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Tag Archives: South Africa

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biltong hanging


Biltong is the South African version of what Americans call jerky: Excepting biltong is savory, not sweet, and it’s much thicker — often moist under a spicy crust, sometimes with a thin rind of fat. The predominant flavours being salt, vinegar and coriander. Here’s how to make your own biltong wherever you are, especially if you’re a needy ex-pat unwilling to smuggle it in … Read More »

On exploring the Camellia Greenhouse at the Planting Fields Arboretum State Historic Park in Oyster Bay today we came upon a potted South African clivia — and cringed. It bore the common name Kaffir Lily. Read More »

South Africa’s Budget airline Kulula has just rolled out a helpful new livery: Flying 101 …

At last, given the description of “mile-high club initiation chamber”, Americans will learn what the “loo” is (click on the next picture to zoom in on the tail end) … Read More »

20090221_sms-_with_alfAlf’s motor bike ride up to Tanzania from South Africa ended rather abruptly the first day into the trip at 110Km/h, in Zimbabwe, up against the hind quarters of a black cow, in the dark of night.

Nobody but nobody drives at night on African roads out in the back of beyond. What were they thinking?

Wild animals and livestock roam the roads in places where there are no fences. The animal survived to run off, leaving only a broken headlight and dung on my brother’s bike. Alf is flying back to Johannesburg from Victoria Falls today and having his injuries checked out in at hospital, the bike is being trucked back by friends he met along the way. Alf checked in with his son Mark on the South Coast who called his older brother AJ in the UK who called us in the USA. I sent him an SMS not expecting his iPhone cell service to be working in Zimbabwe and then heard back from him much later when he was flying home …

UPDATE: A couple of broken ribs and lots of bruising!

Read Alf’s account of what happened here: Ray and Alfie’s Tanzanian Trip on Triumph Tiger 1050 Motorcycles

rsa-passportRenewing a South African passport: Who could have imagined this would take a minimum of six months? Thankfully it’s only $50, but requires a full set of notarised fingerprints — something not so easily done for non-citizens in the USA. My wife gets her British passport renewed within a couple of weeks by post (or within 24 hours, in person) but they charge her nearly $250. I guess you get what you pay for, or do you?

No civilian chooses to carry a passport, or none that I know of. There shouldn’t be a hefty consumption charge on something you cannot do without and then not have those documents created within a reasonable amount of time and at a modest cost: A few weeks by posts seem reasonable. Overnight if you call in person would be nice. A minimum of six months seems punitive or inefficient or simply out of touch with the reality of life.

For those South Africans heading home for the 2010 World Cup, be warned, renew you RSA passport early!

UPDATE: March 22nd, 2009. My renewed passport arrived last week, about three and a half months after I applied for it. Just in time to be useless, without a visa, to visit Britain because RSA hasn’t kept up with securing their passports and reducing abuses.