Sydafrika 2002. Skolen i Durban. Frans i Cape Town, Argus Ride.
Day 1 Tuesday 5th October 2002
Good bye Denmark
Very confusing day. I had to go to work until 1 p.m. and the plane was leaving Aalborg 3.45 p.m. I had a hard time concentrating, and there were a lot of thing I had to take care of in the last few minutes - or later. Edel and I went to the bank, the printing house and the library. It took a long time, so we ended up being in a hurry. The last part of the well prepared packing did no go well. I simply put the last things into the bags all anyhow.
It's now 7.35 p.m. and I am standing in Frankfurt Airport. Standing is absolutely the correct expression, for there are no seats available for me here. So far I have had no problems. The trip from Aalborg to, Billund was ok, and also the trip from Billund to Frankfurt. In Billund the temperature was 8 degrees C and here there are 10. This air port is enormous and it took me some time to find the correct gate. But I had to spend two hours here, so it was not a problem. On the plane from Billund I had a bun with some kind of meat. I also had coffee with a little drink, after all it is "summer holiday"
In the airport I bought "A painted house" by John Grisham for 11.30 Euro. A wonderful book.
I have now checked in, but I have to spend another 20 minutes here before I can go in. It's very international here.
I envy the Japanese who are able to squat anywhere.
Finally I was allowed to go into a room with a lot of chairs. I have been told that I must pick up my luggage in Johannesburg and bring it through the customs. I hate that. It may cause me a lot of trouble.
When I have done that I must check in again.
Nobody noticed that my luggage weighed in at 34 kilo and not 28. But maybe they will catch me later on.
Day 2 - Wednesday 6th March 2002
Right now they have started working back at my school in Ellidshoej, and I have just entered the plane to Durban. I had a very nice trip to Johannesburg. The plane moved steadily and calm all the time. I did not at all find the trip long and boring. I was in the middle of a party of elderly people from Germany. They were going on a bus trip in South Africa. They were very nice.
It's difficult to know exactly how long time one sleeps on a trip like this, but I think it was quite a bit. However, I got a pain in my neck and I had a little head ache when I woke up.
I got the luggage in Johannesburg as I should. I walked through the customs without problems. I had spent some time in the plane filling out a questionnaire but no one wanted to have it at all. The German who was sitting next to me, had brought a form which was already filled out , so I looked at that though the corner of my eye. In the air port in Johannesburg I was "greeted" by to very nice black young men, who wanted to help me with my luggage. They were dressed in nice uniforms, but were actually nothing but confidence men. They asked for 100 rand for their assistance, which is a fortune around here. I gave them a little but was undoubtedly still cheated.
However, I did actually need a little help, because it was difficult to check the luggage in the second time.
The trip to Durban takes 1 hour and 10 minutes on the plane. I hope David Spiteri will pick me up when I get there.
Thereupon I need to pick up my air line ticket to the bicycle ride in Cape Town Sunday. I have no idea what will happen the rest of the day.
I have now been informed that the temperature in Durban is expected to reach 31 deg C today. At 7 a.m it was 25 degr.
The passengers on the plane to Johannesburg were predominantly white people where as the personnel was black.
Right now the staff explains about the safety regulations. It's funny that I yesterday was explained about the same regulations by fair-haired stewardess from northern Denmark.
Durban 1.21 a.m. It was not David who picked me up. He had been summoned to a meeting, so now Marilyn and her mother turned up. I had a cordial welcome. Later on they explained to me, that they were afraid they would not recognize me. They had even written a small sign with the text: "Welcome Holger". That was what I felt.
I popped into the booking office to get my air line ticket for Saturday. It was ready but they explained to me, that I was supposed to pay 225 rand to get my bike on the plane. I should not have mentioned the bike. Me and my big mouth.
It's extremely hot here: And very, very humid. My sweat shirt came off, and I will not probably need it again for a long time.
First of all we consumed some liquid. It is very important here.
I had a shower. Outdoor!
Then we had lunch, salad, mango, cottage cheese, delicious. They had some very interesting news for me. The roof on David's school is undermined by some sort of bugs and will probable be closed most of the days I am in Durban.
