One of the best parts of traveling, in my opinion, is observing domesticated animals in different places around the world. (See my post on cats in Ghana.) Brazil has a particularly interesting animal culture and my sister and I spent a lot of time instagramming the animals we came across on our recent trip there. Here are a few highlights. My sister Susanna with some painted dogs in Rio. This shot was in my previous Rio post but I think it warrants a repeat appearance. Dogs are more prevalent than cats in Brazil but most of the cats we saw had a distinct look about them — broad, triangular faces and big bodies. Dog in a Hat, Ipanema Beach. We saw lots of cute dachshunds in Rio. Heather with Dog in a Hat. Dog in a Hat seemed very accustomed to posing for this shot. (Photo: Susanna Mason) Egyptian-looking cats in Jabaquara, a little beach hamlet near the Brazilian town of Paraty. “Anybody home? It’s Horse.” (This horse roamed freely around Jabaquara. I later saw him/her eating from a trash bin.) Chicken-crossing in Jabaquara. Cute cat behind a gate in Paraty. We spent the last two days of our trip on an island called Ilha Grande. There were dozens, if […]
Jozi dogs have been finding their way in front of my camera lens lately. Last weekend, in addition to photographing a friend’s dogs on the Melville Koppies, I also met a very special guard dog at a café in Northcliff. Amiga, guard dog at the Indulgence Café. I hate using clichés. But the Indulgence Café epitomizes the term “hidden gem”. It’s a quirky establishment in one of a long row of nondescript strip malls along Beyers Naude. (It’s actually one strip mall over from the famous Thunder Gun!)
My life has never been so complicated. I can’t explain why right now; I wouldn’t know where to begin. But I can tell you the things I’m doing to make life feel simpler — writing, taking pictures, and walking in the park. I’ve extolled the virtues of Joburg’s parks, like the Melville Koppies and the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden, on many occasions. But I haven’t written about Emmarentia Dam until now. (In South Africa, a ‘dam’ is not necessarily a big wall that diverts water. It’s also another word for a man-made lake or pond.) Emmarentia Dam.
UPDATE (March 2017): I wrote this post six years ago, at a time when I was pretty clueless about life in South Africa and how to write about it. I regret the title of the post and the poverty-porn-like tone that much of its prose conveys. But I have a policy of never deleting any of my old posts, so it will stay. Last Saturday Joe and I went to Diepsloot, a sprawling informal settlement — or squatter camp — on the northern outskirts of Joburg. We went with the Joburg Photowalkers to attend a Mandela Day celebration sponsored by the Diepsloot Arts and Culture Network. Diepsloot. Squatter camps like Diepsloot sprouted up in the mid-1990s, when the apartheid-era townships overflowed with people flocking to South Africa’s cities, and the government began moving those people to empty tracts of land on the cities’ edges. Nearly two decades later, the population is still growing and poverty rages on. Squatter camps, which consist mostly of corrugated iron shacks without running water or electricity, continue to swell. About 200,000 people live in Diepsloot.
Yesterday I took another jaunt with the Joburg Photowalkers, a group that organizes walks around different parts of town for photographers, amateur camera enthusiasts, and people who just want to explore. (Read about the last photowalk I attended in Hillbrow.) Monday’s walk covered a few different areas on the eastern side of downtown: Troyeville, Bertrams, Ellis Park, and the 12 Decades Hotel. It’s difficult to summarize everything we did in a coherent blog post; I think my photos tell a slightly disjointed story. But here goes. We started our walk at the Troyeville Hotel, which is actually not a hotel but a restaurant. Troyeville is a historically poor white neighborhood on the edge of downtown. The Troyeville Hotel is famous for its quirkiness and delicious Portuguese-Mozambican food. I’ll have to write a longer post about it someday in the future.