July in Johannesburg

Can you believe we are nearly at the end of July? The winter solstice has been and gone and while I cannot really see that the early dawn is reflecting into the windows earlier, I feel that it is. We have had a very mild winter with a few sharp days and the usual early morning and evening chill. While this is a great concern - global warming and all that revolves around that, it is easier to fight a milder winter than a harsh one. We have friends in the colder northern countries who wander around with down jackets and cardigans in mid summer. Living in Africa with the sublime weather we have makes me a very content person.

We have been down to the Free State a few times and missed any sign of snow. While it has snowed in the Cape which bodes well for summer-filled dams, the lack of snow on the Malutis is a grave concern. But there are always beautiful memories: These icy images of David's from Antarctica make me want to clutch a warm cup of hot chocolate and sit by a camp fire covered in my antarctic gear.

We did manage to escape to Bali and Hong Kong in June which was a delightful break in the grey of winter in the Highveld. The temperatures were a cloying 34 degrees with added humidity and I dream of those hot steamy days walking along the beaches and exploring the intriguing communities in Bali. A seemingly patient and placid nation, there is little overt anger and being driven around the island we were very aware of an underlying gentleness as we passed umpteen shrines placed not only in temples, but in driveways, shops and small alleyways.

We explored many of 'the sites' but I think that both David and I enjoyed the quiet spiritual essence that flowed through this country where outward public anger is frowned upon. I was handed a sunhat in a department store as a gift. There was no price on it. No one could find the price and so it was given to me by a manager. As I walked through the mall down the stairs onto the beach I marveled at the gesture.

We flew back to Hong Kong in a grade 8 typhoon and were fascinated how the plane swooped through billowing clouds and rain that lashed the porthole. While other passengers may have been concerned (I'm always confident the pilot and crew want to arrive at the destination too). I was quite content as I had my books as well as an array of tasty offerings on the inflight TV (watch The Young Pope series if you can).

The typhoon could have hampered our exploration of Hong Kong but David and I both tend to ignore the weather when away, after all isn't that what travel is all about? Excitement and adventure? We went to the highest viewpoint, Sky 100 and gazed at misty horizons and flashes of lightening. I also 'met' Bruce Lee in a mural where everyone posed with the icon and Aberdeen harbor as the backdrop. We tasted interesting food and ambled down murky alleys bargaining for 'good copies' of every fashion name you could think of. We visited one of the most beautiful shopping malls I've ever seen, with creatively dressed windows and coffee shops with the tastiest treats. We will certainly return to continue our affair with Hong Kong.

Back home we are planning more adventures for 2017 with an exciting journey to Madagascar. I'm told by my family that I have to 'train' for the trip. That makes me somewhat anxious as training programs and I don't always see eye to eye. However I look forward with great anticipation visiting this spectacular island - and better still it is only a four hour flight away.

As Hans Christian Anderson said: 'To travel is to live'.

Keep warm and well.

Till next time.