Living, Learning & Loving La Vida Nueva

Friday, July 18, 2014

Atlantic, Pacific, now Indian!

I grew up going to the beach for family vacations.  While I tend to label myself as more of a mountain girl, I do thoroughly enjoy a visit to the ocean; the salty air and the relaxing sound of the waves crashing on the sand are comforting to me.  Probably my only irritant with the beach is the sand that inevitably finds its way into my bed.... But a few sweeps from my hand and that's fixed.  Having spent the majority of my beach time on the Atlantic but also visiting the Pacific in Hawaii, I was really excited to dip my toes in the Indian Ocean.  

Although we're closer to the Durban area than to any other large city in Lesotho or South Africa we've visited, we had yet to find the opportunity to drive west and combine our monthly grocery shopping with a trip to the coast.  Typically we have one reason or the other that we need to drive east for a meeting or to visit a certain store.  This month, however, we didn't have anywhere else to go for groceries and decided to combine that trip with a scope of the place before my mom flies into Durban in October (yay!).  I was surprised that it took only four hours to get to Pietermaritzburg where we stopped for McDonalds, and exactly one more hour to drive to where we were staying in Durban.  The Sani Pass, albeit rugged, wasn't as bad as we were anticipating.  We even drove back up it after dark last night.  I'm sure my mom will be white-knuckling it when she rides up in October, but for us it's just the way life is here.  Jonathan drives carefully and we all hold on tight and pray our brakes don't give out.  Reliable Rocky comes through again!

Ellee holding on tight

Top of Sani

GPS warning of car sickness

A couple weeks ago I suggested to our friends in Pretoria that they meet us in Durban for our little vacation.  We were thrilled that they decided to join us and we proceeded to book a lovely ocean view guest house for not much more than the price of a Knights Inn room in America.  Our room was just what we needed, complete with a little corner to tuck away Ellee's pack & play from the rest of us.  Little Lady likes her privacy when she sleeps, otherwise she's keen to stand and cry and beg for someone to come play with her.  We opted out of the breakfast part of the B&B for a discounted rate and I baked muffins and brought instant oatmeal packets from home.  For lunch we ate sandwiches and fruit on our balcony to save our appetites for dinners out.

For dinners we tried a couple new restaurants (at least they were new to us).  One was a genuine African cuisine right on the beach and the food was fantastic.  The other was a seafood grill built on something like a pier and that was also very nice.  The cheesecake with berry sauce I splurged on was probably the best thing about all our dinners out....  I do love cheesecake.

Arcade fun

Dinner photography a la Kyle

Dinner photography a la Kyle

The highlight of the guest house was either the hot water flowing instantly from the tap into a giant tub or the monkeys that roam the trees and rooftops in search of something they can eat.  It was really nice to have a hot shower after a week of frozen pipes.  But seeing monkeys in the wild was really a special treat!  I couldn't help but think that Kyle is growing up thinking this is a normal aspect of life, sort of like seeing squirrels in South Carolina.... 

I found it hard to believe that the climate in Durban was so vastly different from way up here in Mokhotlong until I actually got there.  Even in the middle of the winter, the afternoons were warm and the mornings and evenings were pleasantly cool.  I imagine in the dead of summer, the heat there is unbearable, probably not unlike what we experienced in Mexico.  The ocean was fairly chilly though and we didn't do much swimming... well I didn't at least.  Jonathan and Kyle enjoyed a nice dip in a calm beach we visited on Wednesday.  The beach by our guest house was rocky and the waves were enormous.  Plus, there was a posted warning sign that the beach wasn't protected by shark nets and that was plenty enough deterrent for me.  Still, we walked on the beach a number of times and Ellee had a great time playing in the sand with the new sand toys I bought from a lady walking up and down the beach.

When I invited our friends to join us, I didn't do so with their photography skills in mind.  But certainly having them and their camera around didn't hurt.  They offered to take a few family photos for us on the beach and we took them up on it.  It's been over a year since they took our family photos in Bloem, just after Ellee was born.  You can see that it was windy but we had fun playing around for a bit while Meredith worked her camera magic...

A little warm R&R does the heart good, especially when coming back to frigid Mokhotlong, with still frozen pipes.  Our fire is dead and it's on my to-do list to start it this morning.  Right now I can barely feel my fingers to type so I'll leave you and move on to that task.......