Ahh, the perks the Lord provides! Our kids were not thrilled to leave Cape Town for the first long trip of the year, but look what was at the first house where we are to stay for a week! Not only that, our host is an explosives person, just the sort of thing our boys are interested in.
Sunday after church we went for lunch at the game reserve where their daughter lives. This Red Hartebeest has a funny expression.
This Wildebeest seemed to take things pretty seriously.
This mama giraffe suddenly went crazy on the game preserve and had to be shot for running through fences. Only after she was dead did they discover she was expecting the little one. Sad. I guess most expecting moms can sympathize with the "going crazy" feelings.
Our kids are enjoying the extra space in the new car.
Our new (to us) Kia Sedona.
The Youngs are off on their first family road trip of 2010! With great vim and vigor we packed and paid bills and generally ran around like chickens with our heads cut off on Thursday afternoon, to prepare for an early start on Friday. All was going well, until an ATM ate Paul’s credit card!
We’re glad that happened at home, because we had our handy Magic Jack for cheap calls to the States to sort it all out. I was able to get some cash on my card, and we got the rates paid, and James and Gloria have something to live on, and we got to pay a bit on our car insurance, and can pay the rest somewhere along the way.
Next glitch in the plans: I got insomnia. 1:19 saw me awake and aware, and that was the end of sleep for me that night. I think I could have dozed off around 4 when Paul got up, so I gave up trying and started helping. We were on the road at 5:05 a.m. heading to Worchester for Paul’s first two preaching appointments. I won’t mention any names, but one of us was really struggling with gritty eye/grouchy mind syndrome. A long day stretched ahead.
One of our missionary friends, Jonathan DeSeno in Romania, asked where we were going and I teasingly told him, north, of course. Where else can you go from Cape Town? Actually you can also go east, but we did head north, through the impressive Huguenot Tunnel which is about 4 kilometers long and makes me think of Princess Diana about every time we go through it.
Worchester is grape growing territory which has rich farms of vineyards in a rocky valley. The craggy mountains always speak to me of how violent The Flood must have been to have tossed up the earth so high. But I just squinted at them through fat eyes with less than my usual appreciation for their awesome beauty.
We got to the first school early, so Paul had time for another sandwich before he went in. There was a little break before the second one so we went to a brand new mall in between to try to work on the insurance. Paul went to the bank, while the kids and I went to check out some new wheely things that are like a j-board that isn’t connected in the middle. The saleslady made it look easy to glide on, but I wasn’t fooled. It’s way out of my coordination league.
At the second school, I went into a "coma" in the car, while the kids worked (I hope) on their school work, and Paul went in to preach. My coma got interrupted once by a little boy calling, “Tanie” (auntie) very insistently. His top had fallen through the school bars and he wanted me to fetch it for him.
After that school, we really felt “on the way.” My nap had perked me up enough that I could drive and Paul could rest. First stop, the Hex River Valley. I posted pictures of that back in July, I think. We love to stop there and buy grapes, fresh and chilled, from a Padstal (farm shop) with lovely bathrooms.
With grapes and sandwiches for lunch, we had no need to stop until Beaufort West, about 4 hours down the road, but we did stop. There were several construction stops, and once a tractor trailer’s trailer had turned over.
We made it to Colesberg around 6 p.m. and hunted a bit for a place to stay, though not long as we all wanted to get out of the car. Next came a hunt for food. The elderly hotel we were staying in had a limited selection of meals, all delicious looking, but none inexpensive. We decided to walk around to find something more economical.
Colesberg was in Friday-night-celebration mode with many people staggering around drunk already. We found a little fast food joint where we had eaten once before, but it was just closing. They sent us to another restaurant, but after we’d walked awhile in the dark, we decided that the hotel food might not be such a bad idea. It was DELICIOUS when we finally got to tuck into that stuff around 8 p.m.
Our hotel was on a hill, so I wondered if I’d sleep well, in spite of my tiredness, because of the noise of the Kwikka Likka next door, and the shifting of big trucks as they came up or down the hill. Earplugs to the rescue! I popped those in and was unconscious for the better part of 9 hours.
Breakfast was a repeat of the night before. Hotel’s too expensive, walk through the streets, can’t find anything else, back to hotel.
Traveling on the national highways in South Africa, is a lot like traveling on major roads in the USA, but there are some differences. Of course we drive on the opposite side of the road, but some other differences are not so obvious.
1. Yellow line driving is acceptable here. The yellow line is down the side of the road, so people commonly pull over into that area (stopping lane) to let others pass making for a better flow of traffic, though more risky for pedestrians.
2. After someone pulls over like that for you, it is normal to flash the car’s hazard lights at them to thank for the courtesy of pulling over. So nice and proper.
3. There are no rest areas like in the States, but the “Petrol Ports” are very nice. They have gas/diesel, a restaurant, a play area for the kids, and toilets.
Day 2 was peaceful in the car. The kids did book work since they had exchanged Thursday for Saturday as a day off. We crossed out of the Karoo (semi desert), into the Free State (one of South Africa's 9 provinces) which was greener.
Besides written school, the kids are listening to audio lessons from Vision Forum on historic battles. Those CD’s make the kilometers fly by.
Around 4:30 we arrived at the house of Ben and Marietje McIntyre where we are to stay for the week. Ben just called the kids together and lined them up like a captain giving orders. When they were nice and nervous, he pronounced to them, that they must feel free, and feel happy. They are to get drinks without asking. He told them he likes to spoil kids, and he doesn't know how he got so blessed to have this chance to spoil American kids. :-) Very nice!
They have a pool with a long, wet slide into it, so the kids and Paul had a long swim to get the travel kinks out, while I watched and shivered.