TEDx- Which country does the most good for the world- my version

Barefoot Medical Student  (what an excellent Freshly Pressed awarded Blog!) introduced me to the wonderful world of TED. And one of the favorite talks there is Simon Anholt’s talk on the country doing the most good for the world…  For a transcript see here…

Excellent talk, Simon! Thanks! Been to Ireland, have an Irish Sister in Law, love the place and it’s people… but  I don’t think that it is the Most Good Country…

Here is my earthquake inducing answer to the question, dear Simon, with my reasons…

The best country in the world, doing the most good for the world is… no, not the USA.  Or China or Russia. Especially not South Africa, Julius Malema singlehandedly sunk our chances for that one… If you do not know Julius Malema, thank God and move on…

Zapiro is an AMAZING cartoonist in South Africa, hated by the politicians, and loved by the rest of us good people… http://www.africancrisis.org/Article.php?ID=65289&

 

 

The Best Country in the whole wide world, doing the most good for the world, is… BOTSWANA!

Only about 160 km from my home, to the west of us.

Why on earth Botswana? Here are some reasons to convince you all beyond a reasonable doubt…

  •  Botswana never gave us Paris Hilton or Justin Beeber.
  • Botswana does not have an atomic bomb, or program.
  •  Botswana has less people in the whole population than the US Military
  •  Botswana produces a lot of engagement ring diamonds at the Jwaneng mine…. let’s talk about love. baby…
  • Botswana does not overfish the oceans, the oceans are too far away…
  • Botswana has beautiful sunsets, and great evenings around the tribal fire underneath the most amazing starry skies…
  • Botswana has a firm hand on crime, not like our country where the criminals now run the country.
  • Botswana does have some of the best wildlife to go and visit, the Okavango Delta is a must see…
  • Botswana does not steal farms from their farmers.
  •  Botswana still have elephants roaming wild and free in the north, just below the Chobe and Zambesi rivers.
  •  Petrol (Gasoline)  is much cheaper in Botswana than in South Africa where they buy it in the first place…
  •  There are no toll gates in Botswana
  • Botswana does not declare war on their neighbors.
  •  Botswana does not have Jacob Zuma for a President, and is not ruled by the ANC…
  •  Botswana does quite well in educating their people, and taking care of their health…
  •  There are more donkeys than people in Botswana- and no, Google did not kill one of them
  •  Botswana did not cause the world economy to fall.
  • Botswana’s secret service never made it into a movie.
  •  Their border posts are much cleaner and more effective than South Africa’s!
  •  Botswana will most certainly not cause World War III…
  •  There is no oil in Botswana, so no OPEC membership either.
  •  Botswana is much bigger than Ireland.
  •  A Tswana on a donkey drives much faster than an Irishman in a car going through Taum…
  •  Wikipedia says Botswana also shares Pap and Boerewors  in an enamel plate with us South Africans as some of the world’s best cuisine…

 

Negatives:

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Let’s Visit… Ireland

How does Let’s Visit work? You take a world map, and put it against a wall. You take a dart, and with your eyes closed, you throw it. Where the dart pegs, you go on a virtual tour from the uncomfort of your own home. If you are rich, you just hop to the nearest travel agent, book a flight there for tomorrow, and Bob’s your uncle- a real tour…  Otherwise, like me, you just virtual travel on your day off.

The dart pegged in the Atlantic Ocean next to the Irish shores… I am lucky- I have been there, I have a sister in law living in Coolaney, or however the Irish wish to spell it…

First stop in Ireland: Guinness Brewery… let me tell you, the black stuff with the white head tastes much better there than across the Atlantic on the underside of the Equator! Image

I was a lot younger here, so not old enough for the good Irish whiskey’s…

Dublin also have a beautiful park worth sitting in, and feeding the ducks… St Stephens Green Image

Ireland is a beautiful island. You have to travel around it… but the Irish are BAD drivers- they have way too much patience behind a steering wheel and will wait for a car approaching two towns away…  This is the Ring of Kerry- patience is needed for Irish roads (did I say that yet?)

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If you do have patience, you will eventually reach beautiful towns like Kildare…

ImageYou get to kiss the Blarney stone to have the gift of being a good speaker…

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You have not been to Ireland if you did not see the Cliffs of Maher- and look across the Atlantic Ocean to where most of the Irish are living on the other side…

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To go to church can be bad on a wet day, as the cathedrals have no roofs and lots of dead people buried there inside… Image The Irish lost a lot of fishermen to the cruel Atlantic ocean:

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The Irish are a nation of poets… ImageThere is a pub for every 3 Irish men, you may use the craic in any pub, but do not mention The Troubles…

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Thus far I got with my own photos. But as usual- you wondered: how does an Irish girl look like?

