South Africa

Published on February 17th, 2013

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Catching Up Series: South Africa 3 of 12

Just now unearthed this dubious Intertnet Cafe here in Sayaboury, Laos (am here for the Elephant Festival and happily opted to leave my flashpacker paraphernelia back at my hotel in Luang Prabang.)  This place is most definitely off-the-grid, but so far the festival has proven to be a once-in-a-lifetime experience and I’m so glad I came.

More than 60+ elephants at this morning’s opening ceremonies – all decked out in colorful head cloths and tassels.  More expected tomorrow as they finish decorating them all with flowers, etc.  I’ve already taken TONS of pics, so stay tuned for future posts.

But meanwhile… so as to provide you with plenty of TL blather to munch on as I play here in the boonies of Laos – I offer you the third installment in the “Catching up: South Africa” series.

Catching Up on…

South Africa, Swaziland, Lesotho & Mozambique

(March 27, 2004)
Pecked from: Still shivering on that frozen cornfield.

48 Hours Til Lift Off!

DyHitchingToRSA375x500

Ah, free as the wind…

Yikes, just two more days and I’ll be winging my way to South Africa. A mere 10,000 miles away. Not looking forward to 19 hours of air time (9 hrs. Chicago – Madrid followed by another 10 hrs. south to Johannesburg), but hey – can’t complain when you can get halfway ’round and down the globe in less than a day!

Besides, I’ve got drugs to knock me out over the Atlantic and I’ll have a full day to explore Madrid (7:45 am til my red-eye to SA that night at 12:35 am). Indeed, if I can sleep for the better part of the first flight, and stay awake all day and evening in Madrid (I plan to visit the Museo Prado, see Picasso’s “Guernica” at the Centro de Arte Reina Sofia – heck, maybe even take in a bull fight…), I’ll temper the ughy “jet lag” and be quickly on South Africa time (8 hrs. later than Cornfield Time).

The packing has now been fine-tuned – tweaked ad naseum down to the barest essentials for 6 weeks on the lam. Added a converter and Africa adapter plugs, plus battery charger (well duh!), as well as a lightweight monopod (borrowed from my Dad – thanks Pops!) This sweet puppy is sturdy yet telescopes down to a mere 15″, and will surely help crisp those telephoto pics of lions and tigers and bears, oh My! Plus a most nifty slim digital organizer (just $10 at Wal Mart) w/ address book, calculator, scheduler, alarm, world time, currency exchange, etc. Heck it even has a few digital games to fiddle away the hours on the plane.

But of course tucking in these new travel toys necessitates some grim dumping to keep things light (and ensure that I need not check any baggage – even for a 6 week trip.) So… dumped the cook-set (but for the cutlery and a lone plastic cup), along with the mace (yeah, like any airline is gonna let me board the plane with THAT!)

Surprisingly it all fits nicely into my carry-on pack, and I even have space for a special treat: I discovered a trio of itty-bitty glass bottles (each less than an inch high) with wee cork stoppers and… I decided to tuck a teensy scrolled “message-in-a-bottle” into each one. The plan is to toss them into the Indian Ocean at various points along the SA coast – in hopes that someone, someday, somewhere might find one and email me (I figured email was the best contact ‘cuz I clearly have no rock-solid phone nor address.)

Champagne500x375

Dear, sweet “Champagne”, my fawn Abyssinian kitty

These last 2 days promise to be busy ones as I take dearest Toto (a.k.a. Champagne the kitty) to the sitter (a.k.a. “I hate you Mister, and what did you do with my brilliant and beautiful Mom?”), plus move the last of the boxes and all the furniture into storage while I’m gone.

Then it’ll be just me and my pack – free as the wind, aimlessly wandering the southern hemisphere. Bumping along the backroads, no doubt meeting a host of new global friends, and bouncing from adventure to adventure.

Still not sure how handy it will be to find Internet cafes to send reports, but stay tuned ‘cuz I’ll surely try to pop in here as often as possible to peck updates and post pics of my South African adventure!

Fast-forward 9 years:

LOL!:

“…most nifty slim digital organizer (just $10 at Wal Mart) w/ address book, calculator, scheduler, alarm, world time, currency exchange, etc. Heck it even has a few digital games to fiddle away the hours on the plane.”

Ah, yes, such charming naivete!  Less than 10 years ago, little did we foresee a world (from Paris to Bangladesh) with “smart phones” (not to mention iPads) dangling from every blessed ear.

Oh and… that trio of bitty “message-in-a-bottle”? Nearly nine years now, and nary a peep that someone found any washed up along the shore of some far off land. ;(

Check out all in the “Catching Up” South Africa series HERE

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About the Author

Off-the-beaten-path travel is my passion,and I’ve always lived life “like-a-kid-in-a-candy-store” – eager to sample as many flavors as I can. Indeed, my life motto has long been: This ain’t a dress rehearsal, folks!



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