Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Return to Africa!

I'm writing this from Ben-Gurion airport, as I await to board my flight to Africa. It's been ten years since I was last (and first) there, and this trip will be very different. Last time I went to Kenya; this time, I am traveling to South Africa, Zambia and Botswana. Last time, I went on safari as a participant; this time, I am ZooRabbi-in-residence for a large group, American Friends of Shaarei Tzedek. It's really extraordinary; as a kid, growing up in England, I never in my wildest dreams imagined that I would actually ever visit Africa, and now I am going for the second time!
You can read my photo-journal from my Kenya safari here. I would like to be able to post a photo/video journal while I am on this trip, but from what I hear, getting online is not going to be easy, and certainly not a high-speed connection. But we'll see what we can do!
I'll be starting off in Cape Town, where I had made arrangements to go cage-diving with great white sharks on Thursday. Unfortunately, the forecast is for a raging gale with sixteen-foot waves (it's midwinter there), so this plan will probably have to be shelved. But if the weather picks up on Sunday, maybe I'll be able to do it then. (Insert joke here about how some people want to see me be thrown to the sharks.)
In my bag is something quite remarkable: a sefer Torah less than six inches tall! We'll be needing it when we're out in the bushveldt. I also had an interesting halachic question - should I be saying Morid HaTal, or Mashiv Ha-Ruach? After all, it is the winter there. My posek ruled that I should continue saying Morid HaTal, and said that even for native South Africans it's not clear that they should say Mashiv HaRuach.
So, I don't know when I'll next be posting, but it should be interesting!


Anonymous said...

In South Africa (at least, in Johannesburg, where I lived for five years) their winter -- July-August -- is cold but dry. Their rainy season is their summer, Dec-Jan, when there are usually tropical showers every afternoon around 5 o'clock. So you should not pray for rain while there in July. That's what I think.

When we spent a few days in Kruger National Park (which is the size of New Jersey) in July, we brought kosher food along with us and, because there was no fridge in our cabin, we left cold cuts out on the window sill -- it was very cold outside. (Not below freezing, though.) And some monkeys stole our food!!

And then a different time when we visited Capetown, a similar thing happened -- some baboons tried to share our picnic. I have pictures of baboons on the hood of our car. The animals are not as wild as they should be -- they are too used to humans and to human food -- but they are still wild enough to be dangerous. So watch out! And have a GREAT trip!!

Rafi G. said...

Where'd you get such a small Torah?

Anonymous said...

This site takes a tremendous amount of time to load. Perhaps you can place your slideshow elsewhere, if that is the cause of the slowness.