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Sunny days

Yesterday was a sleep-in day.  Kept getting up and going back to bed.  It was fairly chilly so I was quite happy there.

Today went to the bird park and there were some intersting birds there, the best of which was the giant hornbill.  He was a ways up in the tree so I don’t know for sure how big he was, but it looked as if, if he stood on the ground he would almost reach my shoulder.  He was ENORMOUS!!  (Actually just looked them up, and average size is 4-1/4 ft (130 cm) head to tail, but doesn’t say how tall).  (Google ‘giant hornbill’.  A couple great articles/videos there)

There were a lot of other birds I wasn’t familiar with, like the vasa, who was quite a good talker, and a lot of mutations I hadn’t seen before too.  I was kind of sad though since it seems that their diet consists of sunflower seeds either entirely or primarily – even the nectar eaters.  and they have not really been socialized properly and have had no stimulation.  Too many birds plucking or just sitting crouched way back in the pen, behaving like that poor abused parrot I got from the rescue.  I know if he tried to run a place like that in Canada or the US, he’d be shut down before you could turn around.

The rest of the day I just sat on the porch here and watched the birds, or wandered around the grounds.  Good variety of birds here, and a feeder hung out near the deck.

It’s much more tropical here than up north.  The grounds here are all indigenous trees and shrubs, so palms of different kinds and many I don’t have a clue about.  It’s really quite beautiful and peaceful.  And the stream at the bottom of the property, which you can now hear since the rains, but not see due to the ‘jungle’ down there, is making a lovely racket, which tends to soothe me right into a drowse.

 

 

 

It’s a hard life, eh?

I’ll be off to the gorge tomorrow, then Sunday will drive to East London I think since I don’t want to do the whole way to Tsitsikamma all at one go and end up arriving in the dark.  Did that last time and missed the gate/turnoff 3 times.

Guess I should go and try to make my Sunday night reservation . . .

ttys,

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Thanks!

Thanks for all the birthday wishes from friends and family.

It was an “African” birthday, which means that firm plans got rerouted, delayed by hours, cancelled, changed and generally had me tearing my hair out.

Roof blown off classroom in severe weather, no funds to fix it.

Roof blown off classroom in severe weather, no funds to fix it.

I did, however, along with meetings with school officials regarding our project, get to meet the Board that has been elected for the NGO.  What a great group of intelligent, strong, funny women.  It will be so nice to be working with them.

Board for Tribal Travel's Zulu Project

Board for Tribal Travel's Zulu Project

And I have to be careful, since I usually end an e-mail asking for something with TIA, which in our part of the world means Thanks In Advance – here it means This Is Africa, and people will say TIA to you when you’ve had a day like I had today.

Got to charge this baby up now and curl up under the covers.

ttys,

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I don’t think I posted this . . .

Hoedspruit – Day 1 (I think it’s Friday here)

Well, I got picked up at the airport by Roger and his wife.   Both really nice folks and they own the backpackers’  camp where I’m staying tonight.  They have 5 dogs – one a Rhodesian Ridgeback – and one cat.   I was just told that there are breeding mambas on the property, which hasn’t really made my day.  There are birds and horses here too which is nice.

Mariepskop Backpackers Kitchen and showers

Mariepskop Backpackers Kitchen and showers

Mariepskop Backpackers chalets

Mariepskop Backpackers chalets

It was really cool in Jozie this morning, but when we got here it must have been about 30, and I saw a lot of wildfires burning as we were flying over.  I had asked it they were controlled burns, but apparently not as they do that at a different time of year when it’s not so windy and dry.

I have not phone or internet.  Tried to charge my “African” phone last night, but the battery is kaput. Tried to buy a battery and SIM card and a dongle for my notebook today but the fellow in the shop that sells them was away praying and no one knew how long he’d be and my hosts couldn’t wait.  So no communication for a while.

Some folks here from Zim have invited me to have supper with them.  Really interesting people – he’s a headmaster and she’s a teacher, so we have lots to talk about.

I’ll try to get some photos before I post this.

Day 2

Last night was very strange.  The wind was blowing cold from one direction and warm from the other.  I could stand and have a different temperature on each side of me.  Too strange.  Also I squashed a little gecko who got into my door jamb and I didn’t see him and closed the door.  Very sad.

