Rocco - Twelve Apostles

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Aug 21st, 2004, 10:37 AM
  #21
 
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Roccco:

Geez Roccco, you seem to know a great deal about South African society after two brief visits there...

LET ME RESPOND TO A FEW MISGUIDED STATEMENTS:

<Message: Oh, I see, local rates to help the locals? Which locals? How many black South Africans has anybody ever seen at an upscale safari lodge?>

I have seen black South Africans on previous visits to Mala Mala,Ulusaba,Earth Lodge and Nottens.You should know that not all black South Africans earn minimum wage anymore Roccco.

<The local rate, at least at the best lodges, is helpful only to the wealthy white South African.>

NONSENSE!!!

< The Muslims dislike the blacks. Most everybody (blacks and whites) dislike the Muslims. There is this very fragile tolerance going on right now. The Afrikaans still prefer the company of other Afrikaans and seem to dislike everybody, even other white South Africans that are not Afrikaans>

This is your best one Rocco!!!

So let me see...

I am Afrikaans so I suppose I dislike everybody!Could you please enlighten us on how Mexicans are??Don't you think we are all individuals with different views etc.??Your generalization of the thoughts of the different race groups in RSA is,TO SAY THE LEAST,PATHETIC.

Why don't you stop your inflammatory statements and get back to giving advice to future travellers..Something you are actually very good at doing.
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Aug 21st, 2004, 12:55 PM
  #22
 
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Safari Nut,

And what, dare I ask, IS the minimum wage in South Africa. Last time I talked to a few white South Africans, they were still employing their "domestics" for about 1,500 ZAR ($225) per month! Not too many future visits in store to Mala Mala for these domestics, are there?

Do I dare ask how much your family pays for their domestics, and the living conditions that this affords them? Do I dare ask how much Selwyn pays his domestic, or how much he has paid his domestic in the past, if he does not currently have one while he is on his mission to save the world?

Did I say that 100% of Afrikaans were unhappy with the situation or didn't like other people? No. Perhaps the ones that do not care for the current situation just get up and leave for other opportunities 10,000 miles away!

You asked me to enlighten you on how Mexicans are, but I don't think I am a very good spokesman, as I am considered very "white-washed" and removed from Mexican-American society. Despite Spanish being the language of the indigenous European conquerors, I am persecuted for not speaking this language, as I find the language of the second European conquerors, ENGLISH, much more useful in American society. Fortunately, my wife, despite being Middle Eastern, is fluent in Spanish and helps me get by in Southern California, Mexico, Spain, and other places where Spanish is the first language. But, since I don't mind speaking for other groups as you have already seen, and to answer your question, Mexicans, for the most part, like other recent immigrants, prefer to stick to their own. As the second and third generations emerge, there is more integration. In my own family, for example, I have two white brother-in-laws, and my Assyrian sister-in-law just married a Mexican/Peruvian guy.
Southern California, as I have already said, is possibly the most diverse place in the world.

Just calling them like I see 'em. I hold no punches whether it is towards South Africans, Americans, Mexican-Americans, or whatever. Hey, if I had my way, California would secede tomorrow, and take its rightful place as the fifth largest economy in the world, about 15 places ahead of South Africa, and even ahead of France and China! (http://www.lao.ca.gov/2002/cal_facts...mographics.pdf)

Don't even play nationalistic games with me, I don't buy into any of it. After the 9/11 terrorist bombings, while the media kept shouting how "united" we were as a country, I just had to laugh. Give it a couple months, I thought, until it returns back to normal. For Manhattanites to be requesting and accepting charitable contributions was a joke. Think any of these Manhattanites cared one bit when L.A. was burning during the riots, uprising, or whatever your politics allows the events of April, 1992, to be termed? No...it was just a bunch of Blacks and Mexicans "looting" and wreaking havoc, and despite the victims being mostly the minorities that lived in the area, it was shown 100 times more often when there were white victims.

So, why, pray tell me, would I want to be part of the USA when California is exploited in such a manner. For some stupid reason, our presidential election primaries are held by the time it doesn't even matter anymore, letting miniature states like New Hampshire and Iowa lead the way in deciding who our next president will be. I have a couple businesses, but my main business is a public works roadway contractor. I recently read an article where for every dollar that Californians are taxed for highway construction, we get about 70% of it back. Meanwhile, for every dollar that Alaskans are taxed, they get something like 500% back. Just another exploitation of Californians, and there are too many to mention. I promise you that if California was a conservative Republican state, that this would not be allowed to happen, but we are not, and may God help us if we ever become one.

I have my own politics, and they are undeniably divisive, no different than were the politics of the ANC (African National Congress) in South Africa until they gained power a decade ago. If not for divisive politics, the South Africa that you and Selwyn know and love would not even exist today! There would either be a few hundred thousand dead white people, possibly millions of dead black people and possibly a few different countries right now rather than a single South Africa.