David will try to find another school for me.
Marilyn and her mother keep telling me, that I must always be careful with my things here. They were shocked when they say how I chucked my luggage here and there in the air port.
Marge (Marilyn's mother) took us to a park in the neighbourhood in her car. Fortunately they were able to find me some zebras to show me that I was actually in Africa.
David was not in the best mood when he came home. He was not that happy, because his school could not house me. I was much more relaxed.
However, he had an alternative plan, so what's the big problem: Among other things I will visit a high school.
Day 4 Friday 8th March.
Morningside Primary School
Today we will visit David's school. This is the last day it is open before they start working on the roof. I slept much better tonight. It was cooler, and we even had a little rain. Rain can be expected today as well. The weather forecast talks about 33 degrees in Cape Town.
It turned out to be a very interesting day. It was a bit chaotic, and the teachers were a little stressful because of the rebuilding. First we had a little gathering in the staff room, where all the chairs are placed in a circle. We spent about 20 minutes there, before all 500 learners gathered to morning songs and some information. 4-5 naughty learners were placed on a raised platform with their backs to the crowd. And they kept staying there.
First I visited grade 7, where I talked about Denmark. All 38 learners were present. I talked about the material I had brought from Denmark. I think it was ok.
We had quite a long lunch break around noon and David took my to a photo shop so I could have my first film developed I do not want to repeat the American disaster. The rest of the school day I walked around in the school, talked to people and took a lot of photos. Actually it was quite nice.
The school day finished with a meeting with all the teachers, and it lasted for about an hour. After that we went to the photo shop and fortunately the photos were excellent.
Normally David and a few of his friends go to a pub every Friday afternoon, and why should I be the one to change that routine?
Here David introduced me to a new drink which he called Catembe. It's a mixture of red wine and coke. The taste is wonderful. We spent a couple of hours in the pub, before David decided to show me a view from a high-rise block. Not good. Not good at all. I suffer from fear of heights. When we came to the 16th floor there was a wall which was under a meter, and that wall was the only thing between me and the abyss. I am sorry David, I cannot do that.
We visited a colleague of David's and had a coke there, before we headed for Chestnut Drive, where David lives. On our way there we met a bunch of baboons.
We made a stop near one of the so-called squatter camps. It's a "town" of sheds where the poorest black people live. David said that I could take some pictures.
Every time you park your car you are encircled by black people who offer to look after your car. Some of them bow and scrape to you. It's too much. Normally they get 2 rand to look after the car. David tells me that some people refuse to pay anything at all, but I suppose it's not a good idea if you have a brand new car.
For dinner we had salad, rice and steaks in slices. Delicious.
David had read about an art exhibition with some kind of dance show included near the harbour, so we went there in the evening. It proved to be very, very alternative. 4 people crawled all on the stage where they stained everything including themselves with blue and white paint.
All 3 of us agreed that the show was much too weird for us. And the pictures in the exhibition were not much better.
We decided to finish our day in a café where we had a piece of cake and some coffee. It was a combined video shop and café and the atmosphere was wonderful.
On more occasions we passed the so-called no-go-zones. They are really frightening. Marilyn told me some terrible stories about people who had been mugged and beaten up. If one's car comes to a stop there it is probably a good idea to leave it and try to get out of the area as quickly as possible.
We had a glass of liquor when we came home, and while we did so David and I tried to watch a movie. We could not finish the job. Actually we both fell asleep.
I decided to call it a day around 11 p. m.
Day 5 - Saturday 9th March.
The day before Argus
Today is the day before the big The Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour in Cape Town. I have never in my life been so badly prepared for a ride. I am almost starting to worry. They talk about very high temperatures tomorrow. I'd better take it easy out there.
It's now 6.32 a.m. here in Durban, and my plane leaves a little after noon. I have started packing. I am supposed to be in the air port one hour before take off. I have a ticket already, but I must pay a visit to the office to discuss the bike problem. The told me that I must pay extra 250 rand to get the bike on the plane. I do not want to do that. Maybe I should just keep my big mouth shut?
