Monday, October 08, 2007

Lesotho hideaway

Ever since we went skiing at Afri-Ski in June this year we have been thinking about whether it might be a good idea to buy the rights to two weeks a year at the resort, one of which would be a ski week. After much deliberation and thought we decided to give it a go so we paid the deposit but since we haven't even looked at the chalets we felt like we're buying something completely blind and although it isn't exactly expensive, it's not a trivial amount. Early saturday morning we left and made a brief stop at the vaal dam to make an inventory of the yacht in preparation for selling my 50% share. The drive down to Afri-Ski takes about 5 hours including stops for coffee in Bethlehem and the border. Afer filling in all the border paperwork with a red pen because it was the only one we had, we had the uncomfortable experience of having our paperwork torn up and an admonishment that it had to be in black. The official went and stamped our passport in any case so I don't know what the point is of the paperwork. The drive is quite beautiful and the Moteng pass is just fantastic, I keep on thinking that it would be a great cycle up but having done it a couple of times now, it would entail a serious amount of effort and definitely too steep for my road bike. As we came around the bend towards Oxbow lodge we were greeted with this sight which, to put it in perspective, is normally a placid stream that one can simply step across. The black dot on the road is my car which gives some sort of scale to the width of the river.

Apparently they had 105mm of rain the previous evening which from the size of the river and the number of rock and mudslides we saw at various parts of the pass, I can quite believe. When I say rocks I am talking about boulders about 1/2 the size of a car lying in the road after plummeting down the mountain side. We reached the resort without any further incidents although we did see a car in the ditch having skidded off the road because of ice. Below is the view from the verandah of the chalet we are keen on and we have a view directly up the ski-slope, not a bad view at all. Even though we are now officially well into summer it was -0.5 deg. C. Pretty chilly for africa. We had a good look around the chalet which is really quite nice before heading back to Oxbow lodge for the evening.

The 'Shack'

On the way back we were stuck temporarily behind a truck with some indeterminate white load under a cargo net - it was only when the white stuff started to move that we realised that they were sheep pinned down under the cargo net to prevent them falling off the back. Pretty undignified from the sheep's point of view. Talking about sheep, back at the lodge we watched the two semifinals Australia vs England and New Zealand vs France and in both cases the favourite lost. England played really well and deserved their win as far as I could see, very clever game plan and forced Australia to play to England's strengths. Not very upset to see Australia go out but felt very sorry for New Zealand to lose due to refereeing decisions which were either debatable or clearly wrong. I'm getting a little tired of the debate where poor refereeing decisions are covered over by the attitude that it all comes out in the wash. It doesn't - some poor refereeing decisions have little or no bearing on the end result of the game but others definitely do and with three match officials on the ground you would really think that they would pick up pretty much all infringements and definitely the major ones. Referees, like players, are professionals and should come in for criticism in exactly the same way that players do.

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