Friday, August 28, 2009

South Africa, Final destination on the Round the world trip


It’s apparently no longer referred to as Jo’burg by the youngsters, but now known as Jozi – well in actual fact I think I only went into Jozi once on this trip, but I will start at the beginning.

So we boarded the plane from Perth and I was not feeling well at all, I spent the whole 12 hour flight sniffing and sneezing and I couldn’t breathe, and of course with the swine flue epidemic going around people were looking at me as if I was a leper. We arrived in Johannesburg ahead of schedule and for once we did not have to wait to long for our bags, hence our chauffeur (Derrick’s dad) only arrived about half an hour after we landed. Now I could go into depth about the rudeness of the custom officials at passport control, but I don’t want to spoil my memories.
It was great to see D’s folks after more than a year and of course Emily was ecstatic, the ride back to their place did not take too long. Derrick’s brothers and family popped in to say hello to us which was nice but by Thursday morning, all three of us were down with some kind of virus, Em was so bad she could not get out of bed, so off to the doctor with us before we picked up the hired car.
No sign of swine flue, however we all had something different which seemed weird, but then he is the doctor and not me. Thursday and Friday we spent trying to nurse ourselves back to health.

Saturday my dear friend Gwen came round, she was up from Richards Bay, so we went shopping together, the great thing about a best friend is that it doesn’t matter how many thousands of miles are between you and how seldom you see one another, they are a part of you every day and it’s as if nothing has really happened since the last time you saw one another. After shopping we picked up some dinner, then fetched D and Em and went off to see Gwen’s beautiful new home.

Sunday was a family braai at D’s brother’s house and all the family turned out, aunties, cousins, nieces, nephews etc. We had promised Gwen that we would come and visit her down in Richards’s bay, so the previous week the plan was that D’s folks would come with and stay in a B&B while we stayed with Gwen, so after the braai we went home to pack for our journey down to Richards Bay the next day!

Richards Bay

Monday morning (10th August) and we were off to the sea, it was actually weird having to drive 7 hours to the sea as for the past 5 and a half weeks every country and city we had been to was on the coast. We left at 9 and finally arrived in RB at about 6 or 7 so the 7 hour drive had taken about 10, Gwen had flown down to RB but because of the wind they had diverted the flight to Durban and she was now having to drive up from there. We had the key to Gwen’s apartment with us, so did not have a problem getting into the apartment. Gwen went straight to the office so we did not see her until 6 a.m. the next morning, when she showered and changed and went back to the office.

We decided after all the hours in the car yesterday, to which I must add that Emily was an absolute star, (she definitely has become accustomed to travelling and is the best travelled child in the world), we decided to treat her to a morning at the beach, the weather was good about 25 or so degrees and hardly any wind, so off we went to the local strand near the harbor. Emily had loads of fun playing in the waves and made a friend, by then we were all hungry and headed to the “Dros” at the waterfront for lunch. Later we did some shopping as I decided to make Gwen her favorite Macaroni and cheese for dinner and what was left over we froze for meals for her.
The next day was Wednesday and the hottest day since we arrived, the temperature today went up to 31 degrees (in August which is winter), we had decided to do Hluhluwe, we had a nice day however it would have been better had we stayed over in the reserve. We managed to see a few animals and birds and Em even started making a list of all the animals she saw. After getting back to Richards Bay, Gwen had to work that evening so we decided to go to the “Dros” for dinner again, it was a really good choice as they had a kid’s area with TV games and a pizza parlor where they could make their own pizzas. We had a really enjoyable meal and we never saw Em once for the whole two hours we were there, except of course when I went to check up on her.

On Thursday morning we headed down to the beach, however the temperature had dropped almost 10 degrees and the wind had come up, making it very uncomfortable on the beach, even the surfers were standing around contemplating rather to go home. So we headed back to the townhouse and then spend the day at the local mall having lunch and shopping. That evening Gwen treated us all to dinner at the local Portuguese Restaurant down by the waterfront, which was absolutely divine.
We had thought about staying for the week-end, but decided that as Gwen was going home for the week-end and the folks were going to we would head back to Jo’burg. Once again Em was an absolute star in the car; we left at about 9 a.m. and then stopped in Newcastle for lunch and did the final stretch back to Jozi through Memel, and arriving back just before it got dark.

Back in Jozi 15/08 to 26/08

We were back in time for Emily’s cousin Melissa’s 6th birthday party. The kids had loads of fun, then later that evening D & I met Gwen & J at Monte Casino for dinner at John Dory. The next week we spent doing regular things like seeing the optician and also being a tourist in our own country, we went to Lory Park Zoo in Midrand which was fascinating. Went to the theatre at Monte, to see the UN Comedy show with some brilliant comedians; the best of course being a South African call Trevor Noah. Emily spent the night at her cousin and managed to break their glass coffee table that they have had for over 20 years. We went to the flea market at Hartebeespoort dam, the Oriental plaza in Jo’burg, the Organic market at the Waldorf School in Bryanston and as luck would have it, I stopped writing notes on the Sunday the 23/08 and for the life of me can not remember what happened the next 3 days.

Old Friends
I do however remember that we organized to meet up with some old friends, new friends and some family members at “Cobblestones pub” at Monte Casino. When we arrived Mario and Paula had already been there for 2 hours, Paul and Denise were there, I had not booked anywhere but Denise managed to get hold of the manager who gave us an area upstairs, albeit a smoking area. Slowly the rest of the crew arrived, Trevor & Kirsten, Charlie, Shemila who is my old friend from Barclays bank, Len & Lisa who we had only met last December in Ireland. My niece Samantha and Michiel her husband and of course Paul and Elliot who I met about 3 years ago on Skype and it’s a long story so I am not going to tell you here. I was so ecstatic to hear that Paul & Elliot are getting married in October, and recently heard that my niece is now expecting her 2nd baby.

It was so nice catching up with old friends but all too soon it was time to leave, even though Charlie kept us talking near the garage till 2:30 in the morning.

Wednesday Morning 26/08 arrived and it was time to pack, take the car back and catch our flight back to Ireland. Derrick was ready to go home and had said so a week earlier when we had an altercation with a mini bus taxi in Fourways, I however could have stayed another month, but it was time to be heading home and get back to our normal lives, after an unforgettable wonderful holiday that I will remember forever!!!

Emily already talks about going to visit her friend in Australia and her cousins in Africa, so I guess the travel bug has already bitten her and she doesn’t mind travelling 12000 miles to visit friends and cousins in the Southern Hemisphere, however she did mention wanting to go back to Disneyland, to which her father has already agreed.

Well I guess this is the end of our Round the World trip, maybe one day when we win the lotto we may be able to do it all over again!!!

No comments: