An African Christmas Story

Happy New Year from South Africa.

Steve and I have done a good bit of traveling since I last posted.

We’ve been to the beaches of the Indian Ocean in Durban.

We’ve slept on an Nguni cattle farm near Pietermaritzburg a town famous for its connection to Mahatma Gandhi .  In 1893, while Gandhi was traveling to Pretoria by train when a white man objected to Gandhi’s presence in a first-class carriage.  Because his skin was not white Gandhi was ordered to move to the baggage car at the end of the train. Gandhi, who had a first-class ticket, refused, and was subsequently thrown off the train at Pietermaritzburg,.   As the story goes, shivering through the winter night in the waiting room of the station, Gandhi made the momentous decision to stay on in South Africa and fight the racial discrimination against Indians there. Out of that struggle emerged his unique version of nonviolent resistance.

We have visited a waterfall near where, in 1899 the Boars, fighting against the British, laid a bolder on the tracks and derailed a train.  The train happened to be carrying the 25 year old war correspondent; Winston Churchill.  The young Churchill was held as a prisoner of war until his escape two months later by climbing over a wall.

We’ve driven over alarmingly bad roads and through bustling but isolated villages and walked high into the mountains to see ancient Sani (Bushman) cave paintings.

We’ve stopped to pay our respects at Nelson Mandela captured site where Mandela saw his last moments of freedom for 27 years.

We’ve tasted local beer in an English country manor house garden and under a tent in Cape Town. We’ve tasted sparkling wines under a blazing sun and paired red wines with designer chocolates in a winery frequented by the rich and famous people of the world.

It Was Not All Fun and Wine.  Some of Our Adventures Were Biblical

An African Christmas Story

We’ve had our booked airline go out of business two days after we purchased our tickets.


We arrived for our 10 day vacation only to be told our (prepaid) hotel had been condemned by the fire department the previous day and all residents had been relocated; leaving us, the last to arrive, out on the street.

There was, so to speak, no room at the inn.

However, as in the bible, God delivered us angels.

Jenny, a local tourism operator, took us under her wing and, after three days of moving around, Jenny found us lodging for the duration of our trip.

Our Angel Jenny


As we were jockeying our luggage into the elevator, we dropped our only set of car keys down the elevator shaft.  Fortunately, since the rental car company was no help at all, another angel appeared and using ingenuity, sticky putty and metal rod, helped us retrieve our keys from the bowels of the earth.


As it turned out, our modern equivalent of a stable was a beach front condo with no view and no television, decorated in red satin and featuring a life size painting of a young woman in a negligee. But, like another famous couple, we were just glad to have a roof over our heads because the next day the wind started blowing. For the next three days 45mph gusts raised clouds of sand off the beach, knocked over furniture, shattered the glass doors in the lobby and filled our accommodations with sand.

So that my friends is why I have not posted any of my stories for so long.

Of course there is lots more to tell.  There are my impressions of the “Festive Season” as celebrated in South Africa.

And, thanks to Steve, who tells me he does not get featured enough in my stories, there are many, many photos. Which I will arrange into a video, just as soon as I learn to use the new software.

Steve at the Cape of Good Hope

There is also my new business web site at Check it out.

But I know it’s been far too long so I will post this and promise to be more regular in 2013.

Dana's Signature


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7 Responses to An African Christmas Story

  1. Mark Dunn says:

    Who said God does not have a sense of humor?

  2. sue ballentine says:

    I was smiling but when I got to the keys down the elevator shaft….well, sorry, but I has to laugh out loud. And…I was NOwhere near you!!! Aren’t we glad we have our Guardian Angels?

  3. Virginia Gerrish says:

    It’s great to see you’ve kept your sense of humor through it all. Steve looks like he has recovered his health. I’ll look forward to your next post. And the ficus tree is still alive!!!

  4. pat nutz says:

    I too laughed out loud at the keys down the shaft tale. Good thing you focused on Christ instead of your humorous cicumstances. Happy 2013 to you both!r

  5. Holly says:

    I wanted to wait until I had time to enjoy this. And so I have. I can’t say often enough how reading you is always a great read!!! I like to savor it it like fine wine!! And the best part…we are related!!! What great genes!! Wish I had some of the writing flair genes…but I am happy reading what you can do with words!! 🙂 Keep it coming!! Talk to you soon!!

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