The Adventures of Rodrigus the Frog

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26 February 2011

Stroke Survivor's Walk of 2400km ends

Six months ago I met George Scola.

He was about to start a 2437 km walk from Beit Bridge, in the far north of South Africa, to Cape Point, in the far south.

Why? To raise awareness of the Stroke Survivors Foundation.

Two years before this George was released from hospital in a wheelchair, after suffering a stroke. And with perseverance, support and a huge desire to help other stroke survivors, George not only started the Stroke Survivors foundation with Charlene Murray but also decided to show what is possible for survivors of strokes, and so started this walk.

I joined him and Ray Chaplin (Adventurer, campaigner and educator), his support vehicle driver, and we headed off and started our walk.

Rods rest time with George

We went through diamond mining areas, where I checked out every tock possible go ensure I didn't miss any sparkling ones. I got to the border and saw Zimbabwe, illegal immigrants being arrested, monkeys, warthog, blesbok & possibly a leopard too!

It was hot out there, but the guys treated me well, keeping me hydrated and I enjoyed the aircon! My mate Cliff also joined us for a bit. After George’s first 100kms we had a great party in a place called Alldays, and I spent some time in the bush along the Limpopo River & Botswanan border

We got into the newspaper when George was interviewed by The Citizen!

Ray, George and Rod in the Citizen Newspaper

And then my life changed! In September I met my soul mate - Gerda Antoinette Koekemoer - at a braai! I'm in love! :) Sy's Afrikaans... so ek moet a bietkjie oefen! Sy boer langs die Limpopo Rivier [that is, she speaks Afrikaans, which I’ve got much better at, and she was farming next to the Limpopo River].

Gerda and Rod

Gerda joined us, and we chilled a bit at Kwa Maritane where had to hop lightly, as there were 14 [yes, 14!!!] elephants cruising by

We then caught up with the matchstick girl, Telana Simpson, in Johannesburg, as we attended FEAT and enjoyed hearing the adventure talks, especially Ray's!

At that event I was asked to go to Rocking the Gardens to support the World Wide Fund for Nature- which I did, and I wanted to see Telana dressed up as a Panda. It was so funny!

I got to catch up with the Ubuntu Girl, Sonja Kruse, and shortly after that though, we were "kidnapped" by the guys again, and joined them for another week, walking through more of the beautiful country side of South Africa.

Sonja and I then hitch-hiked back to Johannesburg to attend Africa's first SWARM party where we set a record for Africa!

Gerda and I then joined Telana on a trip to Cape Town to surprise George and walk with him and celebrate his reaching Cape Town. We walked on the N1 highway, through the harbour and Victoria Waterfront, and passed the Greenpoint Stadium!

Jonathan, George, Rod and Telana pass by Greenpoint Staium

We also got to attend Africa's first MP3 Experiment organised by improveverywhere while we were in Cape Town.

Today though is a day of celebration as George has finished his "Bring it on" Walk of 2400 km's! He has reached the Cape Point, and will be celebrating at a Banquet tonight!

The Stroke Survivors Foundation is playing a vital part in helping survivors with their recovery, adjusting to life and staying informed, motivated and positive. They are creating a national network that provides the much needed post-discharge rehabilitation and support for stroke survivors, their families and caregivers.

If you would like to support George, then get in touch!

Gerda and I salute you George! Well done on finishing your epic 6 month long walk of 2437 kms! Reebit! Reebit!

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28 March 2010

1400km in 15 days on a 70 year old bicycle

Can you imaging cycling 1400 kms in 15 days on a highway on a 70 year old style of bicycle which has no gears and the only way to break is to peddle backwards?

Ray's replica 1930's bike

Ray Chaplin can. And not only did he imagine it, he and Cliff are doing this right now!

I went with Telana early this morning to meet Cliff and Ray in Newtown Johannesburg, and wish them well as they set off to cycle the 1400kms.

They're not just doing this for fun and adventure, although I do think they'll have a good dose of that. Ray and Cliff are cycling from Johannesburg to Cape Town on a replica of the 1930's bicycle called the Johnny Loco Corona, in order to raise awareness of cyclist safety on the roads. They want to showing that cars and busses and motorbikes and trucks and bicycles can all share the road (kind of like they already do in Mumbai, India, with the cows too, just more safely!). And they are paying tribute to those who have lost their lives doing what they love so much: putting time in the saddle and experiencing the open road on a bicycle.

Ray and Telana, with Cliff and Rod

Cliff's got the important job of being the mascot for this National Cyclist Safety & Memorial Ride, and he's also going to be helping Ray remain sane by keeping him company and cheering him on.

Telana and I cheered them on as they left, joined by some fellow cyclists, and escorted onto the highway by Ruari Plint and his team on motor bikes, led by Shaun from the Sign-Up Cyclists Safety Initiative.

Have a great trip guys, and keep raising that Cycling Safely awareness, one kilometre at a time!

Cliff and Rod

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31 January 2010

Roadtrip along the Cape Coast

Rod joined Catherine and her friends on a roadtrip from Johannesburg down to Knysna after Christmas 2008, and along the coast to Cape Town.

Catherine picking Rod up for their roadtrip

They visited the Owl House in Niew Bethesta, and the Desolation Valley in Graaf Rieniet. In Ootshorn they sat on a ostrich egg and then they attempted to hug the huge trees in the Knysna forest. After feasting on Knysna Oysters, they spent time on Sedgefield beach.

Rod in Knysna forest

In the Tsitsikamma Forest they went foffie sliding, and even saw the southern most tip of Africa at the Cape Agulhas. A visit or two to some Wine farms, and fishing in Cape Town added to the fun and relaxation of the trip.

“As you can see Rod had quite a holiday and enjoyed seeing some old friends who now live in the Cape... I quite enjoyed having him, almost as a replacement for my dog, Micky” says Catherine!

