June 11, 2011
This morning we all went to a nearby attraction that we chose. There was an elephant sanctuary, monkey sanctuary, and market. I was the only person who wanted to go to the monkey sanctuary. So, what did I do? I went by myself!
It was pretty enjoyable! I got to see all sorts of monkeys in a wild setting, playing and moving around. A lot of them came up really close to us, and one even had a conversation with me. There were a few bushbabies in quarantine and I was allowed to stick my finger in the cage and let it lick me. Adorable!
When I finished the tour I moved on to a candle-making factory while I waited until time to meet the bus. They couldn’t show me many things because the electricity was out, but I did get to make my own candle. It’s average, but if I’d had more time it would have been nicer!
This is when the fun part of the day happened. I was supposed to meet the bus at 10:30 in front of the property on the road. I wandered there at about 10:20 and sat on a ledge by the road. 10:30 came and went. 10:45 hit and I was starting to get a little worried at this point. What if they had forgotten me? I had no way to contact them. Finally at 10:50 the woman who owned the lodge we were staying at came to get me. The bus had gotten held up and they didn’t want me getting worried.
When I finally got onto the bus my tour leader told me that he was so glad I was safe and that he had been really worried about me. This coming from the same man who assured me that going by myself was completely safe. I was confused, so I pestered him until he told me why he was worried.
First off, three days ago our hostel was broken into and robbed. Keep in mind that the hostel isn’t even a mile down the road from where I was sitting. Even worse, apparently there were gunshots coming from the road last night. The road that I was sitting on. Our tour leader then told us that he’s been mugged four times and stabbed twice in Johannesburg (25 miles away). We also learned the shocking statistic that the yearly number of Johannesburg murders is higher than the total number of deaths in the Iraq war, including civilian casualties.
So, apparently, I could have died today! I guess I’m glad I rubbed the anthropologist’s nose and spit on a rock for good luck yesterday!
We’re now on the drive to Swaziland. We’ll hit the border soon, which is supposed to be quite difficult. Like all African borders, it’s actually two separate borders: an exit from South Africa and an entrance into Swaziland. Hopefully I’ll still have some good luck left over!