Tuesday, 31 October 2006

cheer the UK, boo Australia

No doubt you've all read about the Stern Report on climate change. The report calls for "bold and decisive action" on the issue and the UK government has (in rhetoric at least) agreed that the time for action is upon us.

The Guardian reports that:
the [British] prime minister wanted a framework that included a target for stabilising CO2 emissions, a global scheme to cap and trade carbon emissions, a global investment fund for new green technologies and action to stop deforestation. The agreement would include three countries that were not part of Kyoto - the United States, China and India.
No mention of that other notable non-Kyoto signatory - Australia.

At home, however, the government hasn't moved one iota. Howard continues to argue against any form of carbon tax and reiterated his case that alternative sources of energy (those other than coal and nuclear) would never be able to meet the base load requirements of Australian cities.

Howard also said he remains steadfast in his small minded determination not to sign up to Kyoto or anything similar:
I am not going to sign up to something that imposes burdens on my country that are not imposed on our competitors.
Competitors! What the f@#K?

I don't even know where to start with logic that insane.

So I'll skip to the bit where I tell you what you can do.

First, if you remain "sceptical" go and see Al Gore's film. Once you're convinced pay a visit to the David Suzuki Foundation and learn about some simple things you can do at home and work to curb your personal emissions.

Finally, get out and about. This Saturday (4 December) is the International Day of Action on Climate Change and cities all over Australia are hosting the Walk Against Warming. Check out the website for locations and more info.

With a government like ours it looks like we'll have to do most of it ourselves. Still, it can't be to long till the next election...

Monday, 30 October 2006

Lula re-elected

Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva has won a run-off vote against a conservative rival (61% to 39%) and will commence a second term as Brazil's president.

The victory was largely die to Lula's popularity among Bzazil's poor. And while he was criticised by many left-wingers for his more conservative than expected macroeconomic policies after the last election, Tarso Genro, the minister for institutional relations, was quoted in The Guardian as saying that Brazilians could expect a departure from the orthodox economic policies of the government's first term:
[Low] growth rates, a neurotic preoccupation with inflation, without thinking about income distribution and growth - this is over.
I guess we'll see.

Lula himself said:
The people felt that their lives have got better. There is no contest to this. Because the people felt it on their plates, on the table, in their pockets.
*Photo from AP, via the SMH.

Sunday, 29 October 2006

The Banquet

Last night, after a day of pure indulgence (I had a massage, drank a decaf latte, got my hair cut, went to the mall and bought shoes and a novel, and then went to the cinema - ah, what you can afford to do when your currency is strong in the country you are visiting...), I went to see The Banquet.

I must admit that one of the main reasons that I chose to see the movie is because it stars Zhang Ziyi and I like her; she is just so watchable. However, there was more to this movie than just a good actor.

Essentially it was a Chinese version of Hamlet - set in the 10th century and skewed somewhat so that a female instead of a man was the central character. Zhang Ziyi plays Little Wan who at the time of the film is the Empress. She had a love affair with the Crown Prince, Wu Luan, but his father chose to marry her and so she is now his step-mother. However, the Emperor is murdered by his brother, Li, who then usurps the thrown and so Wan marries him to protect herself and Prince Wu Luan. In a sense she plays the role of the Queen, Hamlet's mother, in the film. However, she is also Prince Wu Luan's (former) lover, and she is plotting to kill Emperor Li, so she is kind of Ophelia and Hamlet too.

I must say that Hamlet is much easier to relate to when there is a female lead, particularly one as compelling as Zhang Ziyi. The main weakness, in my opinion, is that because the Empress manages to embody the most interesting characteristics of the Queen, Hamlet and Ophelia, she leaves the real Hamlet and Ophelia (Prince Wu Luan and his betrothed, Qing Nu) without much character. To me, they were both fairly weak and ultimately boring characters who were really difficult to care about.

However, despite the weaknesses of these two characters, there is a real complexity to the script and the remaining characters. Empress Wan (Ziyi Zhang) is not wholly good or evil - she is ambitious, arrogant, strong, vulnerable, calculating, emotional and devoted all at once. To me that makes her more human than Ophelia and more sympathetic than Queen Gertrude. Emperor Li is also quite complex; being both the usurper who murdered his brother (and who is trying to murder his nephew) and a man who is utterly besotted with Wan - and thus clearly very vulnerable at the same time.

