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Tag Archives: Johannesburg
Mind you, “Best Friends Forever” is in many ways synonymous with “Man’s Best Friend”, at least as it applies to doggie years. It’s just the lifespan discrepancy that causes heartache. Still, the joy supercedes, so we come back for more of the same magic. As our beloved old boy, Tex, gradually prepares for a graceful parting with this world, our whirlwind puppy, Quest, is developing his inborn flair for the successor role.
While Tex’s tired legs can no longer match the eagerness of his spirit, Quest’s energy is boundless. Nothing delights him more than a super social, team walk. We often indulge him at a beautiful local park, which also forms part of our morning cycle route. Here are some glimpses of this favourite playground:
Now for some serious opposition to the theory of dogs looking like their owners: the miniature, airborne ball of fluff (in the middle) is Max, the Pekinese who belongs to Simon, the big tattooed, tough guy! Or the other way around, depending on your perspective, as so eloquently expressed in the movie Babe – where the animals speak and their respective people belong to them 😀
Already the bond between Dave and his dog is unbreakable. Quest would forego his food in favour of a car ride, to anywhere and everywhere Dave has to go. Aside from being a tough guy (and closet softie), Simon is a talented photographer as you can see on his blog, GotMilk Photography. He took this telling pic of Dave and Quest together:
Although Quest excels as MBF, he still has time for his own BFF, and it seems there’s some truth to the saying that “opposites attract”. You guessed it: the German Shepherd and the Pekinese are best of friends. During a break from Quest tumbling Max like a dishwasher on full speed, Simon snapped this shot of them panting under a tree:
All told, however, I’d say Quest’s priorities are pretty clear. Dave is number one. They love hanging out together, engaged in male bonding, like watching sport on TV:
In case you’re thinking I feel left out, not to worry. I have a personal WBF, in the form our gorgeous Norwegian Forest Cat, Jina. What could be cosier than a pre-dawn cuddle under the covers, with her gentle purr vibrating beside me?
Finally, an aside, following my last post: Dave is cycling above because an old lower-back injury from his pro racing days continues to haunt him, making walking any distance extremely painful. Recent intensifying of the pain, together with loss of feeling in his foot, necessitates a spinal fusion, which is scheduled for the first week of May.
This means that I won’t be posting a host of enduro articles, since he’ll be off his motorbike for about three months. We’re still going to Cape Town for a wedding and to visit family, though, so I’ll certainly share some photo’s from the Mother City. Have a wonderful few days in the meantime, everyone! Continue reading
OUCH! Eleven days offline following a severe lightning strike – that was frustrating. Our iPhones helped, but let’s face it, they’re not a satisfactory substitute. What a relief to be fully connected again!
In the meantime, the 2011 enduro season is well underway. It kicked off with the Enduro World Cross Country held a few weeks ago at Hartebeespoort Dam near Johannesburg. Regular readers may remember this venue from last year, but here’s a pic to set the scene:
and another to put things in perspective:
Fortunately, the rider was fine. Tumbles aside, it’s a great sport – one that draws an awesome crowd together amid some of Southern Africa’s rural splendour. A case in point was the recent Enduro World training tour to Swaziland. We were hosted at the lodge overlooking the magnificent Maguga Dam:
While the guys (and one gorgeous girl – Kirsten Landman, ’s top lady enduro racer) sweated on their bikes, the rest of us relaxed,
enjoyed a sunset cruise,
and explored the local arts and crafts centre, including the phenomenal Coral Stephens Handweaving industry:
The recent Lesotho Enduro was the first national race of the season. It took no prisoners; unanimously rated as hard core. Way to go, Dave, finishing 5th in the Masters Class and mere seconds off the podium – despite “youngsters” sneaking in from Seniors, while he’s another year older with nowhere else to go 🙂
In between pit stops, we crew kicked back and took in the scenery:
Although there’s always the tension that accompanies extreme sport, enduro is far less demanding on us than the riders. Still, tough as it can be, I reckon this smile tells a story:
It’s the reason we’re preparing for the Enduro World Cross Country this weekend, and the Montagu national the next – another perfect excuse for a few days in Cape Town . . .
