Thursday, December 16, 2010
We continued our trip, with varying degrees of bad roads, down south - passed "diamonds of the sky".. (wondering were the money is going, since its evidently is not used for roads or the to upgrade the living condition of the people of Lesotho).
After a stop in Mokhotlong, we embarked on the road to Thaba-Tseka... realizing that a 4-wheel drive is the best choice for Lesotho's roads.
Since we hadn't made this choice, the village of St. James was the first and therefore best place to stop : ) The St. James lodge indeed was a little piece of heaven up on the hill overlooking the village, surrounded by the mountains, we stayed in a stone building, carrying oil lamps around, since electricity has not made it here despite the power lines in front of the door. : / Ellias - the manager - ensured me we would have warm water... he just needed about 30 minutes... to make a fire to heat the water! I did enjoy it, even though i couldn't help feeling
guilty the next morning when discovering a sign asking to take showers in the morning, since we are above the try line and it is therefore very difficult to keep the water hot....
the stove was operated by gas and the tranquility of the mountain up there was priceless.
(the stay was supposed to be R200 / Eur 20, but we got a discount : ))
Seeing smoke coming out of the stone and hay homes of the villagers, while the sun started to embark across the horizon was simply beautiful... and the fact that i had locked myself out of our room, was not so bad when realizing that i was joined by a "wild" hamster... as well as the people of the village, starting their day very early by leading their heards up the mountains.
After breakfast we went on a "pony trekking" tour. And while Ellias ensured me that a group of four would be no issue, he did not mention that he would have to ride on a donkey to lead the way...
a friend of his end up joining us, wearing a blanket while on this horse (among other clothing).This seems to be a cultural thing... everyone is "wearing blankets". Maybe a sign of status since one costs about R450!...??
The horses took us passed the village, across the mountain, up the hill to another village, were local beer was being sold (one can identify this by a white plastic bag with is attached to a stick and flown like a flag... a brown bag would be a signal for bread). Since Ellias wanted us to get the full cultural experience, and potentially also enjoy the local beer himself, we stopped at the "bar" (a hut) and soon became the center of attraction. The children of the village gathered around
us with big eyes. Animated by the grown ups they sang and preceded to dance (some impressive moves : ) ..
As much as i enjoyed this experience to the fullest, it was difficult not to notice the holes in all their clothes and shoes... if they even had shoes. I am not sure if Lesotho has any wealthy people, but surely we were not finding them here... unless a wealth of spirit and goodwill.
On our way out we passed by many more villages and sheep and cattle hearders, while
wrestling the rainy weather and diverse road conditions... almost disastrous but amusing we exit at a post (Sani Pass), which did not renew SA visas (which was the reason why we started on this trip). Thankfully the boarder police closed one eye (hat ein Auge zugedrückt) and gave us two weeks : ))
Also for us Sani Pass was one big cloud, lasting for a couple hours, supposedly this is one of the most beautiful parts of the Drakensberg mountains...if the weather gods allow you to view it : )