Tuesday, November 25, 2008

not all who wander are lost...

Tomorrow afternoon I fly into New York City! I have just spent a great week in England visiting family and friends... I'll spend the next few months in the USA reconnecting, resting, and getting organized for my next journey.

My years in the Peace Corps, and my months traveling through Southern Africa, are officially over. Which means that I'm not going to be updating this blog anymore. So, thanks for keeping up with me over the last few years.

Its been wild.

na upendo,

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Cape Town

On Saturday the 15th we arrived in Cape Town, South Africa. We checked into Long Street Backpackers and walked around town. I loved Cape Town! It is a beautiful city and really FUN as well.

There are lots of cool people, good shops, tasty restaurants, and amazing scenery. That night we went out to a hip-hop bar and stayed there, dancing, until well after our bedtime!

On Sunday we had a lazy brunch and then took the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain. It was unreal! The cable car itself was pretty cool because it spins around the whole time you are going up. And then, suddenly, you arrive at 1000 meters above the city and ocean below you! It reminded me of an English Moor up there - a lot of boulders, a cold wind, some fog, and some really eery but gorgeous hiking trails.

Maya and I decided to hike down the mountain on a track following Skeleton Gorge. We first hiked to Maclear's Beacon, which is the highest point on the plateau, and then we walked down the gorge (which takes about 3 hours). It was, again, stunningly beautiful.

It was also basically deserted, so we hiked alone past little waterfalls, over boulders, across streams, and down a few ladders! We ended up in Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden and had a quick look around before heading back to town. That night we saw some live music and had a quiet night.

On Monday we spent most of the day shopping and walking around town. The highlight of the day was meeting Ommy and Peter, two Tanzanian guys who sell Tanzanian crafts, paintings, and other souvenirs in Cape Town. Somehow Maya realized they spoke Swahili and within minutes we were - all four of us - smiling so wide! I think we were all grateful to speak some Swahili after being away from Tanzania for so long. We ended up going out that evening with them, outside of the tourist areas of Cape Town. We continued to speak Swahili the whole evening and I was thrilled that I was able to spend my last night in Africa hanging out with people from back home! It was the perfect end to a perfect journey.

On Tuesday morning, I picked up a dove of peace as a reminder of my adventure across Southern Africa and my time in Peace Corps. It's too early to ruminate much on the deep truths that Maya and I found in the last few months, but I think there is one thing that we already agree on: the journey is the destination...

On Tuesday afternoon, I boarded an airplane and left Africa.

Friday, November 14, 2008

Windhoek to Cape Town/ Intercape Bus: 19 hrs

Today, Friday, we woke up early at the flat and spent the day shopping around Windhoek. At 6:30 pm we boarded an Intercape bus to Cape Town. It's a long bus ride but a very comfortable one in these fancy buses!

I'm sad to leave Namibia... It's been a fun time, full of beautiful scenery and fun times with fellow PC volunteers...

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Sossusvlei and the Namib Desert

On Tuesday morning we rented a car in Swakopmund with an RPCV from Namibia named Ian. We then drove south, to the famous sand dunes of Sossusvlei. During our drive we took a quick devour to climb a big rock in the middle of nowhere.

After a few hours of driving through canyons and the desert, we arrived at the national park. We met a Dutch couple, Beerd and Michele, and invited them to share our campsite. It ended up being a great idea because it was great fun having all 5 of us to hang out... And we were able to use their cups and plates, too!

After getting settled in and making veggie burgers on Tuesday evening, we all watched our first sunset over the dunes. Then Maya and Ian and I went over to the staff quarters and hung out with a bunch of the Namibian workers. They were so much fun and it was nice to escape from the tourist-route for a couple of hours. We woke up before sunrise on Wednesday and headed into the park. We climbed Dune 45 and watched the sunrise from over the massive red dunes.

Then we headed to Sossusvlei and Dead Vlei, which are valleys formed at the base of huge dunes. In Sossusvlei, water collects in the pan every 5 years or so, after a rare big rainfall has caused the river there to run again. Dead Vlei, as its name suggests, is cut off now and so water never collects, as is apparent by the stark dead tree trunks littering the pan. Some of the others spent an hour climbing the biggest dune, while I spent time just wandering the pan. It was breathtaking.

