Sunday, January 22, 2012

Visiting South Africa

Right now, I'm fighting the stay awake, despite the fact that my poor, confused brain thinks it's 3AM.  So, in an effort to keep my drooping eyelids open for a few more hours, I'll try to write one of the many blog posts I have planned to tell you about my trip.

A good blogger friend of mine, Ashleigh, lives in South Africa.  We met on Twitter, oddly enough, but found that we have much in common, including unschooling, enjoying many of the same TV shows, loving braille, wishing we could do both full-time career and full-time mommying, knitting, and probably a lot of other stuff my sleepy brain isn't remembering at the moment.  I never expected to be able to meet in person, since she lives on the other side of the globe.

As I planned my trip to get Abi, I discovered that one of the international routes to Addis included a layover in Johannesburg, a mere thirty minutes from her home.  This planted the seed of an idea to extend my layover for a few days and visit her.  Again, I never expected it to really happen, but, as you can see, it did!  I felt like a sophisticated world traveler, jaunting off to South Africa to visit a friend, not the small-town Idaho farm girl I really am.

I have here a sampling of the wonderful pictures and memories from the two days I got to spend with her and her sweet family.  They welcomed me so warmly into their home, I really did feel like family instead of a stranger.

This tree sat outside my bedroom window.  Actually, the bedroom belonged to their older daughter, who was sweet enough to share with her younger sister while I was there. I can't remember the name of it, but its very uniqueness reminded me as much as the summer weather than I was a long way from home.

During the Saturday I was there, Adrian and Ash treated me to a visit to a wildlife preserve where Adrian, a wildlife vet, had designed and implemented a lion habitat.  We rode a safari truck along red roads toward the lions.

Without a fence between us, the lions viewed the wild humans from the comfort of their spot by the water tanks.

Self-portrait and proof that I was actually there in a place where short sleeves made it feel like June rather than January.

The park ranger could stroke the lion cubs.  We got a behind-the-scenes narration of a heath issue that one of the cubs had suffered.  Luckily, she was recovering nicely.

Elsewhere in the park, after enjoying coffee and good conversation, we saw some browsing zebras, along with their egret friends.

 An ostrich calmly watched us pass, while her sisters hid from view in the tall grass.

A kingfisher sat on the road, only a few feet from our vehicle.  We took several pictures of it before it decided we might be scary and flew off.

Ash knew the name of this bird, but I have forgotten it.  Maybe she will leave a comment to add in all of the wildlife details that I'm missing...

...including the actual name of these gazelles. If you've seen the YouTube video of the cyclist who was taken out by the gazelle, it was right here in this park.

Hubby was thrilled to discover that traffic lights in South Africa are called robots, and the word shows up painted on the road sometimes.

While I was there, I enjoyed Adrian and Ash's lovely home, including this courtyard and patio where the summer weather enticed us outdoors.  We feasted with a South African braai, which is sort of like a barbecue, only with slightly different traditional foods.  More friends came, and we ate and talked all evening.

Later, on Saturday night, Ash and I talked until 2AM, watching silly bad movies and then going deeper, sharing hopes and dreams as kindred spirits can do.

On Sunday morning, we briefly visited their house church before it was time to go on to the airport. I was sad to leave after only a few short days, but I was also excited to go on to Addis to meet my little princess, the story of which I will tell in my next post.

1 comment:

  1. How super cool that you were able to meet up while you were "in the area." I've met so many wonderful friends through blogging that I hope to meet one of these days. I'm just a bit envious of your short sleeves as we sit here at -20!