Saturday, February 24, 2018

Cycling to Cullinan to tour the diamond mine.

Waking early to a quiet morning, but of course there is always an early bird chirping in the trees. Took a quick shower in the open air stone shower. Such a cool experience and everything is swept clean.
Cycled off to Cullinan, only six miles away, for a lovely breakfast of a ham and cheese crepe with banana inside and maple syrup, at the Whispering Oaks sidewalk cafe. Plus rooibos tea, which is from a South African red bush. Somehow it tastes better here than at home. Perhaps it is the experience that goes with it.
The underground tour of the working Cullinan Diamond mine was absolutely fascinating. Our guide was the retired Head of Safety for the mine. He was filling in for the regular guide who family to attend to for the day. He spoke three languages needed to work here. The two official languages of English and Africaan, which is Dutch with an accent after 300 years of being in South Africa. The third is a common language developed amongst the eleven local tribes so they can basically communicate, although I can’t recall  the name of this.
He would go quickly back and forth between languages, as I heard others do also. There was a young French couple on the tour also, speaking French to each other and struggling to understand the new words of the mining industry.
After the tour I enjoyed a late lunch of a hamburger and s few fries. One of my main concerns is keeping my bike from being stolen, so I locked it in front of the cafe while I ate and told the staff I would walk to the grocery store, the Spar, and be back to collect it. 

Everything went smoothly and I cycled back to my campsite with a few snacks for the evening and breakfast. When cycling into Somabula Game Reserve there was a big impala buck alone in the field who looked up and then went back to grazing. It was just beautiful. Another’s lovely sunset I watched from my tent as the wart hogs snorted through the campsite.
Others had arrived in campers and lit fires, so I was not totally alone. 

As had happened the first night, about midnight there were drums and singing in the distance. It sounded like live music and I could imagine the dancing. It was an exotic sound and I lay awake listening until it stopped. 

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