Watch out for kuku, dassies (or hyrax or rock rabbit), and small buck (deer)
A rural shop where the braai meat might be bought
Just about every country has their own ‘way of speaking’, their own special words, even when the most popularly spoken language is a common one (like English). South Africa is definitely one of those countries. We were in this wonderful country recently and thought it would be fun to give you a few ideas about these phrases and how to speak English ‘South African Style’. These are some of the words/phrases that we find people in the US often get confused over.
Things you’ll probably hear (often) in South Africa:
Just now (in SA)—Sometime soon; Shortly.
Now now—Sooner than “just now”.
Howzit—Friendly greeting as in, “How is it going?
A leg of lamb for the braai—thanks Vera G
Boot—Trunk of your car.
Bonnet—Hood of your car
Having a braai is a favorite SA pastime
Hold thumbs—Cross your fingers that something will happen.
Make a plan—Somehow, we’ll make it work.
And some road signs:
Traffic calming zone
Posted in fun phrases, language, South Africa, special signs | Tagged a braai, South Africa, South African phrases, South African road signs | Leave a Comment »
Artist’s sketch of the hippodrome in Roman times
Ruins of the hippodrome today, unfortunately recently flooded by the Mediterranean
An animal panel, but note small human figures on the far right
While touring in Caesarea, Israel, our guide Danny the Digger made a very interesting observation. We wandered through the ruins of the Roman city built by Herod the Great, including the hippodrome. On the lowest level of the seating stands, facing into the actual racing oval, Danny pointed out a series of mosaic panels with pictures. Many are animals, some are abstract. All are colorful and seemed designed to be seen by both the contestants and the viewers on the opposite side.
Danny mused that these might be the ancestors of our modern stadium advertising billboards. Fascinating concept! Seems like the Romans came up with everything.
An absract design
Posted in art, buildings, Israel, monuments, outdoor art, sport | Tagged Caesarea, decoartive mosaics in Caesarea's hippodrome, hippodrome in Caesarea, Israel, origin of billboards | Leave a Comment »
Danny Hermann shows the group an inscription that mentions Pontius Pilate
Touring in Israel
Recently we were in Israel for a week and our hosts arranged a number of wonderful day trips. One was to Caesarea, the port city on the coast north of Tel Aviv that was largely built by King Herod the Great.
Our guide for our day trip to Caesarea was Danny Hermann, who calls himself Danny the Digger, as he is an archeologist. He started a PhD in archeology but didn’t finish as he got into guiding, and now he also teaches a course on tour guiding at a university.
Danny was a really good guide. He has an amazing amount of knowledge to impart and is passionate about his subject—the history and archeology of this land. He is Jewish, but talks equally easily about Christianity and the Islamic faith. He says he talks about biblical archeology, which is where you move from fiction to fact. We were very impressed as he handled a biggish group well; he stopped and waited for most people, spoke slowly and clearly and didn’t seem to be in a hurry. We would definitely recommend him.
Danny Hermann, info@DannyTheDigger.com, www.DannyTheDigger.com
Posted in cultural understanding, education, Israel, travel stories | Tagged Caesarea, Danny Hermann, Danny the Digger, guides in Israel, Israel | Leave a Comment »
Danny Hermann points out a feature on a sarcophagus
Entrance to old Caesarea. Note the 3 languages—English, Arabic and Hebrew
Sarcophagus with garlands, whose carving was not completed
Most of us have probably seen many examples of a sarcophagus (plural, sarcophagi) in museums around the world, and know that these are usually marble or stone above-ground burial coffins that were frequently used by the ancient Egyptians, Greeks and Romans. They were often elaborately embellished with some kind of sculpture and inscription.
When we were touring around old Caesarea in Israel recently we learned an interesting snippet of information from our guide Danny Hermann about the sarcophagi there.
Top of a sarcophagus that had been broken into (in spite of the Medusa head)
Caesarea has had a long and complex history, part of which was rule by the Romans. King Herod built the port and named it after Caesar in Rome. We saw the remains of an arena, a hippodrome, Roman baths etc., and numerous sarcophagi. Danny Hermann explained that sarcophagus means “eater of flesh”. People at that time at first thought that if they placed a body in stone, the body would be protected from being eaten and from being robbed. Even though the dead body was placed in stone, when it came time to check the body, they found that the body had still been eaten (obviously by worms etc). So the story goes, that the coffin became known as a flesh eater. In addition, the coffins were often broken into and looted. So, those early people often carved the head of a Medusa on the coffin, for example, or other scary objects, to frighten off the eaters and the thieves.
