For our last and final blog entry, we felt we needed a name to sum up our experience here. “Ke Bona Lesedi” means “I See the Light” and this seems to be extremely fitting for what Tina and I experienced personally while in this beautiful country. South Africa has been an experience beyond belief for the both of us. Beautiful people, breath-taking scenery and a feel of love and unity that you cannot seem to put a word to….you only can experience. We truly feeling this is a “place of light” and will continue to be as we all build a new future for ourselves in this new world.
This morning Tina and I packed up and called our friend Gerard who was the driver that took us to Mabula where we had our safari. We were looking forward to leaving the Arctic and just getting WARM in his van! We told Gerard that since our flight back to the States did not leave until 9pm that we wanted to squeeze as much in as possible before our flight. He was more than willing to accommodate us since he still was feeling bad about the “bathroom” incident! (Reminder: Tina having to “use the facilities” off the side of the freeway on our way back from Mabula!)
We made our first stop at SANBS where we said our good-byes to all of our now life-long friends who made our stay so wonderful here by being such gracious hosts. Tina and I both agree that we cannot thank them enough for all that they did for us while we were here. The hospitality that was shown to us was beyond anything I have experienced in all of my travels. The individuals we met will definitely be part of our lives as we all move forward personally and professionally.
Tina and I have been wanting to see and learn about the many different cultures that exist here which are hard to really experience while you are in the big cities. Gerard thought it would be a good idea to take us to the cultural village of Lesedi which means “place of light.” Their moto is “Our culture is the light of our nation. Whoever walks here amoungst our cultures in Lesedi can also see the light.” We were running a bit late due to traffic (we have been forgetting to mention that the reason we are running into so much traffic everywhere we go is due to the fact that South Africa is hosting the World Cup in 2010 so they are doing some major construction on their road systems.) and Gerard thought that we may have missed the start of the tour. When we arrived they had not started yet and Gerard said that Tina and I had “Muti.” Muti is a form of luck that can be good or bad and while in South Africa Tina and I have most definitely experienced GOOD Muti…from our timing, to the weather to the wonderful people we have had the privilege to meet!
When you visit Lesedi it is like you are actually walking into the villages of the different cultures. The people who work there live there and stay in character so you can get the real feeling of what life is like living in that culture. We found out that you can actually stay overnight in a hut in each of the villages as well. Definitely something on the agenda for our next visit! The 4 cultures we learned about were the Zulu, Xhoso, Bashoto and Pedi. All of the cultures have such unique histories and customs.
Since Tina and I were flying home today, they showed us a Zulu custom called “Isivivane” which means “the good luck stone.” The Zulu keep a pile of stones in their village and when someone is traveling on a journey away from the village, they are to find a stone (the bigger the stone the better the luck!), spit on the stone and then throw it into the pile. This is to propitiate the spirits and bring good fortune to the traveler on their journey. Of course, Tina and I spit away!!
After touring all 4 villages, we were treated to an amazing dance show where all of the cultures showed us their traditional dances in their traditional dress. WOW!! Of course at the end of the show, we all got to get up and dance and Tina and I put on the “white girl” moves once again!!!
After a delicious, traditional African lunch we tried our luck at the Apartheid Museum but found out that they are closed on Monday so we headed to the airport early. Tina and I did some more shopping (we had 400 Rand left and decided to just spend it rather than exchange it for dollars!) and then had our last meal in South Africa….beer and nachos!! We reminisced about the wonderful experience we both had, how grateful we were to have each other’s company and how this trip has changed us both forever.
This is a trip I know I will truly NEVER forget and am so grateful for the many “synchronistic” events that had to happen to make this possible. My daughter pointed out to me before I left that Africa has been on my vision board in my office for a few years now and I believe that truly shows the power of the universe in helping us manifest our dreams.
Tina and I would like to say THANK YOU from the bottom of our hearts to all of you who followed our blog throughout this trip. We hope you had as good a time reading it as we did writing it. It was such a beautiful way for us recap each day we experienced here and show you firsthand how beautiful the people of this country are. We have discussed taking our blog entries and adding some inspirational messages to each day and creating a book out of the experience.
And to the beautiful country of South Africa which we now refer to as our “second home”…good-bye for now and what you taught us will forever live in our hearts.
Chris-TinaWe Found the Arctic in South Africa
Last night in South Africa we were feeling both sad to leave yet homesick at the same time. We spent our last night in Cape Town and left this morning. We thought it was strange that when we checked out the lady gave us a “free drink coupon” for the next time we stayed at their hotel – it had no expiration date. I guess she was reading our blog….!
