“One’s destination is never a place, but a new way of seeing things.”
KWANTU PORT ELIZABETH
Port Elizabeth is in the Eastern Cape Province of South Africa. The city is located on Algoa Bay, and is one of the major seaports in South Africa. We docked in a very commercial port with the city rising above on the hills. I could see the large sand dunes in the background.
We boarded buses for our game run in Kwantu Game reserve. As we drove out of town we passed Kucha Harbor. At this point the highway was four lanes. Soon to end however. We learned PE has 5 of the 6 eco systems, 11 official languages including English. The dune fields are the second longest in the world.
Port Elizabeth claims the big Seven. Lion, leopard, Buffalo, Elephant, Shark, White Wales and Rhinoceros They also like to add seals and penguins.
As we drove, we saw lots of Marino sheep. The terrain was rolling hills and very green. They have not had a lot of rain, so of course today it was cloudy and drizzling. Warm, so it really doesn’t matter and maybe better than to hot. Even the animals won’t come out in the hot sun. We met up with the cutest monkeys’ hanging in the trees right next to my window in the bus. A warm welcome to the reserve we were coming to visit.
Kwantu is very beautiful. I keep using the same words to describe everything, but really beautiful and awesome sort of fit everything we have been seeing. When we arrived they served us spring rolls, and three other appetizers, along with there famous drink. They do not give out the recipe, but tasted like ice tea with lemon and mint and one other something. Good, but not good enough for a second one.
We boarded our jeeps and headed out to find the animals. Bill sat next to the driver, was very comfortable and enjoyed his position very much. The road was not as bumpy as Aquila, and the vegetation much different. Large hills, and low bush trees. Again no flowers. Few birds, except one, a most beautiful blue ,almost electric, sparrow.
Nothing but hills, dales, and blue sky for miles and miles. We saw lots of white tail gnu tail looks like a horse tail. zebra with beige stripes on their tush, cheetah, white lions, elephants, lots and lots of giraffes. They are really graceful when they run. How they keep there necks so straight when they are running is amazing. Our guide said the male holds his head straight and the female bends hers a little. Bill says that is the proper way for a women, to bend her head. Young, old they were running free and it was fun to watch them in the wide open. A three hours game ride, with a little drizzle here and there. Part of the excitement was the jeeps kept breaking down. No one was in danger but it makes for interesting behavior on the part of the participants. Some take it very well and then there are the others. Anyway we were fine, just a slipped transmission, a good driver and we were on our way again.
Lunch was served in a beautiful out door hotel dinning room. Tablecloths, flower centerpieces, chair covers, charger plates. Sparkling grape and apple juice and bottled water. Don’t know why but not alcohol is served. A very lavish buffet started with squash soup, then lunch was many salads, beef and lamb. Being sliced off the grille. Small wood fires burned just outside out table. Smelled wonderful and very outdoorsy. Dessert was pedifores and were pretty but can pass those by.
Back to the buses and to the ship. We took a long hot shower. The deet we use dries our skin and sand fills our eyes and ears.
We have really enjoyed our last two game runs. Sort of made our own Safari with the comfort of the ship Different from each other even tho the animals are the same. Different topography, vegetation and guides. Presentation different also. The first Acquia, we saw the animals up close and could really study them. At Kwantu there were more of one animal but they were running in the open. Hard to choose one or the other. Both were great. Now I know why the spring box is the national animal, they are everywhere and run very very fast.
DAY 51 AT SEA
Sea days are very busy days. Went to Flower arranging class. The florist that is aboard to design all the flower arangements was the leturer. He showed us some interesting ways to use leaves. Only trouble is, where do you find them in the states and how costly are they.
Very interesting.. If I can remember I will try them at home.
Then to the ship book group. Today they are handing out new books. We are going to read The Case of the Missing Servant by Tarquin Hall. A detective story that takes place in India. Since that is our next country to visit a very good book to read.
The show tonight was a repeat of the Unexpected Boys. Tonight was Broadway and a few Jersey Boy songs thrown in. They have been the best entertainment yet. Very enjoyable. BUT, I wasn’t fast enough and one of the new cruisers took by seat. Will have to go earlier, until most of them leave at the end of this segment.
DURBAN, SOUTH AFRICA
Durban has a long tradition as a port city. In the dock next to us was a cargo ship that carried cars. Looked to me like a giant building floating in the water. Cars come from all over, including those manufactured in PE to be sent all over the world. Also cars that do not meet imission controls. In PE they manufactur cars with steering wheels on the right side. Sure finny to see the driver on the wrong side and to watch the traffic when you are crosing the street.
We saw the big new staduim they are going to use for FIFA World cup. Everyone is really geared up for the games. All of Africa fixing roads, building soccor venues and renting cruise ships as hotels. Expecting a lot of people.
Our tour today was to the Valley of a Thousand Hills. Mark Twain so named it. On our drive to the Village we drove through neighborhoods with people sleeping on the ground. An orphanage where children can just come if they are hungry of do not have parents. Really looked poor and sad but I guess if you have no where to sleep it looks pretty good. I don’t know if there are a thousand but the rolling hills were beautiful. First time there has been a lot of flower bushes and flowers. When you are on top of the hills and look down, it look like someone dropped boquets of flowers all over the hill sides. Of course they were flowering trees. Beautiful reds and yellows.
Arrived at the Zulu village. They have built a little theatre where they do their dances. A class of school children were also attending the performance.. They were dressed in school uniforms, spick and span. Quite a mixture of children, blond, malatto, black and white. They go to government schools however they have to pay tuition. They were enthralled with the Zulu’s, especially the boys, looking at the one topless women dancer. Served us tea and we off to the busses. The topography was far more outstanding than the Zulu’s. The vistas were high and rolling. We drove through a few suburbs, lovely, not pretenses in anyway, but gates and barb wire all around them. Lots of unemployment and they tell you to be very careful any place you go. Sad to think that pick pockets give a city such a bad name.
