As I write this blog, I sit looking at a World map on the wall next to me, and I can't quite believe
how far I am from home - it seems quite surreal actually. If I closed my eyes I could probably trick myself into thinking I was at home... except for the calls of bird life outside the window, and the humidity in the air.
Today marks a week since Tim and I arrived in South Africa... we have been very spoilt upon our arrival as we have been staying with Darryl's parents (Eddie and Lorraine Tinker), and they have a lovely big home with a big swimming pool and all the amenities one could ask for - Eddie and Lorraine have been wonderful to us and made us feel right at home here. We are staying 40km's from Johannesburg in a place called Boksburg. We are actually yet to venture within Joburg itself, and from what the locals tell us we doubt whether we will as it's well known for crime - although Tim is heading into Joburg today as part of Darryl's bucks party!
The first 3 days of our trip were very relaxing... spent lying by the pool and snoozing in the afternoon (was a great way to get over the 24hr plane trip!). Eddie has a room called "the room of death" here which is FULL of animal heads... animal's he has actually shot himself - they are his trophies... the prized catches are the warthog and the Zebra (when we get quicker Internet speeds I will upload a photo). Tomorrow Eddie is taking us shooting (only clay shooting, I don't think I quite have the stamina for real hunting just yet!).
A couple of days ago Tim, Darryl, and I drove down near Durban for the first wedding (Claire and Brad). We stayed at a lovely estate called 'St Ives', which used to be a horse ranch - there were Zebra's roaming free in the area and a lot of bird life too. Our accommodation was luxury compared to the backpacking we are heading for in a week or two. The wedding was gorgeous, and we partied well into the new year with Claire and Brad's friends and family (South Africans are BIG drinkers... one of the fave drinks is a 'John Deer' which is Creamy Soda and Vodka... Creamy Soda here is green, so the drink is a bright green colour).
I have been quite surprised with the weather here, the day of the wedding was sweltering... but it actually doesn't often get past 35 degrees - not like in the 40's at home... I think this will change as we head North in a couple of weeks though... most nights we have been here there have been massive thunder and lightening storms (one just finished now)... the night of the wedding there was a most spectacular one which set the mood nicely (luckily we were all indoors!).
I am going to have to start a fitness program before Kilimanjaro... we have been eating like kings, and people drink coke here like it's water (I haven't had much trouble following suit) - also smokes are quite cheap, so I have to cut that vice before it rules me!
After Darryl's wedding on the 9th of Jan, we plan to head up to Pretoria (Sth Africa's capital) and have a look around before venturing into Mozambique for some beach action (and scuba diving!).
All in all we are having a wonderful time, and thanks to the generosity of friends are living it up at the moment (if only this would last!)
I'll write again.... Just now (here 'just now' basically means whenever the person feels like... it's a terminology I will be bringing back home)
PS. Oh, and safety wise... all is good here as Eddie and Lorraine have a fully gated home with an electric fence surrounding it, so if anyone does try to break in... they will fry themselves!!