We then went back to our campsite for lunch and a rest. We went back to the park in the evening for sunset. We brought wine and found our own dune to hike, just the 5 of us, totally away from other visitors. We watched the sun set and the moon rise from the top of the dune, then thoroughly enjoyed running down the dune at full-speed.

We then went back to the campsite before going to bed early, exhausted. On Thursday morning we woke up early and drove back to Swakop, dropped the car, and hitched to Windhoek. We stayed with Ian at his friend's flat, and we went out to a club called Funky Lab :)

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Monday, November 10, 2008

Random depressing thought of the day:

"The UN estimates that over a billion people lack access to safe drinking water, 1.2 billion have no access to any sanitation facilities and 1.5 million children die of water-borne sanitation-related diseases every year.

And all of that while people in the developed world - that's you and me - use hundreds of litres of drinking-quality water a day, flushing 70 percent of it down the toilet."

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Sunday, November 09, 2008

Opuwo to Swakopmund

We left Opuwo early on Saturday morning and caught a lifti to Kaminjab. We passed Etosha National Park and a lot of scrubland, so it was a beautiful drive. In Kaminjab we had lunch with two PC volunteers before catching another ride to Outjo. We crashed there for the night at a backpackers, and got on the road again early this morning. We were lucky enough to catch a free hike all the way from Outjo to Swakopmund!

After arriving here in town we did some grocery shopping and then walked down to the beach. Tomorrow we'll just be around town, finding a rental car so that we can head out on Tuesday morning to Sossusvlei... One of the largest sand dunes in the world!

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com


"A life is not important except in the impact it has on others"
-Jackie Robinson

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Saturday, November 08, 2008

Opuwo and my Himba friends

On Wednesday, Maya and I arrived in Opuwo in the evening. We are staying with a volunteer here named Kate. The first thing we noticed when we walked through the town are the amazing tribal clothing that people here wear. There are a number of tribes in this region, but three of them in particular wear very, very unique clothing (the Himba, the Thimba, and the Herero)

Here are a Thimba woman and child I met outside of the supermarket:

Maya and I relaxed yesterday afternoon at a fancy hotel lodge on the hills surrounding the town. The view was unreal and we really, really enjoyed the pool!

Today we went with a local woman named Queen Elizabeth to visit her family's village. She is of the Himba tribe, and although she dresses more modernly than her other relatives, she was able to explain a lot about her culture and to translate for us while we tried to talk to the women who we made friends with. The village tour was a bit like visiting a Maasai village in Tanzania: somewhat disconcerting because, since you pay to tour the village, you feel slightly as though you are exploiting the people somehow... and yet, this family has found a way to balance tourism and to use it to their advantage. The money they earn from welcoming us into their village can help them with education and healthcare. And we also brought gifts of flour, sugar, and bread when we arrived. And because of the system they have set up, they are able to continue with their cultural traditions in a robust and proud way. I like it.

The Himba people defy simple explanations, and if I try to describe them, it will just sound cliche. So I will let the photographs speak for themselves:

Wednesday, November 05, 2008

the election and the road

We really enjoyed watching the election with some PC-Namibia girls. It was a fun slumber-party in Brie's school library. First we went to her homestead to see how she lives:

Then we set up shop in the library for the election vigil:

We didn't sleep a wink: Obama spoke to the crowd in Chicago at about 7 am, our time. As soon as we wiped away our copious tears, we drove back out to the main road, where the other girls dropped us off and we said our goodbyes:
Maya and I then headed west. We hitchhiked, as usual. There aren't so many other cars on the roads, after all....


It's a beautiful world...

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Tuesday, November 04, 2008

Today is The Day

I woke up this morning and - first things first - pulled my Obama tshirt over my head. It's gonna be a good day today. We're going to go to the open market here in Outapi today to buy some beads, and then this afternoon we are headed out to the village of Nakaheke. There is a volunteer out there (who I've never met) whose school received a donation of a TV with cable for their library. So tonight we have a slumber-party in the library! I never would have thought that I'd be watching this election in a small Namibian village near the Angolan border, in a school library. I'm a little bit sad that I wont be able to celebrate with a glass of champagne or even a beer. But it doesn't matter, really:

Today is The Day.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Monday, November 03, 2008


The halloween party on Saturday night was really fun! Everybody was dressed up in ridiculous costumes and there were even a few Namibian friends who got into the spirit! We partied and danced at the once small shack-bar in the village, and then fell into our tents for a good sleep.

