Just recently someone made the comment how they wish they could be where I was and see what I see. So, with that in mind, I set out on this road trip to take pictures of things that you wouldn't usually see in travel magazines. On the one hand I very much enjoy seeing the pictures that provoke a "oooh!" and "aaah!" response, but on the other hand I also enjoy seeing some of what is to the left and right of that frozen moment in time. Does anyone else ever wonder that?
To some a highway is a highway is a highway, but to me it is seeing what is to the left and the right of the famous image that is always portrayed in magazines or on television. It is a taste of "real".
What strikes me often as very fascinating is how other countries are portrayed in a way that makes them look so much better than the place you live. When you're marketing some place as a tourist attraction it makes a lot of sense, but what is beneath the glamour? Is there also "ordinary" - the same as what we get bored with where we are everyday, or take for granted? Is there also crime and poor areas or dirty areas? No one likes to show those, huh? But when you get your head out of the clouds isn't that some of what you see everywhere in the world, even if in varying degrees?
Anyway, where were we?
I completely agree: wearing safety belts are wise. How some people drive without them I really don't understand. I feel almost "naked" without it on; so vulnerable. In some other places there were signs that said, "Seat belts for the next million miles"! I kind'a enjoyed the creative way of saying "always" instead of boringly spelling it out. Almost as if saying everyone should know it by now.
About 350 miles into the trip (560km) it is time to refill on gas and check oil and tire pressure. Garett is being very responsible. Note the little device in his left hand: the gas station does not have a pressure gauge for you to measure the air in your tire. You actually need to drive around with your own tire pressure gauge. If you don't have one you're either someone who don't care about the right pressure or you're pretty darn good at sucking your thumb. You can either view this as something new to learn - yay! - or you can feel it as a big inconvenience. I think especially the ladies in South Africa often count themselves very privileged to have someone at the garage to help you with this kind of thing. For me the missing gauge is rather annoying when I try to put air in my bicycle tires.
...same kind of fly-overs and bridges that I know... The reason why this is so interesting for me is that such a big deal is made of South Africa being a third world country vs some larger countries in the world, and yet what are all the cool stuff that we have to enjoy and to be grateful for that is the same in the first world countries of the world! We're not that far behind in all regards. Or maybe the concept of third world country is often used in the wrong context.
For instance, I've heard people quote unemployment rates like other countries don't have any poverty whatsoever. I don't think that is true. There is always rich and poor, even if it is billions vs. thousands. I don't think there is any place where everyone is only billionaires (although I did see an article on Yahoo the other day where rich people were/are planning to build their own island in international waters and for it to be recognized as their own country - if I remember correctly)...
I've even heard people talk about other countries saying they didn't have any pot holes! Really?! Is that a reason to move to another country? Well, people, let me tell you: America does have potholes, ok. In case that is your reason for immigrating then this is not the country for you (*giggle*). Or otherwise you'd have to get over here and drive through all 51 states to determine which one you'd prefer living in. Might take you a while... (*wink-wink* ha-ha)
Pocahontas..? Wasn't she some native Indian chick living in a forest on an island somewhere that was threatened by modern westerners and then she falls in love with one of them...? Hmm... maybe this is what those woods look like now and her home is just a half a mile from here... (*giggle*) Most of what I remember about that movie is one of the songs in the soundrack, Colours of the wind sung by Vanessa Williams.
Left: At first the landscape was nothing more than agricultural land; fields and fields and fields of mostly beans, corn and soy, but as we progressed westward the scenery became more luscious - I almost want to say it had more of a tropical feel to it, similar to driving to the (SA) Kwazulu-Natal coast. At this point in our trip it was also starting to feel a little hot in the car and the airconditioning was a very welcome cooling down. Don't know for sure if it felt tropical because I was hot and sweaty, or if I was hot and sweaty because it is more tropical...
On the one hand one of the difficult things about the lush growth right next to the road, however, is that it makes it harder to spot deer running toward the road. "Now you don't see me. Now you do!" Now, maybe if you're driving an 18-wheeler... no problem for you - shame! the little deer :( But if you're just driving a regular car there is no way of knowing.