Welcome to our blog

Welcome to our blog. During the coming year we travel (backpack) around the world and will try to regularly post some updates on our whereabouts on this page.

Freitag, 17. Juni 2011

3 Weeks in South Africa - part 2

A car is a must in South Africa, not so much in Cape Town, where we took public transport but certainly for visits outside the city.

South African wine region. After hearing so much Afrikaans, it was kind of strange to read the names of the estates: they are all in French.

A landhouse on the estate, no sign of poverty here, neither now, nor in the past.

Back to the past, a Stellenbosch museum has some houses, which are open to the public. Living conditions of the rich are shown here.  
Quite comfortble.
Being Dutch, this picture I like a lot. Never knew these exist!

Not much to see, but extremely important: the Lion Sanctuary near Stellenbosch houses abandoned and tortured lions from around the world. It is a long story. See the interview on:  http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UF4wCaAGiYs   (interview starts at minute 8.10)

Driving through the country, we saw quite some townships and individual 'houses'. In comparison with 5 years ago, when we last visited South Africa, it seems the extremely bad constructions are slowly decreasing and slightly better 'homes' are appearing.   
A lot of people around the world live in such circumstances.

Around 1880 the ostrich boom started in Oudtshoorn.

The ostrich business was a very lucrative business. Lots of money was made and beautiful houses were built on huge properties. Every part of the animal can be used. The meat, the huge eggs, the feathers...  and EVERY other part of the animal. 

Today, feathers is all colors are the nr 1 tourist souvenir. Interesting to know is that the Brazilian Carnival and the Moulin Rouge in Paris are still big customers of the farmers in Oudtshoorn. 

Running up the dunes at the beach.  

Victory :-)

Driving from Oudtshoorn to Johannesburg brought us through all kinds of landscapes, dry, flat land,
hills, but still dry, as the winter is coming up.

And the mountains.

We visited a large aviarium.

And they had the Meerkat at another animal 'zoo'.

Checking out the souvenirs :-)

In Johannesburg we visited Matthew's friend Tiffany and her family, which was a lot of fun.  

Bye South Africa!!

On this years visit to South Africa we spent time with the locals, with young explorers, with activists and visited sights here and there. We haven't been in national parks, as we did that 5 years ago on our South Africa - Namibia - Botswana trip. It was way more about history but also filming and experiencing the country a bit more from another side. It was fun and interesting.

We are leaving South Africa for a totally new adventure now!
During the coming 5 weeks we will be in La Réunion, France, but in the Indian Ocean.

Blogs and pictures will follow (soon) !

Donnerstag, 16. Juni 2011

3 Weeks in South Africa - Part 1

The Qatar Airways flight brought us straight to Cape Town.
We stayed in a nice hostel called Penthouse of Long. It is on Longstreet, right in the city center.
Next to the dormitories there were different sitting areas and a big, fully equiped kitchen.
The 9 days we stayed in Cape Town, we concentrated on visiting the touristic sights and Matthew and Robin met various teenagers who participate in Mike Horn's Young Explorers program.

But to start at the beginning:

We passed by the old city hall and various ofther buildings dated back to the  17th and 18th century when we walked to the fort.

Fort de Goede Hoop, or now called Castle of Good Hope, dates back to Jan van Riebeeck . The Dutch merchant who arrived here in 1652. It is a museum now and the military presence and history are explained here.

We stopped at the slavelodge, the Dutch ships of the East India Company passed at Cape Town to go to the East. They started the slave trade.

More history at the District Six museum. Long after the slavery time, the Apartheid started. Separation of people in a very cruel way. Whole districts were moved to make space for the white citizens.

The 4 South Africans rewarded with the Nobel Peace Prize.

Table Mountain seen from the popular Cape Town Waterfront. From the Waterfront the boats leave to Robben Island.

In front of the ticket office to Robben Island a demonstration took place. No yelling and screaming or fighting but peaceful singing and dancing. Clearly stating their message though.

The boys discussing 'stuff' on Robben Island. 

Prison where Nelson Mandela stayed on Robben Island.

And here a rooms for some 60 prisoners. They slept thin mats on the floor.   

And then, finally freedom. Whereby... the problems seem to be far from resolved.

Time for a lighter subject, we went to the Company Garden, a nice garden from the East India times. Matthew had his hair done, African style.

