Exposures


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Capetown

Text by Patty Simon | Images by Dick Simon
South Africa

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We just put Alex and Ben in a taxi to go home via Dubai. It is very sad to let them go. We had so much fun. Sacred time for me.

Cape Town is a cross between San Francisco and Boston set up against the sheer cliffs of Table Mountain and Lions Head, next to the Atlantic. We stayed in a private home that was cosmically a mix of my mother’s taste and mine. I felt like I had come home. Quite charming. We were lucky to be there Jan. 2 for the New Years Carnival Parade – brightly colored satin costumes and faces painted with glitter designs. Great band music. You can imagine how many pics Dick took while I have lots of video. We visited Robbins Island (like Alcatraz) where Mandela’s spent 18 of his 27 years in prison in a tiny cell. Our guide had been a prisoner himself. The highlight of our time for me was visiting many townships like Soweto where different NGO projects are happening. We visited a youth choir, women’s craft coop, organic community garden, tasted fried lamb fat and liver and watched a man making a living skinning cow heads piled up in a shopping cart (great video to share!). And, most importantly, collected lots of bottle caps – my new art material. (If anyone has any ideas on what to do with them, please let me know!)

So, I will end South Africa with this. Though I had a wonderful time and met wonderful people, I just could not shake the idea that though Apartheid has “ended”, the chasm between the rich and famous and the poorest of the poor to the tune of 1.6 million is still there. We heard time and time again that if it were not for the sanctions, Apartheid would still be existing. I spent my whole time trying to understand. Nelson Mandela was truly a miracle worker. I just wish we could clone him to continue his great work!

On to India!

 

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South Africa – Kruger

Text by Patty Simon | Images by Dick Simon
South Africa

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Our time in the great outdoors was incredible. We were the only guests, which meant our game drives at 5am and 5pm were fantastic because we could stay out or go anywhere we wanted.

Highlights included:

* The lodge itself – a huge flood last year wiped out the property so we walked into a brand new gorgeous home with cathedral ceilings of thatch, patio with dipping pool set with electric fencing all around close to a watering hole where we saw elephant, hyenas, baboon and impala come and go.

* First day found a pride of lions with youngsters, and lazy male. That night we  tracked them sleeping on the road hearing incredible roars back and forth.

* Driving on a ridge with a river below… Saw our first rhino – rhino are being poached at the rate of two a day – herds of elephants with babies, kudu, and bright blue kingfishers.

* Migrating Quelea- thousands of birds that swarm and make little balloon nests out of grass.

* Tracking leopard tracks on road we find vultures that give away the location of the kill made the night before. Smelling the rot of decay we find the eaten carcass of a young buffalo.

* And, of course, giraffe, herds of impala, more elephants, and much more.

We hated leaving but travel is travel and we head to Cape Town.

 


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South Africa – Soweto

Text by Patty Simon | Images by Dick Simon
South Africa

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I left you reading about the Pygmies or Twa in Rwanda making pottery, singing and dancing.

I mentioned that our flight to South Africa became somewhat of a nightmare – one needs a different kind of endurance while traveling… Finding energy to keep going until the next opportunity to put your head on a pillow.

What happened? Little did we know we were entering into a marathon. Arriving at Kigali airport at 11am only to find out our flight does not “exist”. Rule number one, always confirm flights. The next flight is one in the morning, which means we stay up all night. I always find the silver lining and it was visiting the Twa, have dinner and go back to airport at 11:30, fly out at 1:30 am, arrive Joburg at 5:30am where we are met by our guide and taken on a city tour till noon. We visit Mandela’s first home with Winnie, the mansion he lives in now, the famous township, Soweto, which was quite interesting as it has three distinct sections – the shacks for the poorest of the poor, government housing and what they call Beverly Hills (suburban houses where people have good jobs and choose to stay in Soweto… The reason? Close community.) We visited museums explaining some of the complicated history around Apartheid. We jump back on the plane to take a 2 hour flight to Kruger National Park where we are met and driven another two hours to the private game lodge, nDzuti Lodge run by Judy and Bruce. By dinner we had stayed up for almost 40 hours! I call that a full day(s)!