I will not bring a lot of luggage to Cape Town, and I am going to leave the bike there, which will make things a lot easier.
It's now 6.36 and David just passed by. He has promised to take me to the air port. I could have taken a taxi, but I really appreciate that he will take me.
I did it. When I checked in, the lady asked me if I was bringing a bike.
- Oh no, I said. 'It's only bike parts.
- Ok, she said and let it pass.
I had a nice trip. It lasted about 2 hours and the view was wonderful. In the air port in Cape Town I waited a long time for my bike to turn up. It didn't. When I asked for it, they explained to me that they had taken it to a special hanger, because of the Argus ride. A nice black man took me there. And he was actually very nice.
On the way to the hanger I met Frans, who had come to pick me up. It was very exciting finally to meet the man I had been corrersps0nding with for such a long time. You cannot know for sure, that the impression you have got of a person through letters is true. But I was very happy to be able to shake my friend’s hand. I had a heartily welcome and I could not have got a better travelling companion.
I only hope I will be able live up to Frans' expectations.
Frans joined us in the search for the missing bike. It took a while before we could wrest the bike from them, but at last we got it.
We took a look at Cape Town, before we came to Frans' home, where I was introduced to Francine, his wife and Jacques, his son.
After lunch it was time to assemble the bike. It is not at all appropriate to assemble a bike few hours prior to an important bicycle ride, but those were the conditions. It was hot, but it was ok. I could not find my wrench nr. 15 for the pedals, but Frans borrowed one from a neighbour. I had big problems with the brakes. I had not taken my newest bike and the cables on this one were very rusty. To tell the truth they were not working good at all. But I had to put up with that.
And actually it looked like a bike when I had finished the job. We went for a very small ride in the neighbourhood. There were many and steel hills, but fortunately the parts I had put on the bike did not fall off, so I decided that the bike was ok.
In the evening we watched a little TV, before we had a bicycle-rider-meal. In contrast to me Frans was extremely well prepared. He had all his things ready. I did not have anything ready, and I kept saying to my self, that I had to rely on my routine
Day 6 - Sunday 10th March 2002
The Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour
It is always extremely interesting to see, how people in other parts of the world ride their bicycles. Sometimes it's hard to believe that people actually ride their bikes seriously in countries you have never visited: But they do.
Well in advance I had paid for an entry through the Internet, but I got rather disappointed when I learned that the price I had paid was much higher than the price the local riders should pay. I could afford it, but I would like to have an explanation for this. I find it very unfair.
I am a very experienced bicycle rider, but to tell the truth I had never that badly prepared for a ride in my whole life. March is a winter month in Denmark, and snow combined with cold weather made exercising on the roads very little attractive. Furthermore I was very occupied with all the preparations for the big Africa adventure. To be hones with you I had not touched a bike for several months when I made ready for the ride 10th March.
It goes from bad to worse because I arrived with the plane from Durban late in the afternoon the day before the ride, so I had to assemble the bike in a hurry and hope that everything would be ok after a little ride in the neighbourhood.
That's was not at all an optimal prelude to a ride like the Argus. Of course I had studied the profile of the ride in advance, so I knew very well, that a number of very steep and long climb could be expected, and was also aware of the fact the Ou Kapsee Weg would be the biggest challenge of them all.
At the same time I had been told that it would be extremely hot. Of course I am used to riding under very extreme conditions from my rides all over the world, but adapting from snow and ice to hot summer weather with temperatures close to 40 degr. C from one day to another is not easy.
My plan was very simple. I would not risk anything, as I knew to little about the route, the character of the roads and all the other important things in a bicycle ride.
The start was easy and painless. It was surprising to see how easy it was for the organizer to send all the riders on their way. The centre of the town was totally closed off, and the groups started form different areas. I realised at once that I was going to use all my small gears this day (39/52 x 13-27). I tried to keep a sensible distance to all the riders that surrounded me, and I managed quite well. The route was closed off for normal traffic and we did not meet one single car all day long, which was a wonderful thing.
