Ashley / South Africa

We’re Back!

In many ways!

1. Phil and I returned to Chengdu after a wonderful three week trip to South Africa last Sunday.

Last we posted we had just visited Kruger national park in the norath east of the country. We then took a road trip to Violsdrift which is on the border of Namibia and South Africa for a five day/four night rafting trip. Our opinions of Namibia – lots of sun, lots of sand. The trip was great and we made lots of new friends and came away with minimal sunburns.

(our new tent overlooking Namibia and the Orange River)

After that we headed out to Capetown, a city that both Phil and I decided we could easily live in. We had a great time climbing table mountain, going to “the cricket,” visiting surrounding vineyards and sampling the very fine cuisine that can be found in all corners of “the Mother City.”

(climbing table mountain – it wasn’t as easy as we hoped)

(at the Newlands cricket stadium – South Africa vs. India)

From Capetown we traveled west along the garden route to the van Rooyen family beach house on a private nature reserve in Oubos. The pristine beauty of this spot is pretty amazing and most of the day and a half we were actually at the beach we spent in awe of the natural goodness surrounding us.

(one of the many peacefully beautiful spots in Oubos)

Sadly though, holidays don’t last forever and we had to return to work via a 20+ hour day of travel back to China. While Phil’s pictures are definitely more professional, they’re already posted on facebook, so I will leave you of a couple pictures I snapped myself.

2. We’re no longer blocked! China had blocked all wordpress blogs for a while and we couldn’t gain access to our site without a VPN (virtual private network – which basically routes your internet access through a country that grants unrestricted internet). Phil has a VPN but I’ve been too lazy to get my own (I just use his when he’s sleeping). Now that we’re no longer blocked, you’ll probably be hearing more from us as it’s easier (and faster) to access our site.

3. China!! Our adopted homeland held nothing back in welcoming us home. We returned to sub zero (Celsius) temperatures and, since this is rare and all heat is run electrically, at school we’ve been having rolling blackouts. It’s like China is saying, “Welcome back! Did you miss me!?!?!”

My China moment for the month was yesterday when road crews watered the roads (as they do every morning to settle the dust) not realizing that below 0 temperatures=ice. The police realized that there was ice on the road and sent a road crew to wash the ice away. Clearly this is not a part of the world used to cold weather. What ensued was a disastrous combination of multiple layers of ice, cars and bicycles slipping and sliding, and new drivers who have never experienced black ice before. And this all happened before we got to school.

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