Ireland is a gutsy rugby playing nation, God bless ’em!

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Ronan o’Gara as shared by thinkwhatyoulike.wordpress.com

Finally- they have quite a lot of musicians- the home of Celtic music, and Enya and Westlife…

It is huge fun being in Ireland, if you are really, really patient behind a steering wheel!

What have I missed? The Island does have 1000 shades of green, it rains every single day of the year, and their hottest summer days are colder than our winters days…  But a lovely place…

Ladies, you just have to Google Image Colin Farrell your own selves…

Let’s Visit… The Cape of Storms…

This weekend in Cape Town was such a huge experience in so many ways. I usually visit the Cape in March for the Argus, and yes, the Southeasterly wind might try to blow you from the face of the earth.

But this was something completely different. Two severe cold fronts swept in from across the Atlantic ocean.  It brought a lot of rain, and some severe cold. Not the best weather for a tourist, but then, I was there for some work related matters anyway.

Some people would not cope with these kind of weather- I enjoyed it a lot! Even in her worst mood the Cape is still like a beautiful, if unpredictable, woman…

Our beloved Mountain hid her face in a veil of cloud for most of the weekend…

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So what do you do in Cape Town in stormy weather?  You take your beloved for a hearty breakfast at a non-franchise place, like the Farmstall at the Total garage just outside Melkbosstrand- from the photo you can judge the weather conditions…

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On a sunshine day this place do have some of the best outside breakfasts, with such a hearty farm vibe all around. But Saturday it was wet…. Image

So we just had to park ourselves inside where a fireplace was burning and giving a sense of belonging to the weary traveller…

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The food, as always, really hit the spot. When you finish a breakfast here, you are ready to carry on until dinner tonight…

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I guess in the Cape there ain’t no such thing as a free meal, even for the birds…

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The rest of the day we spent in our friend’s house, looking out to a day sailors and homeless people would rather forget. The sea was really rough…

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The only creature not worried by the whims of nature at all was Jonathan Livingston… He enjoyed the stormy seas a lot…

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Even in the midst of stormy weather you will always find something beautiful to enjoy…

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So- this trip to Cape Town, amidst the storms in the weather and in my restless heart, was a very good trip…  a little bit more will still follow soon…

PS… Didn’t you get a Deja Vu feeling with the seagull photo?  Thought so! Here is the one I wanted to post…

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Let’s visit Melkbosstrand…

I have been staying at a good friend’s house while waiting for Sunday’s service in the small nearby town… Melkbosstrand is a lovely beachside town. The whole time we are here in the Cape is rainy and stormy weather prevails. But yesterday, just for a few minutes, nature lifted the curtains to show that the Cape still is beautiful!

This is what I saw during a short stroll along the beach: 

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Let’s visit: Franschhoek South Africa

When you are on a roll travelwise, there is so much to share. It helps with that other times in your life when it is only work work work…

Franschhoek is one of the most beautiful towns in South Africa. Well, it is not just my opinion, but by all those tourists in the huge luxury coaches as well. Yesterday the whole of Brazil were there in the streets, the coffee shops and the galleries…. and so were we…

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I would not mind living in some farmworker houses in the Franschhoek district…

The Nederduitse Gereformeerde Kerk (Dutch Reformed Church) of Franschhoek…

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Soufflé Pancake with lamb at The Famous Franschhoek Pancake House….  The hot chocolate blew my mind… you get a cup of hot milk, and in it you stir as much melted Belgian chocolate as you could wish for- it is heavenly!

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At Boschendal vineyards outside Franschhoek….

Let’s visit Muratie (Stellenbosch)

Muratie is one of the oldest vineyards operating in South Africa. Their wine tasting room dates from 1700 something and they then last cleaned the dust as well… in the rain it was a lovely visit going there. Muratie is famous for its Port (although Portugal do not like us calling it that here…)  Image

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ImageSo there you have seen one of South Africa’s oldest and nicest vineyards…

More to follow…

Lets visit… Eaglevlei near Stellenbosch

My wife and I have this wonderful opportunity to come to Cape Town. A congregation has invited me to lead their Sunday morning service.

To afford the air tickets, we had to come a little bit earlier, as the tickets get really expensive over the weekend self.

Yesterday morning we had a little bit of time to explore. It was a rainy day in the Cape. But we really enjoyed it a lot…

Our first stop was at Eaglesvlei. And here is some of what we experienced…

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Here we had some breakfast. The restaurant is really stylish, with a comfortable fire burning in the fireplace on a cold day like yesterday was really special…IMG_0025

My wife decided on the health breakfast- stewed fruit with muesli and yogurt with honey…

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And I went totally out of my comfort zone. There was a starter: Snoek is a very delicious Cape fish. They prepared Snoek and Feta Samoosas, with caramelised cabbage, served with a mango and lime salsa…

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Eaglevlei is a working wine cellar, but they do things with such class…

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We have done a lot more than this yesterday, but today is really misty- not one photo yet today, we are staying indoors at a friend… So later on I will share some more. But Eaglevlei- definitely worth a visit!