The Polonius character (Qing Nu's father, the Grand Marshall) is also interesting and, mercifully, nowhere near as annoying as Polonius. Rather than being utterly devoted to the Emperor, he has his own interests at heart - and, particularly, those of his children. And, finally, the Laertes character (Qing Nu's brother, the Marshall's son) manages to bring the same level of devotion to his sister, without the pathetic undertones that I always saw in Laertes. (There is no Horatio equivalent, underscoring the loneliness of all of the main characters).

Added to this complex script is stunning cinematography, spectacular martial arts (House of Hidden Daggers style), Kabuki-style dance, beautiful costumes, and a gorgeous sound track - so all up is was a pretty great film.

Saturday, 28 October 2006

head full of pollen

I got up fairly early this moring and went for a ride around the lake with a friend. As soon as I started pedling I knew it was a mistake.

There's tons of pollen in the air in Canberra at this time of year and my poor head is having some trouble getting used to it again. I was sneezing and sniffling the whole way round.

My head probably wasn't helped by the fact I stayed up way too late last night teaching myself (with some success) how to use Adobe Illustrator making a birthday party invitation for C.

That'll teach me.

Pollen and tiredness - not the best combination.

Friday, 27 October 2006

Here we go again

The catholic church has successfully instituted a total ban on abortion in Nicaragua. The ban was backed by the major political parties, including Daniel Ortega, the Sandinista leader, who is vying for the presidency, but has now succeeded in alienating many Sandinista followers. Not that that will make much of a difference in this overwhelmingly catholic country.

The new bill overturns a 130-year-old policy permitting abortions in exceptional cases (including for rape victims). The Guardian quotes Rafael Cabrera, an obstetrician and leader of the Yes to Life movement, as saying

That medical science advances meant a foetus could be brought to the point of viability without endangering the mother's life. "We don't believe a child should be destroyed under the pretext that a woman might die."

How is that a right to life? Where does the catholic church get off valuing the life of a foetus over that of a mother (or a young rape victim for that matter). Surely their book of wisdom would state that they are at least equal.

I can't quite decide what's worse: the policy itself or the insane hypocrisy that is used to justify it.

The new bill places Nicaragua in line with several other regressive countries, mainly in the Middle East and Africa, that place sexist religious principles over the lives and independence of their female populations (whether they subscribe to the dominant religious ideology or not).

Oh, but I forgot. Women who get raped deserve it. Of course they do. How stupid of me.

Poland, it seems, is striving to swell the ranks of countries with insane abortion laws too, with The Guardian also reporting that the Polish government debating a motion introduced by the ultra-conservative League of Polish Families, which would, if passed, make Poland resemble Nicaragua. At least there's not much chance of it actually getting through as opponent numbers mean the League is unlikely to the two-thirds majority it requires.

Thank [insert deity here] for small mercies.

Thursday, 26 October 2006

Iraqis better off under Saddam

According to Hans Blix anyway.

In an interview with a Danish newspaper [refered to by CBC News], the former Chief UN Weapons Inspector in Iraq is quoted as saying this:
If the Americans pull out, there is a risk that they will leave a country in civil war. At the same time it doesn't seem that the United States can help to stabilize the situation by staying there.
And this:
Saddam would still have been sitting in office. OK, that is negative and it would not have been joyful for the Iraqi people. But what we have gotten is undoubtedly worse.
Take that GW.

Wednesday, 25 October 2006

Iran to take on the West with babies

Iran's president, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has, according to The Guardian "called for a baby boom to almost double the country's population to 120 million and enable it to threaten the west".

He's told his government that he wants to ditch long-standing birth control policies that discourage Iranian couples from having more than two children.

"I am against saying two children are enough. Our country has a lot of capacity. It has the capacity for many children to grow in it. It even has the capacity for 120 million people. Westerners have got problems. Because their population growth is negative they are worried and fear that if our population increases, we will triumph over them."

On top of this Ahmadinejad wants to introduce legislation that would enable women to work part-time on full-time salaries based on the number of children they have.

Cristics say this move has the potential to bankrupt the country - particularly as "Iran is struggling with surging inflation and rising unemployment, unofficially estimated at around 25%".

Perhaps Iran will end up with a generation of "baby boomers" with next to no superannuation that will become an increasing burden on the government and subsequent generations.

Remind you of anywhere...