I had my first major problem on the first serious climb. It occurred to me that me seat pin was disappearing under me. I had not been able to tighten it enough the day before. I believe it must have been a spectacular sight to see me arriving to the top of the hill sitting on the frame. I had to do something about that. I talked to a marshal, who sent for a mechanic. He came up to me about 10 minutes later and screw the saddle tight again. That was much better.
Later on I have ridden part of the route and I learned it as actually a very scenic route. I must admit I did not realize that during the ride. I had other things on my mind.
The weather was dry and I was surprised to se how many people I met who were fixing a puncture. I suppose a lot of them have not been aware of the fact that it is a very good idea to use new tyres when you are in an important ride.
The heat was now increasing, and on the steep hills it was now very evident, that this was going to be a very tough day for a lot of the riders. And when we got to the bottom of Ou Kapsee Weg things went terribly wrong. It looked more or less like a migration. I have been in countless bicycle rides, but I have never seen so many riders push their bikes. I myself find it very embarrassing to push the bike, but sometimes you have to do it. On my journeys around in the world where I bring an awful lot of luggage, I have sometimes been forced to push the bike, but I have never done it in a ride. It was obvious that these people did not push their bikes because their gears were inadequate. This was simply more than thy could handle. A lot of these people suffered. You are not supposed to suffer like that when you are in a bike ride. I you do you'd better fins yourself another hobby while you see to that you get in a better shape.
The Argus ride is a colossal attraction in the local area and a lot of people have no doubt been tempted to ride ignorant of what is actually happening out there. Everybody knows somebody who is the ride, and if their friends can do it, so can they, they think. Normally 109 km should not create big problems, but this day up to 39 degr. C was measured on Ou Kapsee Weg where there was no wind at all and then the disaster happened. This year’s was the hottest ride ever. 2 deaths, 10 heart attack and a lot of heat strokes were reported. Of course accidents will happen when so many people ride together, but this was simply too much. I am convinced that too many people were in the ride without knowing what was waiting for them.
I took my time and I even found the time to take a lot of photos, so how I was placed in the ride is of no interest. After all someone must be number 15.88 or whatever it was. The most important thing for me was that I had a good experience and that I finished the ride without crashing.
My Friend Frans was not that lucky. Like so many other riders he crashed, but in spite of wounds and bruises he was able to get on his bike again and finish the ride.
In the afternoon the medical director of the ride decided that they had reached a situation where all resources were rapidly being depleted, and the race was stopped due to the excessive heat and the fear of endangering the cyclist's lives.
When the race was stopped about 19.000 cyclists had crossed the finish line leaving about a third behind.
Subsequently I have watched a TV-program about the ride and among other things there were some terrifying recordings from the mountain, and I must once again say that I hope those who suffered so much out there well be better prepared next time.
I myself was quite happy about my first Argus Ride . I love mountains and hills, and I know what to in the searing heat. To me it was a wonderful experience to be in this magnificent bicycle show, and it is quite possible that I later on will be in the The Cape Argus Pick 'n Pay Cycle Tour
Day 7 - Monday 11th March 2002
Penzance Primary school.
It's now 6.43 a.m. and we are making ready for the day's program. We will leave from David's home around 7. We will first take Fabia to her school, and afterwards I will go to my new school, which is now Penzance Primary school.
I am a little tired after my trip yesterday, but not as much as I had feared. It's a bit wild to go on a week end trip 1753 km away. Yesterday ended being a bit hectic, because we had to wait for a while for Frans after his crash. He was in good spirits, when he got back, but we had to hurry a little. Frans had promised to take me to the air port, but he had to go to the casualty department, so Jacques took me instead.
But now it has become working day again. When we get to the school David will introduce me to somebody, before he leaves for his own school, where there are no children today.
At 4 o'clock p.m. we are supposed to go to an exhibition with a Danish Artist somewhere in Durban.
8.22: Right now I am in Mr. Cromie's grade 7, where they work with math. We have just returned from the assembly, where there were morning prayer and a lot of information. 700 learners were gathered there, and it was as quiet as in a church. Amazing. In this class room there are "only" 31 learners, but still I can see children everywhere. In the ceiling 2 big fans are placed, but they have no air condition here
The lesson started with a going through of last lesson's work. It's Ray's birthday today, and he brought a very nice cake to school. One of the prefects has just fetched me a glass of water. Every time you meet the children they take of their hats and say hello Sir. And it's surprisingly quiet everywhere compared to all the children.
