page 6 - October/November, 1963, South Africa, Johannesburg, Capetown - Ben Oostdam's Autobiography

October 31 Thur: Had no problems with the Immigration, who spoke "Afrikaans", still pretty close to Dutch. Customs was another story, because I declared the two jetpumps as "scientific sampling gear", but it had to go in bond. We took a taxi through the mellow rain to the Carlton Hotel, where we were welcomed by Dr. David Smith, the director for Ocean Science and Engineering S.A. Pty Ltd (OSESA) and whom I knew from Louisiana State University (1961). His Ph.D. dissertation had dealt with an Ice Island - since melted. He kept us talking and drinking orange juice till 05:30, when we tumbled in our beds until 08:00. Good breakfast, gave laundry to be washed, and went to Anglo-American office in a car they sent for us.
There we met various "big shots" like Mr. Bromfield, administrator, Mr.Brown , Mr MacConachee (Harrymac), who milked us about what to do with crevasses in bedrock (I suggested stabilizing them or using grout). At their Consolidated Diamond Mines (now NAMDEB) in Oranjemund they operate the largest private earth-moving fleet in the World, including bulldozers, bowl-scrapers, front-end loaders, articulated dumptrucks, bucket-wheel- and mass-excavators and mammoth-size "suckers", vacuum-cleaners that suck up the last sand on top of the bedrock and in the crevasses. Lunch with Messrs Stewart and Siddle in the Boart and Metal Club with cold cuts, bloody maries and risquee jokes.
In the afternoon, we met with Mr.Watson and Mr.Sandhem, purchasing agent, about equipment; then we were picked up by the pump-suppliers, Stewart & Lloyd, who promised to deliver within two weeks, then dropped us off at the hotel. We had some beer and nuts followed by a rather expensive dinner. Rested from 20:00-22:00, then went to a Club Giselle till well after midnight, our sleep-system being rather disorganized what with jet-lag.

November 1/3: (no record available of 1 and 2 Nov., but presume we flew on to Capetown on Friday 1 and had orientation meeting and introductions, a.o. to Dr.John Hoyt, sedimentologist from Sapelo Island, who is busy with the interpretation of Sparker records. Lots of rain, lasting through

please click map to enlarge
Sunday 3, when I spent the morning doing correspondence lauding Capetown, in the afternoon went for a ride through the drizzling rain in our VW with Francois, driving along the beautiful coast of False Bay. We then picked up John Hoyt and went to Dave Smith's pleasant house, where he was busy phoning Washington and discussing a 35 ft launch. We had some drinks till 21:00, avoided the Navigator's Den and its denizens and went to bed by 22:00.
False Bay
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