Tuesday, 24 October 2006

10 random observations about Manila

I have been in Manila for 5 days now and am finding it difficult to post. So, instead of writing paragraphs of text on my impressions so far, I am just going to write a list of 10 random observations:
  1. The traffic here really is appalling, but not as bad as I had been led to believe.
  2. There are more malls here than anywhere else I have ever been in my life - one for every neighbourhood, and they are all quite massive.
  3. Almost every eating place that I have seen so far has been a chain store, except for a tiny hole-in-the-wall take away place underneath an overpass that I passed the other night.
  4. There may be more Starbucks here than there are in the US. I may have to exclude NYC from that statement...
  5. Filipinos love meat, especially pork. So far a Japanese chain called Kitaro Sushi has been my saviour.
  6. All of the Filipinos that I have met have been universally helpful. In fact, they have been shockingly helpful - taking hours out of their day to assist me in finding my way and getting things done (despite being absolute strangers). This may be related to the fact that I am pregnant, but certainly it is not the only reason.
  7. A takeaway coffee and a meal cost about the same here (AUD3). Apparently this has not impacted very much on coffee sales (see 4, above).
  8. The humidity is wonderful. My skin is no longer dry and itchy and I can breathe through my nose again.
  9. I appear to be the only person staying on campus at the College that is hosting me and so the large contingent of security guards have taken a personal interest in my welfare and safety. This may be the closest I will ever come to feeling like a prime minister or president.
  10. The Philippines is an intensely Catholic country. I switched on the television on Sunday morning to see the news and found that every single channel was showing a Christian program - either a televised service, or messages about prayer and faith.

Thursday, 19 October 2006

The New American Revolution

I stuggled into work at about lunchtime and am currently struggling my way through the 566 emails that made their way to my inbox over the last few weeks. Who knew there was that much work-related stuff people could write about. It's not all work related though, of course, and at least 10 percent are emails informing me that my inbox is over its size limit (but nevertheless allowing me to continue receiving).

I'm off to sleep for another 12 hours, but before I go, here's a wonderful looking new book that is about to be released in the US. The entire blurb is worth a read, just to see how bad it gets...

The New American Revolution
How You Can Fight the Tyranny of the Left's Cultural and Moral Decay
by Tammy Bruce

A new American revolution is upon us. In this remarkable and important book, bestselling author, activist, and independent pundit Tammy Bruce explores the dramatic shift in American attitudes since the tragedy of September 11. She illustrates how personal activism, gun ownership, the tearing down of liberal institutions, and knowing the enemy are the new tools for today's Patriot in the ongoing struggle to take our nation back from nihilistic leftist extremists.

The "Hate America First" ideology has prevailed for far too long. Now Bruce offers a powerful prescription for reversing the moral and cultural decay of the past four decades with empowering ideas, insights, and tools for direct action in the noble fight against the scourge of the Collectivist Left.

[thanks to Chris for the link]

Wednesday, 18 October 2006

Singapore, again. Walking dead, again

I'm back in Singapore airport again and there's only one minute remaining in my free internet session!
C has headed off to face Singapore customs, on her way to Manilla (via Kuala Lumpur) and I'm kickign my heels waiting for my flight home.
Another 8 hours of bad movies and discomfort.
Why do we do this to ourselves?

Monday, 16 October 2006

Faces from Lesotho

Along with spectacular scenery Lesotho also boasted lots of portraiture opportunities. Most people were open to having their picture made and quite a few people went as far as to approach us as we were photographing the scenery and asked us to "shoot" them.

Below are some of our favourites from the digital camera.

The Kingdom in the Sky

When we wrote our last post we had spent a cold, damp night in Maseru (the capital) and were wondering what the hell we were even doing in the country. We rented a car and got going, relieved to get away from the drenched bustle of Maseru.

We then spent the next four days taking in the breathtaking vistas that lay around every corner of the north of the country - and there were lots of corners.

Some roads were good,

and some weren't so good,

but the thing they had in common was steep curves.

In addition to the soaring mountain ranges and plunging valleys, the drive was made even more picturesque by the gorgeous villages that we drove past.

Most houses are still built in a traditional round style using natural rock bricks and thatched roofs. Cluster these together on the edge of such a stunning landscape and the result is pretty impressive.

We struggled up and over several mountain passes,

from just under 3,000m,

to the highest pass in southern Africa, Taleeng, at a lofty 3,255m.

