Africa: Third Leg
Lads, my host during my South Africa stay lives in an area that has security check-points at all of the entrances. The residents pay about $30 a month for guards to be on duty 24 hours a day at the four entrances. Lads estimates that the crime rate in the area has dropped 95% since the check-points were put in place. Foot traffic still can go in and out unchecked so crime is not completely eliminated. Earlier in the week, someone had climbed over the wall of his property and made off with a bibycle. seemingly unhindered by the spikes atop the wall.
Made a quick trip out to the local green grocers to get some fruit for breakfast. Lads was kicking himself for not having brought a bag to put the groceries in. He went on to explain that a law prohibiting the manufacture of lightweight plastic bags had been passed three months prior. This was in order to eliminate a huge problem with discarded bags littering the countryside. The problem was epidemic that the bags were dubbed the national flower. The is certainly making a differnece, as I could see no evidence of bags littering the roadside.
Out to dinner at a local pub style restaurant with Lads, his son and some family friends. The other gentleman is an engineer with the Jo’burg water district. I had his personal insurance that the water was completely safe. I was cautioned that the same would not be true for pretty much any other part of Africa. Most of the water comes from rainfall collected in a nearby reservoir. The water is lightly treated, mainly the removal of sediment and some sanitizing. The municipaliy of Jo’burg used about 3000 megaliters a day.
The dinner discussion mainly revolved around the farms that each family owns. Lads has had his farm for quite some time and has tried to put it into production with a wide variety of things over the years including, cattle, horses, sheep and vegetables. So far none of them have taken off. Part of the problem is that without constant supervision, the caretakers on the property will not oerform even the most basic of duties. For example, the plants will go unwatered and die.
The other family was recently leased a game farm that is one of fourteen parcels surrounding a large central common area. The area has plentiful game and a game ranger who lives in the common area. They are anticipating some good hunting in the coming season. They also plan to hire out the farm to other hunters who will pay for the use of the house on the property as well as any animals they kill. Most of the game on the property are small deer and antelope.
Got to bed around 10 p.m. in anticipation of a good nights sleep to make up for the fitfull bits on the plane. I ran into the same problem that my friend Alex had mentioned. Around 3 a.m., I was wide awake. Nothing I tried to do to get myself to go back to sleep seemed to work. I couple of hours later I dosed off. Up before 7 a.m. to get over to the airport. Bid goodbye to Lads and on to the next leg of the trip.
Ran into Alex in the hour long queue to get ticketed. He had a very successful time in Zimbabwe. Made it throught the various lines with 10 minutes to spare before they started boarding the plane. Was a little dissappointed to not have enough time to try out the wireless acceess at the airport. Alex was carrying quite a bit more than his weight limit and was detained at the check-in counter. His ticketing agent grudgingly put his through and left him with a parting prize of a seat at the back of the plane, even though we were both supposed to be seated mid-plane.