I’m at Daktari now and have taken photos of some of the animals, but my dongle doesn’t seem to be working so I’ll have to copy these posts onto my thumb drive and post them using the office computer, so no pictures for now.  Lots of fascinating animals here, including a leopard and some meerkats.

Supper is calling, so I will end for now, but please do take a subscription to the blog so you will know when I get a chance to post and we can pass some messages.

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The curses of technology – and lots of animals.

Well, I’m not sure what else can go wrong with technology here.  I still can’t get my notebook connected and my camera won’t be recognized by this computer.  I was writing updates every day and saving them on my notebook, and I copied them to my thumb drive to enter here and for some reason they saved as *.doc.x which I have never heard of before so I can’t get them on here either.

So far, so good as for the rest of the trip.

Backpacker kitchen and showers

Backpacker kitchen and showers

Mariepskop Backpackers

Mariepskop Backpackers

The Mariepskop backpackers that I stayed at was nice and clean and I had a chalet all to myself – well me and the gecko I squashed in the door frame because I didn’t know he was there.  There was a really nice couple there from Zim – he was a headmaster and she was a teacher, so we had lots to chat about.  They were here to visit his brother and so he came to the backpackers as apparently he’s a real bushman and his place is unsuitable for guests.  He says he has bush babies that come to his kitchen window to be fed and if he rescues a baby bird, he cages it so his dogs can’t get it and sets it on the windowsill and the parents come there and feed it.  I may go out to visit to see this menagerie. The backpackers also warned me that there are breeding mambas on the property so I didn’t go walking too far.  They had 5 dogs and a cat – one Ridgeback with no ridge, 2 Jack Russells, one ? and one cross between the one I can’t remember and a Russell.  Everybody here has numerous dogs.

There are four here (Daktari) that wander the property, and that’s before you count the warthogs that try to eat your shoes, the blind donkey, the squirrels, horses and hornbills that come to be fed – and Spikey the African porcupine who visits at night for food and likes to be scratched under his chin.  And those are just the “loose” animals, not those we will be taking care of.  I can’t wait to get some photos up of Princess the marmoset and the meerkats and all the rest.  This is gonna be fun.  And the way they feed you here, I have fears that I’m not going to be able to lose the 10 lbs a month that I count on when I travel.

I’d better let someone else use this, so more soon.

Princess Maya, the marmoset

Princess Maya, the marmoset

Resident leopard - NOT tame

Resident leopard - NOT tame

Piggies that love me

Piggies that love me

Eeyore the blind donkey

Eeyore the blind donkey

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August 31, 2011 – Start of second trip

Well, I’m sitting here all dressed and packed, ready to go, wondering what it is I’ve forgotten.

As far as travelling goes, this is the hardest part for me – waiting to start.  I’ve still got an hour-and-a-half until the cab comes, and I’m hoping I remember all the last minute things – clearing out the fridge, putting out garbage, getting the last minute things that I had to use this morning packed back into the suitcases.

I did one dumb thing though already.  Packed all my underwear and had to go rooting through the suitcases to find some to wear on the trip.

Now I’ll go and try to make up a Gmail distribution list for all those I think might like to get this blog and so – hear from you soon, I hope, and see you in November.

Hugs . . . .

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Sigh . . .

I’m just a little bit homesick today, and nothing planned to distract me from it. Seems to come about every two weeks and make me a little crabby.

Miss my grandkids, and want to hug them. Wish they’d leave me some message and say “Hi”. Hugs from Granny, all you little guys.

On the other hand, I just saw the hugest monkey. Must have been almost up to my knee when he was on all fours. The big guys usually don’t come out – they’re too smart. They hide and send the youngsters in to rob the kitchen or trash your room, then when the little ones come out with the booty, they cuff them and take it away from them. But this guy was looking for mischief on his own. That doesn’t bode well for his life-span.

Gotta go now – too hot to sit in here.

Visit to Sangoma - from Cait

Path to burial cave, and why I didn’t go!

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Sweet face?

Now isn’t this just the sweetest little face? How deceptive!Cutie pie

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