Let’s visit… Ukraine

For the new reader- this is my Friday day-off adventure. I take an old world map, and with my eyes closed, throw a dart at it. There where it pegs, I go on a virtual tour. I read some blogs about the place, if I can find any.  I read a bit on the Internet about the place. And then I write a fantasy journey to the place. Usually with a photo of the local beer- if it is any good… I will have a huge problem with Australia one day… 🙂  I also put up a picture of a local girl. No- Christian friends, not out of lust- in admiration of beauty…  And to show how the people there look iike. Why not a man? Because I want to put up a photo of a girl. Because I can…

Today is a challenge for me!  The Ukraine is totally foreign to me. Never been there. And if I google it, the first few sites show me potential brides. They are beautiful! But I think my wife will have something to say about it if I order one…

The Ukrainian Flag: images (14)

An interesting fact- for me, is that Ukraine is in Europe! I would really argue hard that it was in Asia if a friend told me that around tonight’s barbeque fire…  It is the largest country that is entirely in Europe- would Turkey be larger?

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The fascinating history of the Ukraine you can read at Wikipedia, today is not about history, but about travel.  Just want to say that they became independent from the U.S.S.R in 1991,  after the fall of the Berlin wall.

Kiev is the Capital and the largest city, and where you will be landing if you do not travel there the decent way- on a motorbike RTW trip…

Sevastopol is a major harbour on the Black Sea, where a huge part of the Russian Navy was based in the good old commie days.   The Russians still lease this harbour from the Ukraine- probably for quite a few roubles…  But other tourists are also welcome these days:

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sebastopol harbour- http://www.happytour.in.ua

The Ukraine has the second largest army in Europe, after Russia… so don’t go messing with them. Drink their beer, chat with their girls, but don’t  be aggressive, somebody could get hurt…

The country’s geography: Mostly steppes (grasslands) and plateaus. Rivers like the Dnieper, Seversky Donets (No, not doughnuts, American friends…), Dniester and the Southern Buh crosses the land, and flow into the Black Sea. The Ukraine has a coastline of 2782 km on the Black Sea.

The only mountains are the Carpathian Mountains in the west with Hova Hoverla at 2061 m the highest peak, and the Crimean Mountains in the South…  Somewhere there the British and the RUssians had a little misunderstanding. The Light Brigade charged, and not all returned home- ours is to do and die…  In this war, some German fellow joined the British Army, and before he could reach the Crimean War, the War has ended. So the army gave him an honorable discharge, but Germany refused to take him back- no mercenary’s would be welcome in the Fatherland. So the English put him on a ship, and sent him to the Eastern Cape in South Africa, and gave him a small farm.  How do I know that? It was my first ancestor in South Africa in the 1860’s…  He did not reach the Ukraine… Maybe I will- with peaceful intent…

Wikipedia states that the road network has not been updated since the Soviet era. In other words- BAD roads… Use a dual purpose bike…  The trains is heavily used. Not so much potholes on the rails, I suppose…

The Ukraine receive the 8th highest amount of  visitors in Europe yearly.

In the Carpathian mountains you can ski in winter (not a Sport we South Africans excel in, maye because we never see snow…) The fishing is good, hiking and hunting goes on. Just don’t shoot the hikers.

Ukrainian wine

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The Black Sea beaches are popular summer vacation spots.  There are lots of ancient Castles and Cathedrals to see.  And the Ukraine has some vineyards, where they produce wines- I have never tasted any so I can’t judge if they are any good. An Ukrainian reader is welcome to send me a bottle…

The Ukraine is a good sporting nation.

I remember seeing their flag quite a lot in the Olympic Games. (96 medals in 4 Olympic games since 1994, their first Olympics as an independent nation).  I loved watching their gymnasts in action, but they are also excellent in athletics and swimming. Their most favourite sport is football (soccer)

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But how do their girls look like? The Ukrainian Brides are beautiful. But I guess most Ukrainian women would take exception to being compared to that industry.

This is Miss Ukraine 2013, Anna Zayachkivska,

Do the Ukraine have any good beer?

Here is an excellent site on the beers and pubs of the Ukraine

Look out for Obolon beer: Image

What more to see in Ukraine? I would not want to miss “The Tunnel of Love” in Rivne, OblastImage

 Of Course there is wonderful motorcycle journeys to be made in the Ukraine!