06 September 2009

Namaqualand Flowers

It happens once a year. And only if there's been enough rain during the winter. If the conditions are right, and you time your trip well, you get the chance to see the dry, dusty semi-desert transformed into spectacular colour and scent.

There was enough rain this year. And we timed our road trip up the west coast of Africa just right, and got to see plenty of this:

A typical spring Namaqualand scene Jumping for flowers!

Visiting the Namaqualand in South Africa during it's famous miracle time of springtime flowers is something to have on and then tick off your list of places to visit.

We stayed at the Agama Tented camp, near Garies, and can only speak highly of the place- the food so scrumptious, especially the lamb and the "roast cakes" made by hand on the fire; the tents were luxurious; and our hosts- Karien, Linda and Victor- were helpful and friendly beyond our expectations.

On our day to Skilpad Nature Reserve to find the fields of orange, we had quite an adventure, including a flat tyre, running out of petrol and an expedition to Springbok.

Rod drowning in the oceans of daisies

We enjoyed watching the rugby at the farmhouse of our hosts, and then a drive around their farm, seeing even more yellow and purply-pink flowers and a spectacular sunset!

Some of us made the effort to watch the sunrise too, and enjoyed a bit of mild bouldering to get high enough to see the sun say good morning to the valley

The variety of flowers was incredible, and the fields as far as the eye can see of colour will be wonderful images that will stay with us all!

Rod getting close to the blooms

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11 August 2009

Sailing Adventure!

Rod, Telana, Andy

We set sail for Bassas Da india at 2am... navigating the channel between Vilanculos harbour and Bazaruta Island in the dark. Two days of sailing due east, we arrived at the uninhabited Basss da India, and all we could see was sea. At low tide, a few rocks are visible showing that the 10 km in diameter atoll is indeed there in the middle of the ocean between Mozambique and Madagascar.

Rod on the Catamaran

We got to explore the underwater world of Bassas when we scub dived, and enjoyed the sun and blue sky and sea while some of the guys fished.

Telana and Andy

The locals in Vilanculos affectionately refer to Bassas da India as "Jurassic Park" because it is known for amazingly large fish, and many sharks. The fisherman enjoyed the "fights" with the large kingsfish and barracuda, and it appears that Rod is not much of a fisher-frog - he tried fishing a few times, but never caught anything.

Rod and Ed fishing

For more photos, click here!

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28 March 2009

Bazaruto in Mozambique

We flew on a pelican to an indigo bay,
With Rod the frog as our stowaway.
We swam in the sun, saw turtles and fish,
And ate like royalty enjoying crayfish!

Rod on the beach

I hid in Telana's bag so she had to take me with! It was well worth being so sneeky! I had my first flight in a small plane, and my first duneboarding!

More photos on my facebook profile and on flickr.

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Spring picnic

What a fun day! We had a picnic at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens to celebrate spring in September 2008! I listened to jazz, ate strawberries, had a ride on a tortoise, played hide and seek, climbed up the mountain cliff, and kissed some girls!

Rod getting a ride on Tommy the tortoise

I even had my first dance!

More photos on my facebook profile.

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Waterberg Wilderness

the bush in South Africa

My first taste of the South African bushveld and a bit of 4x4'ing was a weekend at the Waterberg Wilderness in April 2008. We saw giraffe, eland, kudu, wildebeest, lots of bugs and bush!

I even chatted to a wild frog!

Ah! Wildebeeste

You can see more photos on my facebook profile


27 March 2009

Traffic in Mumbai

The rides in the autorickshaws were such fun! Quite cramped though, and the drivers were extra zippy!. it made for hair-raising trips trying to find our way around Mumbai.

The most unusual bit of driving we experienced was trying to get off the highway- a busy 3 lane highway which had no offramps. Where there was a street that intersected with the highway, cars just edged their way across lanes of traffic until that traffic stopped to let them through and off the highway. Then a few seconds later, the stopped traffic would edge their way across the lanes turning off the highway… all with no traffic lights or any road signs- just hooters and guts!


Mumbai Madness

Rod experienced the hecticness of Mumbai. It's a hecticness that only Mumbai has. And unless you've tried to cross over a street like this one (in below clip) where the cars and autorickshaws and busses and taxis and bicycles and cows don't stop for you - you won't know what I mean by Mumbai's hecticness. And this street wasn't even a busy one!

Rod joined me to celebrate my dear friend Satneet's wedding. Satneet had been studying abroad for a few years, and returned to her home town Mumbai to marry her sweatheart, and even she said to me that she now understood what I meant by Mumbai's hecticness.

Well we did cross this street in a fashion like the old computer game leap frog (much to Rod's amusement). We crossed this road to get to some huge film studio's, where we were in a bollywood movie. The movie was called "Money hai toh honey hai" directed by Ganesh Acharya, and what a lot of fun! We even learnt some of the dancing moves by watching them rehearse so often!

Telana and the gorgeous dancers in the movie

After our film debut we had a train trip back to the Colaba area and then walked around the streets of Mumbai till way passed midnight. You see a very different side of the city at that time, with rats the size of cats running passed vendors sleeping on the floor.

We also watched cricket being played in Oval Maidan, admired the Fountain in the botanical gardens at Horniman Circle, and waved at Haji Ali's Mosque as we zooted past in a bumblebee taxi!

The highlight was the four days of ceremonies that we were invited to for the wedding, and getting my hands henna'd.

Telana, Vikram, Satneet and Auntie

The low was Rod almost being eaten by Rufus.

Rufus nearly ate Rod

And if you don't believe me that Mumbai had a madness of it's own, watch the movie "The Slumdog Millionaire" or go visit this marvelous, but mad, city!


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