The coast near Cape Town is very nice. Just swimming might not be the best idea. South Africa has a very high amount of sharks, even close to the shore.

Visiting a pinguin colony. There were more than just one :-)

And on to the Save Our Seas (SOS) shark center to learn more about the sharks in South Africa.

One of the SOS programs. Shark spotting and danger-status signs at the beach, to warn swimmers and surfers.
Shark egg! Found during a biology session with SOS.

And believe it or not, there was a living (premature) shark in the egg!!! The egg was laying on the rocks, far from the sea and would have died if we would not have found it. Was it right or wrong to pick it up? We did not know it was alive. And guess what... it is still alive, 10 weeks later, doing well in the SOS aquarium.  
Matthew and Robin met 5 Cape Townian young explorers on 2 occassions during our stay in Cape Town which was fun. We met loads of people in the hostel, especially interesting 2 people who do research work for Nourishing the World.
The kids starting working on their first official AcTV program. Link to Youtube:  

Not bad for a start and with limited material!

We are leaving Cape Town and start slowly moving up to Johannesburg in Part 2 of this blog.

Montag, 18. April 2011

Part 2 of our Indonesia adventure

Matthew and Robin took their PADI advanced open water diving course on Lembongan island.

Together we went to Manta Bay and were diving with manta rays, there must have been 8 or 9.
Mantas are harmless but they are huge, at least 2.5 x 2.5 meters. One side is white and the other side is black. Gliding by in pairs of 2, they seemed to be a big wall.
Their mouth looks like a big open hole. Incredible!!!
Here are some pictures:

Robin took a surf lessons and manages to stand up on his board and surf quite nicely now!

We went snorkeling on various occasions and felt quite sorry for ourselves when we were riding ‘our’ bikes around the island. Bicycles are called Push-Bikes here… and we now know why. Hill up, hill down in the cooking heat!

But ... Robin has a lot of power :-)

We stayed in a guesthouse right at the beach, very basic rooms, but it had a much needed pool. It can get really hot and humid in Indonesia. There was a pretty good internet connection and on walking distance we found loads of small local restaurants with great food.

Next to water sports, there is not much to do on the island, but those who speak with everyone, have the time of their life. Locals and tourists have so many interesting stories to tell, there was no dull moment!

And here in Bali, the kids filmed Matthew’s application video and came up with AcTV.
Have a look: http://pangaea-yep.com/m/videos/view/YEP-Canada-Application

Lembongan depends on the small boats bringing food and hardware items to the island.

Small food “markets” are formed once a boat from the main land arrives. Ladies sell their goods right there at the boat landing.

The way people transport their shopping home is a bit different than it is at home.

As we often do, before leaving we did a beach clean-up.
We had 'difficulties' leaving this nice little island but we wanted to see a bit more of Bali's mainland and took a boat back to Sanur. After the usual chores, being homework, shopping, laundry and such, we took a taxi to Ubud. A nice, less touristy city than Sanur.   

We visited the botanical gardens, which have some really serene places - all to do with the highly religious people in Bali.

 The monkey sanctuary

And we went on a cooking course, which, unfortunately was more of a cooking demonstration...
Anyway, here some of the results:

The hostel we found in Ubud was really marvelous. The picture below shows the walkway, the apartments with nice verandas are on both sides of the path.

From Ubud we took a taxi to Den Pasar:

We astonished to see a local fuel station in Den Pasar.

(Den Pasar is the capital of Bali, but it is more like a village that grew very fast and does not know what to do with the increased traffic…)

We visited the turtle conservation center near Den Pasar, and realized that turtle conservation is not an easy task. Turtles are now protected by law, but people were used to eat them AND turtles are used as important offers during religious ceremonies. This center seems a really great initiative!!

A small turtle born at the center

An injured turtle, hit by a motorboat was brought to the center to recover.

On the way back we visited the mangroves, are an important habitat – and with help from, yet another foreign initiative, a huge piece of land / water has been transformed into a mangrove.

Here one of its inhabitants

Just 3 weeks later, we flew back to Kuala Lumpur. We liked Bali very much.

It ‘mysterious’ culture, the extreme nice and generous people and the overall atmosphere just fitted so good together. Just that HUMIDITY LEVEL… crazy…