After two weeks on the road with my parents and Ingrid, we made full circle and spent our last day together in Johannesberg. We stayed with family friends, visited, repacked and did laundry.
Of course, adventure had not given up on us quite yet. Early the next morning, we loaded the car up and started off towards the airport. I was using dad’s iphone GPS to guide us, but somewhere along the way perhaps I got a bit confused and the map led us to a train station in downtown Johannesburg. Ooooops. Then of course, running an hour late, the iphone battery died, the two maps were no help and no one on the street seemed to want to offer directions.
Full of adrenaline and pre-flight jitters, dad displayed some heroic traffic maneuvering and got us back on the right track.
Airport goodbyes are always hard, especially when you don’t know when you’ll see your family next. Christmas? Maybe, but probably not (good thing we celebrated in July). There is no graceful way to express the depth of my love and appreciation for my parents, and absolutely no possibility of maintaining any composure when faced with the acknowledgement of eminent distance. So, with teary eyes, a few big hugs and too much to say – dad pushed me through to security and on my way back to Vilankulo.
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Reunited with Ingrid we made our way to the Waterberg, an old Boer faming region several hours north of Pretoria. There we stayed in a guest house on a fifth-generation owned cattle ranch. We covered a whole range of accommodation during this trip: cabana, airport hotel, rock lodge, fancy-tents, tent-tents, and private family housing.
We arrived a bit late in the evening, but just in time for the evening’s astronomy lecture. One of our hosts, Phil, is a physicist and astronomer. He had great and practical information for astronomy greenhorns. With no light pollution the stars were HUGE!
The next day, which was actually my birthday (more on this later), we hung out with the Barber and Calhoun family. Mr. B, the family patriarch, gave us a tour of the ranch and property.
We heard their history; how their relatives came to the Waterberg and how the land, country and politics have evolved. What an wonderful family. They are kind, generous, extremely open minded and articulate.
Let me say that I know many really really wonderful South Africans. But regretfully, I admit that I have sometimes found myself quick to judge or stereotype some white South Africans as close-minded or racist – but this family proved me so wrong. How valuable it is to be reminded that it was my own insular limitations that needed to be redefined and judgements that needed reconsideration.
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