Well, I'm back. It is difficult to summarise an overseas trip that lasted over seven weeks. However, these photos may give you some idea.
Southern Africa was a kaleidoscope of cultures. These buskers at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront in Cape Town were every bit as good as Ladysmith Black Mambazo.
The reunion to celebrate my mother's 80th birthday was heaps of fun. Here is our clan at Mbuluzi Game Reserve in Swaziland. My mother is in the centre of the photo, wearing a green sweater.
It was magical to walk through the bush and see wildlife like this.
Yet I also witnessed grinding poverty. People who live in a village like this one in Swaziland have a very tough life.
This roadside fruit seller in Swaziland told me her name was Anne. She said that, of the six children with her, three were orphans whom she had taken under her wing. My guess is that the children's parents were victims of the AIDS pandemic.
One of the downsides of South Africa is that it has a horrendous crime rate. The friends with whom I stayed in Johannesburg had a high wall around their property, topped by this electric fence. In addition to that, they and half a dozen of their neighbours had clubbed together to pay for a security guard outside their house, twenty four hours a day. They told me they felt like prisoners.
After Johannesburg, it was a relief to get to safe, environmentally-friendly Switzerland. This photo was taken in Berne.
There is no good reason to include this photo of Gruyeres, other than to show off. I liked the way the mist-shrouded castle came out.
Here I am this morning, at the home of friends in Burnaby, a suburb of Vancouver. Although my overseas trip was amazing, it is great to be back home in Canada. I am one very happy camper.