Sunday, May 31, 2009

Day 3

Day---3 5/31/09
9:00 PM
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Flew from Johannesburg to Nbola Zambia about a 3.5 hour flight. Had a great conversation with a Zambian about his country. He runs his own business buying and selling parts to the mines. Sounds like he is doing well.

The mine had sent a young driver (19-20) to take us to Solwezi, about 200 kilometers (125 miles) away. The speed limit is 80 KMH, being a young man he drove 120-130 KMH. The road out of Nbola was a good 4 lane highway and the kid was doing good. Then road turned into a good 2 lane highway, some people walk and some have bicycles, very few personal autos. The gas price is K 5,272.00 / liter (about $4.50 / gal.) The average wage is about $55.00 / month. All through the trip people were walking on the road the driver didn't slow down all the time, quite scary .Then the road turned to a not so good road with lots of chuck holes. Then to a road with nothing but pot holes; a road from hell the driver still didn't slow down. He was listing to a radio station that was playing RAP (my least favorite) to hear RAP in Zambian made it much worst. The road turned to dirt with pot holes and now thick chocking red dust. The trip took about 4.5 hours. We dropped our luggage off at the motel the Royal Solwezi, (not quite as advertised on the net but better than a Tanzanian tent with no facilities) went to the mine another 10 KM meet the mine managers and got set up for start of classes tomorrow. Went back to the motel for drinks, meet the CAT mechanic supervisor. Had a great conversation about the skill level of the technicians. Sounds like Tanzania all over again. Will let you know how the first day of training went.

Pictures of houses on the road to Solwezi. No water,plumbing or electricity. Unlike Tanzania they have a community well to get water.

Day 2

Day 2--5/30/09
(click on pictures to enlarge)

Jim had a room mate in collage from South Africa he had not seen for 25 years. They both played on the Quincy ILL. college soccer team and were good friends but lost contact with each other after school. Jim called and his friend (Eddie Oliver) and Eddie invited us over for the day.

Eddie has two sons (6 & 9) and his youngest (Richard) was having a soccer match at 1:00PM, so Eddie picked us up at the hotel and we had a ball. Watching those little guys run their hearts out and kicking the soccer ball was a real treat. I wished the school had soccer where Tiff and Nicole were going. I thing both of them would enjoy playing. Richard's team won 3 to 1. Thomas the 9 year old changled me to a match. I was the goalie and I had to stop his kicks. I think he got 25 out of 30 balls pass me.

After the match we went to Eddie's house for a bry (cook out). He had his parents, sister and friends over to watch South Africa play New Zealand for the finals (on the same scale as the Super Bowl) for rugby. The people really get into the game. It was being played in a suburbs of Johannesburg, the stadium was full (110,000) according to Eddie. South Africa killed New Zealand 52-13. I enjoyed talking to his friends and relatives and I asked if this a special occasion. They said no they get together about once a month to have dinner and relax. The security risk going down town after dark in South Africa is high, so they go to each others houses. Eddie's house is in a gated sub division with gate guards. He has a strong steel gate into his house and high walls. Some of his neighbors have 30,000 volt electric fences or razor wire on top of their walls. Linda (Eddie's wife) and his sons were mugged by 3 men armed with machine guns last week when they were shopping. Richard has been having nightmares ever since, they are sending him and Thomas to crisis management. Eddie's father (73) and I had a long talk about problems in general. Last year all South Africans had to turn any guns into the government and a private citizen can not own a gun, he told me he did not turn his in "What are they going to do to a 73 year old man?" He said. "Only the crooks have guns now and can do what the did to Linda and the boys in broad day light". Don't you let that ----- president of yours take your guns. We finished off the day with BI DAUNK A (thank you very much).

I'll fly to Indola Zambia (3-4 hour flight) and drive 4-5 hours to Solwezi tomorrow. The Internet is not working at the hotel so I will send this out first chance I get.

This the family I spend the day with. We are at their youngest son ,Richard soccer match.
Left to Right :
Jim Sandercock (the other trainer), Eddie, Thomas, Richard, and Linda Oliver. Linda is a runner and has had a hip replacement. They all asked me several times if I need a coat. The temperature here is 23C (46F). Of course I drove all of them nuts thru out the day.

Friday, May 29, 2009

Day 1 - a side note

PS - I just found out the exchange rate is $1=7.97 South African Rand so the steak dinner is a good deal for room service ($31.00) + Tip.

The guy that took me to my room and carried the luggage I gave him a $5.00 tip, that's 40 Rand I think he saying to himself "rich fat American" he was smiling a lot when he left.


Day 1

5/28/09 9:00 PM
(1:00 PM Utah time)

Total of 20 hours of flight time. The flights were great! I got upgraded from Salt Lake to Atlanta. Nicole got me exit row seats from Atlanta to Johannesburg South Africa. It was great to have the leg room (thanks Bear). I am traveling with an operator trainer (Jim Sandercock) this go around, so the trip should be a little different that the Tanzanian adventure. I can't believe it's been a full year. The motel room in Johannesburg is a 5 star (American) rating. Too bad Eve couldn't come on this trip she would love this place! Still you either have to drink bottle water or wine, the tap water is not good for the body. Lots of bottled water and wine in the room. The diet cokes are the same taste as Australia aka very little taste.

On the flights I got only 20-30 minute cat naps, so when I got into the room I called home and crashed. Woke up too late to go to the restaurant, so I ordered room service. Had a great steak dinner it cost 250 Rand. I don't know what the exchange rates are. It's going to either be a great deal or the most expensive steak of my life. Hopefully I will get over the jet lag and do a city tour tomorrow and get some pictures.

The international soccer finals are going to be played here on the 14th. Jim and his sons are big soccer fans, so he is going to stay a couple more days and go on a hunting safari and try to get into the games. The clerk said the stadium holds 25,000 people. The town is expecting 100,000-200,000 people just for the games. GOOD LUCK getting in Jim.

The TV is the same as in Australia 16 channels: 12 dedicated to sports, 2 to the news, 1 local information, and 1 classic movie channel (I am watching Speed). It looks like this trip will be more luxurious than last years trip (I guess that will be OK). Of course Zambia is a lot more backwards than South Africa.

Talk to you tommorrow.

Zambia: The Next Adventure

Just like I did for my father when he went to Tanzania last year, I've set up a blog for his next big African adventure...Zambia!

I hope that you enjoy the daily updates that he'll send us, but I ask for the next 3 weeks you keep him in your thoughts and prayers as he is in a very dangerous part of the world.