Thursday, September 18, 2008

Are we there yet? 9/12

We left on Friday for Pilanesburg. We headed out for our place around 10. There were 7 of us in a 5 passenger vehicle. It was not very comfortable. I am not sure if either kid was in a car seat. That has been a big change for us over here. When it is just the 4 of us, our kids will be in their car seats, but since we've been here, one or both of them has been sitting on someone's lap or standing up on a seat (when we are just heading across the road) with no seatbelt on. We would not be able to go anywhere with two kids in car seats with the extra adults. Ok, so that was an aside. Back to heading out. Our first stop was to get the rental car. We had rented a 7 passenger vehicle from a guy named Cees (sounds like cease), a Dutch guy who moved here a couple years ago and now runs a huge B&B and rents out cars on the side. We could have fit the 7 of us without any problem, except for the luggage we had with us. Robin, another girl from Innotec who had been here for a month, was heading back home on Sunday. The plan was to take her straight to the airport from Pilanesburg so we had her two big suitcases along. We also had our backpack and another bag with our stuff for the weekend, Jason and Liz's backpack and some random bags with food and odds and ends. With all the stuff, we ended up having two adults up front, 2 adults and a car seat in the middle, and one adult, 2 suitcases, a kid on a lap, and the extra car seat in the back. Guess who was in the back most of the ride? If you guessed me, you'd be correct. It was not only uncomfortable, but trying to hold a squirming two year old for 2 hours was no picnic.

So imagine us heading down the road. Tyson now has a fever and is moaning and crying on and off in the middle seat. Jori is begging for snacks in the back seat. I am frantically searching for the food bag, but it is wedged between the back seat and the hatch. Did I mention that the hatch also has a very annoying rattle and that I can feel air rushing in where there should be no air? Darin's window also seems to have problems. It either goes up super slow and barely closes, or goes up super slow and stops an inch from the top. The right passenger door (the driver's side here in SA) is also looking a little sketchy. There is a visible gap between the hinge side of the door and the frame of the car. Can you picture it?

Around noon, we arrived at the Hartbeespoort Dam. We got out and were swarmed by men selling everything from wooden coasters to oranges. Some of us went to see the dam and take pictures. Darin stayed behind with Tyson, who is now burning up and looking pretty pathetic. We got back to the van and were swarmed again. I was on the driver's side with the kids being ignored by all other adults, who didn't seem to notice that one of our “friends” was begging me for money. He said he was so hungry, so I told him to eat his oranges. Is that mean or what? Finally it was time to get back in the POS (if you don't know what that means, ask someone who does. This is a child friendly blog you know). We went across the dam for a quick peek of the town. God was smiling down on us, because when we pulled to the shoulder to get a picture, we discovered that we had a flat tire. Everyone piled out, except for Tyson, who was still miserable, and me, as I was sandwiched into my backseat corner. They got the spare down and discovered that it too was somewhat flat. It was better than the original tire, so they proceeded to change the tire on the edge of the road, by a huge drop off that led to water. I was feeling a bit ill because I can't stand being so near to an edge like that. Gives me the heebie jeebies. While we are trying to fix the POS, we see another vehicle on the side of the road being pushed directly at us by 5 guys. Turns out some ladies were having car trouble and some guys were “helping them” (we found out from another person who stopped that they are known crooks, which is why he pulled over to keep an eye on things). So Darin and Jason go take a look at that car. The POS had random tools in the back that they needed. So we left Jason and the tools with the crooks and the ladies. Then we headed into town to put air in the tire and spare. There was a small leak in the original tire, but it was easily fixed by 2 guys at a petrol(gas) station. So we now have air in both tires (in case we have another flat) and we go back to get Jason. We have to wait until the other vehicle is fixed because they are using our tools. We finally leave. It is well after lunch, which I am sure we ate, but I couldn't tell you where or what. It's all a blur. Perhaps we ate before we even got to the dam. Oh, now I vaguely remember eating some sausage wrapped in a croissant type thing in my back seat corner that Darin got at a gas station shortly after we went to the mall to pick up the rental that Cees' mother had taken (how nice) and left on empty. It's all coming back to me now.

So we are done with the dam. We are now heading to a place called Chameleon Village, which is like a big flea market/indoor souvenir shop kind of place. It's huge. We have a hyper active Jori running loose and a sick Tyson in a stroller that is meant for a much smaller child. Seriously, it is like a doll stroller. He couldn't even lay back in it because his head would get stuck in the canopy. Poor kid. Darin and I have done the souvenir thing several times before and know that we do not ever end up displaying anything we buy. In fact, most of it has ended up at garage sales. So I picked out a couple bracelets and we bought a pair of wooden hippos. We will be going back to that area when my parents are here, and hopefully everyone will be healthy then. We did manage to find some medicine for Tyson. One of the vendors, who had some bracelets on hold for me while I looked around, actually directed us to another stall. There was a little old lady, wearing a head covering and bright red lipstick selling a variety of items you'd find at a Rite-Aid or Walgreens. Lotion, deodorant, soaps, etc. Thankfully there was the random fever reducer too. We left the others to shop and we went to one of the restaurants that was in the same complex. We ate dessert and then Tyson seemed to perk up a bit. We went back to the shops to find the others. Jori was a great source of entertainment. She was a hit with the vendors. She would giggle and dance and have them chase her. Kind of a flirt. We were just glad she was in a good mood. She did pick up random things from different stalls, but the vendors were all watching and made sure they got their things back from her.

We left Chameleon Village around 4:30 and headed towards our lodging for the night. It was about a 45 minute drive. We were wedged in even tighter now with all the purchases people had made. When we pulled up to Leisure Farms, I was not so sure I wanted to get out. Seriously, it was all a bit sketchy. Thankfully, our rooms weren't in the same place that we prepaid for our two night stay. We were directed to a much more normal looking place. I don't think we will be staying there again. I am not sure that things had actually been cleaned before we arrived. Such is life. We dropped off our stuff to make some more space in the van and headed out to find some food. We ended up eating at another lodge. Jori spent most of the meal collecting cloth napkins and putting them in piles. Tyson played his Leapster, tried to sleep and cried for his car seat most of the time. We were all so hungry. I ordered a hamburger and was a little surprised when a whole fish was brought out with my baked potato. Apparently when I said “Tropical Hamburger”, which Robin then repeated for me, our server thought I wanted fish. Eventually I got the burger, Darin had steak, Jori ate a hot dog and fries and Tyson had nothing.

Then it was back to Leisure Farms where we all totally sacked out until morning. I'll have to write about that adventure later. Be prepared for more incidents in the POS. Yes, I said MORE incidents.

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