Eventually, like the Soviet Union, there will be too many competing interests, and different parts of South Africa and probably different parts of the United States will at least attempt to secede. No different than Afrikaans peoples trying to get their own homeland ten years ago.

You can talk up this utopian example of race relations all you want in South Africa, but get the wrong political leader in there, and it's all over. Do I want this to happen...of course not! But, as we have seen in Zimbabwe, it is very possible of happening. Doesn't help matters any that the South African President and Mugabe are buddies. Isn't this important to the people electing the South African president? Is it even a campaign issue?

Paint the picture any way you like, but it does not make it a photograph of the actual place. Here is an excellent article about the current state of race relations in South Africa especially in regards to Afrikaaners:

http://www.bday.co.za/bday/content/d...6096-0,00.html

Just to take a brief excerpt from this excellent, but lengthy, article:

"As the country finds itself forcemarched towards a neo-Milnerist, "inclusive" identity, held together by the weak glue of English, which is understood by less than half of her population, tensions will arise that may ultimately prove more divisive than apartheid. After all, unlike the Isrealis and the Palestinians, we've never really hated each other."

I mean, let's just be honest, and stop trying to paint the picture of this Utopian South African society that does not exist. We all have our challenges but to sweep them under the rug does not make them go away.

And regarding your advice to just get back to advising travelers...don't worry, I much prefer talking travel than politics, but when I am called to task on it, I will not just roll over. There is nothing I can stand more than hypocrisy, and right now the air is THICK with it.
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Aug 21st, 2004, 01:32 PM
  #23
 
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And before I am corrected, by divisive, I mostly mean that the ANC challenged the status quo. I am well familiar that the ANC features a diverse cast of members, but then again, so does the Republican party, with their token black members, while their chosen leader, President Bush, is the first sitting President in the last 70 years to ignore an invitation to the NAACP convention (national association for the advancement of colored people).

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Aug 21st, 2004, 02:00 PM
  #24
 
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You people need more fiber!
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Aug 21st, 2004, 02:28 PM
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Roccco: The NAACP leadership of today are Bigoted Bush bashers who are not representative of most blacks in America today.Bush has done a whole lot more for blacks in 4 years than Clinton did in 8 years.
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Aug 21st, 2004, 02:40 PM
  #26
 
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Roccco:

Can your domestic or employees afford a visit to Mala Mala?
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Aug 21st, 2004, 02:47 PM
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Aug 21st, 2004, 06:54 PM
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Safarinut,

I personally sign each and every paycheck of my employees, and I can tell you that I have at least 10 employees earning in the neighborhood of $70,000 USD per year, working an average of only 36 hours per week (in the construction industry there are rain days, moratoriums on work around holidays, etc.). My three highest employees make between about $95,000 - $110,000, one of them just returning from a South Africa, Victoria Falls & Botswana three week holiday, flying completely free with business class air since he is allowed to use his personal American Express for certain things and is reimbursed (but still likely costing an additional $4,000+ pps on the ground package).

My domestic, and this is the truth, is supporting her children at home in Central America and is well paid enough to hire her own domestic/nanny for full time care back home instead of just dumping them on a relative.

I have personally petitioned for half a dozen of my employees so they may one day become U.S. citizens. If they should flake out on me, quit, owe child support, file for unemployment, etc., my company could be held responsible for their expenses, so this is not done because I am a bigoted person against minorities or any specific socioeconomic class. Do I want to hang out with them and be the Godfather to their children...NO. Do I want to see them have an opportunity at a better life in the USA...YES.

It's always the ones that least deserve to talk **** that always seem to do so.
While I am not leading any tourists over to the slums of Los Angeles and asking them to give handouts, I am helping the people in permanent ways through employment opportunities, opportunities for American citizenship, etc. You can either give the people a fish, over and over again, or you can teach the people how to fish so they become self-sufficient. I know which of the two functions that I am performing!

Mgmargate, Bush hasn't done anything for black people except have his cronies disallow some of their legitimate votes in Florida four years ago to insure his own election. I don't care if he has Condaleeza Rice and Colin Powell around for photo ops, for the most part, Bush has divided the country like it has not been divided since Richard Nixon.

Listen, I do not care one bit for John Kerry, but I will gladly take the lesser of two evils. Our economy is the worst it has been in my lifetime.

Although I have no intention on voting (as a Californian, my vote in the presidential race is useless, as Kerry will win California by millions of votes, thus earning all of the electoral votes in this stupid electoral process of ours), but I will celebrate when I see Bush kicked out after a single term, just as his father was 12 years earlier.

Mgmargate, like it or not, the USA is changing permanently. With all of the immigration from Mexico and Central America, and with their reproduction rates higher than others, there will be no turning back. Even the Asian immigrants seem to have little interest in the Republican party, and there is plenty of Asian immigration and a lot of them are from the poorer countries of Vietnam and China, rather than from Taiwan, Korea and Japan. They will likely go Democrat, as well.

The whole ethnic makeup of the U.S. is changing fast. Why do you think the Republicans are playing divisive politics? They are scared ****less right now and know they need all the votes they can get.