After the lesson in Mr. Cromie's class I went into a grade 6, where I did my "Denmark-show", which is think is getting better and better. And to my big surprise the school had arranged a dog-show, which I went to look at. It took place in a green area next to the school buildings. There were 3 border collies, and they were very good.
After lunch it was time to go to the computer class. Grade 5 worked with word processing. I looked at what was going on for a while, and they I was able to help a little bit. I spend the last hour on e-mail writing.
At 4 o'clock we went to an art exhibition arranged by the Danish Cultural institute. Lisbeth Manicus from the Institute could not say anything about the plans for David's exchange trip to Denmark, which of course made him a little sad. But on the other hand had she was able to tell him, that his trip to Denmark would be arranged. The question was only when he would go.
We had a glass of red wine and emptied the bowl with snacks, while we took a look at the exhibition and listened to the speeches. An orchestra played some African music. After a couple of hours we left.
On our way to the meeting we had a very frightening experience in the traffic. We caught sight of a mad driver. Every time he was forced to reduce his speed he honked as a maniac, while he at the same time screamed and gesticulated through the window. David looked in vain for a police car. It is awful to imagine how this situation can have developed later on. Anything could happen.
At the meeting I was introduced to Bruno, David's friend. He popped in later on the same evening for a drink.
We had dinner in the garden. We had rump steak with millies. ( 3 for 5 rand). It was a wonderful dinner.
Again we tried to stay awake in the soft chairs, and again we could not do it. At 10.30 p.m. we did not find sleeping there comfortable anymore, so we decided to adjourn to the sleeping apartments.
Day 7 - Monday 11th March 2002
My day started like usual with a shower followed by breakfast with coffee. We left for Fabia's school around 7 o'clock and then we went to my very own school, Penzance Primary School. By now I was already familiar with everything, so I just went to the staff room, where I made myself some coffee.
That day I worked with my "Denmark-show in 2 different 7 grades. I was introduced to the classes and then their ordinary teacher left the class room. I had no problems with the learners, and actually I think they were very interested in what I had for them.
At 10 0'clock I was going to visit a Dane, who lived in the neighbourhood. His name was Karl Jensen, and he had lived in Durban for 53 years. The school's secretary knew him very well, and she took me there in her car. We had coffee and cake and the secretary joined us. I thought she was in a hurry, because she had people waiting for her at the office, but she had all the time in the world.
It was quite funny to talk to Mr. Jensen and of course we discovered, that we had mutual friends in Denmark. It happens all the time.
Mr. Jensen’s hobby was vintage cars and motorbikes. When I visited he was working on a very impressive Singer car. He did all the work himself. He also had a Harley Davidson and a Norton motor bike. I was very impressed. He told me that vintage vehicles in South Africa must be from the years before 1937.
David came and picked me up around noon, because we were going to Phezulu, a zulu village about 30 km from Durban. We got there on small winding roads.
First we took a look at the crocodiles and the snakes they had there. The crocodiles did not move at all, but I liked to watch the snakes. It was the first time in my life I saw a black mamba. They had green mambas as well, but the black ones were my absolute favourites.
There was a Zulu-show at 2 o'clock. 12-15 Zulus were dressed in their traditional dresses.
Through small spectacles they showed characteristic things from their history. Among other things they told us, that a wife gets 11 cows as a dowry. The show was extremely interesting and impressive and furthermore it was filled with humour, beauty and poetry. Finally they demonstrated the use of an old Zulu spear, which had the name Iklwa. It is the sound one can hear when a spear is removed from the guts of a human being. Nice.
On our way home David found out, that he needed a haircut, and I got an opportunity to send a few post cards.
We decided to go to the movies in the evening. It was a budget evening, and the price for a ticket was 12 rand, which is extremely cheap compared to prices in Denmark. We saw "Ali" with Will Smith. It was a wonderful movie, but it was a bit difficult for me to stay awake.
