Posts Tagged ‘scenery’

Trailer Parking

After a couple of days hiking on a rain- and windswept coast, we headed back inland to the Elgin Valley to hole up at The Old Mac Daddy trailer park for one night before our Monday morning flight. Trailer park, what?? It’s a sister property to Cape Town’s Grand Daddy hotel, and the “trailers” in this case are refurbished Air Streams, decked out in hardwood floors, claw foot tubs, and all the trimmings.

We were on-site for about 10 minutes before the four of us decided that ONE night wouldn’t be enough! So flights were changed, rental cars were extended, jobs were notified, and we settled in for two chill days of doing nothing in a quiet apple orchard. In short, bliss.

Raising a toast to our friends Phil and Marguerite, who welcomed baby Mimi over the weekend!

Raising a toast to our friends Phil and Marguerite, who welcomed baby Mimi over the weekend!

JG tests out the hammock chair on the porch of the "Birdie" trailer

JG tests out the hammock chair on the porch of the “Birdie” trailer

Interior of the Birdie

Interior of the Birdie

C having a float on the giant pool cushion

C having a float on the giant pool cushion

View over the pool from the chair where I spent pretty much our entire stay

View over the pool from the chair where I spent pretty much our entire stay

JG in front of our home, Life Before Colour

JG in front of our home, “Life Before Colour”

Clawfoot tub in a trailer? Yes, please!

Clawfoot tub in a trailer? Yes, please!

Rolling hills from our front door

Rolling hills from our front door

The black-and-white scheme of our trailer, "Life Before Colour"

The black-and-white scheme of Life Before Colour

Not a bad spot to while away 36 hours.

Not a bad spot to while away 36 hours.


Read Full Post »

Oh, January. The Monday of months. I only have a handful of photos to remind me of what we did, so I just went through my email inbox to see what I could come up with. And as Mondays go, January was a doozy:

  • John’s debit card was cloned. Crafty thieves here — they can alter an ATM card slot so that it becomes a card reader and heists your numbers. Then it’s a quick frenzy to use the numbers as many times as possible before the victim catches on. Luckily, we caught on pretty quickly — and our bank (who normally sucks) refunded all of our money within about 3 days.
  • My Dad (who is turning 80 in October!) fell in the their kitchen and broke his hip. He went through a grueling 10-week recovery in hospital and rehab, but was back in the condo by early April! It’s definitely slowed him down a bit, but he’s as feisty and stubborn as ever, so getting along okay.
  • I had my first root canal. Really not as bad as everyone makes it out to be. I mean, they RIP OUT THE NERVE, so once that bit’s over with you don’t feel a thing!

So, yeah, the Monday of months.

On a bright note, we did treat ourselves to an amazing one-night getaway to Oribi Gorge since we hadn’t done anything elaborate over the holidays. Having a rough month? I can absolutely recommend a night at The Gorge Spa to take your mind off of it!

A room with a view, at Oribi Gorge. (And NO, we didn’t do the gorge swing!)

Read Full Post »

Under a Blood Red Sky

The southern hemisphere got to see an awesome red eclipse on Wednesday night. It was sort of eerie — totally blood-red for most of the duration! We were too trifling to grab the camera to snap any shots, so I’ve shamelessly stolen one to show you.

Read Full Post »

The Shire

Don’t go getting all excited, Lindsay – we weren’t really in The Shire. But we were in the Midlands a few weeks ago, where we poked around the eclectic property of an eccentric artist that Steph and Terry are friends with.

Read Full Post »

A waterfall we found on the hike that drove us into the arms of a Hooters girl. Don’t ask how our photographer got up there – it was scary to watch!

Read Full Post »

Part I of John’s epic 6-part wrapup of our Mozambique trip. To be continued tomorrow!

Wow, what a trip. This could be the best holiday we’ve ever had.  8 days, 25 + hours of beautiful driving, 3 countries, and a place and cast that all adds up to one epic trip.

The cast of characters:

Gael “Foxy” Campbell: visiting us from Scotland for a couple of weeks and was able to plan her trip so it coincided with this one. She is an amazing traveler, a totally chill and laid-back gal, and a great friend. You will remember her from her last trip to visit us in CT the same time as Devin and Mandy, and just after Tyler. She is our first repeat visitor and one of only a handful to come to Durban. In short, Foxy rocks.

Steph and Terry: our good friends from Durban, who (in addition to a sweet cottage in the Drakensberg) happen to have a cashew farm just outside the village of Inharrime in southern Mozambique, about 15 kilometres from the coast on a beautiful river. Terry started the farm about 10 years ago – and though they live full-time in Durban, they make a point to get up to the farm a few times a year. California girl Steph worked as a Peace Corps volunteer in Inharrime for 3 years and is still close with many of the kids in town, as she taught them English among other things.

Jess: Steph’s childhood friend from California, wrapping up a 3-month (!!!) visit with the Moz trip

Chris: Steph’s brainy and hilarious cousin, a student at Columbia University

Tash: The quintessential Durban girl! Also, fun fact, the ‘other’ model for Melika bags.

The farm is about a 12 hour drive from Durban, through 4 border posts (SA out, Swaziland in, Swaziland out, Mozambique in), and about a thousand speed traps. We left Durbs on Friday at around 5am, headed North through Swaziland, and into Mozambique to our Day 1 destination of Maputo – the capital city, where we stayed in the beautiful Hotel Cordosa on a hill overlooking downtown.

Maputo is an amazing city – super old, beautiful Portuguese architecture with tree-lined streets, lots of markets, art, amazing restaurants, and just a few VW sized potholes. We settled into rock shandy cocktails by the pool, had Thai food for dinner, lots of 2M beer (pronounced “dosh-em”), hit the breakfast buffet in the morning, then the Saturday morning market, and then the road to the farm.

Johhny G basks in the glory of Maputo

The peeps: Lizzy, Chris, John, Gael, Jess, Gildu, Terry, Steph, Busha, Wilson

…and the rest of the pics. Make sure you have a comfy chair and a fresh beverage, because there are (gulp) more than 600 of them. They’re pretty amazing – check them out if you have time!

Vodpod videos no longer available.

Click play to begin, the speech bubble for captions, and the arrows to navigate — or just click here to launch a full-size view of the album.

Read Full Post »

Hungry for Hippos

The agenda item that got the boot in favor of an extra day in Mozambique was a stop in the St. Lucia wetlands. But since it’s only a 3-hour drive north of Durban, Gael and I scheduled a midweek makeup day!

She and I, and new American friend Dana, set out early  to catch a 10am cruise through the St. Lucia estuary in hopes of spotting a few of the famous St. Lucia hippos. And hippos we got! Piles and piles of them – huge ones, tiny ones, sleeping ones, fighting ones, yawning ones.

The estuary also houses lots of crocodiles, several species of birds, tons of monkeys, bok, and other wildlife – but you really go to see the pods and pods of hippos. Our guide said that it’s not that uncommon to walk out of a restaurant at night and see a hippo walking down the street on its way out for its nightly foraging expedition. We have a credit to spend at the hotel we had to cancel the previous week, so will report back on that one later!

So many hippos, you can't even tell which part belongs to which one.

Is there anything cuter than a hippo yawn?!

Don't miss the background of this shot - it's what's for dinner!

[Actual date: April 13]

Read Full Post »

Arch Nemesis

We’ve always wanted to climb the stadium arch (which is a real, legal activity), so added that to the to-do list for Gael’s visit. Having been thwarted in a previous attempt over the Christmas holidays due to high winds, we were sure that the clear, calm day we picked this time would be a winner. But, in typical fashion, the stadium authorities had decided that they would only open the climb for weekends.

Determined to get up there, we reluctantly agreed to ride along with the lazy masses in the sky-car. The rewards were awesome views of the city, and a free hair-straightening courtesy of the whipping winds!

[Actual date: April 11]

Read Full Post »

A Real Dusi

One of my clients was the primary sponsor this year for the Dusi (pronounced “doozy”) Canoe Marathon. The Dusi is a 120km paddle from Pietermaritzburg to Durban on the Msunduzi River. The race takes place over 3 days, there are about 20km’s of portage (carrying your boat on land), several rapids, and a hell of a good time.

You can paddle solo or with a partner, and several boats have a support crew to help them between stages. My co-worker Steve has completed 11 of these, and has done the ‘Durban Triathlon’ 10 times – maybe a record – which consists of the Dusi, the Midmar mile (an open water swim), and the Comrades Marathon (the world’s largest and oldest ultramarathon – 90Ks (55 miles)! First run in 1921, and coincidentally for all you ‘Noke readers, also completed by the current owner and manager of the Texas Tavern).

There’s a huge party for the support crews after day 2, so guess which day I attended? We had access to the VIP tent at the finish – lots of beers, great view of the paddlers coming in, and of the ‘Dusi Floozies’ welcoming paddlers on shore.

Day 2 finishes at Inanda Dam and we were supposed to take a boat cruise… which we missed. So, what did we get to do instead? Take a helicopter ride through the “Valley of 1000 Hills”.

I’ve alwsys wanted to ride in a helicopter and this is some of the most breathtakingly beautiful land I’ve ever seen. I got to see it while cruising in a tiny chopper at hair-raising speeds, with no doors, and close enough to the ground to buzz cows is some spots.

The area is home to formerly displaced individuals that were moved out of cities by the past Apartheid government. It unfortunately has the highest concentration of HIV anywhere in the world, but there are lots of initiatives underway to help. Our client who sponsors the race has sponsored over 5000 local orphans to attend crèches (day-cares) set up in the area, and next year will raise this sponsorship to 5000 creches!

What an amazing day.

Read Full Post »

Sunshine Day

Knock on wood (or “touch wood” as the SAfricans would say), the rainy season has finally ended! Here’s a peep from the balcony today.

Hello, blue sky!

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »