summer vacation 2019 | south africa and zimbabwe

by sam on 08/30/2019

In March, when I started investigating places to go on vacation, I had a few ideas in mind. As always, Africa gets put on the list, but unlike most years, it actually stayed on the list this time rather than succumbing to my normal dread of flying for that many hours. Then, when I went to look for actual trips, my favorite trip provider (National Geographic Journeys by Gadventures) happened to have TWO slots left for the their trip on the dates that worked for me, so I jumped on it without much more thinking.

This trip might go to the top of the list of the best ones I’ve taken (between this and the Galapagos and Machu Picchu, it’s a tough decision). But anyway…

I spent about 30 hours flying (with layovers) to Cape Town, South Africa, where I spent a few days, taking the cable car (thankfully reopened a week early!) to the top of Table Mountain and going to the Cape of Good Hope. We visited the Penguins (a major tourist attraction at this point) and got a private tour of the botanical gardens, which are some of the best in the world.

Then we flew to Johannesburg where we spent not much time, just a quick stop in Soweto for lunch and to visit Nelson Mandela’s house. It’s very small (only three rooms), and crowded with tours, so not much opportunity for good pictures, but certainly a worthwhile experience to understand the great man’s life.

Johannesburg was just a way station on our way to Kruger, which involved an all-day drive on the Panorama Route, which took us past some very scenic vistas before we got to our tented lodge, and then we did an all day drive in Kruger, where we got stalked by an entire pride of very boss lady lions before they killed several impalas right in front of us.

From Kruger, we moved to Karongwe, which is a private game reserve, where we did several more days of game drives and saw just an absolutely ridiculous number of things, and I might have gotten carried away with the Cheetahs. After Karongwe, we headed back to JoBerg to fly to Zimbabwe and Victoria Falls, which was very nice and relaxing and involved a very luxe river cruise on our last night.

I took over 7,000 photos, and somehow managed to edit that monster pile to the following 85. As always, wait for the page to finish loading and then click on the thumbnails to view the actual pictures. Enjoy!

mister softee

by sam on 07/4/2019

A while back, The NY Times wrote about how mister softee vendors were in a turf war with some upstart competitors who were using gangland tactics to push them out of various neighborhoods. The juxtaposition of childhood treats with straight-up street gang tactics was…something.

It has definitely become harder to find a genuine mister softee truck in parts of the city, but you can still find them on the upper west side.

(By the way, mister softee is the best, because they’re the only trucks that ever have the good sugar cones instead of the regular cones that taste like styrofoam.)

NYT article on the ice cream truck wars

Italian gourmet

by sam on 06/23/2019

I walk by this little shop on 45th street fairly often, with its classic sign, wedged in between giant midtown office buildings, wondering how it survives, and glad that it does.

stars at rest

by sam on 06/16/2019

Caught this Central Park performer taking a little nap break.

reading terminal market

by sam on 05/27/2019

I went to Philadelphia last weekend for my twentieth (!!) law school reunion, and in between the multiple parties and recuperative naps, I obviously wandered around town and took some pictures. This is the always fantastic sign for the reading terminal market, which is hard to photograph because it is wedged directly across a narrow intersection and behind this annoying streetlight.

saperstein’s

by sam on 04/4/2019

For years going from the train to my folks house in the berkshires, I have passed this store and always sworn I was going to stop and take pictures of the sign. Last thanksgiving my dad and I stopped and had breakfast nearby, and I discovered that the store had actually closed so…last chance.

real news stands out

by sam on 03/31/2019

taken last weekend – abandoned newsstand made over into impromptu art commentary on the state of current news.

Tiny libraries

by sam on 03/22/2019

Little free libraries are everywhere. This one is in millerton, New York, and we passed it on the way to the train after thanksgiving last November.

summertime

by sam on 02/17/2019

sorting through some unposted photos, a shot of the fountain in city hall park from last june, when it was sunny and warm.

the world keeps turning

by sam on 01/20/2019

yesterday was the third women’s march – it was a little colder and grayer, and the national organization leadership has turned into a massive conflict-riddled mess, which of course resulted in various local marches literally disassociating themselves, which IN TURN led to three competing marches here in NY – an actual march organized by the local organizers who have organized the march every year here, a competing “rally” downtown organized by the national group, because they didn’t like getting tossed over, and a third rally for disabled protesters at grand central, because neither of the two other groups took account of the fact that their events weren’t accessible. So far, so…good(?).

Anyway, because supporting women and protesting the ACTUAL shitshow that is our national government is probably more important than any of this crap, I still dragged my ass out to the local march, in part because it seemed like the less objectionable of the two marches AND it also began literally in front of my apartment, so…maybe I’m a little lazy before deciding to walk several miles. As always, the camera came along and I took some pics. It was less crowded this year, probably due in part to the mess above, but also because they’ve been hyping snowstorms all week and the folks who would normally drive in from elsewhere thought better of getting stuck in the city. But people still showed up, and it’s still important to keep our eye on the ball, which is the real horror show in washington.