The Baobab. Part 2.

Right! Here we are again! I’m never quite sure how to do this; last week, I wrote part 1 of a post about Baobabs. It had a 750 word introduction. And now I’m setting forth on Part 2, which should, I suppose, have absolutely no introduction at all. Which would just seem wrong.

So we’ll just do a quick recap and soldier on. Here goes with the recap; Baobabs are big, but not tall. They are old, but it’s hard to tell how old. And they are succulents. That’s pretty much it, except that it took me nearly 2000 words to say it, which seems, in retrospect, to be a little excessive. Oh well, let’s see if we can grind out another 2000 words.

Being an enormous succulent is not without its risks. You may have noticed that Baobabs look kind of elephantine. Which is a little ironic, because Baobabs have a mortal enemy. One that also looks a little elephantine.

Twins!

Twins!

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The Baobab. Part 1.

My mother doesn’t like rhinos. She doesn’t actively dislike them; they just leave her cold. She’s indifferent to them. She loves wildlife just as much as the rest of my family, and will happily spend hours watching a pair of squirrels running around the stoep or haul herself out of bed in the middle of the night to watch the shifting shadow of an elephant crash its way past the house in the moonlight, but set her up in front of a prehistoric 2500kg behemoth with a pair of sharpened spikes at one end, and she will set about wondering what to cook for supper or trying to remember whether or not she turned off the lights in the bathroom that morning.

Ho hum. I wonder if there's anything good on TV this afternoon.

Ho hum. I wonder if there’s anything good on TV this afternoon.

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How to be a winner.

I have been trawling the local news outlets for a couple of days, looking for something interesting or different to write about. It’s been a depressing exercise. I’m obviously in the throes of one of those phases which I go through every now and then when I get news overload. It’s all just the same, every day. Out in the world, it’s Syria, Syria, Syria, the economy, gay marriage in the States, gay existence in Russia, Syria. Back home it’s corruption and strikes, racism and violence against women and children.

They're all just the same newspaper with different ads.

They’re all just the same newspaper with different ads.

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How to cross the road.

It is my sincerest hope that reading my blog has made at least one or two people out there think of visiting South Africa. Should such a wonderful thing come to pass, I feel that I have a bit of a responsibility. 23thorns is not a travel brochure. It is not here to create some utopian wonderland full of bunnies and people who say “Have a nice day” like they mean it.

One out of two isn't bad.

One out of two isn’t bad.

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95. Wildlife in a can.

Just a short post today. Not because I don’t have anything to say, but because I read the best story in the news today. A zoo in China got bust trying to pass a dog off as a lion. Even better, the visitors only cottoned on to the deception when the lion started barking

ROAR!

ROAR!

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93. Corkwoods.

This is something that almost everyone reading this has heard of.

No, that is not Yuletide crack.

No, that is not Yuletide crack.

If you live in a westernised country, you’ve been talking about it since you were small. You’ve sung songs about it. You’ve watched people carry it about in little boxes or in bottles on stage. And if you’re anything like me, you have never really bothered to find out what it was. Maybe this will help.

camels3wisemen

Yes, good people, that funny yellow dried snot looking stuff is myrrh. As in “gold, frankincense and myrrh.” It was of huge religious importance in biblical times. It was used by the Egyptians to embalm their dead and by other groups, including the Israelites, as incense in their temples. It was pretty hard to come by. So hard, in fact, that it could be mentioned in the same breath as gold as a nifty little present for a baby. And it was made by beating up a living creature and harvesting its blood. Continue reading

89. The Lightning Bird

The Lowveld is not exactly a wet place. It is, in fact, rather dry. It is criss-crossed by a network of dry, sandy riverbeds that flow maybe four or five times a year, after heavy rain, to be swallowed up by the sand again after a few days in the driving heat of the sun.

Come on in, the water's lovely!

Come on in, the water’s lovely!

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88. Impi

Weddings are a source of great joy to the self-conscious teenagers of the world, because, in most families, weddings are the only place where they can show off their father’s matchless skills on the dance floor.

You can always spot teenagers whose fathers have decided to break out their moves. They’re generally over in the corner, cowering behind pot plants, chests bursting with pride, as their male progenitors demonstrate that Elvis was a mere babe in the woods when it came to hip swivelling prowess.

He ain't, as you can see, nothing but a hound dog.

He ain’t, as you can see, nothing but a hound dog.

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84. Neighbours.

I grew up in what was a small village outside Pretoria, one of our bigger cities. It was, and is still, a lovely little place, but it has been swallowed up by the city and is now just a suburb.

It was a friendly little neighbourhood. One of my closest friends spent most of his time with his grandparents, who lived across the road from us. On either side of our property there were neighbours with whom we were close. The adults used to get together for dinners and braais (barbecues) fairly often, and us kids spent our lives playing on the hand-made stone walls that separated our properties.

Kids playing on a stone wall. I love the internet!

Kids playing on a stone wall. I love the internet!

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