
    If you go down to the woods today
    You are in for a Big Surpize.
    If you go down to the woods today
    You better go in disguise.
    For every bear that ever there was
    Will gather there today because:
    Today’s the day the Teddy Bear’s have their Picnic.
    Picnic time for Teddy Bear’s….(Perhaps you can google the rest of the song. This is where my memory fades.)

    HI Sandra:

    Thanks a lot for the bunny poem. That will be helpful and fun.

    But like I said, no teddy bear stuff, as stuffed animals of any kind are not known here, and neither are bears. so nothing to relate it to.
    Hope work is going fine – any more moving around? It’ll probably take me a week when I get home to figure out what’s happened while I’m away. and where everyone (including me) is, if things follow as they have been.

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