After the Taleeng Pass we came upon the bustling trade centre of Mokhotlong. The town was home to a ton of shops in varying states of repair and disrepair.

Some were cute,

others ramshackle,

and still others just plain odd.

[Most of our photos are on film, as the digital is just a low quality back up. We'll post some of our favs when we get home.]

Monday, 9 October 2006

Maseru, Lesotho

We arrived in Maseru last night. It was dark, the rain was pouring and the lady at the "Anglcan Centre" (the cheapest accomodation in town) had very little interest in taking our booking. All up, it was a good start.

After we got into our room, we went down to see what we could get from the kitchen in the way of dinner. Initially we were told that "they won't feed you", because the concept of not eating meat simply didn't make any sense, but we did end up with two plates of rice, grated carrot and lettuce after a bit of negotiation.

We were in bed by 7:30pm pondering why we had come and plotting our escape for the following day. Our journey here (a whole other story) had convinced us firmly of the wisdom of getting our own transport, so the plan was to hire a car in the morning and drive north.

It's now almost noon and we're almost ready to set off. We're in a newish Golf, which will hopefully make it up the 3,000m plus passes we'll be crossing over the next few days while we travel a circuit that will take us through most of this tiny country. We've also just purchased a boot full of supplies in order to ward off the threat of more rice and carrots, though, truth be told, the supermarket wasn't all that super. Still, We're sure a few days of dry muesli and baked beans won't kill us - back to the student days...

Maseru itself doesn't have much to recommend it, but the scenery we can see just off on the horizon looks quite stunning. We're keen to get moving so will cut this short. We'll post some pictures once we're back from the mountains.

Sunday, 8 October 2006

Orange Farm Photos

Streetscape in Orange Farm

Community radio station where I was interviewed.

A mural painted by Johannesburg Water to advertise the 'benefits' of its new prepaid water system and the 6,000 free litres of water that it provides to each household per month.

A prepaid water meter in someone's backyard.

Protest Graffiti (Suez is the multinational company that had the management contract for the water system in Johannesburg for the last five years and was responsible for the introduction of prepaid water meters into the area.)

The protest meeting at the end of the day.

Saturday, 7 October 2006

Sizwe Banzi Is Dead

Haven't gotten around to fixing the photos for C's post yet, so the suspense will have to build just a little longer.

We went to the theatre last night and saw an Athol Fugard play from the 1970s, Sizwe Banzi Is Dead. The director had brought the original cast back together and both actors were incredible.

The play is a powerful statement against the then apartheid laws and oppression of blacks in South Africa.

While the crowd found much to laugh about, C and I couldn't help but see distinct parallels between the lives of blacks under apartheid and the lives of blacks in parts of Johannesburg like Orange Farm and Phiri and White City in Soweto.

Today is Diwali, one of the biggest South Asian festivals of the year and, due to a considerable diaspora, there's a huge festival happening in town all day.

Hopefully we won't get too covered in coloured chalk water...

We're off to Lesotho tomorrow morning early, so there might be a communications blackout for a while.

We'll update as we can.

Friday, 6 October 2006

Orange Farm

Yesterday we traveled out to Orange Farm to see first hand the impact of prepaid water meters and to interview some of the members of the Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee. We had arranged to meet the organiser, Bricks, downtown near Bree Taxi Stand at 10:00am and arrived there with plenty of time to stand about looking completely out of place until Bricks turned up. Once we had met up with Bricks and his wife Gladys, it turned out that they had to stay in town for a couple of hours while they had an interview with the municipality about getting some land for a community development project.

The drive out to Orange Farm takes about 40 minutes from Johannesburg and it was almost 1:00pm by the time we arrived. Our first stop was a community radio station. I thought that this was just so we could get a tour, but upon arrival it turned out that the plan was to have me interviewed, and before I knew it I was live on air. It was a very strange experience, particularly since I was getting asked about what I thought of Orange Farm and had not really been there as yet.

Orange Farm is a township on the outskirts of Johannesburg. It was settled in the late 1980s by people who could no longer find anywhere to live in the crowded townships of Soweto and other areas closer to Joburg. Unlike in Soweto, where the government built houses for the community (albeit tiny substandard ones), the people of Orange Farm constructed their houses of whatever they could find (as people do in informal settlements all over the world). By late 1997 there were over 300,000 people living in Orange Farm and the government formalised the area, promising to provide them with municipal services such as electricity, water and sanitation.

