Saturday, August 20, 2011


The cruel mockery of interstate signage.
This is my second day sitting in the office. We came home through Chicago, to Wisconsin (Julie's family), and then to South Dakota (my family). This amounted to a 26 hour adventure on America's interstate highway system. Eating was not easy, or pleasant.

In the office, there are lots of people coming in to welcome me back. 52 voice mails to listen to and 40 cm of mail. But it's nearly done now, I'm starting to work on things again.

I know you'll need it.
And then, America. Fiddlesticks. I'm just trying to avoid becoming too fat to walk. It's a sorry state of affairs over here. I'm not one to pull a band aid off slowly, or venture into a cold swimming pool one toe at a time. Same goes for 'easing' into a culture. None of that for me. I went directly to Costco to observe America in action. I grabbed a foot long hot dog and 20 oz of Coca Cola (imperial units seem crude unless you're stuffing yourself with factory food, then they are completely logical)  and walked around inspecting the contents of shopping carts, conducting my personal inquiry into over-consumption. Highlights, as I recall, were along the lines of: "Wow, that's really a lot of toilet paper! You'll be set for months. Such advanced planning in this country!"

It's all got me a little blue. To combat culture shock, I think I'll go buy a giant box of bad California wine and drown my sorrows with it and an entire season of 'True Blood', or some other  American TV show. Apparently skin and violence go a long ways towards curing whatever ails you.

Taking in some of the culture helps
In any case, I think I've adjusted to the culture. I'm even participating; buying all sorts of things I don't need. For instance,  I got a smart phone. My smart phone is so smart, it's writing this blog. Moreover, we've got a lot of stuff to buy in America. And, it's pretty cheap. Participating is hard to avoid after a year of austerity, I can see my elbow through the taters of my long sleeve shirts. Still, I can't help feel a little exploited every time I swipe that piece of plastic. I bought a little piece of joy in South Africa, and I haven't found that on the shelves anywhere in America.

Consumerism aside, it's nice here in Montana; cool in the mornings, and warm in the afternoons. People are friendly, and it's quiet. I've continued jogging a little, and feel like a real activist riding my bike to commute and get groceries. Our kids wander off to who knows where, and I don't worry. There are plenty of clever, well traveled, well read, moderate, and healthy people.The stereotypical fat, ill informed, and angry America isn't so hard to avoid. It's funny, but when everyone overseas asks you about the ugly American, you begin to expect it yourself. As long as I don't study the newspapers too closely, or modulate the amplitude of radio waves, I don't know it exists at all. Our home is comfortable, and we were missed by our neighbors and co-workers. I'm always delighted to encounter something that I'd forgotten that I like, and occasionally shocked to encounter something I'd forgotten that I don't like. As a rule, these 'somethings' are people and not things. On the balance, its a pretty good place to come back to. I'm happy to be here.

Friday, August 12, 2011


Temple of Hadrian, conqueror of the Brits.
I thought I'd begin this blog with the idea that we've just left one of the youngest civilizations, sub-Saharan Africa, and traveled to the world's oldest, Turkey. Before getting too far, I thought I'd better check something; civilization has the following definition (Oxford English Dictionary):
the stage of human social development and organization that is considered most advanced.
Entering the Blue Mosque.
Wow, I suppose this post is in trouble already, especially if I have to tackle  'considered most advanced'. Considered by whom? I think Montana may have just lost its status as civilization. In any case, I'm going to use it as a starting point; this big transition,  from Africa to Turkey. I'm saying it is big because in one case history is solid, hewn from marble. In the other history is ephemeral, and has been lost to the environment. I think that's fair to say.

Hagia Sophia
Given the large transition, have I gained any special insights? Well, Turkey is fantastic. It boggles the mind that some of these marvels of engineering and architecture are more than 2000 years old. And they are everywhere, setting the stage for modern living. When I think about this in relation to Africa (or the US), I have to ask why it is that nothing significant in terms of civilization emerged there. I should be careful though. There is the great Zimbabwe, and Ashante civilization has a long and complex history. Nevertheless, the general lack of documented civilization in Africa is probably worth considering as we try to understand our differences.

Zapiro lampoons Zuma's AIDS prevention method; showering.
I don't forget that people were living like animals in Northern Europe through most of the early Roman Empire. I suppose my ancestors would have been in their company; drinking from skulls, rubbing animal fat on their bodies, burning witches, whacking each other over the head...