His village and school both reminded me a bit of Newala... Lots of sand and big trees (although they weren't mango or cashew trees, alas):

The next morning we jumped into a pickup truck again and eventually ended up in the town of Outapi. We are staying with a volunteer named Carly at her site for a couple of days. We were really happy on Monday to just relax at her house, read gossip magazines and get some laundry done. Sometimes it's nice to have a day of down-time, especially since we haven't really rested for a full day since... I don't even know! We also went to visit a famously large (and hollow) baobob tree in her town:

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Saturday, November 01, 2008

Ondwanga to Oshidute

Last night we hung out with some volunteers in Ondwanga and stayed at a guy named Paul's house. It was nice: its hot and desert-like here, but beautiful. We are in Owomboland, so most of the people here are from the Owombo tribe. There are a lot of traditional homesteads here, with small round mud houses and lots of goats running around. This morning we headed northeast and will soon arrive in a small village called Oshidute, really close to the Angolan border. We're going to have a halloween party with about 15 other volunteers deep in the village! We all have costumes, so I think it will be a riot...

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Friday, October 31, 2008

Swakop to Ondangwa: by car / 7 hrs

Maya and I took public transport out to the hitching point at edge of Swakopmund town this morning around 8 am. We only had to wait about 25 minutes before a nice guy stopped and - in stroke of good fortune - was heading, like us, all the way to the North of Namibia. We agreed to contribute the equivalent of $5 each for petrol, and hopped in his car. Thus a journey that might have taken 10 hours, with lots of waiting on the side of roads, turned into these 7 hours of air-conditioning.

We just now passed the "red line", which is the demarcation point between Northern Namibia and the rest of the country. The line is way north of the middle- in fact, its a pretty narrow strip across the top of the country. But it marks the two different worlds of this country. The southern part of the country, below the line, are fences, big farms, the developed world, and a lot of desert. Above the line are wide open tribal lands, dense scrubland, traditional villages, and no big farms. The red line is actually a big fence across the country, keeping various livestock and farming diseases quarrantined one either side of the border. But it effectively also marks where many of the tribal "homelands" were established during apartheid. These were the lands that black people had to live on, unless they had employment or other good reason to be living in a designated township elsewhere in the country.

We're excited to be up here... We should arrive in Ondwanga pretty soon, where we will be staying with a PC/Namibia volunteer and hanging out with a number of them this weekend.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Thursday, October 30, 2008

jumping out of an airplane

This morning Maya and I woke up bright and early and jumped out of a small plane over the Namib Desert! We jumped tandem with guys from Ground Rush Adventures and it was unbelievably cool. It wasn't even scary after the first 3 seconds (when I actually had to jump out the door of the plane)... It was just this loud wind, beautiful clear sky, blue ocean and white expanses of sand... After opening the parachute we did some fun spins and I even got to drive for a few minutes! It was so peaceful, gliding down to earth with my body just hanging in a harness. I remember after bungee jumping 10 years ago I immediately said, 'never again!' I can't say the same for skydiving... The rush was nothing but fun.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

Sandboarding and Swakopmund

This morning Maya and I went sandboarding on Dune 7, which is just south of Walvis Bay. It was really fun and easier than snowboarding. I'm not much good at either of these sports, but generally enjoy going down slowly and laughing at myself. Maya is a bit of an expert but she had a pretty wild wipe-out, so she is more sore than I am tonight!

After sandboarding, we went into town. The towns here remind me a bit of Upington: Namibia was administered by South Africa until 1990 so apartheid was very much here as well. So the town is very pretty and European-seeming, but very racially stratisfied as well. The White people mostly live right next to town in beautiful houses... Lucy lives in the Colored township and works in the Black township... We spent some time in both areas and they aren't too different except that it is clear that skin color is as closely connected to wealth as it is in South Africa. Lucy's job seems great though: its a multi-purpose community center but we met a bunch of kids who attend their after-school program, which seemed like genuine fun!
After heading back to Lucy's and packing up, we caught a ride back here to Swakopmund. We are now staying with another volunteer named Megan for a couple of nights. Swakop seems to be a nice quiet town, not too different from the other towns we have visited lately. Megan lives right next to a casino... I bet she never thought she'd be next to a casino when she joined Peace Corps Namibia!

Trivia for the day: this is the town where Angelina Jolie had her daughter Shiloh.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

Windhoek to Walvis Bay: hitchhiking / 6 hrs

Around 10 am on Tuesday, Maya and I took a public taxi out to the hitching spot on the B1 highway. We were took three rides overall: the first guy took us to the police checkpoint on the edge of town, then the cops helped us to get a lift to Okahandja. After having lunch there, we got a lift with a mine-worker to Swakopmund and then one last short ride to Walvis Bay. Maya and I are trying to stay mostly with Peace Corps volunteers in Namibia, so we spent the night with a fun volunteer named Lucy and her friend Mike, a Canadian guy.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Monday, October 27, 2008

Upington and some history...

Upington was a fairly uneventful place to spend our last day in South Africa. It reminds me a bit of cities in the American Mid-west: wide deserted streets, lots of pavement and stopsigns, pickup trucks, and a KFC fast-food joint across from the 24-hour gas station. It was a nice place to stroll around, to buy ice-cream, but other than that there wasn't much to do.

Back at the camp-site we watched Northern Cape families enjoying their weekend as kids splashed in the kiddie-pool, dads barbequed sausages, moms lounged on blankets, and teenage boys pumped music on their car stereos. South Africa (before and during Apartheid) developed some very interesting racial classification terms: namely, every person was called either White, Black, or Coloured. A Colored person was basically anybody who didn't fit into the first two categories- for example people of indian, asian, or mixed-race descent. These classifications were sometimes fairly arbitrary and occasionally even technically wrong. People could appeal their classification but whatever their label, it affected strongly the type of life they would lead. Every person had to carry an identity document at all times, and each town had designated areas for each race. Marriage, housing, schooling, jobs - everything was relevant to your racial classification: so, for example, a black parent might be forced to live in a different township from the white other parent and their colored children.

Of course all of that ridiculousness is long-gone today, although it still exists informally in the sense that every town has a White area, a Black area, and a Colored area. Often when locals are describing their town to us, they will explain quite matter of-factly who lives where. In Upington, there are many more Colored people than we have seen elsewhere. To a large extent they have formed their own culture and are a distinct group, speaking Afrikaans rather than any tribal language and yet remaining separate from the white tribes (those being the English and the Afrikaners).

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Upington to Windhoek: Intercape bus / 12 hrs

At 6.30 pm on Sunday we boarded another Intercape bus, again heading west. We crossed the border into Namibia at about 9 pm. The journey was uneventful except that the air-conditioning was broken on this bus... And as we pulled into Windhoek around 6:30 am on Monday, the whole bus broke down. Luckily we were only 3 blocks from the Chameleon Backpackers, so Maya and I hiked over there and checked in. After relaxing for a few hours we walked around Windhoek to get our bearings and then hung out at the hostel for the night.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Saturday, October 25, 2008

Soweto to Upington: Intercape Bus / 11.5 hrs

At 6 am on Saturday, Maya and I groggily got out of bed, slung our packs over our shoulders, and walked up to the main road. We quickly jumped into a public minibus and rode for about 45 minutes to Park Station in central Jo'burg. It only took that long because the driver was trying to fill every seat so he stopped every 30 seconds... We eventually arrived and checked in with no problems.

Around 7.30 am the Intercape bus left the station and we headed west, into the Northern Cape near the Namibian border. The ride was long but easy: the bus was a double-decker, air-conditioned, and had super-recliner plush seats. Nothing like that in Tanzania! We arrived in Upington around 6 pm and hiked with our packs out of town to a camp-site at a local park. We set up our tent, hitchhiked back to town for dinner, and then retreated to our tent for an early night of difficult sleep. I'm getting too old to be sleeping on the ground without any kind of mattress!

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

Friday, October 24, 2008

Soweto, tsotsi-style...

Maya and I just spent a ridiculously fun 2 days in Soweto ( South Western Township), which is only about 20 minutes from Jo'burg. There is a hostel out there owned by a local Sowetan guy, Lebo. So on Thursday afternoon we took a minibus out there. We were a bit nervous to go to a township, I guess, but only because so many people had hyped up how dangerous Jo'burg and the townships are. In reality, though, we had no idea where we were going but countless people were kind and friendly and helpful and so we made it to the hostel without incident.

After dropping our bags we went for a walk around the neighborhood, which is Orlando West. Soweto is said to have about 4 million residents, and is the wealthiest township in the country. Orlando West is also considered the 'Beverly Hills' of Soweto. And in fact it IS a really nice neighborhood: most families seemed to be at least solidly middle-class. After eating kota (Soweto's answer to chipsi mayai: half a small loaf of bread hollowed out and filled with chutney, chips, cheese, and fried eggs. Yum) we then went back to the hostel and met Joachim (a german guy volunteering as a soccer coach for the year) and Kalefu (a young Sowetan working at the hostel).

We quickly convinced them to take us out to their local shebeen (unlicensed bar) and we ended up hanging out at The Shack and Pinky's until 1am. We made friends with these two amazing Sowetan woman: Jane works at the Nelson Mandela Museum (his old house in Soweto) and Senele is a documentary film maker. We talked to them about crime in Jo'burg, and they were circumspect... Basically said that we all just have to live our lives, to be smart but not to live in a bubble. They were surprised how easily we fit in with local people, about how comfortable we seemed. We related our frustration with the malls and the security walls of Jo'burg, and the concerned looks we get when we tell people that we prefer to ride public transport.

We talked politics with some older Sowetan folks at Pinkys, and realized the similarities between our two countries. One old man asked us why, if we truly love our country, we aren't eager to currently join the US Armed Forces... I responded that citizens are plenty patriotic when they question and refuse to participate in the unjust actions of their government. He just smiled and nodded knowingly. Eventually we got a ride back to the hostel and slept in the next morning.

The hostel offers bike tours of Soweto but we wanted to go off the tourist route and see something different. So we asked Kalefu to take us to Kliptown and some of the shanty areas of Soweto. So together with him and Joachim, we embarked on a four-hour ride. It was fascinating and at times very depressing. We rode through some middle-class areas with manicured lawns and fancy cars parked outside... And we rode through sections of town with tin shacks, no electricity, trash everywhere, and stagnant water in the pathways.

In Kliptown we were invited into the house of an old woman who was raising 3 grandchildren alone, one of whom was severely physically and intellectually disabled. On the whole, though, I saw that facilities were better than in Dar es Salaam's slums: there were water taps on every street spouting water that is safe to drink and that, according to residents, never run dry. There were also porta-potties on every street that the government empties every week!

While we were in Kliptown we went into a small museum commemorating the writing of the Freedom Charter in that area in 1955. It is a beautiful document, although it espoused beliefs that were (of course) quite contrary to goverment policy at the time... and so it became part of the reason that not long afterwards the ANC was banned and forced into exile.

We then headed back to the hostel and rested for a few hours. Around 7pm, Kalefu's friends Sean, Sipo, and Mhase came in their 2 cars to pick us up. Together with Kalefu and Joachim, we piled into the cars and went to the once-a-year Soweto beer festival. We pumped South African house music and laughed as we sped, Tsotsi-style, through Soweto's streets. The boys quickly fixed Sean's flat tire on the way, and after about 5 minutes we came upon the beer festival: basically a huge party on the streets surrounding a fairgrounds where they had erected some big white tents and set up DJs for those people willing to pay 50 cents to go inside. We hung out on the streets for a while, and then met up with Jane again and went inside to dance for a few hours.

Once again, Maya and I had a brilliant time and found that the friends we came with were protective of us... Although there wasn't much to worry about. We were clearly the only white people for miles around... And everybody seemed really happy to see us. We met a lot of fun people and we found it interesting that everybody knew we weren't South African before even talking to us. I guess it's just unusual for white South Africans to hang out in the townships. I don't know why; frankly we had been supposed to spend Friday night in Jo'burg again but decide to stay in Soweto because we were having such a great time.

After a while we went back out to the street party and watched Sowetan testosterone: at a small 4-way stop intersection, guys pulled their cars into the middle and ripped massive wheelies. I'm talking tires smoking, engine revving, girls waving out of sunroof, car spinning wildly doing 360 after 360, other dudes on the street running close and then jumping out of the way... Huge circles were burned onto the pavement after each car drove away. This went on for a while, with cops driving past and not caring, clearly.

