Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Monday, March 03, 2008


After spending some time in Clarens, we drove into Lesotho. At the border, we had to stand in lines to get our passports checked. Eventually, we got through. I found the slowness and bit of confusion to be common at the African borders I passed through.We drove into Butha Buthe (or booty-booty as we dubbed it). It was very busy, the main street being lined with a market and many people shopping. Just based on appearances, it seems that Lesotho is not particularly wealthy but it is blessed with a wealth of natural beauty. Nevertheless, the relative poverty that seemed clear soon found an expression in our being stopped by the police - twice.Heather, perhaps I should call her "Heather the Bold," had been through this drill before elsewhere in Africa but it was a first for me. In the first incident, a roadblock had been set up. As we moved up to the police officer, he leaned into the window and said, pretty aggressively, that we had broken the law and there was a fine for that. He said we needed to stop at the stop sign behind us and only come forward to him when he motioned us to do so. That was our offense. I was about to reach for my wallet when Heather started in on him. Basically, she told him that was completely unfair, we had done nothing wrong, and that she had only been in the country 15 minutes and she was just going to turn around and leave. I was already wondering what the jail looked like in Booty-booty. But the officer's attitude improved somewhat and he waved us on. It was clear, he wanted us to pay him but Heather was having nothing of it.
Later, looking for some dinosaur footprints, we were whizzing along (Did I say Heather had a lead foot?), we rounded a bend and there were police again but this time apparently set up with a speed camera. They waved us over. A kinder and gentler officer, informed us we had been speeding. He hollered over at the people apparently running the camera and asked how fast we were going - 79 kilometers in a 50 kilometer zone. Heather just kept him talking as he waved some other people over. Eventually, he let us go, saying we were just tourists. Heather's evaluation: "I was doing a lot more than 79. They had no idea how fast I was going."
We climbed a rugged mountain pass and saw some traditional villages of the Basutho people. We stopped in a gift shop and bought some souvenirs. About mid-afternoon, after we made another futile detour looking for cave paintings, we set off for what was to be one of the longest legs of our roadtrip in Africa. From this point forward, we were heading toward Mozambique.
At top, are some of the traditional homes that we saw. Next, pardon the guard rail, is a scene of how the countryside looked. Notice the terraced hillsides so that they can grow food there. Next is a person walking past a little village. Then a little homestead with a clothes line. Finally, another bit of beautiful scenery.


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