Blood Diamond

Another day of running to breakfast then to class. The breakfast area is just so relaxing with spa music that it makes every morning delightful. In class we discussed the Great Trek and mines impact on South African culture. When Dr. Karen was talking about the Great Trek in her South African accent, the whole class thought she was saying the “great trick” for at least half the class. Dutch moved to the frontiers to escape bristish rule. Covered wagons and the whole deal. They moved north, ran into trouble with the Bantu but like the american Wild West. In the mines, the unskilled workers were stuck in a cycle of poverty in terrible conditions. They lived in compound and worked for a few months. There were lots of Chinese immigrants who worked in the mines as well as Europeans who knew how to deal with explosives. It reminded me of the gold rush because there were a bunch of people who wanted to get rich quick. It was the perfect transition for us because we got home, made peanut butter and Nutella sandwhiches for the ride and drove to the Culligan Diamond mine. It isn’t the big diamond mind like Kimberly but it was still pretty large. It was were they found the Culligan Diamond which made the diamonds for the Queen of England’s crown and scepter. It was exciting because Madi and I would go to the Tower of London and see the Crown Jewels after South Africa. While we waited for our tour, we sat at a restaurant where the people who didn’t make sandwiches ordered pizza. It was during a timed power outage so the man serving was concerned we wouldn’t have enough time. He was making all the pizzas in a stone pizza oven. They have controlled blackouts in South Africa all of the time apparently. It rotates the night or the morning depending on the area. The morning scheduled blackouts are more rough because getting ready, cold showers, opening car gates by hand in the morning. The extra time for cooking because of blackouts worked fine wth us and gave us plenty of time to talk. A few of us ordered tap water but it wasn’t understood so the server brought out Tab soda. It was my first time trying tab soda and most peeps. It was one of the original diet drinks. Like an icky Pepsi. Matt talked about his potential adventure post South Africa. His plan keeps changing. He didn’t buy a flight back and was going to wing it. He wanted to buy a car or motercycle, meet some people, caravan together, and find a ship he could deckhand with to get to Europe and the take a military flight back. It isn’t a good time to go on a boat now do he is having to recalculate his “plan” on how to get home. Honestly I don’t understand it and am worried so we will see how it goes for him. 

After the group scarfed down their food, we put on hard hats for the diamond tour. There was a small museum where they had a display on how the mined kimberlite was turned into a pretty cut diamond. The examples in the cases and out of the case were cut glass. Mihael asked the classic line “How much are these diamonds worth?” “At least a billion dollars and that would be a deal.” “Why isn’t there more security for these diamonds?”

We walked through an above ground reconstruction of what it feels like to be inside of a mine shaft. It isn’t like Snow White linings. They use explosives and collect the loose rocks and send them through a mechanism that sorts them. Way back in the day, they had trouble with people stealing the diamonds and now it isn’t as big as a deal because the processing of the Kimberlite to diamonds is under high security. The diamond that aren’t up to grade yo be gemstones are used as industrial diamonds. The mechanisms we saw included the towers to move the rocks and the cranes. We walked through the work zone but they were installing new parts so there wasn’t too much movement. Diamond mines control the amount they produce so they can control the market. They brought us to an overlook where we saw the huge mine hole. The floor of the mine gets lower and lower as the mine. Eventually, the old volcano shaft will taper off. 

The bus from the mine was pretty tight and uncomfortable. Threw us back to all the time on the bus in Mexico. 

Post mine, we headed back to our resort compound and everyone gathered for dinner. Dr. Leedy wanted to go out for Indian food but Madi wasn’t down. The whole group stopped at the Pick and Pay supermarket for bread. A group of guys didn’t want Indian food so they walked to Kung Fu Kitchen and dropped Madi Eli AMA and I at Nandos. It is like a Portuguese Pollo Tropical. Om nom nom. The boys from Kung Fu Kicken picked us up on their way back. 

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