Ben Oostdam's SA 2008-2 JOURNEY

Part 12 : December 01, 2008 - UPINGTON to GRIQUATOWN


Last night, I did not get to see too much of Upington with the wide avenues, but instead I saw van Damme fighting in Hongkong while meeting his lost twin brother... After that, I relished a good night's sleep and woke up at unknown early time, took a bath, cut my nails, made coffee and wrote up page 100 of my journal... Around 0715 I went to see the landlady, Kitty Klaassen, who made me a nice breakfast and advised on immodium and which road to take: R10 to Groblershoop/Prieska/Britstown, but turn left at Grob onto R 64 to Griekwastad/Kimberley then R8 to Bloemfontein...
Also found the 2008 SA school schedule:
  • first term : Jan 16 to Mar 20 24 days (?)
  • second term : April 14 to June 27 17 days (?)
  • third term : July 14 to Sep 26 12 days (?)
  • fourth term: October 8 to Dec.5 42 days (?)



  • I paid the R 300 fee and left at 09:00 for the first 116 km to Groblershoop (Google 36,200/4,560) ,
    where I arrived at 10:27 and spent R 250 (presumably on gas or petrol) and two drinks.
    At 10:40, I picked up two hitchhiking girls, a bosomy 17 year old and a very thin one of 21,
    for a ride of some 10 kms.
    They were in grade 10, both had boyfriends
    but were committed to wait "getting serious" till they were married,
    since they were members of the Open Heaven Church.
    They both said they liked school.

    It was a hot day, and I could hardly find a shady spot to drink my lichee drink; at 11:30 I took a brief nappy break, then decided that I was too sleepy to drive any further today than Griekwastad (Griquatown)(Google 38,700/680) .
    In the first side street I noticed a pleasant B and B on the corner where I was referred to another house nearby where I met Jim de Villiers and his daughter. He took me back to the B and B, which was run by his wife, but they were on the verge of moving to Pretoria. We agreed to talk more later since he took a vivid interest in the Amish, as much as mine in the Griekwas, earlier known as "Basters"... I tumbled in bed and slept till 15:00!
    I got up, took an immodium, a drink, a knife, my bag of biltong and another bag of fruitflakes and sat outside in the shade of a nice tree at a stone table, together with one of the other guests who had just returned, a black B.S. Geology student named Mousa. The weather changed rapidly and a marvelous thunderstorm materialized, so we spent most of the evening inside watching TV and talking geology. The party chief was a very tall Indian PhD Geology (the first from University of Capetown) named Avinash, hard rock ...) and there was a charming Zulu lady geologist with the euphonic 4 syllable name of Siphelele who reminded me very much of Cicely Georges, my assistant in IMA, Trinidad, in 1981. She did the cooking for the fieldparty.
    I managed a short walk where and when I noticed that most shops were about to be closed, but I did buy some milk, fruit and pack of oxtailsoup. Some schoolgirls wanted to talk with me and also professed liking school. I managed to get back home before the rain started, and cooked my oxtail, borrowed a cell phone and called my brother in law Gus in Bloemfontein to tell him I would be there tomorrow afternoon, d.v. When the rain stopped for a while at dusk, I sat outside and watched the cosy family life in the black servants house in the backyard. When they went to bed, I joined the geologists again in watching TV ....it seemed Siphelele knew not only all the actors and jokes and songs, but also all the commercials! They were on contract to a Chinese mining company to drill for Manganese. Avinash told me that he and his brother, I think resp.1.96 and 1.98m tall, were in Holland - now the record holder for the tallest people in the World - and did not feel outstanding...

    NOTE:

    Back home in PA, I ordered a copy of Scott Balson's fascinating book:


    which solved the problem I had to understand
    why Griquastad is so far from Griqualand!

    I also recommend the report and photographs
    of Scott's Sep 2006 visit to Griquastad -
    which is an excellent example of how to
    present your (time) travel experience!


    Riebeckite from Griekwastad
    Here is a photo of our common host,
    the P.G Minister Jim de Villiers
    (famous name in this area) and
    his charming wife Karien -
    who I did not get to meet -
    nor did I see their motorcycle...
    .

    Tom Thumb Hyacinth near Griekwastad - Sirkel Griekwaland-Wes

    BLO fecit 20090511 - Contents of SA 2008-2 Journey