We got back to the car to find that one of Mhase's windows had been smashed (but nothing taken), and after running out of gas on the road, we pulled into a petrol station only to find that the party was continuing there. Folks were dancing on the roofs of cars, cheering wildly, and revving their engines to compare how much smoke they could generate under the rear wheels. By the time we got back to the hostel, it was 4 am and we were exhausted but happy!

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

The Apartheid Museum

"My blood will nourish the tree which will bear the fruits of freedom. Tell my people that I love them and that they must continue the struggle. Do not worry about me but about those who are suffering." -Solomon Mahlangu ... executed, 1979.

The museum here in Jo'burg does an incredible job of describing the recent history of South Africa, from early white settlements to the ideological extremes of apartheid in the 1960's. I cried more than once watching video footage of police brutality in Soweto in the 70's and reading about the conditions under which most of the citizens of this country lived for so many generations.

People lament that South Africa is a violent country today... But how can we fail to attribute much of that to the injustice - and violence - that has been inflicted on black people in this country for centuries? Its strange to realize that I was born in the year that Mahlangu was executed and that I grew up during apartheid... Its easier to learn about history when we are safely removed from it by claims that it was a long time ago... But this wasn't. It was yesterday.

Thankfully, despite seeing firsthand that this country isn't perfect, I can definitly see that it has come a long way. Peace and equality and respect have arrived... The economic and geographical redistribution will follow with time. Inshallah.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com


We arrived yesterday to infamous Jo'burg... People tell us its the
murder capital of the world so we came in a bit nervous. In reality,
it doesn't feel any different than any big city I have been to. It's
true that it is dangerous, and we are - of course - being careful...
But folks are just living their lives here. We're definitely the only
white people riding public transit... But we're so used to that that
we wondered at first why people were so surprised to see us there!
Most of Jo'burg, anyway, seems to be suburban. Our hostel is
surrounded by shopping malls and gas stations. Tomorrow we'll venture
to the more urban areas, I expect.

Sent from Gmail for mobile | mobile.google.com

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Bahati (AKA Pablo) Boma

"Dust in our eyes our own boots kicked up
Heartsick we nursed along the way we picked up
You may not see it when it's sticking to your skin
But we're better off for all we let in

We've lost friends and loved ones much too young
With so much promise and work left undone
When all that guards us is a single center line
And the brutal crossing over when its time

Well I don't know where it all began
And I don't know where it all will end
We're better off for all that we let in..."

-Indigo Girls

I'll remember Bahati for the time he made me drive his car to Makondeko... just to prove that I knew how to! For his square shoulders that made him look like a linebacker. For dancing at the Umoja disco in a white surfer's rash shirt. And for that damned smile that came so quick so his face. Newala, and especially JW, are in my thoughts today as they bury a much-loved young member of the community. Wish I could be there.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com


Maya and I left Sabie this morning and are now on our way from Nelspruit to Johannesburg. I have two comments about transportation in South Africa: first of all, I was shocked this morning when our minibus left Sabie on time - at 10am on the dot, even though half of the seats were still empty! Just weird. My other comment is perhapsone to be worried about: just now, for the first time ever in Africa, all passengers on this minibus had to list their full name and a phone number for their next of kin on a register! Should I be scared? The roads here are amazing - yellow and white lines, stop signs, cross signals, working stoplights, and road signs everywhere. Just posh. But perhaps equally dangerous...

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com

They call it kloofing

Today Maya and I went canyoning in the morning (called kloofing in SA) and then caving in the evening. Both were rad! The canyoning was in the Mac Mac River and was basically hiking down a riverbed in a wetsuit and helmet... There were times when we had to jump off cliffs into the river, or swim thru pools, or slide down tree trunks, or swing on vines. We also explored two amazing waterfalls and went behind them both. The water was freezing but the environment was lush mossy jungle... Just what we needed!
In the afternoon we stopped by another backpacker's place and met the owner, who was really friendly and immediately welcomed us to enjoy his trees. At 6pm we went night-caving, which was a little scary but very fun. Climbing through tiny openings, getting smeared in mud, and even blowing out our candles to just sit quietly and listen to the bats swooshing past our heads... After leaving the caves we went to a very tall waterfall and just looked and listened to it in the dark.... Very peaceful.

Sent from Gmail for mobile mobile.google.com