Today I still feel a bit like Popeye, pre-spinach Popeye that is anyway. We got back from our South African vacation at 2am yesterday morning, after an 8 hour flight. Ok it wasn’t a bad flight, Stu in his normally resourceful and persuasive way managed to get us a row of 4 seats, so we weren’t too cramped. But even so by the time you have dealt with two sets of immigration (thank goodness for e-gate this end), several security scans, the flight itself and then a never-ending bus ride from the plane to the terminal building, not to mention waiting for luggage (ok not long in terminal 3) and the cab ride you are not a happy camper. Well I’m not. I really feel flying brings out the worst in people. Actually it’s not the flying; it’s the airport part that sucks. And why is it that OR Tambo always seems to operate on the bare minimum of staff? Seems now that the world cup is over all attempts at good service have been abandoned. All that remains are high prices (shocked I was) and almost-complete roads. Hmm ok the Gautrain is amazing so not all that spending was in vain. I guess.
[the gorgeous birthday boy]
But I digress. If I was Popeye today I might be happy to learn that there is to be a second MENOPE, or Middle East Natural & Organic Product Expo in December. Somehow I completely missed last year’s, actually I have no recollection of even reading about it. But anyway, I will remedy that this year for sure. For more info check out this website.
It was lovely to spend time with family and catch up with our old friends. I was especially excited to be present for my nephew’s 2nd birthday and the little dinner celebration we all had together at my dad’s place was so awesome. My brother lives in Spain so these moments are sadly rare indeed, and Skype isn’t quite the same at these times is it? I loved watching the opening of (all) the presents, and my nephew’s delight at each new gift. He is really into balls and spinning things, so the laser top and the small soccer ball he was given were an instant hit as you can imagine.
Apart from all the running around I did in Joburg (why is there always so much admin to catch up on) we spent 6 nights in Hazyview, which is in the lowveld and close to Kruger National Park. Stu has always liked to get at least one bushveld trip in a year – and now living in the desert has made it even more important – just being surrounded by trees and nature adds years to your life I’m sure. Unfortunately the state of the park this year was a bit of a shock, the routine “controlled” fires look to have been completely out of control, large tracts of land are still black and lifeless, which, combined with the late rains, has left very little grass for the grazing buck. Some of the impala were in a rather sorry state indeed, although conversely the Leopard we saw looked in good shape (easy pickings no doubt). Sadly we heard later that a rhino had been caught in one of the fires and had to be euthanized – unacceptable really when they are being wiped out by poachers as we speak. If you would like to help with the fight against these b******s then please visit the Stop Rhino Poaching
Be advised that there are some upsetting photos on the rhino page, but then that is the sad reality
If you bear with me on the non-Dubai-related theme I will post some photos here on the weekend of some of the game sightings we had. We were very lucky to see 3 leopard this year, 2 prides of lion, several hyena and various buck. The birding wasn’t good due to the fires I think – probably also the reason we saw very few squirrels or mongeese (mongooses?). Still no cheetah sighting, sigh.
See you on the weekend then, have a good week.