It has been a full day of travel and transfers – flights and follies! We had a bit of a hard time getting a ride to our hotel that we are staying in tonight because we kept being told it didn’t exist by the local cabbies. I wondered if my “powers” increased while I was here and I manifested a hotel that no one else was aware of. We then found out the hotel we had been booked in is only 1 month old. We finally figured out how to get there, checked in and entered the “Arctic Zone!” The hotel is a renovated apartment complex and the residents must have all died of hypothermia and frost bite! Tina and I were literally shivering with the heat on! The manager did not believe us and then we forced him to go up into our room and he admitted it was a “tad” chilly! I guess he didn’t notice we have frost bite on our cheeks, three layers of clothes on and eyes that are so dry from the blasting heat we are both blind! We are bit frightened to shower in the morning due to our extreme fear of death from cold.
We went down into the lobby to get warm and had hot chocolate in the middle of summer in South Africa! (That just seems WRONG!) Tina decided to try her luck at the PS2 that was in the lobby. After she crashed her VW Golf 80 times, she decided to be 007 and learn how to use a machine gun. She is now an expert at killing bad guys…although I think she died 25,000 times! Luckily the machine memorizes where she left off.
We thought it would be fun to give you all a vocabulary lesson of some of the words we learned since we have been here. Here we go:
Car trunk = Boot
Horn = Hooter
Traffic light = Robot
Standing in line = In queue
Sneakers = Takkies
Diapers = Nappie
Air conditioning = Air con
your welcome = Pleasure
Tomorrow we plan on doing some cultural site seeing with our friend Gerard who experienced firsthand Tina’s African initiation of peeing in public. We plan on enjoying our last full day here but can’t say we are enjoying the thought of our 15 hour flight home that leaves here at 9pm. We will make our last post tomorrow evening as long as we can find internet.
Chris-TinaThe Joy of Gratitude
We had our last and final workshop today at the WP Blood Services Center in Cape Town. What a wonderful group of people! I always say as a speaker, I am only as good as my audience and this audience really was ON today! They came ready to learn, transform and walk out with new ideas and insights. This group was made up of the people who directly interact with the donor population. We talked about empowerment, self-worth, priorities and finding the courage to play bigger in the world. My favorite part was doing the communication exercise where they all learned a bit about themselves and what their tendencies are when they live day to day. What a crack up! One group talked about sex the whole time!!!
After the wonderful experience and sense of giving Tina and I have been blessed with here in this country, we wanted to give something back so we decided that we would give blood. The process was fairly simple and “painless.” Once they found out our blood alcohol levels were ok (just kidding..) we went through the typical screening process. Unfortunately, Tina’s iron level was too low so she could not give. She gladly watched as they stuck a needle in MY arm!!
Tina and I went to a GREAT restaurant for dinner called The Green Dolphin. The whole theme of the restaurant is “dedicated to the preservation of Jazz.” We heard a great live Jazz band called The Lee Gelder Bloem Quartet. We always seem to meet the funnest people on this trip. We stopped a waiter named Zulu to take our picture and as he took it another waiter, Brian, decided to stick his head in the picture last minute to our surpirse. We had such a good time talking to these guys!!
Tina and I discussed at dinner how blessed we feel for being given the opportunity to go on this trip together. It has been perfect in every sense of the word! We would not change a thing.
We head back to JoBerg tomorrow and then leave for the States on Monday night. Even though we have had a spectacular time, we both are feeling a bit homesick today and are ready to go home. We miss you guys!!
Chris-Tina“Sugar Vision” (Sweet!)
So this morning Tina and I had a quick breakfast because our ride that was taking us to Table Mountain was early. Tina thought it would be nice to take our coffee to go. She very carefully made our coffee, handed me mine and said, “I can’t remember (there goes her memory again!) which one I put sugar in so we will have to look at them.” I must have looked perplexed for a moment because I was trying to figure out how I would tell if there was sugar in it by looking…so I asked Tina, with a very sly look on my face, if she had “sugar vision.” Hence, “sweet” became our word of the day……
We FINALLY took the cable-car up the face of Table Mountain to the top. We had planned on doing it on Tuesday but it was closed because of the wind, so instead we went to the windiest point in South Africa…Cape Point…duh!!! We also had planned on climbing to the top instead of taking the cable-car, but we didn’t take enough Essentiale the night before! At 4,000 feet, we could see all of Cape Town and Tina and I made a bee-line to get to the furthest point out so we could have some “quiet” meditation time before the crowds came in and also to record the video we could not end up posting here. We spent about 3 hours at the top, came down on the cable car as we watched poor souls climbing to the top looking up at the car with a face that said, “Damn, why didn’t I take the car!”
