08 Mar 2019

Durban, South Africa 2019

We are in Durban, the third largest city in South Africa. It's know for a cosmopolitan, multi-diverse society, and long elegant beaches with much surrounding beauty. It was a bit gray out today, but fun nevertheless.

Taking a helicopter to check things out, we were immediately impressed with the ocean, adjacent gold courses, and a world class soccer stadium built for the 2010 FIOFA World Cup.

Unfortunately it didn't take long to see Durban poverty, witnessing a huge shanty town from above.

The scenery was beautiful and educational. In the sticks are many small clusters of small Zulu compounds. By law polygamy for them is allowed. 


We landed on a plateau overlooking the Valley of 1000 Hills and enjoyed a bit of a picnic.

In the afternoon we visited uShaka a full blown marine park. The shopping was really nice in that it was quite local looking, clean and with many interesting stores.

Leave it to Allyn to photo-bombed a class photo.

07 Mar 2019

Hluhluwe Game Reserve, 2019

First stop in South  Africa was Richards Bay and we drove to Hluhluwe Game Reserve for a two-hour game drive. Given it was so short, it is surprising how many nice sightings we had.

Water buffalo were abundant today. Often they like relaxing in the mud and are good at it.      
This little tortoise guy likes to eat parasites in the water buffalo's rear end. When not disrupted, nature has a place to handle all needs.
These guys are part of a group of male impalas. Once a year about now there is a big fight and the victor goes off with the entire group of females. These guys are the losers.
it turns out that the white rhino is not white at all. Originally there was a mistranslation of the Dutch  word "wijd" meaning "wide" but was heard as "white"
There were several pretty birds along the way. The guide said it was his first sighting this year of the kingfisher.
The elephant photo was as good as we could. But it's an elephant so it makes the cut.
Giraffes are so beautiful and graceful. Did you know that both giraffes and humans have seven neck vertebrae? Theirs are over 10 inches though.
We saw one lion and that was tough as he was hiding behind the vegetation. Actually he was staying cool.
Warthogs are seriously ugly.

06 Mar 2019

Maputo, Mozambique 2019


Here we are today in Maputo, the capital city of Mozambique. Here is yet another city whose name until recently was unknown to me, yet it has 2.7MM people in its metropolitan area. I mean we are in Africa. This is the real deal.
The Central Railway Station is over 100 years old and generally recognized as one of the prettiest in the world and the most beautiful in Africa.
It was worth the tour just to watch the hubbub of local activity here.
The Central Market is another place that is always fun to visit to see how the locals live. It, too, was a delight. 
If you are interested in elephant fetuses you absolutely must run, not walk, to the  Maputo Museum of Natural History. They have real preserved fetuses to view from 3 weeks 22 months. 
Imagine this. in 1892 the Iron House was built to be the  to be the residence of the Governor General of Mozambique. It was designed by the famous Gustave Eiffel, (Eiffel Tower and Statue of Liberty fame).  Well it seems nobody told him it was hot here. It was impossible to use as a dwelling. It makes for a good tour stop though.
 Our final stop was at the obligatory crafts market. It was surprisingly lovely.

01 Mar 2019

Reunion Island, 2019

We are on the other side of the world today in Reunion. The clock reads the same time here as home in Las Vegas, only it is PM instead of AM. 
Reunion is an island that is an overseas department of France, off southeast Africa in the Indian Ocean. It is the outermost region of the European union and has a population of almost 900,000 people.
It has famous for one of the world's most active volcanoes as well as an inactive one.
The only way to catch the astonishing beauty is via air which is why we chose a helicopter tour today. It was breathtaking. 
When we visited here in 2010 we spent an enjoyable day at a typical French beach resort.
Some fun trivia from that blog:
Trivia 1 – As part of France and in the Indian Ocean, Reunion was the first region in the world to use the Euro as legal tender. 
Trivia 2 – An area of Reunion has the world record for the most rainfall in a 24 hour period. (Cilaos - 73.62 inches between March 15 and 16, 1952).

20 Feb 2019

Fremantle/Perth, WA, Australia 2019

Segment two of our 2019 World Cruise ended today in Fremantle (the port for Perth)with about a third of the passengers leaving and a similar number joining. Hopefully some will want to play in the fun little Hold'em tournaments. This segment is three weeks ending in Cape Town for several days. We start with a one-week crossing of the Indian Ocean. To say we are far from home would be an understatement.

Perth has over 2MM people, and is the largest city and capital of Western Australia. It is the country's fourth largest city. Since Allyn and I had a business lunch in Fremantle, we spent our afternoon walking around their beautiful waterfront.
Although it was only 190 years ago, this is where Western Australia's first public building and prison were. Whereas Allyn spent 60 seconds in the stocks and pillories, the average time was six hours - and they were not sitting - and people were throwing poop at them. It must have been pretty revolkting in this hot climate. I'm sure the flies enjoyed it. Yuk.
Now there is lovely sightseeing and a nice beach.
For years they had a cannon blast at 1 o'clock to benefit the sailors in the harbor. That necessity was ended when radios an other technology entered the scene. Recently they decided to renew the tradition. It makes for good tourism.