 

And one place to rather not visit, is the Chernobyl exclusion site- it is now 25 years since the famous big bang in the nuclear reactor plant.  If you visit, your grandchildren may or may not have four eyes…

How about a hot air balloon flight over KievImage

 What is Ukraine’s favourite dish? I heard in a lot of Hollywood movies how they joke about it- it is Borsch. Image It is a vegetable soup that may or may not have meat in it. Here is the recipe from this photo. 

On this blog you can see more of Ukraine’s favourite traditional dishes.

Lonely Planet’s top 17 travel tips for the Ukraine: 

A final word of warning: If you see this guy or his brother in a bar, don’t spill their beer, and don’t mess with their girls/wife.  The name Klitschko does mean a world of pain in the boxing circles…

Vitali Klitschko

Vitali Klitschko

Let’s Visit… Cape Town, South Africa

Now I am taking you to my favourite city in all the world!  Let me tell you why with 10 reasons- I could give a 100 easily… :

1. There is Table Mountain, a World Heritage Site:

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You know I am a Biker by this photo- your Bike is the focal point on a photo of a World Heritage Site… 🙂

Maybe I should post the Cable car… ehh no, my 2nd Bike is much prettier…

2. There are beautiful beaches like Clifton and Camps Bay:

3. There is the Scenic route around Chapman’s Peak…  

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5. There is the fantastic “Ons Huisie” Restaurant at Bloubergstrand

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6.  Also at Bloubergstrand the place I had my honeymoon so many moons ago: The Blue Peter hotel the best place to be for sunset drinks in Cape Town

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7. And, yes, at the Blue Peter, have a Mitchell’s Brewery Bosun’s Bitter Draft…

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8. The Victoria and Albert Waterfront in Cape Town is really touristy… one good reason to visit, also for Mitchell’s Bosun Bitter is the Ferryman’s Tavern

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9. Cape Town have some of the most beautiful girls in the world! Like: Roxy Louw:

Kerry McGregor:

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Just go visit the Coffee shops beachside at Camps Bay, and you will probably see quite a few international supermodels and actresses . This is also the place to see Top Gear type Sportscars…

10. And finally, the reason I go to Cape Town each year: There is the Argus Cycle Tour each March around Table Mountain- me nd 36 000 other mad people. I have done 19 off them, each one since 1995… cape-argus-cycle-tour

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Let’s visit: Lesotho

Where is that? It is a small, small landlocked country, completely surrounded by South Africa.

But it never was a part of South Africa.  It is one of the highest countries in the world- if you climb the Drakensbergs to their top, then you are entering Lesotho. And so it was the only times I ever have been to Lesotho- those climbing expeditions crossing the border.

From the South African side, Lesotho looks beautiful with all it’s mountain splendor. Because of it’s hight above sea level, it can get extremely cold up there in the mountains.

The Basotho (people of Lesotho, part of the Sotho speaking nations and cousins to the Tswana of Botswana…) have their own unique style of hut they live in…

This would be a typical Lesotho scene- riding on the small but sturdy Basotho pony, past these distinctive huts…

One of Lesotho’s main economic activities is supplying water and electricity to South Africa, via the impressive Khatse dam hydro-electricity project. Image

The people weave a most distinctive hat from grass, resembling their huts, and so part of their identity that the hat is on their national flag- much more peaceful that the AK 47 on Mozambique’ flag~

Lesotho has just onder 2 million inhabitants, making it number 146 th in the biggest countries of the world- population wise.

Wikitravel states that the BAsotho people is a peaceful nation.  But people planning to travel on motorbikes through there- the children of the country have this nasty habit of stoning passing bikers. And be very careful of your luggage when travelling there…

Things to see: MAseru– the capital, where South Africans went to gamble when it was still illegal in SOuth Africa…  Pony rides and sightseeing at Khatse, Thaba Bosiu is a historical place of Battle between the Basotho and the people of the Free State- a dispute of cattle theft that still continues to this day… Semonkong- Maletsunyane Falls– one of the highest single drop waterfalls in the world, Sehlabathebe National Park is a good place for hiking, just be extremely well prepared for bad weather.

What to eat- there are several Western Style restaurants in Maseru. But if you eat there, you are a sissy!  Rather find somebody local who will make you some of their food. You need to taste the cuisine of the country you are visiting to call yourself a worthy traveller! This websitetells you more about Mosotho cooking:

This is one typical dish (with a recipe…) :

And when in Lesotho, you might just see a famous looking Englishman there- I am not sure exactly who, but nowerdays every Tom, DIck and Harry want to visit Lesotho…

Just be careful in the winter here:

Before I forget: the local beer: Maluti Premium Lager-

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Enjoy your visit, and thank you for Flying with Rider’s Virtual Airlines…