Friday, 16 March 2012

America vs Africa: Lifestyle

In America the criminals live behind bars and the good guys are  free.  It's wonderful to live here in the USA where we can safely camp and walk in the bush. We can safely visit scenic attractions, walk the beach and even go out at night.  We don't have to have bars on our windows and palisade fences around our gardens.   There is crime here, unfortunately, but at least we have the right to walk into a department store, display our drivers license,and buy a gun right off the shelf.  Criminals have to think twice here, as the common people are armed.

Vehicles here are monstrous and are awesome to drive.. aside from burning up gallons of gas, but the roads are alarmingly narrow.

We miss the bread in Africa: fresh hot crusty bread with butter and marmite.
The bread in America is sweet, and processed.  We like the toasted bagels and french bread.
The food in Africa is more wholesome and affordable.  In the US most foods contain High Fructose Corn Syrup, which is linked to diabetes and obesity.  Healthy foods are available, at a price!

Enjoying the barrel racing. 

It's funny little things that trip us up here in the USA.  
Like climbing in the passenger door, when we want to drive!!
We keep walking in the "out" doors, since the "in" is on the right.
The sun sets at 9:30 in Summer and 5:00 in winter.  We are used to watching the sun for the time, but it gets confusing here!
We have to pay careful attention to the roads, since we must now drive on the right.  We have made the switch now.  In the beginning we had to be very careful not to instinctively switch to the wrong side.
I nearly made the fatal mistake of stepping into a road, while checking the right for oncoming traffic.  I should have looked Left first, then Right, then Left again... instead of our routine Right, then Left then Right again.
We have to remember to use the American terminology for these words. We all know these words, since we watch American programs.. however people here are not exactly watching "Egoli" or "Sevende Laan"or the jungle beat and conversation gets a little confusing when you chuck in words like these:
Tap - Faucet
Torch - Flashlight
Braai - Barbeque
Bonnet is a Hood, if you call it a "bonnet" people wonder if you are talking about a hat.
The dam is called a lake or a pond, and the dam wall is called the dam.  See what I mean!

Monday, 12 March 2012

BBQ on an American ranch.

 BBQ (not braai) Beneath the giant Live Oak tree's... a long lazy day with friends.
Some people are sitting in the "mule" which is a little four wheeler used to bumble around the ranch.
The barbecue/smoker seen in the back ground ... makes delicious smokey BBQ.  Everyone plays a game of toss the washer into a box.  Even around the camp site we hear the clank of washers hitting the wooden box all day long. Don't know the name of the game.  We were taught the throwing technique but left out the spitting part.
 This house is 100 years old and full of character.
 Rockers for lazy days and sundowners.
We shot off a few rounds.

Friday, 2 March 2012

Fishing, Skeet shooting and outdoor stuff.

The Old Man and the Tree.  Photo by Michael.

The perspective here is awry, but the picture does convey the beauty of this windy sunny day.  
Jessica is an avid fisherwoman.

Big brother helps little sister with those wriggly worms and bird nests.

Cowboy tip: Always check your boots before you put them on. 
 Michael found a mouse in his boot!

This floating jetty was high and dry with the drought, and the poor little boat was left stranded in the mud. At last the water returned and the boat is back in it's element, looking a little worse for wear.
Crazy Cousins.
Dylan is the most dedicated fisherman.  A kindly fisherman shared his favorite fishing spots and tips with Dylan, so hopefully he will catch something soon

Clay Pigeon or Skeet shooting.  Something we always wanted to do. 
Man it's nice to be in a country where it's your right to bear arms! 
Michael was a natural and hit the flying target consistently.

Live Oaks within a bubble.  Photo by Siobhan.

Siobhan is perfectly content to let the fish take care of themselves, 
while she reads a good book.

Turbo Thrush, crop spraying.  Like the one they had in Mozambique.

The end of the war in Iraq,  Humvee's coming home.  We counted 40 of them on this train.
What would America be without MONSTER TRUCKS.

The GMC on the left is not a small vehicle, and yet it is dwarfed by the Monster Truck on the right.
Honey,  I'm just borrowing your Pick-up to go to the mall.  

Siobhan's amazing talent as an author


I was thoroughly exhausted.  After hours of ranting, raving and screaming at the accursed dragon that kept me locked up here, I began to plot my escape.  Yes, I know what you're thinking, a princess plotting an escape!  I'm not a princess,  I'm just her decoy.  I'm also the unlucky victim of a dragon kidnapping (long story) and I certainly wasn't waiting around for Handsome Prince Charming to come riding in and save me.  No, escape was up to me, so how to fool that dragon?  Play dead? Bad idea, it might eat me.  Kill it?  Nope dragons can smell the sword in your hands before they even see it, I would be incinerated for sure.  Wait, I had it!  Now to wait for that great lump of scales to get back from hunting.  I shuddered, the castle always reeked for days after it brought it's meal home.    Usually a nice fat horse - sometimes with it's rider - or a cow went down well.  Wait! Here it came now!  The great fat lizard flew clumsily back on it's weathered wings.  It landed with a grunt on the top of the cliff and walked or rather waddled the rest of the way, it's huge belly dragging on the floor.  At last it entered the gates and collapsed in the courtyard with a sigh and a grunt, it would sleep for days.  As soon as I felt it safe, I hurried to my bed and stripped it of it's many sheets.  These were tied together until I had a good long rope.  Then, I ripped up every piece of silk I could find into large squares.   Armed with a needle and thread I worked my way through the pile of silk until, at last, I had finished my creation.  A largish balloon like object lay at my feet, ready for use.  I tossed the rope out the window - it was strapped to the bed - and pulled on two silk straps that hung off my creation.  I now looked like a really ugly fairy with a single, deformed 'wing'.  Hopefully it would fly.  I took a deep breath, this was it! Escape 36, it would work!  It took all my courage to grab that rope and swing myself out the window and when I did, I nearly died of fright.  Still, I'm a stubborn girl, so I was able to slowly, slowly, inch my way down.  My hands were sweaty, blast!  I'd never make it!  But then again if I didn't go down of my own accord, gravity might oblige.   How far had I gone?  A foot? Or six feet?  I gave a tiny peek down,  "aiee!" I shrieked in terror, clutching at the air.  My dress blew over my head and my hands flailed wildly.   Suddenly they found the rope and I stopped with an agonizing jerk.  My hand burned like fire.  How far down was I?  Again I peeked, and heaved an exhausted shuddering sight, I was at the end of the rope, dangling several inches above the ground!  Luckily the moat had dried up years ago.  I dropped quickly and glanced around, what luck!  The cliffside was not far away and the dragon slept on, undisturbed.  I unrolled my 'wing' and checked it for any last minute repairs.  None! I boldly stepped forward to the cliff and... froze.
Too far.
Too scary.
Go Back.
No.  I was tougher than that, I spent precious seconds psyching myself up.  Then - before I could come to my senses - I jumped... It worked!  I whooped a victory cry!  I was stupendous!  I was superb! None could keep my caged!  I was the best! Immortal! Indomitable! The dragon stirred, blinked, raised it's mighty head, and promptly incinerated my wing.  It then resumed a peaceful slumber.

I am back in this accursed room in the dragon's castle plotting my next great escape.  After about an hour of dangling by the end of my dress at the top of a tall fir tree, along came that disgusting lizard - just awake after a nice nape - to pick up what was left of me.  You can imagine the creature's disappointment that I was still breathing.  However, it was moderately pleased that I was still around, for I seemed to provide good amusement on the dullest of days.
Author:  Siobhan Cogan
Copyright, a form of intellectual property law, protects original works of authorship