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Archive for June, 2010

On a day when I traveled through four countries. A flight from South Africa to Zambia, than a bus through Zambia, Zimbabwe and into Botswana I eventually arrived at Chobe Safari Lodge. After the welcome drink and a scented, cool, wet towel to freshen up, I decided to walk to the river’s edge to see my very first African Sunset.  I was rewarded with this image.  Enjoy.

the sun sets on the Chobe River...

stay adventurous, Craig

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the stars and stripes plays the vuvuzela too...

What a match, what a goal. Ah, it keeps the USA vuvuzela blowing loud. Let’s continue the ride.

Stay adventurous on the pitch, Craig

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When you visit Pretoria, South Africa, (or the renamed Tshwane, South Africa) I recommend a walk through the grounds and gardens that surround the Union Buildings. The location serves as the republic’s executive capital, but achieved its global fame in May of 1994.

As I walked the grounds, part of me just admired the beauty of its buildings and landscape. I admired the views, the simple water fountain (always a fan) and vast fauna. But another part of me realized how not just South Africa, but really Africa changed that May day. The day when Nelson Mandela addressed the nation as the first democratically elected President of the apartheid abolished rainbow nation.

Then on my walk through the park, the sun started its descent. I snapped this photograph of the statue of General Louis Botha, the Union of South Africa’s first Prime Minister. As history shows, also a man who believed in reconciliation. (after the Boer War)

the sun sets on the grounds of the Union Buildings

stay adventurous, Craig

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After attending USA vs England in Rustenburg, South Africa I became aware once again that my national team’s chant of ” USA…USA…USA” needs a friend. In a nation that celebrates variety and creativity, I believe us Americans can sing more than just our “go to USA…” at the stadium.  In fact, many other fans from other nations with less history and success in the World Cup Finals have better chants, and it seems the English fans reminded me (not always politely) about this very fact.

No matter, I still supported the Stars and Stripes earnestly and enjoyed the team’s well deserved result.  But I’ll admit I began to ponder about a new chant.

my tailgate for USA in Rustenberg

Then on the twenty-eight hour passage from Pretoria to Cape Town aboard the Blue Train, at a time when stay adventurous also identified with stay luxurious, I decided to take action as a writer. Over some early morning arrival cocktails, I drafted a few simple words, phrases on a napkin. I liked it.

...scribbling a new chant, song?

Come on USA

We came to play

Come on USA

Let’s win today

Come on USA

Time to dominate

Come on USA

World Cup Trophy is our Fate

Well, it’s a start. And I am certainly open to all your suggestions. But in either case, I shall blow my Vuvuzela and lead the new cheer at a local bar (in NYC) next Wednesday when USA plays Algeria in a match we need to advance. Come on USA ….

Stay adventurous, Craig

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Simply known as Puerto. The sleepy fishing village in Oaxaca, Mexico also claims home to the Mexican Pipeline. A perfect pacific Mexican escape.

I enjoyed a long weekend on the coastal beach town when I called Mexico City my home.  And although I prefer the Mazatlan native “el Pacifico,” I can hardly disagree that the marketing awards must go to  Corona.  The beer with its partner, the lime, signifies the beach, holiday, and is nearly as much Mexico as Tequila (to travelers)

And during my adventure in Puerto, I snapped this photo at Sunset. Actually, a friend submitted to Corona for a contest.  It didn’t win (as far as I know) but it certianly gave us some conversation for the next time we shared a Corona. So this summer – enjoy your beach retreats and your Corona mentality. Cheers this Sunset Sunday.

the sun sets in Puerto, but I am prepared

stay adventurous, Craig

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“This is the first time I ever saw so many whites in Soweto,” a smiling store owner said to the local news.

Orlando Stadium

I agree, this was news. Orlando Stadiun, located in Soweto, the all black suburb of Johansburg and the epicenter of the student uprising of 1976 recently hosted an all South African Super 14 Rugby final. In the match, the Bulls defeated the Storms in a sport I am actually starting to understand (and really appreciate.)  But the setting was the story. Soweto served as a place for continued healing. A place for bringing the rainbow naiton together. A place where all South Africans watch the final and will also watch World Cup matches.

South African history may not be as pretty as its landscape, but Nelson Mandela decided not to live in the past. He chose to build for a future. He chose to  forgive.  Remarkable. And the more time I spend here, the more remarkable I tend to believe it is.

Now, he holds the world's top prize - the World Cup

If you watced the movie “Invictus” than you know how the South Africa used sport to help bring a divided nation together. (if not put it on your Netflix list – a must). And still people might point to commerce or laws as more effective means, but I tend agree with Mr Mandela, and believe the roots of such an event need to be in the simplistic. Sport is that simplistic. We can look to the past to see the ancient greeks and the Olympics to understand how sport celebrates man (and woman). How games celebrate humanity. How games (sports) bring us all together.

the world cup logo is everywhere....

Now in a few days, the countdown clocks are everywhere, the world will focus on South Africa.  The country plays host to the world’s largest event – the World Cup. Some infastructure may not be complete, but the stadiums, the nation, and the people are ready.

And I too am ready after nearly a month in Africa.  No, I am not ready for the increased “tourist tax”  charged by hotels and especially the hostels. But ready for the wave of emotion set to sweep across Africa and the world.

So yes, I’ll probably spend more than I thought. But I will look at it differently. I plan not to focus on the immediate economic impacts on myself (or even the nation of South Africa), but plan to watch and witness more than just the matches and “mistakes.”  I plan to be a part of the longer term value this World Cup brings to a nation, a continent, and the world. And I ask you, my readership, please join me in that thinking.

And join me – Go USA! Stay adventurous, Craig

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This past April my grade school best friend provided me a stunning tour of Oxford University.

the oxford journal

He studies there to complete his Masters in Archeology. On the walkabout town, he pointed out so many points of interest. Places of historical significance, literary hangouts, and even Harry Potter film sites.

On the tour, one could really feel the energy of the colleges, its tradition. Amazing. I knew I needed to purchase a journal here, something to inspire me when writing my African adventures. And yes, I found one in the Bodleian Library.

Now as I continue to fill the pages today enjoying my time in South Africa, I reflect back on those few days in Oxford. I recall that evening returning to student housing when the constant and consistent English rain ceased for a moment. The sun smiled as it set.
I quickly climbed to the second floor to take this photo.

...the sun shined and then set in Oxford, England

Happy “Sunset Sunday” England. (But please know I am still pulling for USA on June 12th at the World Cup)

Stay Adventurous, Craig

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