Come on, how can anybody with half a brain support Bush? We are occupying a country halfway around the world right now, surrounded by a 99% Muslim population. And why? Because there were supposedly weapons of mass destruction? WHERE???

If Democrats were not so spineless and there were a few more Michael Moore's and Bill Maher's around we wouldn't even be having this discussion right now, as Bush would be some Saudi tycoon's house boy right now, instead of the most powerful man in the world, who cannot excuse himself from being read "My Pet Goat" while America is under attack!

11 more weeks until it is LAME DUCK President Bush!
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Aug 21st, 2004, 08:17 PM
  #29
 
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Roccco

Wow...Roccco impressive numbers!

Why the countless sleepless nights to secure specials or am I missing something?
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Aug 21st, 2004, 08:18 PM
  #30
 
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Rocco - Keep in mind a few truths. Two people can look at a property and see different value. People can each have more than half a brain and still vote for different candidates/philosophies. The same word in the same language can mean different things to different people. One person's diamond is another's rock.

All these different people can get along on the same travel message board, really!

And a truth dating back to Mary and Joeseph: Some places are going to have a "tourist price" for lodging or food and others won't. It's not a personal affront - it's just the way it is. ;-)
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Aug 21st, 2004, 10:43 PM
  #31
 
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Safarinut,

Why the countless sleepless nights to secure specials? Mostly because my brain just keeps working at night and usually towards something I am passionate about, whether it is Africa, or in the past adolescent things like fantasy baseball/football and the stock market.

Africa is a VERY expensive endeavour, especially when coming from the west coast and when wanting to stay at the best possible lodges. Plus, it is not easy having 10 dogs and employing someone to look after them, but I love them and I am responsible for them for the rest of their lives.

Plus, I do like to live as nicely at home, as I do while on holiday.

Lastly, I have been expanding my secondary business, actually more than doubling the size and it has been a money pit for the last year. If successful, however, I will just have to get that nice beachfront condo in Camps Bay so I can yell HOWZIT?! to Selwyn each morning, before jogging over to the Twelve Apostles for my morning coffee at the Azure Restaurant, sitting on the terrace and enjoying the unparalleled view of the Atlantic Ocean.

Anyway, I am done with this sparring match. I have stated my opinions and I have received others opinions. I would much rather make up new itineraries than to talk politics.

In the event that I DO go to Cape Town next March, I may take Thit Cho's advice and head on over to Namibia:

Cape Town, 3 nights at 12 Apostles on Luxury Link package.

Morning flight to Windhoek, transfer to Ongava National Park. Four? nights at Little Ongava, a Wilderness Safaris 6-Paw accomodation. I do like Ongava because it features both white and black rhinos--I have yet to see a black rhino--as well as all the other usual suspects. I don't know if four nights is one night too long or not.

Late morning flight to Sossusvlei. 2 nights at Little Kulala. Stargazing in private on my own private rooftop and room features a private plunge pool, hopefully with amazing vistas of the Namib Desert. Climb the dunes and maybe even go on a hot air balloon over the Namib desert, besides some tame game drives for non-predators.

Late morning flight to Skeleton Coast Camp for 2 or 3 nights. Although it claims "pockets of wildlife", including Desert Elephant, Giraffe, Lion, Cheetah, Cape Fur Seals, Springbok, Gemsbok, Zebra, Brown Hyena, and others, I am skeptical about how good the gameviewing will be here, and mostly want to visit for the isolation and landscapes. If the gameviewing is good, I would do three nights, otherwise two nights would be fine.

Morning flight back to Windhoek. Transfer to Johannesburg. Two nights at Michelangelo Hotel, enjoying some of the great Indian food at the neighboring Bukhara's, taking in a theater production at the Liberty Theater? in Nelson Mandela (Sandton) Square, doing some shopping, taking advantage of their nice spa, etc.

Transfer to Mala Mala. 3 nights at Mala Mala, expecting the best gameviewing I have ever experienced.

Transfer to Simbambili to see those amazing leopards and to enjoy the very nice accomodations as my send off. Who knows, maybe I can be lucky enough to catch Mark from Taga there filming his Leopards of Simbambili series, and be a stowaway on his Range Rover!

12 Apostles, Cape Town (3) $850 USD
Little Ongava, Etosha NP (4) $4,200 USD?
Little Kulala, Sossusvlei (2) $1,600 USD
Skeleton Coast Camp, SC (2) $1,600 USD?
Michelangelo Hotel, Joburg (2) $600 USD
Mala Mala (3) $3,000 USD
Simbambili (3) $3,350 USD
Namibia/South Africa Air & Road Transfers $1,500 USD

Wow, $16,000 USD, is more expensive than I thought this would be. Probably better hold off until late August and Eastern Africa, but I do already have "free" business class seats to South Africa for late March, if I want to make the reservation in the next 10 days. Probably will pass, but I do have to get over to Namibia sometime soon.
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