Washed our hands and faces and we took the shuttle bus to down town. Really a very big industrial city. Walked around for awhile, then back to the ship for Sabbath and sail away.
DAY 53 - AT SEA
We really need sea days to rest between our Ports. This afternoon Rabbi Mintz had Purim services. He does it a little different. He reads a silly story about Esther, Haman, Mordici and King Achisvaras and of course when each name is mentioned you make different noises or sounds. The best part of the program was the debate about the Latke or the Humantash. Which one has most medicinal purposes or most important. Interesting thought. Couldn’t believe how many people attended. Mixed croud along with the minister and father. Served Latkes and humantashen . Fun for one and all.
Exploration speaker is Eric Dunn. He is speaking on astronomy. I like his beliefs---the ever changing wonders of the sky are among the chief pleasures of traveling. I have been out looking at the moon and stars every night. Some of the constellations are really clear and I always love the full moon. I took a picture but with my little camera not quite as clear as the telescopes shots. I like it anyway.
Evening show was ok, and day is over.
DAY 54 AT SEA
Cooking class with George Geary. Made a wonderful mushroom soup. If I haven’t been eating enough on the ship, these classes are adding to the bulge. Gourmet lunches after we cook and the thought of making all the wonderful dishes I have learned to cook. George taught us how to cook mushrooms today. I have been doing it all wrong. You start with the mushrooms first and then add the onions. Can’t wait to try it when we come home. This has become my favorite activity on the ship. Seems the same people are attending and it adds to the comraderie.
Took my book out by the pool this afternoon. Good choice of seats. Gossip around the pool, A passanger bought a party for the crew, another paid extra fare for a inside room to keep their clothes in and the lady with the hats left in Durban with all her hat boxes in tow, All this in one hour at the pool. FUN FUN FUN.
To night is the Prirates formal dinner and dollar blackjack. What could be better…
DAY 55 AT SEA
We are half way on our world cruise. Our time is now 9 hours ahead of Ohio and Florida. I went to the shore lecture and to cooking class. Bill went to Opera and everyone is happy. That is the beauty of cruising. Each of us can really do as we please especially on sea days. The Library is our meeting place and we plan from there.
I am part of two book groups and that keeps me busy reading along with kibitzing and knitting.
Time has really gone fast. Our ports of call have been very different yet each and every one very interesting. Some I liked the architechure and others the topography. Most of the people were kind but I was saddened by how poor every one was. Houses were small , rectangles with no eye appeal and if they were new and expensive looking they were. Still not the size of most of ours. I have not seen any real mansions in the American sense of the word, I am sure there are some out there but I have not come across any yet. We take everything for granted,from the smallest convience to the freedom we have. If you listen no one likes their government but there is no hope the next one is going to be any better Still there are plenty of cars and cell phones and satellites. I try and go into the grocery stores to see how they look and prices of food. It really varies in price and quality. Most display the fruits and vegtables like we do and have meat and bakery departments. I have been having fun taking pictures of Coke advertisements in every city I see them We try and keep Coke in our refrigerator cause it costs 2.50 a can on the ship. You can have all the water and Ice tea you want free but Coke they charge. Agravates me so I won’t buy it from them unless I am desperate
LA POSSESSION, REUNION
Few people outside of France know of Reunion and even fewer know of its natural wonders . For us it fell quite short of all its hipe. Guess they were hiding the beauty. Not a lot of flowers or birds. Mountains in the background with blue sky and white clouds. Took a shuttle into town, walked around the block and back on the shuttle. I guess if we would have taken a cab or long tour and we could have seen the country side but they scare you about the cab drivers and how expensive everything is, so we stayed close to the ship. Very hot and humid. The downtown was dirty and dollar store merchandise. Getting very discriminating about our purchases.
Dinner and dollar blackjack. Bill went to the show and enjoyed it very much. Classical Guitar.
We sailed away and tomorrow another island.
Port Louise is the Capital and largest city. The city goes up the side of the mountains that ring the island. This morning all guests were required to go through a mandatory immigration inspection. You had to pick up your passport, show it to a immigration officier, he looked at you and your passport picture and knooded and moved you forward where you returned your passport to a officer of the ship. We were then permitted to leave the ship. Of course this all went on at 7 in the morning.
We boarded our bus and went out to the Botanical Gardens. They had trees from all over the world, 65 varieties of palm trees, lots of blooming trees and bushes. Rows and rows of Royal Palms. When a dignitary visit’s the island they plant a tree of their choice. They then mark it with a stone and all the personal information about the person. Makes for interesting walking
in the garden. Very nice touch. Their star attraction was the Lilly Pond. Unfortunatley not many in bloom. The pads were quite large and interesting. Also had the varity I grew last summer. Don’t want to brag mine were more beautiful.
The bus stopped at a shopping mall of course. We did not go to the open market. Very hot and hard for Bill to get around. This way we had a bus and a place to sit and watch all the people.
When it was time for the ship to leave, again the immigration wanted to count and see the people. Of course this was unexpected and caused a great deal of confusion. You know some people complain no matter what. Have to just go with it. Eventually it all was accomplished and we were off.
Dinner and the Show and another week has gone by. This one went really fast. Half way. We are in the Indian Ocean on our way to India. One more small island. Islands so far have been very different yet alike. Mountains, shopping and poor people. Most I could have skipped, but you have to see and experience everything. I always like to make my own opinions.