July 13th 2003
Recently I had the opportunity to take a vacation. I went to Swaziland. Swaziland is in many ways a lot like Lesotho. In that it is not very far away so the weather is similar but noticeably warmer. It is also very much influenced by South Africa. One difference is that it is a lot more developed. In fact I would say it is more developed on a person per person basis then South Africa which outside of it’s major cities is still very undeveloped. I went to a cultural village and there I saw how the old people lived before development came. I saw that the ways in this place thought were in a way fake. It was like walking through a museum. And in fact it was just like walking around in the villages of Lesotho, which make up maybe about a quarter of the country. The words of my buddy that lives in just a secluded mountain village ring so true saying, “You live in the third world and I live in a museum.”
I have to say I liked Swaziland the most though of all the places. I liked it because of the integration of the races. I liked the weather and the development there. I also liked the feeling that it had been able to retain much of it’s identity though despite it’s change. It was still distinctly Africa.
I also went to Grahmstown. There I was exposed to lots of art including the opportunity to see lots of plays. The only one that was particularly heard of was the Vagina Monologues, which I find to be just all right.
I went to Durban and there I was able to see lots of movies. None all too special. I was able to walk on a warm beach even though it is wintertime here. I did lot’s of relaxing and was able to fulfill a long term desire of mine since I was a teenager to go sky diving. It was really easy and fun. I did have a bit of a rough landing though and jammed a couple fingers. I recommend it to anyone as it really is a neat thing to do. I am enclosing a picture of me after landing. I actually have pictures of me jumping out and in free fall as a cameraman jumped with me but I as of yet don’t have them developed. I am also enclosing one of the swazis dancing.Hope to talk with you all soon, Jeff