While I was at Lake Naverone I hiked up to an area called the 3 pools (where coincidently there are 3 pools) in the Drakensburg Natural Park. The weather there was strange - I hiked for about 5 hours in the beating sun and was boiling, but in the shade it was freezing to the extent that there was frost in some places and one of the pools was partially iced over.
Hiking on your own in this area is a little disturbing - there are literally no other people and if you take a tumble, like I did, you start worrying about when/if anyone would find you. At one point I came accross a troop of baboons, which are pretty large, and I realised I wasn't sure if they were the kind of creature that would come after me or run away. As it turns out they ran away but they were having quite a big fight amongst each other.
That's all my holiday pics for now. The key ones I'm missing are from the wedding itself, when by rotten coincidence my camera battery had run down, but I'll be getting copies from other people that were there and posting them at a later date. So back to the usual nonsense for now...
After Grant and Angela's wedding I hired a car and went back up to the Drakensburg on my own while they went off on their honeymoon. I did have plans to go on safari but they fell through, however things worked out well in the end as I ended up at Lake Naverone
- a very chilled out place, ideal if you've been stressed out at work for several months.
The setting is simply stunning and for a city-bod like myself the silence is amazing - all you could hear was the odd bird call. Also I was never aware just how many stars there are in the sky - it was like visiting an observatory every night - there's virtually zero light pollution. The nearest town was a small place called Underburg where I stocked up on provisions. It was about 25km away on a pot-holed winding road that was imense fun to drive along - you feel like you are taking part in a rally (well if you drive like I do you do).
The Sani Pass
is a mountainous route through the hills of the Drakensburg up to the country of Lesotho
. The road is only open to 4x4s by law, and when you travel up you can understand why. I shyed away from borrowing the farm truck and got a guided tour
in a 4x4 to the top (R200, that's less than £20, for the day for two guides, the 4x4, and there were only two other tourists with me).
As you visit another country it means you get even more exciting stamps in your passport, which is always nice. The picture above is the Lesotho customs point which basically consisted of 5 very cold men in long wooly coats standing around a fire, smoking and playing cards.
I happened to go up the day it snowed which added an extra element of danger to the whole experience as the 4x4 slipped around and the guides still insisted on overtaking slower drivers. I had an insane grin on my face the whole way, meanwhile the Afrikaans kid on the trip with me kept putting his seatbelt on! I didn't have the heart to tell him it probably wouldn't help if we came off the road and plummeted a few hundred feet. The 4x4 we were in is pictured below.
While I was based in Durban I also made two visits to the Drakensburg
region, which covers a mountian range on the border with Lesotho
(a seperate country land-locked by South Africa).
On my first visit I stayed with Catherine (Cats) and Rex on Rex's Farm. That's Cats with me in the picture above, the farm is pictured in the snow below. The altitude means that the Drakensburg is a lot colder than Durban, but the snow was an unusal event. Cats and Rex got married the weekend after Grant and Angela (that's today!), but unfortunately I couldn't stay for that.
OK - so I'm back off holiday, but where have I been? Well I've spent a fantastic 2 weeks in South Africa, based in Durban, thanks to Grant and Angela
whose wedding I went out for. I've got loads of pictures to post, so sorry if you're here for games
and the like they'll return shortly, but I have to write up my adventures first. I've split my photos into vague categories and hopefully I'll then write up a bit about what I got up to.
This first set of photos is from Durban where I was based for most of my time in South Africa. The picture above is of Grant and myself fooling around at the departure gate at Heathrow.
No fresh links for a couple of weeks I'm afraid, not becuase I'm too lazy to post anything, but because I'm off on my holidays. Woohoo!
A warning to all you bloggers out there: don't become too obsessed with your stats. It's infinately depressing the day that you find out that you, and when I say "you", I mean a picture of you personally
, are the #1 google image search for "Dumb Brits
" (well to be totally honest I haven't laughed quite as hard in some time). Aren't google rankings based on the text of inward links? I hate you all...;o)
Readers of old will know of my un-natural love for my Mini Coop
(well not that
un-natural, you with the filthy mind) so a big shout out of thanks to op-pop
for not one, but two, Mini
links just for me. First a most excellent comic strip
, which is even more excellent for the subtle Ferris Bueller
(apologies if this qualifies me as a movie slut, but this still ranks as my favourite film ever) reference
. Second up an on-line review
of the upcoming Cooper and Cooper S convertibles which really tug at my purse strings but I really can't. I'm having trouble justifying why I even need my current car given that I get the train virtually everywhere, but it would be nice. Very nice.
I'm working out of the office tomorrow, down near the coast, which given the weather forecast should be lovely. What's really tickling my fancy though is that I'm going back to college, not to learn, but as an Intranet consultant (*yawn*), so I'm going to be in a building packed full of 18 year girls. I'm walking around the flat saying out loud, in my best 13th Duke of Wybourne
voice, "Me? Consulting with 18 year old girls? With my reputation?
Due to my lazy posting over the last month or so I missed mentioning the official opening of the Swiss Re Tower, aka The Erotic Gerkin, at the time, but this icon of The City
is now open for business. My office is just south of the river, you get a great view of the Gerkin up the Borough High Street though, but most of the business I do is in The City directly around the Gerkin so I see it all the time. I love working in The City but this is one of my absolute favourite sights during the working day. It's not often a building can brighten up your day.
Chilling out in the courtyard of The George
(it's owned by the National Trust
so you can pretend it's a cultural thing, not a drinking thing) last Friday we were approached by a roving troupe of young masseurs/masseuses. Eh? Some keen questioning revealed they were from urban chill
a rather cool new business venture that purveys 5 minute head & shoulder massages, either in your office if you give them a call, or in various nightspots around central London. Nice. The price? Whatever you think it's worth. An odd pricing scale, but cool none the less.
Several 5 minute massages later and my colleagues were even more relaxed than a few hours' worth of beer had already got them. For my part I got all shy claiming I thrived on stress (actually massages make me giggle). It's amazing what nonsense you come out with when you've had a bit to much to drink, not to mention the hidden truths that have a habit of slipping out. But therein lies a tale for another day...(or never).
mainly turning 30. I'm saying goodbye to my twenties, buying a pipe and slippers, and generally getting a year older. Does this mean a more mature, reasoned, considered lazylaces from now on? We'll have to wait until I've sobered-up to see...;o)