Rockin in Bulandz (at Bulandzeni, Swaziland)
Summit of ____ w Thabana Ntlenyana (the highest peak in Africa south of those on Kili) in the background.
Driving down the Sani Pass to SA. That’s right, it’s snowing in Africa.
Sani Pass Lesotho
Hikin the Drakes in Sotho
Sani Pass border gate into Lesotho
Sani Pass border gate into Lesotho
So I am nearly finished helping with our new siSwati language manual. I am spending a lot of time looking up words in our handy siSwati>English (and slightly less handy) English>siSwati dictionary. It is actually entertaining to read the siSwati to English section as it seems to contain a fairly large and varied selection of words (especially compared to the English to siSwati section). For instance, I ran across:
“-yembeti: Aqueous humor (a transparent fluid occupying the space between the crystalline lens and the cornea of the eye)”
*sidenote: vitreous humor, the part that is probably more noticeable, was not found
Not as helpful as if numerals were included (in the English>siSwati section) but it was funny for a bit. I still don’t know how to count in siSwati.
The next day I had to start my journey back home. For most of my vacation I thought I was leaving Cape Town around 1:30pm however the day I was to depart I looked at my ticket and saw that I was not to leave until half 5. I had a day to kill! Unfortunately that meant that I had to drag all my belongings with me until then as check out was 10am. At least it was a great day. It was cool but the sky was blue and the sun was shining. I was even able to snap a picture of Table Mountain from the backpackers’ parking lot.
I wandered around for most of the day. I spent most of my time in the Company Gardens which was quite pretty and then decided to try the South African National Gallery. I particularly enjoyed a collection of sketches depicting a handful of southern African peoples in traditional attire. I especially liked seeing things that I see fairly regularly in rural Swaziland.
On the way out of town I met another PC Swazi volunteer, Sophia, who was beginning her vacation. We had a rushed dinner as I had to get to the bus terminal and leave town. It was nice to see a friendly face and have good conversation before I got on a bus for hours.
The bus ride back went quickly. I was given seat 1 which was on the top deck in the very front. It had an excellent view but there were leaks around the windows and windshield and no heat which made for a frigid night. Seriously, the guy two seats over was shaking. I wish I had worn shoes. That would have shown adequate foresight.
The ride from Jo’burg to Mbabane was uneventful except for an extremely long delay at the Oshek border post.
So there is an abbreviated version of what seemed like a very abbreviated vacation. I have decided that Cape Town is definitely a place I will have revisit.
I will upload a few photos of the vacation to go along with this post.
Oh Table Mountain. It is probably the most noticeable thing in Cape Town, when it is not raining which it was during my time there. Sunday morning seemed beautiful outside. I had met a Norwegian, Henrik, who’d just finished a volunteer program in Zimbabwe. We decided to hike Table Mountain and set off from the backpackers. I was a little sore and my left knee felt destroyed from the run the previous day. I was also wearing a nicer outfit since I had planned to go to an Easter service. The walk up to the base of the mountain was long enough. Once we got there we asked a worker how long the cable car would be running. We had hoped to take it down from the top. We were told that it was going to be closed due to high winds and incoming rain. For some reason we decided to climb anyway.
It was rough. And it started to pour and my cotton khakis and leather dress(ier) shoes were far from appropriate. Before we had even really started to climb I was regretting my decision. My knees were shot and I knew it would only be worse on the way down. However, I figured that I was already here and who knows if I’d be back. At least I had a hiking partner who could talk as much as I can and the path was pretty much deserted. The rain continued in waves but the fog was thick enough that the city below was quickly obscured.
We climbed over a few waterfalls and some pretty large “steps” until we reached the top. The wind was quite strong and it was blowing the fog around in a way that reminded me of a blizzard. I was surprised at how much standing water was pooled at the top. We slogged through some puddles and finally got to the buildings. As we assumed, everything was closed. We huddled under a small recessed doorway and peered in at all the food and drinks. It was now after noon and I had only consumed a bowl of museli with raisins and a glass of grape juice. I hadn’t really planned my day well.
We felt pretty miserable and decided to see if the bathrooms were open. AHA! The men’s room was open and we quickly headed for the hand dryers. Soon we were joined by a family which we had passed on the way up. They all had rain gear and whatnot and soon they headed back down. We stayed for over an hour waiting for the rain to let up. I found a couple garbage bags and we put them on (I told myself I was staying my hatred toward wearing bags out of necessity) and headed back down.
The way down was as bad as I expected. Henrik asked if I’d like to run down. Heh. I would have actually but today was not the day to do it. I was having enough trouble stopping myself as we jumped down from step to step. Luckily there are scattered “handrails” made of barbed wire which catch your hands or clothes if you get to close. Actually I am pretty sure they are there to keep people on the paths however at times I had to use them to keep myself from falling over.
Finally we reached the bottom. We decided to ditch our bags into a trash can since the rain had stopped. It then started to pour, just as soon as we got far enough away so that we didn’t feel it was worth going back and retrieving them.
One nice thing about the whole event was that I did not spend a single rand. That was nice. By the time we got back near the backpackers it was almost 6pm. I was really hungry and it was about dinner time so we ducked in to a nice little noodle place called Simply Asia. Check it out, it is very reasonably priced and both the food and service were great.