Monday, May 08, 2006

Blogito ergo sum

Yes, I blog therefore I am. You can all thank my little (big) brother for expanding my latin vocabulary.

Since I'm on the subject of my brother he appears to have started Google Wars between the two of us and is unfortunately ownzoring me. He was even so kind as to e-mail me the proof.

He may have won this round, but I'm sure I can come up with something nefarious as payback. But he is awfully cute.

As you can see the first round of trivia has been concluded and the scores computed. Moonflake was the only person to submit the correct answer and without a Google search so I decided to give her a bonus 5 points. Obviously she's actually listened when I've gone off on a rant about one of my favourite topics (development and embryology). kleinbaas was awarded 1 point for his Google-fu comment.

Last post's trivia answer:
Sonic the Hedgehog

I am aware that people will Google for the answers, but unfortunately there is nothing I can do about that. Bonus points for non-Googled answers will be given.

Trivia question:
What is South Africa's national fish ? (yes, we have one)

And now for that holiday update that I promised all of you. The photos haven't been transferred to the PC yet, but they will be added later.

Holiday report

Our first stop was at the Battlefields Caravan Park in Dundee. The area is within easy driving distance of the major battlefields of both the Anglo-Boer and Anglo-Zulu wars. We spent Easter weekend there with my Aunt (dad's sister), Uncle and cousin. The park is in the yard of a farm house. The owners are keen caravaners and very friendly people. During the course of our stay we were adopted by one of their dogs - a fox terrier who was a puppy when I was there with my parents in June last year. He has personality enough for 10 dogs and we affectionately named him "Hius toe" which, for those of you who don't speak afrikaans, means "go home". But he never listened.

We learned about the above mentioned wars in primary school and they were never my favourite section of history, but I have to admit that actually going to the battlefields makes it a lot more real and at this age I can actually appreciate the stories and the sacrifices. Our first battlefield stop was Blood River. Of the ones we visited it was the one that least impressed me. The museum is well organised though and the original carved wagon is beautiful. However I did find that the information was seriously skewed towards the Boer perspective. I was hoping for more balance I guess. The second battlefield to come to out attention was Isandlwana. At the end of this great battle - one of the worst defeats in British colonial history and a spectacular victory for the Zulus - 1357 black and white colonial troops lay dead and 3000 Zulu warriors lay dead or dying. The British were horribly outnumbered by an estimated 20 000 strong Zulu army. The battlefield itself has a small museum but the true experience only comes when you're standing at the base of the small mountain where the British camp was looking out over the hills. The day was chilly and overcast when we visited and this added a sombre backdrop to the haunting scenery. The area is covered with white cairns marking where British soldiers fell. No book can tell the story as well as those simple stones. As I looked down the small valley heading towards Rorke's Drift where the few survivors fled to the cairns continued to tell there silent tale. A tale of fear in the face of an overwhelming force, of confusion, of death. It was a very poignant moment. At Rorke's Drift (the story that is told in the movie Zulu with Michael Caine, but filmed at Royal National in the Drakensberg) some of the original buildings still stand and there is a beautiful sculpture in memory of the Zulu warrors who fell at that battle.

After five days at Dundee we packed up and moved off to Hlalanathi ("stay with us" in Zulu) - a park in the Northern Drakensberg. We spent a very relaxing six nights there. We went on a tour of Eskom's Drakensville hydroelectric power station. It was awesome - you go 62 floors down into the mountain. The pump water between two dams to generate electricity for the national grid during peak usage periods. Apart from that we sampled various hotels' scones for tea and I even managed to get a bit of a tan reading in the sun. It was a bit chilly at night though I will say so we were all in bed by 9 o'clock. The only problem with caravaning being the walking to the bathroom. Not pleasant when it's cold and dark. Just take my word for it.

The camp is also home to a family group of rock dassies who we discovered have voracious appetites. Their bottom jaw and tongue seem to act as a mini-conveyer belt and food disappears very rapidly. They are espeially partial to bread. The antics of my little family kept us amused for many hours. For example - to avoid their food being stolen they would keep their bums to each other and go round and round in circles if needs be. Although they are definitely wild animals and were skittish around humans they have a very childlike curiousity and would come and take food out of my hand. The problem came when all 7 of them wanted food and one little blighter decided I wasn't handing it out fast enough, so grabbed it out of my hand. In so doing sinking one of his very long and sharp top incisors into the bed of my thumb nail. That was a tad sore !!! Needless to say I was less than pleased and pain and shock had me crying like a little girl. My parents and brother thought it was hysterical. And after talking to Dave M and Mels the other day and having them kill themselves laughing as well I must admit that it may be funny. As Dave M said - of all of the wild animals in Africa I had to get bitten by a dassie. Yes, a small furry vegetarian. And after they asked - no, it was not a full moon, so I don't forsee me turning into a small furry vegetarian that people want to cuddle any time soon.

Last stop was Nottingham Road in the KZN Midlands. Now that was cold !!!!! In fact it was friggin freezing Mr Bigglesworth. We didn't do much newsworthy there, but I had a great time relaxing and looking at the various arts and crafts around the area. I bought a beautiful glass bead bracelet for myself. And most importantly - my dad had a very relaxing holiday and managed to de-stress.

An that is the end of my holiday tale. I trust you can still read through your tears of laughter and muttered dassie comments.


Blogger schpat said...

Go with the blogging! Nice to hear from you again.

8:20 AM  
Blogger moonflake said...

hey, for most capetonians dassies are about the wildest, most savage african animals they will ever come in contact with. Table Mountain is crawling with the murderous bastards.

But their ferocity pales in comparison to that of the dreaded Gardens squirrel....

9:57 AM  
Blogger zenstar said...

is it the celocanth?
erm... i'd have to google the spelling :(
i think the first spelling is correct...
i think its the national fish...
yeah *grin*

10:24 AM  
Blogger zenstar said...

post google answer...
would you believe i was trying to spell galjoen?
i didn't think so.
the google'd answer is: Galjoen. Coracinus capensis, galjoen.
l33t google-fu betrays actual knowledge

10:27 AM  
Anonymous The Ericle said...

The National fish would be the:

Or in Latin, according to the always correct and edited web:
Coracinus capensis

He He.... Dassie.... BWAHAHAHAHAHA!!!

10:31 AM  
Anonymous Hila said...

um, you spoke to me too the other day you know. I am offended,it was even my phone *pout*

2:49 PM  

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