However, this kind of development has been slow to arrive in Orange Farm. By 2002 the community was still using pit latrines rather than having a municipal sewer system and flush toilets that had been installed in other township areas. So when the government approached the residents of Extension Four with the offer to install flush toilets in their homes and connect the water to taps inside their homes (rather than them having to rely on community standpipes in common areas), people were initially very happy with the proposal and willing to pay the installation fee of R100 (about AUD20).

What they didn't know, and the government didn't tell them, was that these new water connections would mean that their water would no longer be provided for free. Instead, their water would be connected through a prepaid water meter - a mechanism that function somewhat like a prepaid mobile phone, except that when your credit runs out you have no water to drink rather than no being able to make phone call.

The impact of the meters has been very negative in an area with up to 70% unemployment (where households of up to 16 people often live on the old age pension of only one or two members). The 6,000 litres of free basic water that the government provides to each household every month simply does not cover all of their basic needs and most households run out within around 2 weeks of receiving their rations. From that point they must often chose between water, food, electricity and medicine and something has to give.

In response to these impacts, the people of Extension 4 in Orange Farm have organised themselves into the Orange Farm Water Crisis Committee (OFWCC). Through the OFWCC the community has been protesting the imposition of prepaid meters and fighting for their right to water. They have held demonstrations and blockades, carried out research to document the impacts, encouraged people to bypass the meters in order to access free water and run income generation programs in order to support community members to continue to carry on with the struggle.

After the radio interview, we did a little tour of Orange Farm to see some of the graffiti and to meet some of the residents. One women that we met has a huge strip of propaganda painted on the outside of her house by Johannesburg Water. She told us that they had promised to pay her R1000 (about AUD200) if she would keep the painting there for 4 years, but that she had never seen the money - and now had to pay them for her water. We also went into her backyard to see the meter and she explained that there was no way of knowing how much water was still available from the meter, meaning that you never knew when you were going to run out.

From there we went to the office of the OFWCC and saw the income generation projects that they are running (they have a small community garden, a recycling project and a day care). They are planning to extend and run a brick making project and a human rights training centre when their land application is approved. I also got to interview some of the organisers, and chat to them about the objectives and strategies of the organisation.

At the end of the day, Bricks took us down to the blockade that had been taking place since 3am that morning. Earlier in the day it had been quite heated with the traffic being blocked and tires burning in the street. Five organisers had been arrested and were to appear in court on Friday morning (charged either with public disturbance or public violence, depending on the mood of the day). However, when we arrived the protesters were meeting to decide what to do next. One guy from outside the community was trying to advocate for a negotiated settlement, and a heated debate broke out with people arguing that they had been talking for 15 years, asking the government for basic service delivery and development and now it was time for action. We slipped away and decided to make the long journey home.

Wednesday, 4 October 2006

The most dangerous place in Johannesburg

We went out to Orange Farm yesterday to meet with some community organisers. C has promised to blog about our experience there though, so I'm going to just put up a short post about Bree Street in the Newtown district of Jo'burg.

Newtown is the "cultural precinct" of the city and is full of galleries and museums. Just up the road, further along Bree Street (which runs through the heart of Newtown) is the Metro Taxi Stand and Market - known as Bree station by the locals.

Bree station is a pretty intense place. It's a two story car park that has been converted in to a mini-bus taxi station (no picture, sorry). From here you can get taxis to pretty much anywhere in the city and surrounds. We know the place quite well as we've passed through several times most days since we arrived. Our guide book, whose praises I'm not about to sing, tells you to avoid the place like the proverbial plague as you're bound to get mugged. Not only have we both felt quite at ease there (though some of the underground stretches were a little intimidating until we found a way to avoid them), we've found that nearly everyone in the station, drivers and passengers, have been incredibly helpful without fail. Chalk up another paranoia notch on the Lonely Planet belt.

Anyway, yesterday we were being picked up from an open area adjacent to the station to be taken to Orange Farm. We were a little early and so were standing on the corner trying to remain as visible as possible so our lift would have a better chance of spotting us in the crowd. As we waited and watched the foot traffic pass us by a middle aged white man walked right up to us and said "Oh my god! Where are you from?" We barely had time to answer before he launched into a tirade.

"What are you doing here? This is the most dangerous place in Johannesburg! You shouldn't be here."

When we told him we were waiting for a lift he pointed in two vague directions, mentioned two names and said that they were his friends who owned businesses in the area and if we got into trouble to ask them for help.

