Wednesday, February 22, 2006


I'm always amazed at the contrast of life here. We left for Johannesburg on Saturday, through the beautiful Limpopo mountains and tropical vegetation. Banana plantations, tea plantations, mango trees, macadamia nuts, and pine forests fill this area. Once we're out of the mountains, we drive through a flatter, more arid place as we go toward Petersburg. The land here is scattered with cactus and miles of small homes.

The city, with its traffic and congestion, does have a few things that kids enjoy like McDonalds and movie theaters. Petersburg is an hour away and the closest place with a real mall, movies, and pizza places. The picture below is a gas station outside of the city. I love the thatched roofs here. Even a lot of the houses have them here, but you have to be careful if you have allergies.

Another contrast from the big city is the squatter camps we pass along the side of the road. A year ago, this camp had a few dozen shacks. Today, this picture shows only a small part of the hundreds of shacks that line the highway. These high density areas are filled with people who've moved to the city trying to find work but with nowhere else to live then what they can put together themselves.

Cathy asked me in her comments yesterday about the safety of renting a car while she's here. You shouldn't have any problems renting a car, though you will find the prices much higher than in the states. Crime in the big cities is high, but common sense will help you stay out of trouble. When we lived in Joburg, we took extra precautions. I tried to avoid driving alone at night, kept my eyes on my purse at the grocery store, and other things that you'd do in any big city anywhere in the world. I know that all I can do is to be smart and trust God to the rest.

Tomorrow I'll let you in on the latest buzz on my new book, Rebecca's Heart.



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