- iGO My way Southern Africa hits the AppStore (intomobile.com)
- COMESA Biosafety Policies and Guidelines are Relevant to Swaziland (isaaa.org)
- Thousands Protest Monarchy of Swaziland (onebluestocking.wordpress.com)
- House on Fire – Swaziland, Swaziland (travelpod.com)
This was certainly the case at Madikwe Game Reserve last week. In a show of sympathy for all those devastated by recent floods around the world, Johannesburg and surroundings have been drenched in downpours over the past while. Madikwe is a mere 3-odd hours’ drive from here, and seems to have shared in the rain too.
It wasn’t all rosy, though, like one morning when a Landcruiser got stuck in the mud 😀 Our ranger saved the day, so we witnessed the good deed:
This was the reason for venturing off-road, which caused it all – understandable really!
Later, we struck it lucky, courtesy of more puddles, when two lionesses squatted to drink right beside our vehicle. Tell me it gets any better than this!
There was more magic in store, thanks to the rain. The pan was a sea of yellow flowers:
This is our head-ranger mate, Marc (of my previous post fame ;-)), getting down low with his Nikon. Don’t you just love it?
As you can imagine, we had plenty to talk about at the gourmet dinner every evening:
- A gift that keeps on giving… (naomiestment.wordpress.com)
- Lionesses caked in mud (dailymail.co.uk)
- Big 5 Travel that assists Local Communities (south-africa-travel.suite101.com)
- Celebrating Southern African Getaways (naomiestment.wordpress.com)
- Lion-el messy (thesun.co.uk)
This is a special day for us. My twin sister Ruth was married 20 years ago today at the gorgeous Alphen Hotel in Cape Town, where she had lunch with her husband, before their party tonight. By complete chance (if there is such a thing :-)), Dave proposed to me 16 years ago today on Signal Hill, from a spot right about where this photo was taken:
He had Table Mountain in mind, but was too impatient, or tense, to wait for the cable car queues. We weren’t aware of it then, but apparently both sites are situated on significant energy meridians. I haven’t looked into this, but true or not, it was certainly auspicious for us. That year we celebrated with Ruth and Etienne, since dinner was already planned on their behalf. We’ll enjoy ours in Jo’burg tonight, and drink a toast to them too!
I don’t usually include pics of myself in posts, but today is unusual – and being identical twins is curious to some 😉 – so here’s a recent one of the two of us together:
Heart-felt thanks to my beloved husband, for asking me to marry him all those years ago, and pressing a beautiful ring into my hands – which I almost dropped down the hillside, because Dave has the most stunning blue eyes imaginable . . . Continue reading
Time for some more bike action on the blog!
As mentioned in my last post, Dave took part in the Xtreme Enduro X at Daytona, here in Johannesburg, on Saturday. Talk about a hectic ride! He landed hard from this high drop-off during the first heat, damaging his ankles, which are still painfully swollen:
Of course he continued – to win his semi-final convincingly. Unfortunately his chain came off twice in the final, contributing to a fourth place finish. Here are two more battle scenes, the first showing Dave (racing for Team Pro-Action KTM) fighting it out with Justin Hawley, who took a well-earned gold in the intermediate class:
Meanwhile among the pro’s, masterful mayhem ruled. This is the start of one of their heats, showing Jade Gutzeit (#2 on the left) and Louwrens Mahoney (#3 on the right):
Jade was leading their semi-final when his bike gave in. Accordingly disqualified from the final, he requested to ride anyway (for no position). The rest of the field agreed, gleefully insisting he did fifteen push-ups prior to starting. No problem for Jade. He not only complied, but raced on a borrowed bike to an unofficial fastest time.
Louwrens won first place, giving a great demo on how it’s done! This is him in action:
These pics show some more of the drama:
Special mention too to the only lady rider, Kirsten Landman, who rode excellently!
