Thanksgiving 2010 in Drakensburg, ZA

We left early Thursday morning for the 4 hour drive to Drakensburg, ZA, We were going with several other families that Brian knows through work. The scenery was AWESOME. I have never seen mountains so green. I hope to post some pictures soon.
Friday morning Brian got up and played golf with a few friends. Mikaela and I stayed around the hotel playing on the playground. Friday afternoon Brian and I went for a 2 hour horseback tour of the mountains. I don't think Brian will ride a horse again - EVER - but we had fun and the mountains were phenomenal. Mikaela went with a group of people on the Blue Grotto hike. She was carried in a back pack which she thought was great. Curtis, who was carrying her, said she kept saying, "I'm in a backpack!" She does enjoy Dora.
We all meet back at the pool, where the water was FREEZING!!!. but refreshing for a quick dip. I went up to the room on a whim to get a snack and found a monkey in our room! Scared me to death! He found sugar packets, tomatoes, and took my whole lemon and poppyseed loaf of bread! Everyone in our group laughed and said that we were "South African rookies". Obviously it is wide known to keep all balcony doors shut because monkeys will come in your room. lesson learned.
Saturday morning, Brian and I kept a little girl named Kate while her parents did the canopy tour. That afternoon we were to switch kids so Brian and I could do the canopy tour. Brian and I decided that we would do the Blue Grotto hike that morning with the girls. The hike is supposed to take 2 and a half hours up the mountain and down. So we put the girls in our backpacks, the second time for each of the girls but it was our first hike. Little did we know......
The packs with the girls are about 40pounds extra weight and we underestimated "the mountain". I honestly don't know what we were thinking. But we completed the entire hike within 4 and a half hours. We ate a quick lunch and went to the Canopy Tours.
On the Canopy Tours we did 12 ziplines through the mountain trees. It was neat to go over all that we had hiked earlier that morning. I hope to get pictures up later. Unfortunately the videographer was in training so the video and some of the pictures are poor quality. But if you ever get the opportunity to do any Canopy Tour, I would strongly suggest you do it. It was awesome.
Sunday consisted of lounging by the pool. Truth be told, I couldn't hardly walk up the hill after Mikaela rode the pony Sunday morning. The only other time I have been so sore was after the Tarboro Softball tournament. So, my New Year's Resolution early is to get in better shape. If we keep taking such physically demanding vacations, I am going to need to do something!!!! Glad we have a whirlpool! Well, I have written enough for now. Hope to have pictures coming soon.
Happy belated Thanksgiving to all of our family and friends! We miss y'all. Love y'all!!!!!!!!

Master bed and bath

Mikaela's room


funny story

On the way to eat Mexican downtown Joburg, we saw a sign that read "beware of the blind". We thought it odd being at an intersection downtown but what made it classic is that the next intersection was a sign that read "Marco Polo"!!!!! Maybe you had to be there.


Elephant Sanctuary

Elephant sanctuary this morning was great. Glad we did the early tour, because it got hot out there. Mikaela enjoyed brushing, feeding and petting the elephants. They are huge animals!!! This elephant here is Timba, I think. She was the biggest out of the 4 they had out. Mikaela even got kissed by an elephant!!!!! She wasn't too sure what to do with t
Brian has to edit some of the pictures I took because I do not have the best technique. Not to mention a few of the scenic country shots I was taking was from a moving vehicle's window.

FYI, Brian has mustache because he and the guys from work are doing "Movember" in support of Prostate Cancer Awareness. He is sporting "The Trucker". Joy joy - but for a great cause!


Rainy this morning but clearing up I think. Played volleyball last night and I think playing again tonight. It is indoor sand volleyball. I think Barrett and Nancy would love to play here or at an establishment like it. I wish we had them on our team!!!
Anyway, the realtor took me and Mikaela out to orient us to the town. We live in Midrand, which is outside of Joburg. I feel better about going places after she showed me how close things really are.
Communicating is really funny. The stop lights are robots. A car's trunk is a boot. Good-bye is chow. just a few examples. not to mention the accent and that most people talk fast. Brian has chuckled a few times at me trying to understand what someone is telling me. But everyone has been very patient and understanding.
Brian and I hope to take some pictures of the surrounding area soon and get them up so everyone can see how beautiful it is here.
We are going to Drakensburg for Thanksgiving and maybe to Victoria Falls for Christmas.


First weekend

We attended a birthday party today and it was nice to meet people. I still have not driven out of the estate but Brian says I will tomorrow. I have to go to the grocery store. I will let you know how it goes.
I did get to call dad and Aunt Cathy today. It worked well. I hope to get some scheduled times to skype with people. Dad and Aunt Cathy don't have internet so it was nice to talk to them for the first time. Otherwise I will keep in touch via facebook or email for more individual communication.
Mikaela has adjusted to the time difference now. She slept through the night starting Wednesday but I woke up every hour to go check on her. It was like having an infant all over again.
Well, getting late and need to start the "night night" routine for Mikaela.

Mikaela sliding at nearby park

Mikaela in our backyard


Landed and Settling

We arrived here after a very long flight Saturday early afternoon to see the Trick or Treaters out and about in the neighborhood. The other families that Brian knows through work also bought us dinner that night. Everyone has been super nice. Mikaela is still adjusting to the time change. Waking up around 2am wide awake. That is not fun. I have no pictures yet but I have just now unpacked all of the bags and trying to organize things. We have met the owners of the house and they are very nice. Which is good because there are a lot of antique pieces in this house and we have a 2 year old. Granted she is a good 2 year old. Internet is not the best over here so things will be very hit or miss. I really would like to talk to some people from back home.
I did drive the car for the first time today!!! Interesting. I did not leave the neighborhood. There is a shopping center directly across the street from the estate. Maybe tomorrow if I am feeling brave. Brian and I have gone to some of the bigger stores which is not far. However, nothing opens before 9am and closes by 5:30 or 7 at the latest. Hard for Brian to get home from work then go to the store with me. I have not found coffee filters to go with the coffee maker in the house so mornings have been a slow start. Not to mention that they start at 2am with Mikaela.
Mikaela and I did go to the park today. It is a nice breezy 81 degrees. There is no air conditioning in the house but every window is open and it is not bad at all. We have had some awesome storms since we have been here. Almost every night. It ends as quick as it comes. But the lightning streaks are magnificent.
I will try to keep this up dated and get pictures on here as soon as I snap a few.