So, who knows, maybe Zuma and company are building a new civilization in a circuitous way. These things don't happen overnight. Speaking of Zuma, I sure miss the news from South Africa. So much more entertaining that our loss of 'AAA credit rating'. Or the Iowa straw poll. Why can't we Americans have a president with a shower coming out of his head?

Once the third largest library in the world.

I should comment on visiting a stable, secular, progressive, economically viable Islamic democracy. There aren't really any others like it, but there has been all sorts of change in the Islamic world this year. I suppose my hope is that Turkey can demonstrate the way forward in these parts of the world. But I'm pretty ignorant about these things. There must be a million reasons that a government like Turkey's would never work in say, Egypt. Tribes, money, resources, education, etc. etc. But too bad, Turkey really seems to work well.
Hurray for Turkey!

Saturday, July 16, 2011


The truck
My wife Julie and I had something of an understanding before we came. Given that we would be living in a new place, without the support of friends and the distractions of our home, I'd spend time with the family during all the major school holidays. This has worked  well. We've had some great times times together as a family, and managed to do so in some incredible places.  It has been a little more vacation time than I'm accustomed to, and I could be found lugging around a laptop to several of these exotic locals.

A Namibia landscape. There are Rhinos down there.
The last of these vacations was in Namibia. During the 'scramble for Africa', when European powers divided up the continent for colonization, Germany was given a region then called South West Africa (as well as present day Tanzania).  After the first world war, the Germans surrendered control of the holding to South Africa, which ran the place until independence in 1990. During the height of the apartheid regime, Namibia was a hub for South Africa to carry out various bush wars from. Many white South Africans were conscripted into military service and stationed in Namibia, venturing out to fight in Angola. These people are about my age now, and I've heard stories. I suspect it was awful, being shipped off to fight a bush war for nebulous reasons. Sort of a South African Vietnam.

Local color. Those are grubs. Never tried them though.
Geographically, Namibia is dominated by the arid Namib desert. It's a large area, bigger than Texas, but has a population of only 2 million people. The long colonization period has left a good infrastructure, with excellent roads, reliable electricity and water, a stable currency linked to the rand, well provisioned shops, and comparatively little corruption. One goes there for isolation, quiet, sun, incredible landscapes, and wildlife viewing. We rented a big truck with tents on the roof and headed out without much planned.

African super store. You can get anything here.
While the days were warm and bright, the nights were cold, so we continued northward, toward the equator and lowlands. This promised warmer weather and something else. As one approaches the Angolan border and the Caprivi strip, there is more moisture, the climate changes, and the population density increases. This was exactly what I wanted. This was getting back to the Africa I love from my Peace Corps days in Malawi. Villages, traditional lifestyles, thick vegetation, and powerful rivers filled with hippos and crocodiles.

And craziness. For instance, one of my favorite experiences was stopping in front of a 'Road Closed' sign to ask around about how closed it really was. We were paying good money for a big ass truck after all. To inquire we went into a corner restaurant/bar/hotel/grocer kind of place that one finds in Africa. A small crowd had gathered around the truck while we drank Cokes and asked about road conditions. People indicated various places on their calves and knees to show how deep the water over the road was. I was able to piece together bits of the local language, it wasn't so different from what I'd learned in Malawi. Someone came over to let us know they were riding with us to the next town. Then another, and another. It just wasn't possible to take so many people, and I have no recollection of offering transport services. But then again, some of these folks were way too awesome to ignore.

The Etosha pan
My favorite was a 6 plus foot Macy Gray looking woman with crooked wig and purple sunglasses. There were two Angolan guys dressed in a pimp-ish manner trying to get me to take her in a Portuguese-English-Kavango patois. She had a bottle with a couple of very dirty liters of diesel to offer in exchange for a ride. She also had a jumbo sized 'Louis V.' bag for her junk. How could I refuse? She'd definitely keep the boys from arguing in the back seat. In the end, I was convinced to offer the seat to a woman that needed to go to the hospital. She was respectably dressed, and in spite of her medical condition, managed to knock several larger people aside to get into the back seat of the truck first. Winner. It all begs the question; in these rural villages, how many people are just sitting around, waiting to go somewhere else? 30-40%?

Lilac breasted roller
Even better than my giggles, I got to introduce my boys to this world, which is absent, or difficult to experience in South Africa. This was a pleasure: seeing them interact with villagers, make purchases of fried dough in the markets, ponder how life in the villages must be, and cruise along an ancient waterway, seeing people living as they have for countless years.

