Posts Tagged ‘beach’

OMG, are we still doing this? Yes, apparently so. Even though it’s August now and we’ve just returned from an amazing 2-week holiday with John’s brother and his family which I’m dying to catalog… I still feel like I need to catch on the past first. Right then, let’s catch up to present-day already! In no particular order, we…

…cheered on the runners in the world’s largest and oldest ultra-marathon, The Comrades. Even on a “downhill” year like this year, I can’t wrap my brain around running 56 miles in a single day.

Pug catches some shade on a hot and sunny day

…dabbled in boozy gummi candies! Grape candy + coconut rum = delicious. Gummi cola bottle candy + bourbon = gross.

For one of the Aussies’ many going-away parties – with a Georgia theme, natch.

…spent a fabulous weekend at our friend Ed’s house in Leisure Bay on the South coast, celebrating his fiancee Dana’s birthday.

Family portrait on the exact rock where our friends got engaged earlier this year. Aww!

We’ve invented African Rules Corn Hole, which involves a small and feisty Pug running back and forth between the boards. She occasionally steals a bag, but she’s completely impartial and always an equal handicap to both sides.

…spent a lovely but stormy evening at the rugby.

Sharks win!

…finally said a sad goodbye to the Australians who officially went wheels up at the end of the month.

What so proudly we ate, at the Moffitts’ last leaving.

…failed to snap any pics of the 5k that we ran – the same one I had done two years ago, and in which I trimmed 2 full minutes off of my official time to bring it down to a blistering 35 minutes! Hey, I run, which is all that I claim.

June, finis!

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Rewind: April

April found us at another dam, this time Inanda Dam for Easter weekend, where a group of the usual suspects rented out a couple of large-scale safari tents. Hilarity ensued, as always. Oh, and I baked a taaaaasty (if slightly startled-looking) bunny cake in honor of my grandmother “Nanny”, who always carried one on her lap on the Greyhound bus from Lynchburg to Roanoke when she came to visit for Easter.

Another dam fine weekend

Maybe not my best effort style-wise, but still delicious (coconut cake, by the way)

We also spent an awesome weekend at Uvongo Beach, about an hour south of Durban. This was our last hurrah (well, the first of many last hurrahs) with the Australians, who as of June became quasi-Americans! But before they packed up and left for Atlanta, we stole them away for one last weekend of good food (including an American-style breakfast, complete with cheese grits), good drinks (maybe just a few too many), and good times. And although neither Australian nor moving to America, English Andrew is always a welcome addition to the party.

Long, lazy lunch at The Trattoria in Southbroom. Poor Nikki is always the designated photographer, and therefore never in any photos. But she does exist, I swear!

A touch windy, but a stunning day to chill out on the beach

And why not round out the month with one more little trip?! After we unpacked from Uvongo, we repacked and flew off to Virginia for our semi-annual visit. The first half of the trip fell in April, but I unfortunately didn’t take a single picture of our weekend at Chuck’s gorgeous cabin with our siblings, their spouses, and our 6 rowdy niecephews! I remember being extremely cold and tired, but also having a ton of fun running around in the woods, corn-holin’, hatchet-throwin’, fire-watchin’, and bourbon-drankin’ (including several of Aunt Jeane’s signature Bourboncellos: bourbon + limoncello = yum!)

Sunday afternoon, we were off to Roanoke for 5 days to hang out with our parents. On Tuesday of that week, April rolled over into May, so I’ll leave you here for now…


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Beach Breakfast

Sunday, we braved a typical Durban winter day to enjoy breakfast on the beach for Lucie’s birthday – gorging on popovers and croissants while the 6 (six!) dogs romped around in the sand. Sunday!!

The birthday girl entertains the crowd with a ... surfing story?

Lucie was smart enough to bring fresh bones to share with all the doggies so the rest of us could enjoy our breakfast in peace

Ollie, bless his heart, hasn’t quite mastered the whole play-fighting thing. It looks like he’s about to sink his fangs into Roxy’s face here… but sadly, that’s just his play-face. He keeps his mouth wide open as though he’s about to give a vicious bite, but never closes his teeth together. He just sort of throws his teeth at his ‘victim’ – very cute, but not very effective. He’ll get the hang of it (and meanwhile, is endlessly entertaining)!


This photo also illustrates how - with the entire expanse of the Indian Ocean coastline on which to play - these two wanted to be nowhere but right in my lap. (Which I secretly loved.)

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Our full first day back on SAfrican soil entailed a lot of sleep, a loooong walk, and a meetup with the Moz crew for beach sundowners. Also, joyful reunion time with the Pug!

[Actual date: April 10]

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Our buddy Terry made this awesome braai out of scrap metal. The base is an old tractor wheel of some sort, topped by a grate threaded onto a vertically-mounted screw (some kind of industrial valve thingie, I think). A few legs and handles welded on, and you’ve got yourself an industrial-strength grill!

