Thursday, June 23, 2016

South Africa, Day 1

The last big whole family trip we took, all four of us, was a couple years ago, so we were overdue. We joined forces with the husband's good work friend and his family for a fabulous trip to South Africa to kick off summer vacation. 

The college coed flew into town a couple days before we left since we needed to visit a travel clinic in London for typhoid shots and anti-malaria pills. We began our trip on a Saturday evening, departing from Heathrow one hour later than scheduled (after 10 pm) for the 10.5 hour flight to Johannesburg.

Upon arrival at Tambo airport, after we cleared the border process that included a thermal scan of our faces that checks for fever, we took the shuttle to our hotel. It turned out to be this whole complex that was all interconnected and eerily similar to Las Vegas. Caesar's Palace in Vegas, only this was Cicero's Palace in Joburg. Fountains, a blue sky painted ceiling, Italian themed everything. It was a hoot. Slots, anyone?

After about 3-4 hrs of sleep for each of us on the airplane, we hit the touring trail with our safari buddy family. First on the list was a visit to the Sterkfontein caves, about a 25 mile drive from Joburg's city centre  This system of caves is a UNESCO site because paleoanthropologists discovered hominid and animal bones that are over 3 million years old. A part of the Cradle of Humankind, we also visited the nearby museum that is mostly underground. There was this low rent four elements water ride at the bottom of the structure. Seven separate college degrees amongst the four adults and we still couldn't figure out the importance such an odd ride played in the overall design of this museum.

I couldn't help but notice how winter in the southern hemisphere reminded me of the same season in the Texas hill country. Rolling hills, scrubby brush, dry grass. 

We were taken aback by the beautiful flowers blooming in the parking lot - so vibrant. And some sort of weaving bird's nest hanging from a tree. That's not something I'd expect to find back home in Texas.

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