27 July

Robn is also writing, so we will try not to duplicate.

In this one, I will just be filling in some gaps.

Our AirBnB choices were excellent, with the exception of one night that Robn describes later.

One BIG thing that we noticed was that most homes are somewhat fortified with tall walls, topped with pointy things and then 6 to 10 electrified wires, 2 to 4 ft higher yet. Then dogs inside the compound and bars on the windows, and heavy steel barred gates at the doors, then inner doors, with, sometimes double locks. The sign below says, “Armed response.” And, we are told the private security arrives VERY quickly. Whew!

We have been repeatedly warned to not go out on foot, after dark. In some areas, the Police are NOT your friend, and when they hear our American accent, make try to extort money by made up infractions.

Keep the doors of your car locked at ALL times. Do not have ANYTHING in the visible part of the car and keep your cell phone out of sight. (Tricky when using it to navigate.)

It reminds me of Panama, back in the ‘Bad Old Days’ in the 1980s, when 1/3 of our friends were mugged, even us.

The ZAR or South African Rand is about 13 to the dollar, which is not easy to do in one’s head, but most prices are much better than in America.

We ran into a person that seems otherwise bright, but it came out that he believes the wide spread hog wash that the Earth is actually flat and there is a conspiracy to hide that.

Before you say that he has fewer brain cells than a small stump, realize that there are hundreds of very sincere sounding web posts explaining the Flat Earth view and pretending to explain away the “MANY obvious flaws” in the idea of a spherical world.

I can only assume that the original sources of these sites are pathological liars, BUT, I think that our acquaintance was genuinely fooled. If one is gullible, weak in math and Science, and has never spent much time at the sea or a large lake, it would be easier to be fooled.

Having crossed oceans, using a sextant to find our position, having seen the Green Flash, and so on, we were not even SLIGHTLY taken in. But, it was a shock to see this unfortunate victim.

I have no theory as to WHY this is promoted so much.

Another interesting experience: We knew it was Winter, or Early Spring, here. At the first AirBnB in Johannesburg we awoke to find the weather door wide open which allowed the dogs to come and go through the locked grill door. Okay, but the temperature was only 35 F degrees = 2 Celsius! I don’t think they were wasting heat. They did not heat the building. They just managed with quilts and leftover daytime heat. The second place did the same thing! Both places provided propane heaters in our rooms to accommodate our pampered expectations. One of the things that we forgot is that Johannesburg, and much of the surrounding land is at about 1755m/5,758 feet in elevation. This, combined with sleep deprivation and jet lag caused us to tire easily, Very easily.

The days were ALL sunny and clear, which combined with the altitude to cause the very cool nights and about 70F/21C in the daytime. But, we had clothing for that, so it was OK. Also, they had heaters and hot showers.

Robn already covered most things, so I will stop here.

We are having lots of fun. As we left our suburban, non-AirBnB lodging yesterday for a walk, a medium sized monkey or smallish baboon, ran across the road, perhaps 100 ft, 30m, in front of us. I wonder what he thinks of the electric fences. This neighborhood seems MUCH more relaxed. Very few electric fences and even some walls are low. And, the second day their were several more monkeys close by on roof tops. Might justify the window bars.

Dave & Robn

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