The visit was the result of a developing relationship with a woman. She was visiting her hometown, seeing family, and helping an elderly relative celebrate a birthday. I was offered an opportunity to travel to see the relatives and the homeland.
A few odd details stick out in my mind:
- The countryside is a mix of beautiful vista and small towns. The small towns range from cute to poverty-stricken.
- Everyone is friendly.
This goes double if the person thinks they can sell you something.
- The big cities aren't much different from big cities in the U.S.
Except that all houses in the middle-class neighborhoods are behind walls, and electric wires are not uncommon on top of the walls.
- Almost everyone I met had at least one dog, but dogs are considered outside animals. Cats were allowed inside the house, though.
- Traveling to visit a game-preserve in the bush can get a little...interesting when the directions weren't perfectly clear, and phone service is spotty.
- The game preserve is peaceful. The guys who were there with me hunted some, but seemed more intent on having fun than on getting game.
- It seemed that every tree or bush in the preserve had thorns on it.
- Everything looked cheap, after I did the SouthAfricanRand-to-USD conversion in my head
- The old gold mine is interesting, but the ratio of mined-rock to extracted-gold is mind-bogglingly-large.
- Descending 220 meters (~740 ft) in a caged elevator can be a little scary, even though the tour guide entered the lift cage with us.