We got back to the hotel and decided to take a quick nap before heading out to shop at the Waterfront. I immediately began searching for my “man blanket” to sleep with. What is that you ask? Well, a couple days ago when I took a nap (I swear we do more than sleep and drink here!) Tina handed me a blanket from the closet and it smells just like men’s cologne. Of course, I have slept with it EVERY night since!
We had lunch at a great German restaurant, had some..wait for it…beers and then headed to an awesome Wellness Craft Center right in the middle of the Waterfront. We went nuts! We each bought several very rare crystals (yes, we bought more!), an African music CD, and all of your Christmas presents…all for $3.00!!!
We headed back to the hotel after about 4 hours, sun-burnt shoulders and all (it was about 90 degrees here today) and then we….wait for it…took a nap…again! Shopping makes one tired.
Helen, one of the ladies from the WP Blood Services where I am doing a workshop tomorrow (OMG I have to actually work!) picked us up and took us to this great restaurant right on the ocean called Petenaro’s. We had such a blast! We ate great food, fancy drinks and had wonderful conversations from Peru to politics. Tina and I agree that we learned so much from the conversation and are so looking forward working with their group (about 85 people) tomorrow. We also learned that when we are standing “in line” for something we are standing “in queue”. We also found out in South Africa there are 8 days of the week…we can prove it! (see below) And we found out that when African women imitate Texas men, it is frickin’ hilarious!!! Marika gave us a great account of an experience she had last time she was in Texas and Tina and I were rolling in the car on the way home.
We got back to our rooms to find that we had experienced “turn down service.” We had our beds turned down, chocolates on our pillow, a weather card telling us the weather for tomorrow and step mats (or as Tina calls them “get up mats”) by the sides of our beds. Tina decided that she would ask April to do this for her every night from now on…(hahahaha…my idea April!)
Off to work tomorrow…(I love my job!)
“Maynard” and “Homer” (don’t ask….)That’s What I’m Talkin’ About!
We woke up to a perfect day – the weather was glorious as we ate our breakfast. It continued to be glorious as we boarded our chariot for the Wine Country. Our guide’s name was Issy and we shared our tour with Brian (Connecticut/England), Patrick (Ireland), Steffi (Oman) and Franca (Dubai), Patrick and Veronique (France). It was truly an international group.
South Africa produces 900 Billion Liters of wine per year and 40 different varieties. Our first stop was at Zevenwacht Winery where we sampled 4 wines (at 9:30 in the morning!) along with 5 different aged cheeses made by the winery.
Our second stop took us to Stellenbosch in the Cape Winelands District. We learned that they plant rose bushes at the end of every row of grapes for 2 reasons: aesthetics, but more importantly because the rose bush and the grape vines have similar physiology but the rose is more sensitive. Any disease or insect manifestation will hit the rose bush before it hits the grape vines which is like a pre-warning system. They can just look at the roses and tell what’s going on in the grape fields.
We had extra time in Stellenbosch so we shopped at the local “flea market”. We found some great gifts and two awesome paintings we are bringing home. Chris was obsessed with finding a new pair of sunglasses since she accidently broke her diva red ones at the B&B. We found a really expensive pair at the corner shop and after the exchange rate, they came to about $ 3.00! Can you say “The Fly?”
After breaking the bank at the flea market our driver bought us fresh strawberries for the next leg of the trip. Imagine how strawberries used to taste when you were a kid…. The best ever? Well that is how these tasted. We stopped for lunch and our second wine tasting at “The Rickety Bridge” winery. By the time we ate our lunch we had polished off 8 different wines and just to mix it up a bit, we ordered… wait for it… wine with our lunch! We learned a new word from the Xhosa language “Mholowene” which means hello to a group of people.
Before our final tasting, we stopped at Drakenstein, the third and final prison where Nelson Mandela served time under house arrest. They had a beautiful monument in front of the prison in his honor.
Our last wine tasting stop was at Laborie Estate in the Paarl Region. We tasted 4 different wines plus 1 aperitif which was a blend of Brandy and one of their sweeter wines. After 8 hours we had tasted 13 wines total and were feelin’ fine! Chris and I seemed to be re-living the “white girl dance” moment in our minds and could not stop laughing on the way home. We were LOAO!!!
By the end of the day Chris was speaking in a Spanish accent for no apparent reason (actually I think it’s because she got hit on by a Spanish speaking Romeo!) I had to get at least one dig in since I have been the victim for several days in a row now.
We had dinner at a great local restaurant called Beluga, had a deep conversation about the meaning of life and headed to bed so we can catch the first cable car up to Table Mountain in the morning.There is Nothing…Nothing… Like Laundered Underwear!!!
