Thursday, November 6, 2008

Downtown Knysna and the beach 11/5

As you can probably guess from the title of this posting, today we spent time downtown and at the beach. It was a very relaxing, vacationy kind of day. As an added bonus, the time spent downtown was without kids. Papa John graciously offered to keep both kids busy around our cottage so Darin could go to an internet cafe and my mom and I could get some shopping in. What a guy!

Darin dropped us off at the mall around 10. We decided to hook back up around 11 and then away we went. My mom and I had a great time. It was so nice to just walk around together, try on clothes, and just have a chance to talk. We made our way through the whole mall without making a purchase. I found a pair of jeans that I really wanted, but I needed a different size. The store they were at is in almost every mall in South Africa, so my new goal is to hit all the Foschini's from here to Jo-berg until I find these jeans. We left the mall and found some other stores to browse through. I found a dress for Jori to wear when she gets a bit older, but other than that, we left empty handed. We started going down some side streets poking through some boutiques, but I guess neither of us were seeing anything that we just had to have. We got a text from Darin and decided to meet up at the mall again for coffee. We finished our snack, and then I had one last stop to make before we headed back home. I made my way to a hairdresser to get my eyebrows waxed. It had to be done. You guys out there may not understand, but most of you ladies know that if I waited until I got back to the often dreary state of Michigan to get my brows waxed I would have a very noticeable white line below my brow. At least out here I have a chance to even out the tan on my eyebrows, although I have been hearing that Michigan is seeing some sun right now too.

Aren't you all feeling so much better now that you know how I spent my morning? We got back home a little before noon. Papa and Tyson were hanging out on the front porch together and Jori was taking a much needed nap. Those of us who had gone to town ate a quick lunch and started packing up our things for the beach. Jori woke up a bit sooner than we expected, so we piled into the van and headed out.

We got to the beach a bit before 1. It was a beautiful, sunny day, but there was quite a lot of wind at the beach. Wind and sand are not the most pleasant combination as you can imagine. We saw a bunch of people using big rocks as a kind of blockade from the wind, so we tried to do the same, only our rock was not wide enough to offer much protection. This didn't seem to affect anyone but my mom and me, as we were the only ones trying to lay out. The kids were running all over the place, Darin was wondering around the top half of the beach, and my dad was combing the bottom half for shells. My mom decided to join my dad, so that left me to keep an eye on all of our things. I was laying face down most of the time to keep the sand out of my eyes and mouth, so I don't know that I would have noticed if someone had sneaked up and grabbed one of our bags, but I did peek up every once in a while. Jori wandered up by me after a bit and I decided to bury her legs in the sand. She thought that was great fun. Tyson decided to join her a bit later. Darin came and helped me bury both of them so we could surprise grandma who was on her way back to our big rock.

After my mom came back and told us there was less wind where she and my dad had been, we decided to pack up all of our stuff and head over there. I wish we had gone their first. Not only was there less wind, but there were tide pools with all sorts of cool creatures, little caves for the kids to hide in, and a big rock to climb up. Darin, Tyson and my dad all headed up the rock first. There was a ladder bolted on to the bottom of the rock to help the beginning of the climb, so they all skittered right up. Tyson was having a great time being one of the guys. They were having so much fun that I decided to join them too. I am glad they told me to put my shoes on because the rocks up there were so sharp. Again, the combo of heights, water and my kids was too much for me. I did climb up to the top, but was so paranoid that Tyson was going to blow right off the rock into the swirling water below. I think my fear rubbed off on Tyson who started saying he wanted to go down NOW.

We climbed back down and headed to the tide pools. There were anemones, clams, a jellyfish, and more. The water in the tide pools was nice and warm, so Tyson was having fun splashing around in his private “pool for one”. Jori and my mom joined us and we tossed her in one of the tide pools too to get some of the sand off of her body. Then we headed back to where our things were and checked out a couple little caves. The sand in the caves was nice and cool and soft. Once again, it was amazing to see all the the hands of God have made. Really, who but God could make an anemone that closes itself up as soon as you touch it, or a jellyfish that looks like a harmless blob, but is able to defend itself, or rocks that look like castles?

We had been at the beach for over two hours and were all starting to feel a bit burned. So we packed up our stuff and started walking back to our van. Jori ended up having a major breakdown and I had to carry her up the hill. Fun fun. We made it to the van, piled in and headed back to our cottage. For the rest of the afternoon, we sat around outside and watched the wildlife that lives in the complex where our cottage is. There are so many Guinea Hens around here. I just love those birds. They are so funny looking and when they take off running I get the giggles. I managed to take a little video of them running, after my mom sneaked behind our cottage and scared a group of them towards me. There is also a small herd of Bontebok, which look pretty similar to the deer we see in the states. They are so tame that my mom managed to get within two feet of the baby and even Tyson and Jori were within 6 or 7 feet of it too. There are also some ugly looking ducks, pigeons, and all kinds of other birds that just come on our lawn and start squawking.

Being down here, you could totally forget you are in Africa. It looks so much more like somewhere in the Pacific Northwest, or even parts of Michigan. It is cooler here because we are so close to the ocean, and even the trees and grass are different from what we had up in Hammanskraal. I think it will make it easier to make the transition to being back home after spending so much time away from our “Africa House” and being in a totally different environment, but Darin and I both really miss OUR Africa right now.

It is just after 9. The kids have been in bed since 6:15. They were totally wiped out. We already played both of our card games, watched some news about the election, and now Darin and my dad are watching a Cricket game. Why? I don't know, but they are. Tomorrow we are heading to Oudtshoorn, which is famous for its Ostrich Farms. After tomorrow, some of us will be able to add Ostrich riding to our list of things we have done. From Oudtshoorn we head to Graaff-Reinet, where we will be sleeping for the night. The night after that we are staying in Bloemfontein and then we will go to Sasolberg, staying with Fenna and her family. Fenna is the niece of “Oma” Tena from our old church in Bellflower. Darin and I actually stayed with them the first time we were in Africa in 2002. Then, six days from tonight, we will be boarding the first of three planes that will be taking us back home to Michigan. Time sure is flying by.

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