Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Easter Vacation- The Beginning!

Classes for the first term ended on Friday April 2. We planned a two week trip that would take us from Grahamstown and the Eastern Cape along what is known as the Garden Route along the south coast ending up in Cape Town. Saturday morning, Katie and I picked up our two rental cars and left Grahamstown and drove first to Port Elizabeth on the coast to pick up a member of our group and then on to the world famous surfing town of Jeffrey's Bay. The South African Iron Man competition was in PE when we passed through. We got to J-Bay and had dinner in a mexican resutarant ha, pretty good for being 9000 miles away from Mexico. We stayed in JBay for one night, theres not much to do if your not a surfer.

Sunday, April 19, 2009

Zimbabwean Dollar

As you might have heard, Zimbabwe is in big trouble. President Robert Mugabe spends outlandish amounts of money on excess while the majority of the citizens are in poverty. The Zimbabwean Dollar has spiraled out of control over the past four years and has become the most inflated currency in the world. Up until a couple of weeks ago, the Bank of Zimbabwe would issue new notes almost weekley and these notes would loose their value in a couple of weeks. The US Dollar was adopted very recently. The final note printed by Zimbabwe was a note of 100 Trillion dollars. I aquired one through my friend Simon whos from Zim. Heres a pic...

SASSU Regatta- Vanderkloof Dam

The weekend after the Klein Karoo, I went with the Rhodes University Rowing team to Vanderkloof Dam in the Free State which is the province in the middle of the country. Its very dry and hot and full of people descended from the original Dutch-Afrikaaners. It was cool to experience South African university level rowing but it was incredibly unorganized and out of control. We raced in a bunch of events which you can do here and did ok. I haven't exercised since December so it was a bit of a shock. The town is a small resort town situated on a giant reservoir. Its empty most of the year as it was when we were there. Because South Africa only has about ten universities with rowing programs, the entire rowing community of the country was there. The last night they throw a giant party that I had been hearing was ridiculous. So everyone gets ready to go out and because this is a holiday resort there is a giant water slide. Kids told me before that every year it gets broken into and put into use. This year the committee who runs the regatta told us it would be open from 8pm-10pm and that was it. Well as everyone heads down towards the slide we see that is has been broken into and there are hundreds of drunken rowers (men and women) running around completely naked. The police show up, two officers get out of the car and observe what is going on and they to strip down and begin to use the water slide...I'm NOT kidding. Later in the evening the party moves down to a pavilion where there is a DJ. Things got out of hand as they always do. Ive had my share of South African rowing for now. Attached are some pics of the damn and our V8 loading the boat in the water.

Klein Karoo- Valley of Desolation/Owl House

Sorry for the long delay in postings. I just got back from our two week easter break and havnt had a chance to post on here. This post is the last bit from our trip to the Klein Karoo a couple of weeks ago. We stopped at a place called the Valley of Desolation, its a valley thats very desolate. Its close to a town called Nieu Bethesda where we stopped to see a strange place called the Owl House. This woman Helen Martins moved back to the very small town to take care of her aging parents. After they died she became more and more separated from society eventually becoming a recluse and commiting suicide in 1976. She left behind a vast amount of sculptures done in concrete in here backyard, many of which were of owls. It was a really creepy place. The other picture is a picture of some rock paintings that were on the farm we stayed on. They have been dated to over 7,000 years old and were painted by the original inhabitants of the Cape, the Koi-San people who have since disapeared because of intermixing of the different people on the Cape.

Rock Painting
Owl House

Owl House

Valley of Desolation!!!!!!!!