We were home at 10.30 p.m. and went to bed right away.
Day 9 - Tuesday 12th March 2002
Dabulamanzi Combined School
Today is the day for our big trip to Dabulamanzi Combined School. It's now 11 minutes after 7 in the morning, and David has just left with Fabia. Marilyn and her mother Marge will go on the trip as well, so we can expect a very nice family-day. I think we have about 130 km to the school, and from there we'll go another 50 km to a reservation with cave paintings. We also hope we will see eland antelopes.
We had a nice drive up there. We used Marge’s car, and she drove all the way. It was interesting to watch how the landscape and temperatures changed as we moved up into the mountains. We came to the school after a couple of hours. Marge and Marilyn would go on their own, while David and I visited the school for 2-3 hours. David had spent a lot of time on phone calls to the school to make an appointment. He had made an arrangement with the headmaster, but when we got into the school, we realized that this headmaster was not there at all. He had left for a meeting, and nobody knew we were coming:
It turned out that this was not a big problem. They found number 2 for us, and he introduced us to one of the teachers, whose name was Gu-gu.
The year before she had spent 3 months at a school in Columbus, Ohio in USA, and she told us she would take us on a guided tour on the school.
She was a very nice lady, and she introduced us to 3-4 different classes. We had a very warm welcome in every class we came into. I told them a little about Denmark, and I believe they found it interesting to have an international visitor.
This school is a so-called farm school and there are about 600 black Zulu learners. The school is financed by the parents and by private sponsors. The standard is high and it has a very good reputation in the area.
I must admit that everything here was extremely different from what I am used to in Denmark, and I think the learners looked at me in wonder. We could very easily have spent the whole day there, but we had not got the time for that. We thanked Gu-gu for showing us around and continued our trip.
On our way to the reservation we passed a number of villages, and with their round huts they looked exactly like my childhood's conception of a negro village.
We had lunch when we arrived and Marilyn and Marge had made a huge picnic basket. We were very hungry. Because of the height the temperature had dropped, and it was rather cold. Actually we had to put on an extra jacket.
David and I started on foot for the caves with the paintings. It would take us about 30 minutes. David thought we were late and set of at a murderous speed. I did my very best to follow him. It was a very scenic walk. We were there in good time, and we talked a little with a young Hungarian couple.
A little later our Zulu guide/guard arrived. He was interesting and exciting to listen to, so we enjoyed the 45 minutes with him and his show. The paintings were not looking to good. David had been there many times before, and he told us, that people did not treat these paintings the way they should.
We looked into the souvenir-shop. It was not very impressive. A lot of the souvenirs can be found in each an every shop, so you have to be lucky to find something special.
On our way home we passed a lot of the children who came to the cars to ask for money and sweets. We gave them a couple of chocolate biscuits. Marilyn told me that they brought their cast-off clothes to this place. Everything could be used. We found the time to visit some of David and Marilyn’s friends. They lived on a strawberry-farm. We had a cup of coffee and a cake there. It was really in the country side.
It was a long ride home, because it grew dark, and we were a little tired. Before we left David had talked with the Hungarians again. They told him that they had rented a car, and they also told him, where they had planned to go.
- Not a good idea, he told them. He explained to them, the in the area they talked about, there were roads where you simple do not come when it's dark. The risk of hi-jacking was to big.
David also explained that they all know someone who has been, mugged, robbed or who has been hi-jacked,
- You get immune to these things, he said. The local people are aware of the dangerous no-go-zones.
After our arrival to David's home in Durban we found out that Marge had a puncture on one of her rear wheels. When this was fixed (I held the torch) we had a late dinner before we went to bed around 10 p.m. after an extremely interesting day.
Day 8 - Tuesday 12th March 2002
Last school day
Last school day in Durban. Tomorrow I will leave for Cape Town. Right now it's 8.24 a.m. and I am once again having math in Mr. Cromie's grade 7. Today there are "only" 30 learners here. One of the children broke his left arm yesterday playing rugby. They all think that is a bit cool. He even took the X-ray pictures to school.
