Casual Interactions, v3 + Day-to-Day Pictures

Finally taking a breath to catch up on some of our pictures.  Included below are links to two albums – one is filled with the things we have been doing at home, including lots of Kiel Cottage snapshots and a surprisingly perfect sukkah; the second is filled with various things we have been doing around Bloemfontein, including our first cricket and netball matches.  We have really settled into a rhythm here and have been very fortunate to be able to interrupt that rhythm fairly often with terrific trips as well.

Also, in the spirit of including some of the minor characters who have played roles in our journey, I will build on previous lists of casual interactions (here and here) with a new one, focusing on 2 groups of people – neighbors and safari guides.

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Mystery Mananga at Kruger

[Editor’s Note: I know all you want is the pictures.  Links to 3 albums from the trip are here – 2 are from Kruger itself and the other is comprised of the non-Kruger parts of this trip, including two stopovers in Johannesburg, a visit to a Shangaan village, and a trip to the Blyde River Canyon in Mpumalanga.  Enjoy!]

We settled on the first week of October for our visit to the most famous national park in South Africa, Kruger, because the university was off that week.  What we didn’t realize was that the week was also spring break for primary and secondary schools all over the country.  We were thus both surprised and worried when we got in touch with the accommodations at Kruger to find that there was nothing available in the park during the whole week.  Were two Wurzburgs not flying halfway around the world to join us, we could have simply changed our dates.  As it was, we had to find something – anything – to accommodate the 6 of us.

As I sat in a meeting a couple weeks before departure, I got a semi-urgent text from Meggan: “When will you be finished?”  As soon as I got out of the meeting, I called.  “I think I’ve got a place for us, but it seems a little too good to be true.  I need you to take a look at it.”  Once home, I followed her internet trail as best I could, working to figure out if this place she had found was (a) actually there, and (b) available.  After an hour of sleuthing, we determined that this place was either a very well-crafted hoax or a very poorly-advertised gem.  There were no trip advisor reviews, though there were photographs – whether the photos were of an actual place was anyone’s guess.  Payment could only be made through a specialized lodging site and could not be made until an invoice had been emailed to me.  As I entered in our credit card info, I felt about 70% certain that the place was legitimate.  I figured I’d leave it to American Express to deal with it if it was not, though Meggan pointed out that the greater concern at that point would be arriving to Kruger without a place to stay.  True.  There was always the giant van we were driving, I suppose.
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September Pics – At Home and Around Bloem

Finally taking a breath to catch up on some of our pictures.  Included below are links to two albums – one is filled with the things we have been doing at home, including lots of Kiel Cottage snapshots and a surprisingly perfect sukkah; the second is filled with various things we have been doing around Bloemfontein, including our first cricket and netball matches.  We have really settled into a rhythm here and have been very fortunate to be able to interrupt that rhythm fairly often with terrific trips as well.

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Click on Ben or Nelson Mandela for pics from September from around Bloemfontein….

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Click on Sadie or one of South Africa’s perfect avocados for pics from September around our home….

Holiday at Kruger National Park – Pictures

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Click the elephant/giraffe scene for the first batch of Kruger pics, including our guided safari and some visitors to Managa…

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Click the hippo’s mouth for the second batch of Kruger pics, including our super-successful self-drives and our evening bush braai…

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Click the picture above for more pics from our trip – the non-Kruger portions. We had 2 stopovers in Johannesburg and visited several places in Mpumalanga (near Kruger) as well…