It was a good experience. The pictures probably tell the story better than the blog entry. Clicking the "Slideshow" link in the upper right will show you more.

Friday, July 1, 2011


The finite elements text.
As part of the exchange I am on I taught for a semester. I like teaching, so this was something I looked forward to, although during my first semester here I appreciated time away from teaching. It's always fun to meet a new group of people, and good students force you to understand the material well. I also looked forward to meeting more Africans, as well as teaching some course material I had not taught before. I'll comment on the differences in the teaching format and students between University of Montana and University of Cape Town.

C++ was taught from this text.

First, at UCT it's not uncommon to have two instructors take responsibility for a single course. Each then gives half the lectures, and develops half the assignments and exams. I entered into a couple of these relationships, one for a course in C++, and another for a introductory level finite elements course. This was good and bad. Just when I felt like I was getting to know the class, I stopped teaching. In this way, I don't think the students ever really caught on to what a charlatan I am, which is good. Then again, I never got to know some of them very well, which was bad. I enjoyed working with another instructor, but it was occasionally awkward to be so mixed up in one another's teaching.

The system here favors a final examination amounting to some 60% of course points. The process is highly formal with external reviewers looking at the exam itself, making sure the test is fair, and that it is graded in a consistent manner. The exams are three hours long. All of this meant for a busy week, preparing exams in time to get them off for external review before the end of classes.

Sitting for final exam in Finite Elements.
Students here were a delight. I enjoyed meeting people not just from South Africa, but from all over Africa. I had students from Tanzania, Uganda, Botswana, Nigeria, Mauritius, Lesotho,  as well as all over South Africa. I also had recent immigrants to South Africa from Italy, Bulgaria, and Bosnia. I truly love the diversity that I experience here. This institution draws the finest from all over Africa, and beyond, and it's a pleasure to try and instruct them.

Outside of the wonderful assortment of backgrounds my students came from, the other most striking difference was the standards that are applied. 50% is a pass, and at about 75% one can be awarded a distinction, but that's not a primary concern. Hence, when designing assignments and exams, you make them much tougher than I would in the US. The students are used to taking a beating. Exam questions I know I'd have been hassled about the 'fairness' of in the US were received without comment. In the end, I fear I may not have been such a hard teacher, the years of writing tests targeted at about a 70% average was a hard habit to break.

A student's version (left) of my notes (right).
Finally, the system stresses hand writing at all stages. I know my boys were taken to task about this at primary school level. I thought it would be fun to show a picture of just how tidy some of the student's notes are.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Mom's visit

The deck of the house we rented.
My mother visited over the Easter Holiday. In terms of living abroad, one great pleasure is to host a visitor. You can show them a few of the places you've fallen in love with, and reconnect with what you really are in terms of family, nationality, and culture. I think we are getting better at enjoying ourselves here. Rather than set out on an ambitious agenda of site seeing, we picked a few nice things and settled in for a relaxing stay. I was also happy that mom got to have a look at the boy's school, and see how things work there a little bit. That's a huge part of this experience, and often overlooked when confronted with the vast assortment of tourist options.

Brenton on the Sea beach, near our rental house.
We stayed a few days in Cape Town; she saw the wineries at walked through the vineyards. We ate at some nice restaurants, and watched the boys play soccer. After that we headed for the Garden Route, a lush coastal area of South Africa, about 4 hours drive east, along the coast. We rented a nice house, and made modest little trips out in the day. Walking on the beach, visiting an elephant sanctuary, walking through the forest, and doing a zip line tour of the canopy. Perfectly unambitious for a 5 day stay.

The broken window.
Canopy tour.
I should write about the crime that occurred; sadly, it is part of South Africa. As the photos show,  we were in a very comfortable place. The house was in a wealthy area, and seemed isolated from the poverty that is so common here. I had been warned, and generally know better, but feeling comfortable, I tossed my wallet, sunglasses, and cell phone on a counter near a window before going to bed. Around 5:45 the next morning, while we laid in bed listening to the birds and the surf, we heard the window smash. I got up and started shouting, hoping to frighten off whomever might be in the house. There was glass everywhere, I was barefooted, pacing back and forth, trying to find some shoes to put on. It was a scary morning. Who ever broke in was a timid sort, and did run off after they had taken my things. I didn't even realize I had lost those things until later, when we prepared to leave for the day. We spent the morning on the phone, calling police, security, credit card companies, etc. etc.

