Africa: The Rhythm of Life

I’ve written about my love of Africa before. The natural beauty of the landscapes. The incredibly friendly and cheerful people. The stunning skies, particularly at sunrise and sunset.

But at the top of the list of things to love about Africa has to be its music.

From the time you set foot on African soil until the time you leave, you are surrounded by music.

You might pass a nondescript classroom on a Sunday, dropping your kids off at school for some event, and the most beautiful ... 


Diving in the Red Sea

This will be the final part of my Traveling to Egypt with Kids series.

But never fear, it won’t involve nearly as much reading as the previous ones. The reason being that it didn’t involve nearly as much whining by the kids. Because this is the story about what we mainly came to do in Egypt, which is diving in the Red Sea.

And what can’t you do while ... 


How I spent Mandela Day

South Africa. Nelson Mandela.

You cannot think of one without the other. They often come up in the same sentence. Think of George Washington and Martin Luther King Jr. combined, and you will have an idea of what Nelson Mandela means to this country. I’ve talked a little bit about him before, ... 


Yallah, Yallah!

I know you’ve been feverishly awaiting the camel story promised in Part 1 of our Egypt story, so here it goes:

Our next stop after the “First Egyptian Papyrus Museum” was actually in Giza, as promised. Though not exactly next to the pyramids. Rather, we found ourselves in a dodgy-looking back alley where Hassan, our driver, parked the car right next to the tethered camel.

Some guys, who I’m ... 


Journey to the Other End of Africa

Maybe we shouldn’t have taken the camel tour.

We really should know better by now, after fifteen years of travelling with children. When it comes to exploring dusty, smelly, and crowded places, some of our kids don’t do so well. Actually, to be completely truthful, not just the kids.

Sunset view of the Nile. See what I mean? It always looks great on the pictures afterwards.



I’m Only The Spouse

 “Spouse” status is solidly documented in my South African visa

When you move to South Africa, you will become one of two things:

a) The work permit holder b) The spouse If you choose option a), you will:
  • work around the clock
  • be stuck in traffic for two hours every day
  • theoretically have the right to sign a cell phone contract, buy a car, or change your internet data bundle
If you choose option b), you will:
  • lead the glamorous life of the expat spouse
  • be in charge of signing the cell phone contract, buying a car, and changing the internet data bundle
  • have no permission to do any of these things
South Africa, you see, is “so 1950s” as one of my readers recently remarked. Nowhere else that I’ve ever lived have I been made to feel my housewife label so unforgivingly as here in South Africa. “Certainly mam, we can upgrade your SMS bundle, if just the account holder could call us first to give his okay.”

The account holder, inevitably, is Noisette. In some cases this is due to the fact that he was the only one here when these things needed signing up for, like our Telkom phone and ADSL line. A mistake I ... 


My 43 Favorite South-Africanisms

When you first arrive in South Africa, you might be baffled at times when people talk to you. The first words I stumbled over were "bakkie" and "robot," then later "bellboy" on the school supply list. The South African language is full of unique expressions like that, some of them in English and some in other languages. I've compiled a list of my favorite 43 South Africanisms. Enjoy!


The Rand Club: Truly a Bygone Era

Entrance to the Rand Club in Johannesburg, South Africa

When I was invited to a networking event at the Rand Club last week, both Noisette and I jumped at the opportunity to see this venerable institution. Even though it was cold and mid-week, both reasons to typically be in bed by 9:00 pm, we wanted to go check it out.

Maybe we should have been suspicious ...