By the end of the day, we all had filthy faces but loads of fun 😀 Great job on an awesome event, Greg & team, and WELL DONE EVERYONE!!
- Jack Pine Enduro, The GranDaddy of all Enduros (nothingbetterthanablankpage.blogspot.com)
Seasons take their own sweet time.
It’s taboo to turn your head while doing a shoulder stand. Not because of bad form, but you could injure your neck. So I do it slowly, persuaded by persistent puppy whimpers outside our sliding door. Quilla’s furry little face looks perplexed. My morning yoga sequence is clearly strange. Easily reassured, she bounces off to join her brother’s assault on the sprinklers. Crystal droplets spray over two tumbling bodies, glistening against the sky. That’s when I notice it. The brilliant lime green of our most seasonal tree. It’s the one I photographed three months ago, in its autumn splendour. Winter has passed, the young leaves whisper. Spring is here, in her own sweet time.
Quotes to consider:
“In seed time learn, in harvest teach, in winter enjoy.” – William Blake
“To be interested in the changing seasons is a happier state of mind than to be hopelessly in love with spring.” – George Santayana
“And you would accept the seasons of your heart just as you have always accepted that seasons pass over your fields and you would watch with serenity through the winters of your grief.” – Kahlil Gibran
“To everything there is a season, and a time to every purpose under heaven” – The Seekers (from the song “Turn! Turn! Turn!”)
“Autumn is a second spring where every leaf is a flower” – Albert Camus
To illustrate that last quote, here’s the Autumn image of this same tree:
. . . and two pics of the puppies, to show you how quickly they’re growing!
QUEST plotting his assault on anything that moves, or doesn’t Continue reading
Nelson Mandela turns 92 today. What better way to honour his contribution to the world than by participating in Mandela Day, declared ‘Nelson Mandela International Day’ by the United Nations last year. People across the globe are performing 67 minutes of community service today, in tribute to the over 67 years that Madiba devoted to public service and striving for social justice.
It was awesome to see him attend the World Cup final here in Johannesburg, along with Morgan Freeman, who portrayed him masterfully in the movie Invictus. In the words of this iconic actor: “Madiba doesn’t want a day of celebration. He asked that we spent 67 minutes on that one day in service of humanity.”
Still in South Africa, Morgan Freeman waved off a group of motorcycle riders on Tuesday, at the start of their road trip in support of Mandela Day. Although not riding himself, he is taking part in the event, which has traversed South Africa, from the Nelson Mandela Foundation in Johannesburg all the way to Cape Town. This is the final day, being spent erecting a fence at the AIDS Response centre in Khayelitsha, convening at the Cape Town City Hall, followed by a press conference at the One&Only Hotel at the V&A Waterfront.
To set the Mother City scene for you, here’s a photo showing the One&Only Hotel (marked in red) in close proximity to the Greenpoint Stadium, which has been the setting for much World Cup jubilation over the past few weeks!
TABLE BAY, CAPE TOWN, including GREENPOINT STADIUM & V&A WATERFRONT Continue reading
How does a human stoop so low as to slaughter an animal simply to feed their own greed?
It appears that a cartel of poachers has been doing exactly this, close to Johannesburg, by raiding the Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve by helicopter at night. They’ve been killing rhino’s, hacking off their horns with chainsaws, and leaving their young distraught and defenceless, if not dead too.
Game rangers took many hours to find the nine-month-old calf of the most recent victim. He has been moved to a camp with other orphaned rhino’s, in part to alleviate his trauma and loneliness, which rhino’s have been rumoured to die from.
About six weeks ago a pregnant rhino and her calf were massacred in the same reserve, for the same reason: to supply the illegal market for rhino horn. A single one is said to fetch around $1,000,000 in China.
There are no adult rhino’s remaining in this park now, but for the record, here is a photo of a youngster that Dave took some time ago:
WHITE RHINO – Rhino & Lion Nature Reserve, South Africa Continue reading