He ambled off shaking his head before we had time to let him know he hadn't actually told us which businesses and where, or that there were at least 6 police officers in our field of vision right at that moment.

Perhaps we should get a couple of souvenir t-shirts printed:

I survived the most dangerous part of Jo'burg and all I got was this lousy t-shirt...

Monday, 2 October 2006

A weekend of wildlife and music

We hired a car for the last couple of days in order to see some of Africa's famous wildlife. On Saturday we drove out to an area just outside of Jo'burg called Krugersdorph, which has a game park with tons of amazing animals - lions, rhinos, giraffes, zebras, wildebeest, and gazelles but not elephants).

We drove slowly around the park never getting terribly close to any of the animals, other than the lions (probably the ones we least wanted to get cosy with). Lots of great photos on the SLR, so will have to wait till they're developed to post them.

The highlight of the park was its smallest inhabitants, some kind of squirrel-like thing that surrounded the car when we pulled over in one area to stare at the bizarre oddity that is the zebra. The little fox-like creatures came out of the grass and started begging at the car doors (obviously looking to be fed junk food tidbits by idiotic patrons). I can almost see how they entice people to part with their crisps; they are unbelievably cute and amazingly engaging.

Later that evening we headed to Jo'berg's "cultural" precinct, Newtown, for dinner and a show. Dinner was at Gramadoelas Restaurant, a Jo'burg institution whose business card claims it has hosted the following unlikely list of famous faces:

Queen Elizabeth II, the Queen of Denmark, Nelson Mandela, King of Zululand, Hilary Clinton, Elton John, John Major's wife (no name necessary apparently), Winston Churchill's daughter, Denzel Washington, David Bowie, Stevie Wonder, Harry Belafonte, and Nadine Gordimer.

Interesting collection. Oddly enough they didn't ask for our names... The food was decent, but not spectacular. What came afterwards, however, was.

We headed over to a temporary performance space that's been set up for the last few weeks in which a local festival has been running. Once there we paid sum total of $28 to enter. Three bands were slated to play during the course of the evening. The first, a local Jo'burg outfit had just released their debut album. They were really amazing, so full of energy and life. One of the singers was also heavily pregnant, which was interesting indeed.

The second band performed a fusion of jazz standards (with an African twist), tribal music, and Tuvan throat singing. The combination was quite powerful, though they might have played a touch too long as the crowd was hanging out to see the evening's star attractions - all the way from Havana, the Afro-Cuban All Stars.

I've been wanting to see these guys for years, ever since Wim Wenders made them (and Cuban music) famous in Buena Vista Social Club. They were totally amazing and well worth the long wait between acts.

Yesterday we drove out to the Sterkfontein caves - the so-called Cradle of Humankind. It was really interesting to see the site where part of the "missing link" was uncovered (or is still in the process of being uncovered - apparently the rock around the skeleton of "little foot", as the remains are called, is so dense and hard that the team of paleoanthropologists working on the site are only able to removed 2cm a year from around the skeleton).

Wandering thorough the caves was enlightening and also provided a handy break from the blasting sun outside.

After our stroll through history in the making we decided to get up close and personal with some more wildlife and headed to a lion park. Lion park was a bit of a misnomer as the place also had cheetahs, leopards, hyenas, and lots of other animals. But it was the lions (and one hyena) that were the most fascinating.

Before driving around the park we were able to go into an enclosure with 5 baby lions and a baby hyena. The little suckers were just stirring from their post lunch nap and so were lazing around, but quite awake. It was incredible to be able to pat them and give them a rub behind the ears. They are so much like the kind of cats we're used to at that age, very playful and inquisitive.

The hyena stole the show however. For some reason he took a liking to me and decided I was his personal teething ring. He nibbled on my arm, my bag, my leg, my jeans, my flip flops, and just about anything else he could get his teeth around, and completely ignored everyone else.

Very cute indeed.

We then drove around the park and into the lion enclosure. There must have been 30 lions in the 4 interconnected enclosures and for much of the time there was nothing more than 5 metres and our car door between us and them. We were steadfastly ignored though, which was comforting in the extreme, I must say.

Below are a few more lion pictures. We mostly used the SLR so developing and printing will have to take place before we know how they turn out, and the ones on the digital camera aren't as interesting, but they still give you a sense of how close we were.


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