As we mentioned in our last post, we ended up checking out of the B&B we were scheduled to be in due to lack of internet service and distance from where we needed to be. Sad, because it was a cute little place but where we ended up…OH BOY! We feel like we are living in a condo!! Before we left, Tina was so happy because they had a washer and dryer and since she only brought 6 pair of undies (not sure what she was thinking!), she has been giving a new meaning to the word “commando” for a couple of days. Needless to say, she now is “covered!”
Our morning was a little off due to having to find a new place to stay and then actually getting there but all ended up ok. Tina and I have been doing an awesome job, I must say, staying in the moment and just allowing things to happen as they will. This keeps us in a state of squeezing everything we can out of every moment we are here.
We ended up taking the half-day afternoon tour headed to The Cape of Good Hope. This area is the southwestern most point of South Africa and is where the Atlantic and the Indian Oceans meet. Thabani was our tour guide and he was a hoot!! We were in the van with a couple from Austria and another couple from Whales. Thabani was cracking jokes the whole time about where each of us were from.
It was a quite eventful ride (it took about an hour and a half) and we stopped a few times along the way. As we were passing a beautiful beach off of the Atlantic Ocean, Thabani pointed out to us the FULL-TIME shark spotters on the beach. The shark spotters sit up over the cliff with binoculars and have different colored flags that warn the guard on the beach if there is a shark in the area. This happens quite often due to the fact that the sharks mistake the people for seals! If you saw the movie “Jaws” – that is the shark we are talking about. They are ALL OVER the waters in Cape Town!! (Vin you would be in heaven!!)
We then stopped to see the penguins and found out their nickname is the “Jackass Penguins” due to the fact that when they make noise apparently they sound like a Jackass! (A few people I know came to mind…. :)) They so reminded me of the movie “March of the Penguins!”
Tina and I then decided we had to use the restroom and upon entering the stall noticed a box on the back of the toilet. To our surprise and laughter (loud enough for the entire place to hear!) there were boxes of FREE condoms in every stall! Seriously though, this is a way South Africa is educating people on safe sex so as to prevent the spread of AIDS. (NO – Tina and I did not take any!!)
We started our drive again and were warned about the WILD BABOONS! These guys are EVERYWHERE!!! Apparently, they have been fed too much by tourists so are now on the violent side and actually try to jump in peoples cars to get food. We passed a mama and her baby on the side of the road….SO CUTE!!
We finally almost got to our destination when we stopped again for a bit to climb up to a lighthouse overlooking the Indian Ocean. It became very apparent as to why they call Cape Town the “windiest city in the world!” Tina almost had to cash in my life insurance policy because I literally almost got blown off the edge while going up. TINA IS MY HERO…SHE SAVED MY LIFE!! (tears of joy and gratitude flowing). We were so “blown away” at the top, we decided to take the Funicular (a flying Dutchman-kind of cable car) back down mainly due to the fact that I was having a hard time remembering where I put my life insurance policy!!
Once we got back to our “palace” we decided to order pizza and beer. We were soooo happy! We also noticed that this is the first post that we do not have a picture of us drinking an adult beverage….on the other hand, we also just noticed that we talked about drinking an adult beverage and happen to be drinking one as we type so maybe this whole paragraph is totally pointless!
On to tomorrow where we are going to be…wait for it….DRINKING!!! (full-day wine vineyard tour!!)Why Can’t Tina Remember Anyone’s Name…????
This morning was our last day at the Birchwood Hotel in “JoBerg” (we feel we are natives now so we can call it this J ). We had breakfast with Zali, reminisced about the week and the fun we had with everyone and the total success of the Congress. We visited the Congress area before we left to say our good-bye’s. When we returned to the hotel, Tina and I bought some last minute gifts from John, who had an area where he was selling various handcrafted African artworks. Since we spent quite a bit of money with him throughout the week, he gave us each a beautiful hand-crafted beaded keychain, again, showing the hospitality and pure giving-ness of the people here in this country.
I have been teasing Tina all week about her name memory. She has called people by the wrong name most of the week (Simon became Sam-Gerard was Jerald-Angelo became Alejandro and Scott became Sam! – obviously Sam made a good impression on Tina – except for when she called Sam, Simon!) but somehow remembers what key to use on the keychain of 85 keys we just got when we checked into our B&B in Cape Town. Go figure!
We were “fetched” by the Cape Town’s blood center driver (Angelo-or as Tina refers to him-Alejandro!) and headed to the Camelthorn Lodge. He stopped along the way so we could take some shots of the beautiful scenery of Cape Town. We took some shots of Robben’s Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated, table mountain and a great view of the portside.