Today the class is working with fractions. They are all very quiet and pay a lot of attention. A prefect has just returned with a glass of water for Mr. Cromie and myself. Before I went into the class a learner handed me a big brown envelope with letters from Mrs. Oliver's grade 6. I talked to that class about Denmark a couple of days ago. These letters are very nice. They did a wonderful job. Mrs. Oliver and I want to start a co-operation between our classes. I am looking forward to that.
In a while I am going to the computer room, where I plan on staying most of the day. David will pick me up at 1 p.m. We are going to a meeting at 2 o'clock with some of the people, who are in the job-swop-project. I am not quite sure what will happen there, but I have a thing or two I can tell them about.
In the computer room I found out that all the students in my 3rd grade in Denmark had sent me a letter. They all got a letter back. They want to hear about the weather, the people and of course the snakes. Unfortunately I heard that there was a problem with my own computer at home. I will try to make some nice people work on that problem, but it is not easy to fix problems in Denmark from a location in Durban, South Africa.
I hate when these things happen.
David was there on time and we went to the meeting. I was introduced to 12-14 of the people, who are going to Denmark later on. Lisbeth Manicus from the Danish Cultural Institute explained about the programme. She had bad news. The money for the exchange was not available at the moment, so she could not tell the people when they would go.
I hate when these things happen.
I was allowed to tell a little about what people in Denmark would like to know about South Africa. It took me about 30 minutes. I think I did ok.
Afterwards one of the black theatre people came up to me and told me that he had liked my "show". He also told me, that he thought I should get myself a new job. He said I would make a fine actor.
One cannot be praised more that that, I suppose.
This was our last evening together in Durban, so we were going to a restaurant for dinner. First David and I took Fabia to her Flamenco lesson, and while we waited for her, we went into a pub, where we had a drink. Of course we had Catembe, red wine and coke. Try it. We paid 16 rand for the 2 drinks. It's extremely cheap compared to priced in Denmark
Our restaurant was near the water front. It was a very nice place. Od course the weather was perfect. We were sitting very close to the water. We had brought our own wine, and we had to pay 15 rand for that privilege
I found out that they served Barracuda, and when I saw that, I knew I had to taste that, and it was a very good idea. I had a very thick filet with a wonderful strong fish taste. Delicious. We spent abut 2 hours in the restaurant.
On our way home we passed a homeless man, and Marilyn handed him an old T-shirt. A couple of minutes earlier, she had explained to me, that it was not a good idea to stop the car anywhere when it was dark, and now that was exactly what she did.
She explained to me that she was able to see if a person was a threat or not.
Tomorrow I am going to Cape Town.
I will miss my new friends in Durban.
Day 11 - Friday 15th March 2002
"Good bye Durban"
Last day in Durban. It was quite sad, but there is a time and a place for everything. My plane was leaving at 2.20 p.m., so there was no time to go to school. I got up quite late and said good bye to Fabia, a very special girl. There is no picture of her here, because for some reason she did not want me to take any pictures of her.
Marilyn and her mother took me to the botanical garden, where there were a lot of interesting flowers and birds.
We walked around for a while, before we sat down and enjoyed a milk shake in the wonderful weather. From the garden we went on to a gallery, where the art was somewhat alternative. I got an opportunity to buy a few things in the gift shop. We also had a cup of coffee before we went home.
David got home from work quite early and when I had said good by to Marge, who had been extremely kind to me, I started packing the last things. Not a pleasant thing to do.
We could not relax and decided to go quite early to the air port. By doing so we were also able to avoid possible problems with the traffic.
We even found the time to enjoy the second milk shake of the day in a restaurant in the air port. I start to like that drink.
Time went by, and soon it was time to say good bye.
I hate when that happens.
I am not very good at it, and it seems that it is getting worse as I grow older. But it must be done, and it was done. However it was not good bye, It was "see you" and that made things a lot easier. David will come to Denmark later on, but what about the rest of the family?
TO THE SPITERIS
Thank you for your hospitality and your friendship. I could not have got a better exchange partner, and I did not only get a partner, I also got his family.
