The best part of traveling is meeting people along the way. Hostels provide a great way to meet other travelers. Everyone is of the same mindset in the “backpackers”. They want to see a lot and travel for a long time. People staying in these backpackers are not interested in luxurious accommodations; they spend their money on experiences instead. Canoeing, rappelling, bike tours, jumping off cliffs, swimming with sharks, and any and all other risky endeavors you can imagine. We have generally enjoyed this environment, but it is always nice to spend the night in a ‘normal’ home and have a great meal.
On our layover in the airport in Johannesburg, weeks ago we met a family trying to get to Victoria Falls. Their flight was cancelled due to the South African Airways strike. Carl got friendly with the a nice lady named Sabine while in line at the British Airways counter. He thought nothing of it until we met her husband Harald and daughter Christina by chance in Vic Falls. We saw them the evening we went to the Boma restaurant. They were staying at the time-share next door. After speaking with them for a few hours that evening, they invited us to visit them in Johannesburg. Fabulous.
After Kruger Park, we drove to their home. Harald was away, but Sabine and Christina (suffering from the flu) graciously put us up and made us a wonderful dinner. It was nice to have a home cooked meal for a change. Harold runs a company here and unfortunately was away in Turkey on business. Sabine is a very talented painter and artist. Their home is decorated with drawings she has done of wildlife, especially birds native to Southern Africa. Their daughter who is 16, is addicted to her SMS messages, not unlike US teenagers. Their eldest daughter, whom we didn’t have the pleasure of meeting, was off at a wildlife course learning how to run animal preserves and parks.
It was a great evening. But we have to keep moving. We awoke at 4:45 am and Sabine let us out the gate at 5:15. Great people like this give you a renewed sense that there is a lot of good in this world. We shall never forget their hospitality and kindness to our family.