And so our rest and recovery continues …
Despite the fact that we are in Jozi in early Summer, we haven’t been experiencing the typical scorching temperatures that we expected. In fact, it has been on and off drizzle for a few days – exactly what the parched African landscape needs. The most enjoyable of all – according to Viking Explorer – are the afternoon thunderstorms. It is quite spectacular to watch the dark clouds roll in, hear the booming thunder and literally feel the crackle of lightening. Then, the heavens open for a short sharp downpour … and within half an hour, clear blue skies return. It is quite magical to watch.
We have been enjoying catching up with friends while we are here. Not only spending time with Weavers Nest, the George Crew, we have also spent time with our Fairy Godchildren, and the Vets’ Menagerie (children, dogs, cats, guinea pigs, chickens …). It has been a very special time for us. The warmth of Africa continues as everyone welcomes us into their hearts and homes.
Slowly we are emerging from our exhausted stupor.
It is interesting for us to view South Africa again after our journey through many other African countries. In particular, it is interesting for us to see people’s attitudes towards the many many challenges that South Africa undeniably has. There are people who have actively chosen to live in South Africa – South Africans who have returned from abroad, foreigners who have moved to South Africa or South Africans who have passed on an opportunity to live abroad. They face the challenges with a smile, slightly more tolerant for the quirks of dealing with inefficient systems and generally a love of being in such a beautiful country. But I do recognise that there are many others who view mainly “problems” – from the traffic (which is surprisingly heavy most of the day), to the challenge of finding jobs, to the inefficient service associated with any interaction with a government or municipal department. I have to confess, my experience of renewing my driver’s license – a chore to be repeated only every 5 years fortunately – was fairly trying. It was quite shocking to queue outside until doors opened at 8am, only to discover that somehow about 50 people were already in the room inside waiting!
The safety issue is still a highlight on people’s minds, and while we haven’t experienced anything ourselves, the news is filled with some scary stories. I am unsure how to process information such as “be careful shopping at <such & such> shopping centre because the tsotsis (thieves) are bussed in”. Yes, certainly we are always careful, but we haven’t felt like we were being stalked. We keep valuables out of sight when in the car. We keep doors closed to the garden after dark when at my parent’s house. But we certainly don’t feel unsafe or threatened in any way. I think that cautious would be the relevant interpretation.
We have also continued to work had at adding more new content to the blog in the form of Fact Sheets. We hope that these will prove to be valuable for future travellers (see the Dowloads page).
We have been doing a little vehicle check over too. Our rooftop tent has made at least 1 trip through Africa prior to our adventure – and I suspect another previously. It is getting a little tired, and we have been looking at having repairs done. I have also wanted to fill the gaps in country flags. Is hasn’t been very easy to find flag stickers from each country we explored, so some “fill in the blanks” has been needed. I have finally placed an order.
And we continue to relax, drink coffee, and read. It is lovely to have time to catch up with ourselves.