Thursday, November 24, 2005

One set of animals...than another

At the game reserve in South Africa, we spent hours observing this mother cheetah and her two-month old cubs...a classic find!

So, again....I have to apologize for not having enough time to update our blog. However, this phenomenon is only a good thing since it means that Jenny and I have been kept quite busy. We left Africa for Israel after a few days in a game reserve living amongst the animals...yes, more than just me. Now for those that don't know, Jenny is afraid of animals. With lots of elephants, lions, rhinos and many others running around I was glad it was my arms that she jumped into. She did make friends with a few elephants that couldn't help but get too close (who doesn't want to get close to Jenny). I have to say that traveling to a game reserve could have been one of the coolest experiences of my life and has made our trip so far. Before I continue with Israel, here are some more pics from the reserve. In all honesty, we took some great pictures with our trusty "point and shoot", but this was one time that I wish we hauled a serious camera.

So, we've spent the last few days in Israel with my family where we were welcomed with open arms. It was a nice break from our travels and I was glad to introduce Jenny to my balagan (crazy) family. It was a real nice few days to unwind and spend time with my aunts, uncles, cousins that all treated us like royalty and always go the extra mile to make us feel right at home. If any of you are reading this "Todah Rabah!"

We were able to break away for two days in the Dead Sea for our year anniversary that was essentially a bunch of fat, old Israelis floating in a sea of salt. Many fought over the buffet line much like they would for the morning rush hour into Tel Aviv. We hiked Masada and En Gedi, a desert oasis complete with water falls and lots of obnoxious americans (no, we weren't one of them).

So tomorrow, we are off to India and a wedding of one of Jenny's friends. It should be interesting.


PS - I've now recaptured the backgammon lead and am up by 2 goes to show that good luck can't last forever.

Sunday, November 13, 2005

South Africa is Amazing

Sorry that it has taken us a few weeks to begin telling you all of our adventure. There has been far less time to spend using an Internet connection than we orginally hoped. So after some troubles regarding our connection in Frankfurt, we arrived in Cape Town, South Africa on Nov. 2nd (Jenny kept telling all the airline reps that we're on our honeymoon and it helped get upgraded twice!).

So far, we've spent some time in the beautiful city of Cape Town and explored its natural and cultural aspects. Even though 10 years has passed since the end of Apartheid, the level of racism hasn't really changed all that much. Instead of Apartheid there is now affirmative action that forces ALL companies in South Africa to maintain the same level of cutural diversity in the workplace as in the country. This means that workforce of every company in the country MUST be at least 80% black. What this has basically done is discouraged every yound white person in South Africa to stay in the country since its near impossible to get a job. Now, I'm not suggesting that what happened under Apartheid was right, but two wrongs don't make a right either. I think that the government must take a long, hard look at the current situation and push for educations reforms. The only way to really make this country work is through time and education. My suggestion would be to force stronger education requirements to the people as a whole and perhaps subsidize univerisity enrollments for those that are financially under-privileged. This is a topic that Jenny and I TOTALLY disagreed with. As a whole, the country is econonically challenged since the most qualified person for each job may not be hired due to affirmative action. Again, two wrongs do not make a right. I will now stop pontificating and will return back to our scheduled program...check out the penguins!

Back to our scheduled program....After a few days in the wine country, we made our way east toward some deserts and mountains. This was not a well traveled path, but really are enjoying our travels. The rural mountain and country side has given us a time to really take in the fact that we're in Africa! Essentially, we're heading to a game reserve near the border with Mozambique. All is great, but the drive (so far we're up to 2,500 kms) was a bit tedious. It wasn't the animals that were tough, but the hundreds of thousands of rural-type people that walk on the roads. It is really amazing that no matter how much I thought South Africa was a developed nation ala's much more like Africa. Lots of poverty in the rural areas and they don't get many turists, but all in all everyone was very nice.

Our car (named Tazz) has handled well despite the puny engine and lack of air conditioning. Some hills are too much for Tazz and we give her some words of encouragement to get us over. Thank goodness we can hook up our Ipods to break some of hte monotiny...we've been listening to Bill Clinton's "My Life" that we down loaded before we's spoken by Bill, so it makes it kind of cool.

More when we can...Alan

PS - I won in our first may recent loss streak is now over! Lastly, we are tied in Backgammon...although, I think Jenny is winning on pure luck. She's one hell of a roller!