Monday, April 25, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...Getting to Kruger National Park!

On our fourth day in South Africa, we took off for our next destination, Kruger National Park!
When we landed in Mpumalanga...
there was no one to greet us as had been promised by the travel agent.
Fortunately, the Mpumalanga airport is a small one, 
so...when TheChief set out to find the airline for our connecting flight, he found it quickly.
Well...the reason there was no one to greet us...was because our reservations had been cancelled!!!
Fortunately for us...Federal Air had Ian working that day...our savior!!!
Ian immediately got on the phone and found out our reservations had been cancelled...
apparently someone booked us twice by mistake and instead of cancelling just one booking
...yep...they cancelled both!!!
(even though the travel agent confirmed the reservations just a few weeks before we got there!)
Well Ian saved the day by calling another small airline that they often help out and vice versa.
The other airline had a plane available and they would happily get us to the Singita airstrip!

He told us it would be a small plane... wasn't so small...after had 5 seats...including the pilot and co-pilot seats!

I've flown in small planes before...but this one was definitely the smallest in my experience!!!

Proof positive that we actually did fly in it!!!

It was a fun flight!  But given that it was kind of like driving an old beater compared to a Jaguar,
it was a bit slower than it would have been if we had caught the original flight we were booked for!
Because we were flying fairly close to the ground, I saw 3 elephants from the plane!
When we arrived at the Singita Air was just that...basically a long, straight dirt landing strip!
There was an airport structure of sorts...
...a fairly small structure with a working bathroom, a bit of shade and a table with refreshments!
We refreshed ourselves for a few minutes and were then picked up by a Guide in a shuttle bus.
Off we went to Singita Lebombo Lodge...our home for the next 3 nights.
It took us about a half hour to get to the lodge...once there we had only a few minutes to get settled...
and then off we went to meet up with our Safari Drive jeep and crew for our first Safari Drive!

Pretty exciting to see our first animal in the park...a big, beautiful, Waterbuck!

Then...the first of many Zebras!

Did you know that we pronounce Zebra as ZEE-bra here in the States, 
but it is is actually pronounced ZEB-ra in Africa!

TheChief also learned how you tell a male from a female Zebra... you know?

"A male is black with white stripes,
and a female is white with black stripes..."

(yeah...I know...straight from TheChief's mouth!!!)

This gent was the first of many Wildebeast we would see as well!

I'm sure you've heard of the magic of the African sunset...

It's even more magical than you can imagine in person!

At the end of our first drive...we were taken to a remote area
for a rather gourmet camp meal!
With an open bar...

...our food being prepared there with camp lights...

...and complete with locals and guests entertainment!

A fantastic beginning to our great South African Adventure!!!

"There is something about safari life that makes you forget all your sorrows and feel as if you had drunk half a bottle of champagne-
bubbling over with heartfelt gratitude for being alive."
Karen Blixen

To visit more little corners of the on the image below...

Monday, April 18, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...on Tour in South Africa!!!

On our second day with our tour guide Michael,
we headed out to Boulders Penguin Colony...

In Africa???
I thought they were in the Antarctic!!!

Walking out to the habitat we passed these gorgeous flowers...
You know I can't pass up a gorgeous flower!

These little "Quonset huts" are little huts for the Penguins to sleep in!

This mom and baby were some of the first that we saw...

This little guy was checking us out as we were checking him out!!!

"Let's dance!!!"

The majority of the Penguins hang out at the end of the boardwalk in Boulders.

If you look'll see that several of these were sitting on nests...

This boardwalk was constructed to protect the Penguins...

 Another mom and her baby...

 The South African coastline is quite spectacular.

So what do you do at the end of another great day in South Africa?
 Why...visit another South African winery of course!!!

Groot Constantia is the oldest winery in South Africa...
even Napolean drank wines from this winery!

After 330 years, I guess they've got this winemaking down!!!

Empty glasses...must have been good!!!

To visit more Little Corners of the on the image below...

Friday, April 15, 2016

Our Little Corner of the World...Building a House in Tecate, Mexico!!!'s that time of year again!!!
Our annual trek down to Tecate, Mexico to build a house in a day!

This year, TheChief and Pat Hayes coordinated a combined build with the Mammoth Lakes,
Bishop,  and South Pasadena Rotary Clubs and Bishop Interact kids in conjunction with Corazon.

Sooo...we headed down to El Cajon on Friday, and on Saturday...
we met at the crack of dawn...

Some people were wide awake at that hour...

...and some of us were zombies!!!

I think Camille, George, Tony, Sherryl, and Mireyah all had plenty of caffeine that morning!!!

Tony's showing his expertise at the saw table...

...Diane tackled the paint roller...

Pat's just happy everybody made it down in one piece and 
is looking forward to those fabulous margarita's at the end of the day!!!

Sheila's got her own tool belt...she's awesome!!!

TheChief is proving once again that holding the hammer the right way works best!!!

George seems to be a bit envious of Tom's professional tool belt...
...Tom's reminding us all he's a pro at this!!!

Pat, Rich and TheChief take a break to smile for the annoying camera woman!!!

Even Ele is getting into the action!!!

As the day progressed, the walls went up...'s really a lot like an old fashioned barn raising!

Even the family got into the action!

...and when the painting got old...

...the action ramped up a few notches!!!

Throughout the day, we work hard, but it's a fun day full of lots of laughter and smiles...
...sometimes we forget how meaningful this is for the family that is receiving the home.
They have worked hard to qualify for their home.
They are required to take classes on Domestic violence, elder abuse, child abuse,
gardening, job skills and many more...
...they do many hours of community service...
...and they have to buy the property that the house will be built on.
This family's daughter, who works as a seamstress, bought the property  for her parents
and lives in the blue and white house next door.
It is an amazing experience...just an hour over the border from the southernmost border
of California, and the United States.

American Gothic...Rotary Interact-Tecate style!!!
It's really awesome for these teens to come down to Tecate, a world so different from our own,
and work hard to provide a home for these families.
It's truly a life changing experience!
For ALL of us!!!

Jessica is master of the tiled cook shelf...and Linda is a master at wood cutting!

Tony and Sherryl getting in the photo action...

...and Diane and Cynthia too!

Roof's DONE!!!

Rich and Diane are comparing notes at the end of the day...
Diane won the most paint on her clothes and hat award!!!

Pat hands over the keys to the Acosta Familia... 
...always an emotional end of a great day. 
(Tom let me use his 16mm Fish Eye lens for the big group shots...
haven't quite gotten the hang of the  LR adjustments
 so imagine you're looking at these through a fish bowl!!!)

All three clubs standing in front of the new home of the Acosta Familia!

A long day...and a great outcome!!!

...celebrating a great day with GIANT margaritas and Mexican food at our favorite spot
in El Cajon!  Por Favor!!!