Tuesday, December 12, 2006

Back from a Good Break

So, I'm back & refreshed ... well, I was until I sorted thru my unread emails and played catch-up with what's been happening at work since last Wednesday, now I'd happily take another few days off!

Righto, on with what I've been up to. Wednesday eve was so long ago I can barely remember, but I think Bean & I had a quiet one watching an episode or two of Prison Break.

Thursday was a bit of a late start, you've gotta take an non-alarm wake-up where you can get it and since we'll be in B&Bs for the next couple of days and for some reason they all seem to serve breakfast before 10am and I don't like to go down to breakfast in my unpresentable, just-emerged morning state, there won't be much chance. So we set off around 10:30 and drove thru to Ballito.

We checked into our Ballito B&B, Casa del Mar. It's a sort of interesting set up where Dot (the owner) lives in the house herself. So it's kinda like staying with some distant relatives, but you're paying and they make you breakfast. It turned out to be a nice place tho and I liked the sea views from our room. Although in typical me-visiting-Natal style, the Weatherman made sure it was overcast and drizzly the entire time he knew I was in the province!

That evening, Bean & I enjoyed a drink at a beach-side local spot called Hops and then went on to dinner at the Galley. It was okay, nothing earth-shattering.

On Friday before the wedding, we went and browsed the new Mr Price Sport that had just opened. It seems fun if you're into sporting goods and I can't speak for the quality of their goods, but the prices seemed fairly reasonable. Plus, I liked the store design & whatnot. Then we went and lazed on the beach for a bit. Never before have I felt like such a true Joburger, me in a bikini lying on the sand hoping for a few rays of sunshine to glint thru the thick cloud cover. Hell, tihs was my December (that should mean Summer!) beach holiday, I was at the coast and dammit, I was going to enjoy the beach and everything that comes with it, sun, sand & surf ;) So much for that, eventually after I decided getting in the water wasn't going to happen due to the wind and it's wind chill factor, we packed up and headed off for some lunch.

Dot had mentioned this little coffee shop so we thought, why not. It turned out to be a highlight of my trip :) The Waterberry is a restaurant/coffee spot at the bottom of Leonora Drive in Ballito and is fabulous (why do these people not have a web-presence? How annoying!). The food was good, the portions were the right size and they have a jungle for you to walk thru after - I love a good jungle ;) A really brilliant lunch & I would recommend you all visit it when you're in the area!

Then we headed back to Casa del Mar to get ready and headed out to Braeside for the 3:30 ceremony. We'd been there before, in April for Bean's cousin's wedding. It is a lovely outdoor venue and it didn't disapoint (and they have a great koi pond, a must for me). The wedding was lovely, the bride looked radiant. A little too religious for me, but that's just personal preference. Oh, and we all learnt a lesser-known wedding truth: Don't pick hymns because you like what they say, pick them because they are well known and people will sing-along to them. The hymn-singing was dismal. But hey, that's just one small part. Anyway, an enjoyable evening was spent at the Burton family table and we were fairly well represented. Good fun catching up on all that family goss! Congrats to the happy couple, Lauren & Ross :)

Saturday morning saw us checking out of Casa del Mar and heading up to St Lucia for the next lreg of our mini-break. We stayed at the Elephant Coast Guest House (poor logo!) and it was a winner choice. We had a lovely room with a wooden deck next to the pool (unused). But, more importantly, they border a stretch of empty land that gave us the perfect opportunity to watch a large porcupine eating fruit on both evenings. So, we had an afternoon to kill before our Turtle tour at 9pm. We decided to head up to Cape Vidal. Was a good drive and we were lucky enough to watch quite a few wild animals along the way. Cape Vidal offered up a similar "I am clearly now a Joburger" beach experience, this time I did brave the waves & rough current tho. But, alas no sun for me. In fact the clouds that were brewing would spell disaster for our tour later that night. We enjoyed dinner at The Greek Sizzler. Please note when visiting St Lucia, that all restaurants serve the exact same menu options. But, I had prawns so I was happy :) And then it started to rain, with all the bells & whistles, thunder & lightning that a storm has to offer. This did not bode well for our tour.

I'll tell you now, upfront, that we did not get to see any turtles. It was a disappointment :( and the worst part is, R500 would've been a fine expense, if we'd seen them ... but the most exciting thing we saw in the wild was a little bush-baby (admitedly, fairly exciting). Right, SA Park Board and whoever else, listen up: you should seriously be considering the whole concept of special rates for the locals. In pounds or dollars R500 to not see turtles doesn't seem too bad, but to me & my hard earned SA Rand, I wanted to see those turtles at that expense. And the problem arrives in that it is simply just too expensive to try again the following night. Because I'm certainly not shelling out a Grand to not see turtles - the weather did not improve and we kept telling ourselves it would've been a waste. But secretly you just think what if tonight they find them? Blegh, annoying. But, although frozen and damp, we had a lovely 1am stroll along an untouched stretch of coast. Pretty unreal! I felt a bit like a penguin in my borrowed poncho, but as a group we looked like some weird druid-ish clan. Pretty funny at that time of night, I'll tell you. Oh, and freezing! I think everyone nodded off on the drive back.

So we did have a non-alarm morning after all. Well, getting in at 3:30am, I certainly wasn't going to bother trying to make the 10am breakfast cut-off. I was certain lunch would be a far more viable option, anyway. We did eventually emerge on Sunday morning and even had a late breakfast thanks to the B&B - they must be used to the folks who've been out turtle-touring late into the night! And then we went to see if we could find a hippo or two in the estuary. Yep, one and her calf ... but she wasn't doing anything particularly interesting (twirling an umbrella?) so we decided to go on one of st. Lucia's walking trails. It was lovely, a jungle in the mist. Truly relaxing. I kept expecting to see a fairy in the tangle of trees :) After a hot choc & shared waffle at the local Wimpy, we decided to brave the doom & gloom weather once more & try another trail. Well, we were lucky I'm such a fabulous navigator because the trail was erratic at best and more often than not cluttered with debris of fallen branches and signs of unuse! Well, we didn't get lost - thank goodness - and arrived back at the car unscathed. And other than spotting some wild buck along the way and a crab here or there, it wasn't too eventful. And sometimes uneventful is what you need, no one needs to find themselves face to face with and angry wild animal when they are alone & no one knows where they are! Agreed.

We lazed away the rest of the afternoon, feeling a little guilty for wasting our holiday time. But sometimes you just need some time to do nothing to really relax. We enjoyed a Platter for 2 at Ocean Basket for dinner that night - yay, more prawns for me :) and woke early on Monday morning to see if we could fit in a hippo & croc boat cruise before heading home. And you'll never guess, for the first time in days, the sun appeared. Bloody typical. We did get to go on one of the cruises that morning and it was worth it - I got to see a hippo yawning up close (well, closer than thru my TV!). It was very cool.

And then we drove home, for hours & hours & hours - thanks Bean for getting us there safely :) No time for belly-dancing, but I did make it in time for the Grey's Anatomy finale. OMG, could that have been a more hectic & wrenching episode ? I haven't been watching the show long but I'm hooked.

So, that was my looong weekend. I enjoyed it, except for the sheer lack of turtles :( And now, back to work after this marathon post!

1 comment:

akika said...

thanks for the photos... it looks like it was lots of fun. so ... what interesting family stuff did you learn? send it on this way!
pity about the turtles...

Blog Widget by LinkWithin