Wednesday, December 30, 2009

Christmas in South Africa 2009: my Christmas Day hike

I got the best Christmas gift a girl could ever have: a Christmas day hike in the mountains of South Africa. (I’m sorry, I can’t give the exact location in order to keep the privacy of my hosts and their host community.)

Rest assured, it was the most beautiful part of Africa for me! I had a ball.

It was quite a gift: my gentleman friend who hiked me up the mountain is very well respected in his community and he was full of Christmas dinner at the time. (And I heard later that he probably wasn’t feeling very well, either.)

He led me up into the mountains behind his home. The mountains here consist of beautiful granite boulders that have been haphazardly mined by a company to make tombstones. During our walk, my hiking friend expressed great unhappiness that the mining company had been so careless and destructive to the area. He also mentioned, and was not happy about, the fact that the money earned from the land/mineral rights of course should have gone to the African nationals living in the area, and of course, did not.

I was thrilled at my chance at a guided hike in this beauteous, bountiful land of South Africa. Be sure to tell my hiking buddy back home, Tony, that I used a hiking stick! My hiking friend here liked to investigate deep, dark, broken places in the boulders, which reminded me of another hiking buddy back home: Joe. Joe would make me nervous looking about in dark crevices for reptiles and amphibians; my new friend here was looking for other kinds of things (his interests are in geology/archeology), but I still worried about him finding reptile!!

It was a wonderful, wonderful afternoon for me and I couldn’t have imagined a more exciting Christmas day in South Africa!

Soon, Karen