We arrived at Camelthorn and were greeted by Marcus. He showed us around the B&B and gave us the ring of about a 1,000 keys we needed to get in and out of our “cottage.” Unfortunately, as beautiful as the B&B was, we ended up switching to a hotel that morning because we had no internet access and we did not want to disappoint our “fans!”
We had dinner at a Mozambican Portuguese Restaurant called “Toni’s.” Every item on the menu started with “Toni’s…” Like Toni’s Peri-Peri Chcken, Toni’s Seafood Spaghetti, Toni’s Sticky Toffee Pudding! We had a great time eating outside and enjoying the coastal breeze.
The first thing we plan to do tomorrow is head to a Pharmacy to get some “Essentiale.” We know you are wondering what that is..so were we. We were told it was a great natural “liver de-toxicant” and Tina – since she is missing a gene for hearing and remembering names-thought the gentleman said…wait for it… “lover intoxicant” (watch out April!). She immediately wanted to run to the store but then was gravely disappointed when she realized it was “liver” not “lover!” (Note to self –Think twice about sleeping in the same bed with Tina after she takes this!)
After the Pharmacy, we plan on heading to Table Mountain for the day. We are trying to decide if we want to hike UP the mountain and take the cable DOWN or take the cable UP and hike DOWN. Since we are both feeling like slobs for not exercising in 7 days, we chose to hike UP the mountain. If we are alive then, we will post tomorrow….Flippin’ Fun
Well we slept through breakfast because we were so exhausted from the last two days. We met up with Zali for the Opening Day of the Congress before Chris had to give her Keynote. The Keynote was extremely well received by all 300 participants – Chris had a mile long line of people wanting to thank her, ask her opinion on various matters, and one gentleman even invited her to possibly speak in the UK next September. (You know where I’ll be next September! “The Chris-Tina Road Show”)
We were invited to attend the evening “Mixer” which was an Irish Pub Evening. They served “Pub Food” (Chris was relieved there was no Ox-Tail!) and, you guessed it… wait for it… BEER! We each started the evening off with a Guiness Stout and ended with a gallon of water!
We sat at the “Celebrity Table” with two South African celebrities: Helen DeBois a Singer who has written a theme song for SANBS that will be released next year, and Marisa Bosman who stars in a “Soapy” (“Sopa” Opera) called ISIDINGO.
We were treated to a Singing Competition by each of the Blood Center Regional Groups. They had to come up with a blood donation related theme song and sing in the competition. We had “The Blood Clots”, The Twilights who dressed like vampires, and there was even a group that did an Abba medley and they named themselves the ABBO’s (get it – blood types!)
After dinner we danced our Arses off to the Blarney Bros. Band. They played Irish tunes, American tunes, and we even did the African Hokey Pokey (sorry Genevieve, no Polka’s!). We were amazed at how many people got up and sang and danced the entire night. There is an incredible love of life that is palpable here – no one can resist the urge to celebrate and dance. Talk about living in the present time!
Ohhhh, the humility…..
So tomorrow we are off to Cape Town and everyone has said such great things about it soooooo we are soooooo excited!
Until Tomorrow, Chris-Tina đź™‚Tail???
I chose to stay away from the juice today since I had such a “concentrated” experience with it yesterday (clearing of the throat sound). We had an amazing lunch which Tina and I took back to the facilitation room so we could prep for the afternoon session. I was eating what I thought was some kind of BBQ’ed ribs that were delicious! Gobbled them down, finished prepping and started our afternoon session. I asked everyone how their lunch was and told them how awesome I thought the “ribs” were. I was then informed, ever so gently, that I had eaten Ox tail! (That explains the actual vertebrae that were left on my plate when I was finished!). I have to say, they were good though!! I can now officially say I had “tail” in South Africa….WOW!
Tina and I then had the distinct pleasure of dining in the Melrose Arch area of Johannesburg with our new friends Gavin and his lovely wife Ilana. What a blessing! Within minutes we were talking about ascension, 2012 and Africa’s role in the “new world.” (Jay – I owe you BIG for the introduction! Love you for it!!) We had an absolutely lovely waitress, No (her name is “No”) who made our dinner that much more enjoyable with her beauty and sparkling personality.
Tomorrow we only have one short session (1 hour compared to 8!) and then we are off to Cape Town on Tuesday. We are so looking forward to Cape Town because we have heard sooo many wonderful things about it. Our list is soooo long of what we want to do while we are there! We also found out that the sun does not set there until 10pm! We are thinking we need to give the town a heads up that Tina and I are coming! đź™‚