Note other ruins of old Caesarea beyond the sarcophagus
But to no avail. The bodies still decomposed, and robbers still got in.
Posted in History, Israel, monuments, sculpture, World travel | Tagged Caesarea, Danny Hermann, Israel, meaning of sarcophagus, medusa head on sarcophagus, Roman Caesarea, sarcophagus | Leave a Comment »
Stellenbosch was founded by Simon van der Stel, the Governor of the Cape Colony, in 1679, who named it after himself. Stellenbosch means Stel’s bush. It’s in the Western Cape, about 50 km (35 miles) east of Cape Town, and on the banks of the Eerste River (First River, as it was the first river Simon van der Stel encountered when he ventured out of Cape Town). It’s the second-oldest European settlement in South Africa, after Cape Town. It’s also a great alternative to Cape Town—good hotels and restaurants, and gives easy access to the winelands.
It’s a university town—Stellenbosch University—and the campus is a big feature, so it has lots of cultural assets, such as the Sasol Art Museum. We saw many students, lots speaking Afrikaans, but not exclusively so.
It’s a pretty town architecturally in the Cape-Dutch style, the streets lined with many oaks, with lots of small shops, little plazas and alleys lined with cafes, art stores, old-book shops, unique fashions etc. The day we rambled around we found the people all very friendly and the atmosphere in town really nice and relaxed. However, there’s a fair bit of security around, such as in banks and outside public buildings. Many parking attendants, all in a uniform, walk around with portable meter machines.
The city also favors public art on the streets, such as the Malay Girl (see https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2014/03/19/faces-malay-girl-by-lionel-smit/ ), the Mandela Wall outside the Town Hall (see https://viviennemackie.wordpress.com/2014/05/30/stellenbosch-sa-honoring-nelson-mandela/ ), and the Huguenot Wall outside the Public Library (see next post).
Stellenbosch, and most of the Western Cape, has a Mediterranean climate, plus hilly, well-drained soils, all of which are excellent for viticulture. Stellenbosch is part of the Cape Winelands, with Paarl and Franschhoek, and the South African wine industry has become world famous, producing really good quality wines.
Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged Cape Town, Simon van der Stel, Stellenbosch, Western Cape | Leave a Comment »
Our wine world opens up some more, as we make new wine discoveries
This is a pleasant surprise—and find—for us. We hadn’t heard much about Israeli wines, as it seems to be a fairly new industry (at least the more modern commercial one), but we shouldn’t be surprised as it is a Mediterranean country after all.
We are in Israel for a week, mostly for a Solar Fuels conference that Rod is participating in. It’s our first visit to this country and everything is new and different, including the wines. As you probably know by now, we are really interested in wines and wine making, and love to combine that interest with our passion for travel, so we are always happy when the two come togIether.
The wines we tried in the first few days were really not bad— some even pretty good— especially the red blends. And then we did see some vineyards on the lower slopes of the hills as we drove from Tel Aviv to Jerusalem and were told by our hosts that the Jerusalem Hills have good vines. And then we tried a couple of Barkan wines.
It seems that the Barkan Winery is an up-and-coming one here in Israel. We tried the merlot, which was aged in oak for 18 months and became elegant and velvety. The grapes come from the vineyards in the Upper Galilee and the Jerusalem Hills, which are characterized by terra rossa soil, a cold/cool climate, and dry air. It was a rather mind-boggling experience to be drinking a wine with place names on the label like Galilee and Jerusalem— places we’ve always heard of, even if we’re not religious.
Another evening we tried the Eitan Assemblage (Barkan) with our Israeli hosts and everyone was impressed with this well-balanced wine (a blend of Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, Syrah, and petit Verdot grapes). All the grapes are grown on the winery’s steep terra rossa terraces of their Kiriat Anavim vineyard, high in the Judean Mountains. That evening our group also tasted the Barkan special reserve Sauvignon blanc from the upper Galilee and were equally impressed with the white wine.
Our Israeli hosts are very proud to tell us that many Israeli wines do well at international wine shows and have won a number of big awards in blind tastings. That augurs well for the wine future here, and we look forward to tasting a whole lot more wines.
In the meantime, we have a couple more days and will try to pick out some other different wines from here.
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