Sunday, June 27, 2010

Returning to Bloem

Just before we left Washington, D.C., Kathy sold her beloved truck, a purple Toyota Tacoma. We could not bring it to Lesotho with us. So she wanted to buy a vehicle for us while we are here. This certainly made sense to me, as we want to make so many different road trips while we are here that I cannot keep track of them all (though perhaps I should). But it is also a matter about which I have little say, as Kathy does all the driving. I, after all, have neither driver's license nor the desire to acquire one. When we hit the road, I am responsible for snacks and conversation topics, and sometimes tunes, too. She drives.

After casting about a bit, Kathy managed acquire a Mitsubishi Pajero from a friend and colleague who was returning to the States. Add to this new acquisition another - World Cup tickets - and a road trip seemed in order. Especially since Kathy's job has been intensely stressful of late and a mani-pedi seemed requisite for her. So we set out for South Africa. In Ladybrand (founded in 1867 and named after Lady Catharina Brand, the mother of President Brand, then president of the Orange Free State Colony), about fifteen minutes across the border, we stopped at the Cranberry Cottage, where my darling wife got her well-deserved mani-pedi, and I watched the ducks:

The next day, we were off to Bloemfontein, which is the judicial capital of South Africa. (The administrative capital is Pretoria, and the legislative capital is Cape Town.) It is also the birthplace of J.R.R. Tolkien. And, for our purposes, the location of the closest FIFA store. After all, we were going to a World Cup game (Cameroon versus Japan - more on that in later post), and did not want to risk waiting to the last minute to pick up our tickets. World Cup tickets, when ordered online, still need to be picked up in person at an authorized FIFA location, presumably to reduce the risk of counterfeiting or scalping.

While we were there, and after picking up our tickets, we drove around Bloem a bit, and visited Naval Hill and the Franklin Game Reserve, where we saw ostriches roaming wild:

We also caught some rather striking views of Bloemfontein itself:

But most importantly, we git our tickets, and we tested out the new wheels:

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