Arriving after dark, I woke up Friday morning with no idea what to expect from Sodwana Bay. The only thing evident from the Land Rover window was that this was a village - a very quiet village. After an outside shower, our gracious host took us to coffee at the newly opened Tamboti Coffee Shop just steps away. I didn't even have to put shoes on... it won't take long to get used to this lifestyle! After meeting the new owners & enjoying some eggs and coffee we were treated to a trip to the beach off the nature preserve. As I headed out of the 'bush' (after seeing monkeys and some crazy orange flowers), my mouth fell open.... it was g o r g e o u s. Sand dunes led you down to the bluest ocean I've ever seen; my first trip to the Indian Ocean. My new group of friends and I spent the day swimming, enjoying some Windhoek Lagers, and building a sand castle - the most relaxing thing I've done in a while. Sand castle wasn't too bad, but I look forward to honing my skills! Last night, I was lucky to meet some more locals who mentioned they are doing a plan for the town - and they probably could use a GIS person. I'll find out soon, but I'm crossing my fingers that they need a map of their town! Come all the way to Sodwana Bay and get to map? Count me in!
After a week of couchsurfing with family through Longport, Philly, and NY, I finally jumped on the plane at JFK Monday morning. After 15 hours in the air, I landed in the OR Tambo International airport, Johannesburg. It's been 36 hours and jet lag is waning. Since I was only going to be in town 2 nights, I stayed at an AirBNB in Sandton - a suburb north of the downtown & a 12 minute Gautrain ride from the airport. Prior to this trip, most of what I heard about Joberg was negative - I was intrigued yet on my guard. Thus far I can say feelings are mixed and views are probably skewed. Yesterday I met a cool cat named Leo, had a very quick ride on the extremely fast, clean and reliable Gautrain, and saw my first HarDeeDar Ibis in the backyard of the BnB. Not too shabby. Today, after a failed attempt to take the train to Parktown and sight see, I trekked back and spent the afternoon in Nelson Mandela Square in Sandton City - a very posh area filled with shops that include more brand names than I've seen in a while. Interested in people watching, I grabbed a cafe table on the square and enjoyed a local brew. The square reminded me a lot of the DC suburbs (Crystal City came to mind), and the Gucci, Prada, Bellagio & Ferrari stores were definitely not my scene. Cue the obnoxious group of self-absorbed business (?) folks at the table next to us, and I was soon paying my tab and flagging a tuk tuk (that part was awesome). This experience was the polar opposite of the impoverished, dangerous place that was described to me, and this is probably just the beginning of the income inequality that I read so much about. But although the GINI coeffiicient might be high here, I'm pretty motivated and excited to move on & see a bit more of this country. Durban & Sodwana Bay - here I come!
Baltimore coordinates: latitude: 39° 17' North longitude: 76° 37' West
Johannesburg coordinates: latitude: 26° 08' South longitude: 27° 54' East
Combining a passion for travel, the desire to make a difference & a love of maps, MaggieMaps was born.
Unless otherwise noted, all prose, poetry, maps and photography posted on this blog are Copyright 2013 Maggie Maps
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