South Africa - Cape town
| Feb 25, 1997
Took a trip around the mountains here - very close to the city, stunningly beautiful. Weather is very variable here - it has a tendency to blow pretty hard - after all the winds go practically around the world at this latitude.
Three years ago the city decided rebuild the harbour area, following successful examples in places like Baltimore.
The result is indistinguishable from efforts further north - glitzy, fast-foody, pleasant malls.
Cape Town, South Africa
| Feb 22, 1997
Arrived in this jewel of a town last night - and will be here for a couple of weeks.
Capetown is in idyllic setting - flying in we had a magnificent view of the cape, and Table mountain, the georgeous center of town nestled against the sea, the large residential areas behind, and the MASSIVE shantytowns of the black and colored townships outside.
These are being rebuilt, slowly, but what were residential areas enfoced by passboks are now a form of economic apertheid.
Namibia - Internet report
Internet in Namibia is supplied from a number of sources, but king of the hill is Internet Africa - an offshoot of UUnet based out of Virginia. They are based in South Africa, and run one, maybe two, 128K lines from Capetown to Windhoek. I had a barbeque with Dr Lisse - a German at the Swapokmund medical center who administers name services for the country.
Performance sucks for interactive work - telnet to RMI was painfully slow.
Namibia - Swakopmund
Swakopmund is a resort town on the Swakop river - with a heavy german influence. Where else could you buy German memorabilia from the last war ?
The landscape is remarkable for the desert sands that come fsright down to the sea.
I rode down on the minibuses that all the black folk use - 15 people squashed in for $10US to take you 200Km. there was an 18 year old University student on the bus, who could answer all my questions on Namibia.
Namibia - Desert Oasis
A group of us at the hostel banded together and rented a car to go down to see an Oasis in the middle of the Namibian desert.
There has been an uncommon amount of rain in Namibia this year - so much so that the usual sandy color of the landscape has been replaced by green.
Rain in the desert is an event that is waited for by an entire ecosystem - eggs that lie dormant in the hot, dry sand for decades before exploding in a frenzy of growth, reproduction, and quiescence again.
Got into the Capital of Namibia Friday AM, and located a ‘Backpackers Lodge’ through someone else on the plane.
It is $8 / night, for a shared dorm room, Lounge, TV, kitchen - and excellent company of other people that have travelled through the continent - mostly Australians, New Zealanders (Kiwis) and Brits here, many of whom are on extended trips of six months or more.
I organised a trip down to some huge natural sand dunes, that have had an uncommonly large amount of rain this year.
Andy's trip to southern Africa
| Feb 4, 1997
I am heading to Namibia for a couple of weeks from Wednesday, followed by a couple of months or so in South Africa.
This is mainly vacation, but I am making a point of looking into Internet connectivity for South Africa and other countries in the vicinity, as it is of great interest to me.
I hope to be able to send Email every so often during my trip, and to get maximum mileage out of it I am resorting to the magic of mailing lists.
We headed north in Cameroon, three of our group unfortunately contracting malaria on the way (probably caught at the coast). We spent Christmas at a nice camp at Rumsiki way up north, and then headed west into Nigeria.
Nigeria ( MAP)
Nigeria is a big, populous, oil-rich, and completely corrupt country, where everything in officialdom and elsewhere runs on ‘dash’ - their word for bribes. We were stopped no less than five times within as many miles from the border by spurious police, customs and immigration check posts, all of which contrived to find something wrong with our papers, the truck, or taxes in order to earn their daily dash.
The train trip to Dakar is a 36 hour trip through some very remote areas of Mali. As those on the truck found out, there really is no road through this area - the railway, two trains a week in each direction, is their link to Bamako or Senegal. On our train when we started, though there were plenty of seats, I noticed plenty of women sitting on their bags around the door area of the train.
I had an excellent trip, starting off in Kenya, East Africa, with a visit with my brother to the farm where we grew up. This was in Timboroa, which was a small village when we were last there 22 years ago, but is now much bigger - maybe 2000 people now. The farm we sold to a Co-operative of Kenyans, who worked for 8 years and ran the farm in the same style we ran it, until the debt borrowed from the government was paid off.