Welcome to my Blog!
Hi there, nice to have you visiting! I'm Heidi and this is the blog for Heidi Bears. Here is where I post all the happenings in my work and daily life. Here and there you'll find info on things that have caught my attention as well as the odd tutorial. I hope you enjoy your visits. I love to have feedback, so leave me a comment!
Monday, January 31, 2011
I needed to go into Johannesburg today, to finalize some admin that had been sitting on the back burner, and thought I would take some pics to show you all... I have had many requests to include some daily life details and a bit about South Africa, so here it is :)
I live in a town just outside of Johannesburg (which is locally referred to in short ...as "Joburg" by South Africans). Joburg is a really big place, ringed by a network of highways, which have recently (...and when I say recently...I mean it feels like forever, but in reality has been around 2 years) been undergoing an upgrading. This has resulted in the most awesome traffic issues, with lane closures, concrete barriers and the ever present long haul trucks blocking a lot of the flow of traffic. As a result, it is a seriously huge emotional undertaking to drive into Joburg in a car...and if at all possible, should be avoided.
But wait... not all is doom and gloom because ...(drum roll please...er...or rather Vuvusela blasts)...we now have the beginnings of a public transport system!!!!! Yes, I kid you not! The Gautrain is a newly built train that at this point , transports passengers from the Oliver Tambo International Airport, to Sandton, and back again. Sandton is a very up market area of Joburg, and also the business heart of the area. So, Yours Truly, drives to the nearest parking area, jumps on the Gautrain and withing 12 minutes...can walk through the heart of Sandton!
So, some pics...
Joburg is said to be one of the "greenest "cities, and everywhere you look , you will find mature trees, planted beddings and flowers. Businesses have gone to a lot of trouble to keep their garden bits well tended and thriving, and in this area (at least), the road is a pleasure to walk along.
In the pic on the right, are the much maligned "mini bus taxis". They congregate in what are termed "taxi ranks", and although (begrudgingly conceded...) a necessity, due to our non existent public transport system, they are the scourge on the roads of South Africa.
A South African mini bus taxi is the only object in the known universe, that can fly along a potholed excuse of a road, at Mach 2, and make a midair right angled turn, cross 5 lanes of peak hour traffic, to pick up a stray passenger, all while keeping only two of the four unroadworthy wheels in contact with terra firma. A South African mini bus taxi driver, is the only person in the known universe, who can control this beast , using a ratcheting spanner to manipulate the long sticky thingy that would normally hold a steering wheel, all the while eating a big mac with one hand and talking on his cell with the other...
Rules of the road are purely a figment of the collective imagination, and a mini bus meant to carry 15 passengers, with a bit of ingenuity and a strong arm, can easily be made to transport 40 people...
No, I do not lie, ask any South African.... the average South African commuter scoffs in the face of war, pestilence, famine, nuclear anihilation, and the sky falling on his head...he has been in a mini bus taxi... and has survived to ride again tomorrow....
...ask any South African...they will tell you :)
I walked from the Gautrain terminal to the place I had my appointment, taking the pics above on my merry way, and then went to the Nelson Mandela Square. This is essentially part of a shopping mall, with a large open air area where kids can run and play and parents and families sit and enjoy a meal. The main feature, is a massive bronze statue of Mr Nelson Mandela, and this is a huge tourist attraction, as was evidenced below, by the scores of people waiting to have their pic taken standing in front of the statue... Mr Mandela has been in hospital this past weekend, and I am pleased to say, the reports are that he is doing much better and is happy to be home :)
In the pic on the right, in the far distance, in front of the arched window, if you look closely, you can see the statue of Madiba. I spent a lovely hour browsing through all the books in Exclusive Books (a very, very well stocked chain of bookstores here in SA), and bought some beautiful books on the Renaissance (my oldest daughter is studying the Renaissance in history at the moment), and some ...yes , you guessed :) KNITTING books! Yeah baby! ...who needs food and water, shelter and clothing when you have the biggest stash and the biggest library!
On the crafting front, I have been knitting some fingerless mittens for my oldest daughter. If I can twist her arm to model for me, I will post some pics. I have also been doggedly working on the hexagon blanket for my little one. I must have been on another planet when I calculated that I would need 300 odd hexagons...it seems that the number is going to end up being closer to 600! I have been using Rowan's handknit cotton and I must confess...I didn't think it would be so heavy! Oh well...she is a big , strong girl...
Right, time to sign out...
Have a good one folks!