The genius is that you can spin the grate to raise or lower the food closer to or further away from the fire. And if you have enough muscle-bound men, you can even drag all 200 pounds of it down to the beach!

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Beach Burger

Monday was a national holiday (Human Rights Day), so we rolled down to the beach to exercise our right to pig out on cheeseburgers.

You know you're (too?) comfortable with your friends when you're willing to stand around in a bikini and shove a cheeseburger in your face.

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Cintsa to Cape St. Francis

Miles driven: 273
Cows in road: 15
Goats in road: 10
People in road: 233

After a final breakfast at Crawford’s, we headed out further down the coast to Cape St. Francis for our annual meetup with Catherine – this time, with her whole family (2 parents, 4 sisters, 2 brothers-in-law, 2 nieces + 2 cousins) in tow!

It was an uneventful 4.5-hour drive through drizzly rain and lots more cows and people (around the cows and people, rather). We rolled into town just in time for a couple of cold ones on the back porch overlooking the Kromme river, then a great walk and Catherine catch-up along the beach.

The rest of the trip consisted of excellent meals and conversation courtesy of the dynamic Matthews clan, more beach-strolling, several awesome bottles of wine, and general relaxation (also, more rain and gloom).

Friday afternoon, holiday hottie Matthew offered to give us all a surfing lesson – even native SAfrican Catherine had never given it a try. But since someone had to be in charge of both Pug and photography (oh, and because I hate the ocean), I volunteered to stay on dry land. Both surf newbies did a great job! There were no 10’s hung, but it was an admirable first effort.

We said goodbye to 2010 with bourbon at aptly named Sunset Rock (though we’re still technically on the East coast, the shoreline at St. Francis is oriented such that you get a true over-ocean sunset, a la Cape Town), and a raucous New Year’s countdown on the dock.

We reluctantly (and somewhat hungoverly) packed up the car on New Year’s morning and rolled out of town back up the coast towards Port St. Johns. BAD idea.

The extremely patient Matthew with his star pupils

So close to standing up!



The sun sets on 2010. Happy new year!

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Durban to Cintsa

Miles driven: 394
Cows in road: 12
People in road: 127

In the Beginning

We headed out for our holiday road trip bright and early on Tuesday morning – which in Durban, means 4am. I don’t know why the sun rises so early here, but it’s absurd! Most people take advantage of the early light to get in some pre-work surfing; we simply bought a 2nd layer of curtains.

Anyway, everyone we spoke to had advised us to get on the road at that ungodly hour so that we’d get through most of the small towns along the route before they got too clogged up with people in the roads. What’s that, you ask?

Our planned route took us through an area known as the Transkei, which was designated as a “homeland” during apartheid (basically a province to which the white rule banished members of the Xhosa tribe). Though it was somewhat of an independent country for a while (according to the apartheid-era South African government, anyway, if not the United Nations), it was absorbed back into the Eastern Cape province in 1994 with the end of apartheid.

All this is to say… the Transkei is REAL Africa. Much of the scenery is stunning: lush, green, rolling hills punctuated by rock outcroppings and sheer cliffs. But it’s also defined by grinding poverty, piles of garbage, free-grazing animals, and thousands of people standing or walking on or beside the highway.

Between the wandering cows and the throngs of humans, it was – to say the least – an interesting drive.

Onward to Cintsa

But just 7.5 hours after leaving Durban, we rolled into Cintsa Bay – towards the southern end of the Eastern Cape’s “Wild Coast”. We were booked into a place called Crawford’s Cabins, which turned out to be a complex of gorgeous thatched huts built into a hillside sloping down to the stunning bay. Internet booking WIN!

Crawford’s was AWESOME, family-owned and insanely dog-friendly. The on-site restaurant put on an elaborate buffet 3 times a day, and their bar whipped up a mean Pimm’s cocktail. Except for one venture into town for lunch on our second day, we never even left the grounds!

The weather was pretty bleak for most of our stay. We got in one great, long beach walk before the rain started, but after that it was just cards and movies while listening to the rain on our thatched roof. Hey, we live at the beach, so it wasn’t disappointing in the least! A lovely, relaxing few days.

The view from our room, looking out over a gloomy Indian Ocean

Our room, which got ransacked by monkeys while we were at lunch. They ran off with our mixed nuts, banana chips, and all of the coffee bar's sugar packets.

The beach was strewn with this pretty pink seaweedy stuff. It smelled slightly less pretty.

Checkin' out the beach with Le Rox.

Real-doggin' it up! She had a blast on the trip - played (nicely) with dozens of other dogs, walked and ran and jumped and showed off. She's still sleeping, more than 48 hours after we got home. Love it!

Roxy says a sad goodbye to her camp friends. These girls LOVED that pug! John and I both thought that the one on the left looks like a girl version of our nephew Liam.

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Silly Season

Some call it the Silly Season, some call it the Festive Season… but whatever you call it, the holiday hordes have descended on Umhlanga!

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The Understudy

Look who we met on a beach walk on Sunday. A tiny pug with a pink collar and leash… named Roxy!

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