On Fri. 14th. Nov. Lauren and I packed all our earthly belongings into the E20 van. We parked it at Phillip and Dorothy Sgroi’s house. It is safely under roof and tarp. Phillip will de-register it for us.

Barry and Trish Tiffen drove us to Wagga’s air port where we boarded a 6:45pm domestic to Sydney. Arriving an hour later gave us just enough time to get through customs to board at 9:40pm. for 10pm. take off. Four hours saw us in Perth where we waited an hour until leaving Australia at around 3am. N.S.W. time. While we were in Perth I bought a discman/radio duty free and Lauren had purchased a cam-era earlier on in the day.

Perth to Johannesburg took just over 10 hours landing at what should have been 1pm. but it was 5. in the morning! Withdrawing local currency was no problem with visa card. 30 Australian cents bought 1 South African rand. We found hostel accommodation for R35 per night. Everything else was marginally cheaper than in Aust. except taxi’s which are a ripoff. Watch out if you don’t have the right money be-cause they hate to give change.

Lauren and I made friends with a Korean man about my age called Han. who had come in on our flight and stayed at our hostel. On Sunday the three of us booked in for a tour of the lion and rhino park. This we shared with a gang of American hell’s angels who passed around a strange smelling cigarette. Naturally I declined their invitation. The game park was good many species to be seen and photographed at relatively close distances. Our tour guide, an Afrikaans man, loved his country. No-one was in a hurry so he drove us through Jo-hannesburg city. He gave us an extensive social and political history of his land starting in the 1600’s to present day.

I was really enriched by this I now understand that the major-ity of the Afrikaans did not dislike or discriminate against the Africans on the basis of colour it was because they were frightened of communism because they had money and the black man did not. The Afrikaans were only ten percent of the population and apartheid took the vote away from the Africans who were poor, and communism appealed to them.

Johannesburg city has been taken over by a criminal element of the Africans. Police are afraid to go there. Apartment buildings built for three thousand occupants now house thirty thousand people. They don’t pay their rent and therefore the landlords don’t maintain the buildings, resulting in chaos and crime. Our driver took us to a squatter camp in the center of town that he knew of, but when we arrived there, it was com-pletely burned down. This is an attempt at
enforcing order. All the business people have moved out of the city to new centers in the suburbs, resulting in many cen-tral business districts. Johannesburg is enormous: seven mil-lion people.

On Monday we traveled about two hours through the country to Sun City; an enormous complex of hotels, entertainment features and a casino. Sun City’s main attraction was like an amusement park, based on the theme of a “lost city” in the African wilds. Hence, the developer of this complex built enormous structures posing as ruined royal palaces and tem-ples. Sun City’s main attraction for us was not the casino, no we had already had enough bad luck with thee Jo’burg taxi drivers. The “Valley of the Waves” was a large area with many water slides, a wave pool, moving rivers, waterfalls, etc. We bought Lauren a swimsuit there so she could join me on the rides. Some of the slides were so fast and pretty scary; some went into the mountain side and the slide was pitch black until you shot out the other end into the pool.. The rides had names like Viper and Scorpion.

That was Monday, Tuesday morning we flew to Abidjan via Accra. I have been listening to Lauren’s descriptions of West Africa for the last year and a half, I’ve seen many photos and I’ve read books. Nothing can prepare you for the reality. This is a foreign land. I am in shock. Pleasant and exiting but so incredibly different.

Andy and Carla are here as well. Andy and I get along very well, and we will be traveling to neighboring Ghana next week after Lauren and I visit Bouake where her school is. The weather is not hot— I would call it very warm. It is how-ever more humid than I have ever experienced. I liken it to a moderate sauna which continues day and night. Clothes are worn only for decency.

My wife told me that she could speak basic French. She is very modest. The woman that I married walks calmly through the busy market place whilst being harassed by many large African men then ever so graciously succeeds in reduc-ing his price by more than half. We purchased three pairs of shorts and a t-shirt for about $16.

The Bissetts are very hospitable to us, we sleep in a large tiled room with adjacent bathroom meals are served when-ever we request. John-Baptiste is a restaurant quality chef and the food is delectable. You have never tasted bread. Bread is French baguette that is delivered hot at 6am. love this place, I’m picking up the language. The Lord is an incredible designer.