Back from South Africa
I returned last night from a nearly two-week trip to look at Permian strata of the Laingsburg Formation in the Karoo Basin of South Africa. I haven’t downloaded any photographs just yet … I hope to get that done in the next couple of days.
This was my first time to the continent of Africa and it was, overall, a good trip. I did end up with some rather nasty food poisioning that resulted in a pretty rough night. I will spare you the details!
The purpose of this trip was to look at research that has been done over the past several years primarily by students and professors from Liverpool University. In addition, it was an in-house training course developed for those with some, by perhaps not extensive, experience investigating turbidite deposits. Part of my job description is to help with the development and teaching of such training courses. I was mostly on this trip as a student/observer (since I had never been there) but was able to contribute to the teaching of fundamental concepts throughout the course. This is a topic I’ll post about someday in the future — differences/similarities between teaching at undergrad or grad level with this, more specific and focused style of teaching. Teaching adults that have technical expertise in related fields presents unique challenges as well.
Unfortunately, I did not have much free time before or after to explore more of South Africa. I flew in and out of Cape Town and spent a day on either side of the trip seeing a bit of the city. South Africa is hosting the World Cup in 2010 and is extremely busy doing construction and various other projects in preparation.
Another interesting aspect of the trip for me was seeing, with my own eyes, the contrast of shanty towns right next to rather affluent neighborhoods on the outskirts of Cape Town. The end of Apartheid was not that long ago and the division of wealth is still very apparent. From people we talked to, things are slowly getting better but they still have a long way to go. I’m sure Chris Rowan could comment in much more detail having lived there for some time and experiencing it first hand.
I have a lot of catching up to do … looks like there are numerous great posts from the geoblogosphere over the last couple of weeks. Unfortunately, something happened with my spam filter on this blog while I was gone … I think I cleaned it all up, but if you left a comment and don’t see it, please let me know. I was rather annoyed while marking and deleting spam and could have easily made a mistake.