Elephant feeding.
Generally, the police and private security people were good. Competent individuals that see plenty of this sort of thing. The term for what we experienced is "smash and grab", and it happens in that area (according to the person that replaces windows) about 3-4 times a week! Perpetrators are non-violent, and sometimes items are recovered along the train tracks that run between the upscale housing and the townships. Something I'll never forget is the footprints around our bedroom windows. They'd looked into all the windows before committing the crime. They were bare footed.

Zach on a sunset cruise of the bay.
Anyway, the crime lowered our spirits for a day or two, and made us a little paranoid in our beautiful beach home.  We made the best of it and had a lot of fun. Ours is a common story in South Africa, everyone here has a similar story, and many of them are worse. Sooner or later I'll have to tackle what I think the future might hold for this place, but today is not the day.

Grandma and the boys.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Wild Animals

Begin looking for game before sunrise.
As we prepared to leave for South Africa, the most frequently asked question was about seeing big game. I suppose its part of the romantic ideal of Africa; sleeping under a mosquito net in a candle lit thatch roofed hut, a purple sky out the window, silhouettes of giraffes near the watering hole... But how does it stand up, really? Cynics say that a game park is little better than a big zoo. Where there is wildlife, there are traffic jams, people lean out of over-sized 4x4s with jumbo camera lenses, trying to get that special shot of a lion. The climate is too hot, the air is too dusty, there are loads of nasty insects, you'll get malaria, the food is terrible and overpriced. And on it goes.

Hyena in the morning mist.
None of these rumors deterred us from going, but we were psychologically prepared for a let down. We set decided on Kruger National Park, South Africa's largest. It's far to the north east of Cape Town, in a wetter, more tropical environment.

So, how was it? There is nothing that can prepare you for the spectacle of the African bush. Life there is lived and lost on a scale that is unlike anything else. The juxtaposition of super-abundance and deadly competition generates and dizzying edifice to evolution that you can easily spend the rest of your life contemplating.  Independent of seeing a single animal, the climate, the vegetation,  and the landscapes make the African bush a worthwhile destination.  And then the animals... they are terrific. Unless you've got an undersized soul to go along with your over-sized 4x4, you will enjoy being in a place like this.
The buffalo have soulful eyes.

Vegetation excites the imagination.
Logistically, it's not hard. You fly to Johannesburg, and then travel about 5 hours by car. The roads are good, even in the park, and there is no real need for anything more than a economy car. That being said, it was nice to ride a little higher, to see more, so we rented a small SUV.  The quality of accommodation was hard to guess in advance. There are a large number of private and semi-private concessions around the park, and  South Africa National Parks accommodation inside. The question becomes; is it nicer to stay in the park, where accommodations might not be as nice (drab 'gubmint' housing), or stay outside where you're removed from the action, but in the lap of luxury? In our case, I think the answer was to stay in the park. The accommodations are not lavish, but completely adequate. Tidy little roundavles, with a shower, air conditioner, and two beds.

Food was fine, and there were choices aplenty. There are effectively grocery stores in the park, and the premium for purchasing food in the park is minimal. The restaurants are fair, as are the prices. The sites are some of the more beautiful locales of the park; with commanding views, and real proximity to animals. For example; a hyena patrolled the fence outside of our roundavel in Satara, and Oliphants had one of the best views of a river basin I've ever experienced. As I write, I long to return, ache maybe a better word.  So, unless you want to live out an expensive (but popular!) fantasy of being pampered on an African savanna, the SANP accommodation is the way to go.

The birds are fantastic.
Voortrekker monument.
I'll let the photographs tell the rest of the story.

One final note, we returned to the airport by way of Pretoria, where we visited the Voortrekker memorial. This nation building myth, like those of most young nations, features courage and strength in the face of adversity. The Voortrekkers set out in about 1840, crossing the interior of Africa to escape British tyranny, and overcame African treachery to found a new nation. Their story is told in Italian frieze on the walls of the memorial, which was constructed from 1938-1949. This founders myth was a corner stone of  of the apartheid regime. Architecturally, as you might guess from the dates, it is somewhere between Mormon and Nazi. I'd suppose I'd describe it as a church in need of worshipers. Better it stays that way. Well worth the trip, these relics of powerful ideology remind one of just how crazy people can get. Please never let me or my country become crazy.

