tonya finally arrived a couple weeks ago and is settling in quite well to joburg life. i’m very happy to have her here.

"Humanity was born in Africa. All people, ultimately, are African."

the first weekend after she arrived saw us bumping down dirt roads with two crazy american friends as we desperately tried to figure out where we could find the cradle of humanity.

the cradle is apparently where, according to scientists, the first human, “eve”, emerged from the primordial sludge. being the huge evolution theory buff that i am (one of the few dorky traits to which i will publicly admit), i was more than thrilled to be on the adventure – despite the precarious mode of transport.

let me explain.

shanya, one of the americans and one of my closest friends here in joburg, had a friend visiting from the states. they decided to rent a vehicle from “rent-a-wreck” in hillbrow (yes, the scary area) for the day and go for a bit of a road trip. i get a phone call out of the blue that morning as tonya and i are bumming around the mall getting haircuts, asking if we wanted to join on the adventure. excited that i now know someone as spontaneous and insane as i am, both ton and i agree to join them.

the rental company was true to its name. rocking down the dirt roads in this beat-up piece of crap, only the constant jokes and one-liners about the car (if it can be called such!) kept our spirits high!

to find in the end that the cradle was closed.

damned wedding people booked up the entire nature park for the day.

in any case we were happy to go to the “wonder caves” that were nearby. we took a tour of these millions of years old caves with crazy cool stalagmites and ‘tites. once again, very interesting to a closet science buff like me.

on the way out of the park we were also graced with seeing a group of rhinos, a family of ostriches (complete with a tufty-headed baby – awwww!!!), and a family of warthogs (with more cute babies – although considerably more “ugly-cute”). we were informed at the caves that there was also another place we could visit close by where you can pet and play with jaguar, leopard, lion and black panther kittens!!! we marked this as “to-do” for another day when we had more time.

all this was only one hour outside of the city! absolutely incredible!!

ton and i also discovered s. african theatre this week so we’ve been regular little theatre dwellers for a few days now! it’s been fun.

i’ve always traveled and lived mostly alone so it’s been great discovering how much fun it is to share experiences like these with someone else! we’ve been checking out a lot of the touristy stuff that i’d been putting off ’till she arrived, so it’s only now that jo’burg seems to be opening up for me. less intimidating, more interesting – especially historically. 🙂

Ton demos the versatility of the couch bed

we finally got a proper bed. as a freak coincidence one of the other cuso people here had a foam mattress she wasn’t using so, just a day before ton got here, i hustled out to the ‘burbs to pick it up. we used the previous horrid mattress as a kind of makeshift flophouse couch for a while (VERY heroine chic! “please keep the place relatively tidy while shooting up, clean needles can be found on the desk right next to the laptop…”) and, with this awesome tacky “amazon” blanket tonya got for christmas (complete with some “chief” looking guy holding a draped out and busty scantly-clad virgin in his muscley arms!), we were the absolute epitome of stylish and sophisticated entertaining. at least the locals thought the blanket very cool – i guess tacky pseudo-amerindian romance novel cover blankets are “in”. 😛

we also got a proper 2-seater couch this weekend. plus, it’s a sleeper couch, so should we miss the aztec maiden and her beau too much we can totally remedy the situation quickly!

all this in time for our housewarming party on the 19th – anyone traveling through south africa is more than welcome to stop by!

we’ve been informed that, to have a proper party in s. africa, you need to provide all the meat and booze and salad and pap (nsima) and…

so we figured we’d splurge on a goat or something, and pap is cheap, but there’s no bloody way we’re footing the booze bills! oy! we’re gonna be reeling already from buying both the couch (we were smart – bought it out of the classifieds!) and a new braai (bbq – it’s about as tall as my knees and about as wide as two regular sized plates side-by-side, very cute! again, all we could afford at this point!).

should be good fun though, as it seems that parties are highly respected and well-attended things here. with not as much to do in the evenings, parties become cheap and easy sources of good fun (cheap and easy, that is, if you’re not footing the bill!). we’re expecting a decent-sized turnout.

we’re also hoping, should the money hold out, to head to malawi for the easter break in march. that week also has many statutory holidays for s. africa so i basically get 8 days for the price of 3 – I’ll only have to take off 3 days from work, technically, while enjoying over a week of fun in the sun with some of my fave people. i’m also very excited to trip down memory lane a bit and re-visit some of my old friends, haunts, life – where my love for africa was first kindled.

so all this to say that we’re happy. ton’s here. we have some furniture. we’re having big fun.

hope all is well with everyone still suffering out the cold canuck winters. my love and warmth goes out to you all.