The flight went according to plans. I was sitting right behind two men from India who talked constantly. But we were only there for two hours, so I could live with that,
Frans picked me up in the air port, and this time I had no bike to hold up our progress. We went directly to his home this time, where I went to my room and tried to make some order in my things. We had many things to discuss, because a lot of things had happened since my last visit. Frans started moving about the grill, because it was braii (barbecue) time)
When dinner was served I found that the table was practically flooded with a lot of delicious things. Most of the things on the table were new to me. The most special thing was probably the koeck sisters, which looked more or less like the Danish "klejner" (cruller?) They were very sweet, and I need a little time to get used to them.
I got an opportunity to check my e-mail, and I learned that my domestic computer problem was now solved, with a little help from a good friend. That was very good.
I suggested to my family that we could meet "on line" the following day at 6 p.m. African time, which would be 5 p.m. Danish time.
It was after 10 before I went to sleep.
Day 12 - Saturday 16th March 2002
"Blouberg Beach and Bellville Library"
The weather was wonderful from early morning, but I suppose that is always the case here. For breakfast I had müsli, yoghurt and coffee. And now the time had come to get the bikes moving. We had planned a 22 km ride to the beach at Blouberg, where we intended to enjoy the view to Table Mountain. From Frans' house there was a 3 km steep descent, and I suppose that indicates that the last 3 km of the ride will go up, up and up again. That's the way things normally work. The ride to the beach was characterized by heavy traffic and roads which were not to good. We also passed a roundabout, and that is a very dangerous place when you ride in the wrong (left) side of the road. Along the route were numerous back people selling art and souvenirs. In all intersections they were running around offering all kind of things for sale.
I realized that the beach was a very exclusive area for bathers. It was still early day, but the first visitors had already got there.
We went around for a while enjoying life, and we also had a cup of coffee in a restaurant. Before we left we sat chatting for a while on a bench.
On our way home we stopped at a place where African art was for sale. It was interesting and I liked the art very much. It was not very expensive. We decided to return top the place later on, when we were in a car.
But the last 3 kilometres were still waiting for us. I found out that it was indeed very steep. I guess it was up to 12 %. Simultaneously it was getting hotter and hotter, and we were more than well done, when we came home. After a shower it took several minutes before the sweat stopped pouring.
We had lunch and decided to rest for about an hour before we would face the next adventure.
A little after 3 p.m. we went to the library in Bellville. That is the library which will co-operate with Svenstrup Library. Frans gave us a guided tour and I was fully able to understand how proud he was of his former place of work. This visit gave me an opportunity to take a look at the library before the official start of the co-operation Monday.
I found the time to buy some post cards, so now friends and family can start looking forward to some beautiful picture post cards. I bought 10 identical cards with Cape Point, because it is a beautiful place and it has got a special meaning to me. I was a bit tempted by all the cards with wild animals, but to tell the truth I have seen very few lions here, so it would not be right.
I went to a photo shop where I wanted 2 films developed. It's one of the few expensive things here. It's the same price for 1 hour development as is for a normal development. I can pick up the film Monday. I fear I accidentally pushed a wrong button, when I took my photos at the farm school, but I will find out about that Monday.
I also robbed a bank, so I could give Frans the Money back he had paid for me for my air line ticket, when I was still in Denmark..
We had an important evening ahead of us: Rugby. Anyway Frans told me Rugby was important. It's a very small sport in Denmark, but people here are crazy about it. In advance Frans had tried (!) to explain me the basic rules of the game to give me a general idea of what it was all about. However, I guess it will take me some time before the grandeur of the game reveals itself to me.
Unfortunately Frans' team lost by a single point, which was not good at all.
However, he recovered rather quickly and instead we started watching my video from my bicycle ride through Europe to Gibraltar in 1997. We managed 4 episodes and because I translated most of what was said Frans and Francine were able join me on the ride.
My being-on-line-project was a success. I was ready in Cape Town and my ladies were ready in Ellidshoej. We sent 3-4 letters before we were all going to have supper.
Once again it was rather late before I went to sleep, but it was a good and very exciting day.