Concluding, it was a fantastic trip, I recommend something like it to everyone. We will return to the bush in July, when we go to Namibia. I hope it continues to thrill us, the way Kruger thrilled us.

Sunday, April 17, 2011

What's happening?

Will this be the last gorgeous sunset? No, but its close.
I'm teaching now, and the boys are in school. The days are spinning by, and the blog is quiet. What a short time ago was a new adventure, has simply become our lives. We've moved to a new and more comfortable house. There seems an inexhaustible supply of social, cultural, and scenic events to attend.  There's a growing sadness that our time here is coming to an end. And, we are busy; commuting, playing cricket, art clubs, chess tournaments, running... Against this background I prepare an entry that I've been planning for a while, but afraid of.

As you can imagine, the legacy of apartheid is a significant part of modern South Africa. To read the papers here, is to step into deep water. You find a large cast of characters, moving across stage littered with historical artifacts. Dramatic tension is delivered by economically dominate ethnic minorities, living in a paradise stained with violent crime. Nearly all these stories are new to a typical American. Well, that South Africa is a country and not a continent is new to a typical American. Instead, say that one can consider themselves informed, and still find South African current affairs perplexing.

Never-the-less, to ignore the happenings in this country is to eliminate one of the my major reasons for coming; I'd like to know what's happening, post-apartheid. With that in mind, I'm sitting down with a typical newspaper, although I confess that I've been waiting almost a month for a 'typical' paper. Too often the paper is consumed with something so hopelessly complicated, I dared not try and explain it. Or it's just about cricket, which I'm also at a loss to explain.

I'll try to relate the contents of several articles in terms that a non-South African can understand. Apologies in advance to all the erudite South Africans who will scoff at my naive interpretations. I'm reading the weekend edition of the Argus. It seems to be a good seller, and is available everywhere.
Front page news.

The lead story this weekend is Protests hit Cape Flats. The flats is a large area south east of Cape Town, designated during apartheid for non-white residents. It continues to be a home for the economically disadvantaged. In the flats and similarly impoverished areas of South Africa, a very hot issue is what is called delivery of services. This phrase is applied when discussing the quality of all forms of government service to communities, for example; electricity, water, sewer, trash collection, schools, roads, and policing. To understand the delivery of services, one has to go back to 1994, when there was genuine optimism about the changes that would come with a democratic society, and a more equitable distribution of government resources. My sense in that many believed that government would spend money improving the areas where they lived. This was seen as being an issue of fairness at the deepest level, South Africa had moved from being a nation that served the interest of 20% of the population, to one that served everyone's interests.

Some 17 years have passed, and in that time there have been significant improvements in many of the communities that suffered from neglect under apartheid. New schools have been built, roads paved, electricity provided, teachers hired, police forces expanded, etc. A new problem has emerged from the new found freedom of movement within South Africa. Economic migrants of come to wealthier areas, such as Cape Town. Naturally, these migrants put a strain on the ability of government to provide services, as what are called informal settlements spring up across the unsettled areas of the Cape Flats. As time passes, residents of informal settlements demand services. Some informal settlement have existed for at least 15 years, and the protests have been gaining momentum for the last 6 years.

In the nine months I've been here, front page news about delivery of service protests has been coming at a rate of about one every few weeks. The photos associated with these stories are often lurid and frightening, like the one posted here. Smaller incidents seem to occur almost daily, with a short note about someone injured in a protest buried deeper in the paper.

Recently, probably due to the elections that are coming in about a month (May 18th), there have been more delivery of service protests. The protests have become more intense, with burning of tyres, looting, toyi toying, blocking traffic, and violence. Key points in today's article are:
  • Electricity has been turned off to residents of an informal settlement. 
  • The electricity had been delivered via lines that were illegally strung from government built houses in a neighboring informal settlement.
  • The electric company claims that the power was turned off by the people living in the houses that the electricity was being stolen from. The protesters claim that the electric company turned off the power.
  • The electric company points out that such schemes involving the theft of electricity with adhoc networks are very dangerous, and illegal.
  • Protesters counter that burning kerosene to light derelict shacks in also dangerous.
  • Protesters also point out that they are unemployed, but operate small businesses, which require electricity and refrigeration. 
  • This informal settlement has existed for 11 years.
  • Police responded forcefully, and calm was restored within 5 hours.
All of this is closely tied to the lead stories on page two of the paper; Police retain weapons, and Town's residents united in protest, which are about the aftermath of a police crackdown on a delivery of service protest in Ficksburg (in the Free State) that lead to a protester being shot and killed by a police officer. The weapons retained are those of the officers suspected of shooting the man. The town's residents are united against police brutality. There is amateur video of the events leading to the shooting. This protest was about delivery of service, primarily water in this case. This is not a case where the settlement is informal, but a township outside of an existing community. The community appears affluent, with a terrific web site for tourists. This remains very common in South Africa, affluent communities with good delivery of service, and surrounding, historically non-white townships, where conditions are bad. I live in just such a place.

