Around the World

Just completed the first segment of a literal around-the-world series of flights: Miami to New York’s JFK; JFK to Moscow; Moscow to Beijing; Beijing to Taipei; Taipei to Los Angeles; Los Angeles to Miami.

Someone recently told me that in the days of Pan Am Airlines, they used to make a big deal of this. I think it’s a wonderful reason to have a party – each leg of the way!

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Filed under Russia, Taiwan, Travel

Heading to Moscow

It’s time to revive this dusty old blog. Wednesday (April 28) I fly for way too many hours to Moscow.  I’m going there to speak  as part of  a World Press Freedom Day conference at Moscow State University, called “Days of American Journalism.”

I’m traveling there a few days early so that I can first visit St. Petersburg, The Hermitage Museum and the main sights of the city.

Knight Foundation grantee, Alexander Zolotarev, a Fulbrighter and Ph.D. student at Moscow State University, helped arranged the visit and will guide me around Moscow.

Following meetings at Moscow State, the U.S. Embassy and sites around the city, I then go to Taiwan, for a series of talks in Taipei, Kaohsiung and Taichung.

When I return in mid-May, I then head to Lincoln, NE, to find a place to live, as I transition into the job of Dean of the College of Journalism and Mass Communications.

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Community spirit

South Africa was great. I’m sorry to be leaving. The people are friendly, the country is beautiful and the opportunities are plentiful.

Being both a first-world and a third-world country, it has huge opportunities, offers the right encouragement and generally has the infrastructure for entrepreneurs to do their thing.

Yet, it’s still a country where the spirit of community and togetherness is very strong. It’s a country where I think technology really can be used to support and strengthen the community spirit.

This is what the Knight News Challenge is all about. We’re looking forward to reading the applications from Africa.

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Pictures from Cape Town area, South Africa

The country is beautiful, and I’ll let these pictures speak for themselves.

Southernmost point of South Africa

Southernmost point of South Africa

Click here for Cape Point and Cape of Good Hope

Click here for Table Mountain

Click here for wine country

Click here for Cradle of Humankind near Johannesburg

Cape Point, South Africa

Cape Point, South Africa

Who knew there were penguins in South Africa?

Who knew there were penguins in South Africa?

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Comments from Tshwane students about blogging

 

Some of my students

Some of my students

Reading the comments below that various students e-mailed me, you’ll easily see why this teaching gig has been so much fun and so rewarding.

 

The comments are from students at the Pretoria West and Soshanguve campuses of Tshwane University of Technology in Pretoria, South Africa.

  • Blogging has allowed me to go where I never thought I’d go. That is because I am now able to share my ideas with other people outside of South Africa and know how they feel about my ideas. Thank you.
  • I found a tool which I can use to write my thoughts and communicate with the entire world.
  • We had a lot of fun, I have fallen in love with my Blog(www.scepticalmatshatr.blogspot.com) already. Siyabonga (Zulu), Re a leboga (Tswana), Ha Khensa (tsonga), Dankie (Afrikaans) –all meaning Thank you — at least now you know how to say thank you in four South African languages.
  • Teaching us how to create our own blogs was awesome and I will use it until the end of time.
  • Your contribution made a difference.

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It felt like Jurassic Park, with slightly smaller beasts

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My mascot

 

White rhinoceros and her weeks-old baby.

White rhinoceros and her weeks-old baby.

Elephant family in Kruger National Park.

Elephant family in Kruger National Park.

Click here for more pictures from Kruger Park

Kruger National Park, a wildlife park the size of Wales, is like the best Easter egg hunt you’ve ever been on.

Remember as a kid when you would lift a pillow in the living room and find an egg, or look under a bush in the yard and find another? You never knew where the next would be, but you just kept looking everywhere.

That is a small example of what driving around in Kruger National Park is like.  One minute you see rocks and brush, and then you go down a valley or over a ridge and there’s a herd of elephants, or a lion chasing an impala or a baby white rhinoceros. It’s unbelievable. It’s incredible.

During a three-day weekend, I saw four of the park’s “Big Five”: lion, elephant, rhinoceros, water buffalo. I did not see a leopard, the remaining biggie in the Big Five.

I also saw baboons, giraffe, impala, kudu, warthogs, zebra, crocodiles and hippopotamuses.

I most enjoyed watching the colony of about 15 baboons and later the herd of 20 elephants interacting in their natural environment. I couldn’t do anything except stare.

Flying into the park was a little reminiscent of scenes from Jurassic Park. When you enter the camps, with their big, electrified gates that close promptly at 6 p.m., and when you stand on the balcony of the restaurant and see an elephant trudge by, and when you realize that electrified fences surround the camp, you get even more of a feeling of Jurassic Park.

Dusk at the camps in the park is the time for the most fantastic, loud symphony of bird songs you’ve ever heard. It truly is the Symphony of a Thousand. (They definitely have Mahler beat.)
 
I’m not sure if I can ever go to a zoo again.

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Filed under Africa, South Africa, Travel