Another thing might be involved that is worth relating. The African National Congress, the party most closely identified with the struggle against apartheid, the party of Nelson Mandela, and overwhelmingly the ruling party, selects elected representatives at national or regional conventions. Which is to say that you vote for the party and not the person. The party determines the person. Many communities dislike this intensely, but for lack of credible alternative continue to vote ANC. Indeed, ANC has a lock on power in this country unlike any majority government we've see in the United States. I reckon that people would like a representative that they know, rather than one that is appointed to them. Certainly this plays a part in the anger fueling the protests, if you watch the video, I believe that you see protest signs to that effect.

The second article, about the residents united in protest, goes on to reveal some of the forms that the protest is taking. A library was burned, municipal buildings sacked, and shops looted.

The weekend Argus: it's got sizzle.
There are other, less depressing things in the newspaper. For instance,  on the eve of the elections, there are new political parties forming. One of the more entertaining has to be the 'Dagga Party', who's members encourage the electorate to 'listen to the herb'. Another party, the Cape Party, is seeking any and all constitutional means for the Western Province to secede from the republic of South Africa. That is a big deal.

South Africa is about to have its first African Playmate in Playboy magazine. The Argus has more salacious content than the other papers, and manages to find a story like this every weekend. "Bootiful", I wonder if that's funnier to dagga party members?

In this part of the world, the English Premier League football players are the sports stars. Just ask my kids. These guys are not only amazing athletes,  they also seem to lead the sorts of lifestyles that only an attorney general of New York might aspire too.

Cape Town is in the running to become one of the 7 natural wonders of the world. This would bring a lot of tourism dollars. Is it more than just a marketing gimmick? Absolutely, this place is a natural wonder. Come if you can. Nine months in, and I still feel we haven't even scratched the surface of what is here. We discover new delights every weekend.

And, finally, I'll conclude with the story of Shrien and Anni Dewani. They were honeymooning in South Africa in November 2010. The couple decided to investigate a highly recommended, and colorful eatery in the Cape Flats. At this point, facts become a matter of dispute. According to Shrien, the hired vehicle they were in was car-jacked. Shrien got out, and his bride was driven away and murdered.
Nothing like this crowd to bring on a giggle.

We were in South Africa when this happened, and the spirit of the country was really troubled. This was a beautiful couple and for her to have died so senselessly reflected poorly on the status of modern South Africa. However, police quickly found the murderers, and they claimed that Shrien had paid them to kill his wife. Police also traced cellular phones, and records of conversations and text messages between Shrien and the killers.

There are other twists in the story that don't have the same credibility as the facts above, but are interesting. Another unsolved murder took place involving an associate of Shrien's in South Africa. Shrien was known to have been in South Africa at the time. And, a U.K. based male escort known as 'The German Master', and having a fondness for leather apparel, has publicly revealed a relationship with Dewani.

The Master. Screaming for vengeance?
Shrien has been in England, fighting extradition to South Africa since January. His dramatic manoeuvrings have kept the press (and me) interested in the story. I think his basic argument is that his health is too frail to face trail in South Africa, and that the South African justice system is barbaric. I'm not quite sure how the British legal system is supporting him on this. I think he is just delaying the inevitable with appeals, exercising due process.

This week's story is just more of the same. As part of his bail agreement, Shrien is now in a mental hospital where he is being evaluated in some way. His behavior there has been erratic and volatile, and he's running out of options for interment, as the authorities at the facility would like him to leave. The judge is involved with the question of where Shrien can go until the extradition case is resolved. Shrien collapsed while leaving the court house.

Phew, that was hard. Perhaps I'll strive to make more, less challenging posts in the future. Note, there are some photos of a recent trip to Kruger in the upper right corner of the blog. Have a look.