Monday, June 30, 2008

Day with Granny, Shopping, and Steak Dinner

This morning, Jimmy dropped us off at Granny Leah's house and we spent several hours there. It was so great. I am pretty sure that was our first long in-person conversation with our Grandma EVER. So it was totally amazing.

She gave us WAY too much food, and we helped make lunch. I chopped veggies for the salad, and also fine-tooth combed the flat for stuff that was broken or things that she would need for her house, but might not remember to tell us.

Granny's super excited friend Ruby came over later and she was very nice, she also made us some muffins!

After a nice long visit, we came back to Mookie's house via an amazing grocery store!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!It was soooo good and sooooooooooooo cheap! We bought dried mango, borewors, dried guava, the whole lot.

This evening we went out for dinner to Founders Grill with Cyril Donniger and his wife. It was very very interesing to hear about the family tree. The food was just fantasic and the stories were cool and hilarious. Awesome times.

Granny's temperamental cat


Granny and Norm chatting

Soup from Granny's neghbour

Norm and Ruby

Beurowors, classic SA food

Biltong, the other classic SA food

Koeksisters!!!!!!!! These are like small honey doughnut pastries

Norm and a HUGE Avocado

Pawpaws, so good!! Like a USA Papaya.

Super weird!??!?!? Bring your own bottle to fill up... with Milk?!

Me, Norm, and the security guard

More Biltong

Amazing skewers

Sweet purchases, this was all $20!!!!! Amazing.

Out with Cyril and his wife

Mm... steak

Another one with everybody

Sorting out the flights

Today was awesome. This morning I got up and sorted out our flights. Due to the previous commotion with SAA in New York (as I mentioned in the previous post), we ended up on a different flight on the way to Jo'Burg. Turns out the computer system thought that since we had changed flights, we were still in Dakar and didn't make it to Johannesburg, so it automatically cancelled our return flight!!!!!!!! Insane. Anyway I called and the nice lady at the SAA Jo'Burg office sorted it out for us and got us both back on the flight.

I was pretty concerned about it as I got an email from Expedia last night saying there had been a change to our itinerary and something had been cancelled... man that was nuts.

Anyway after some worry and then calling a few people, I got it all sorted out. :)

Sunday, June 29, 2008

South Africa: Arrival and Day 1

We arrived in Johannesburg last night, and lots of people met us at the airport. My Uncle Allan (Affie) and his wife Glenda met us at the airport, along with my Granny Leah, and Uncle Jimmy, Cousin James and Aunt Denise (Mookie).

We drove back to their house and had a nice dinner with my Granny, Mookie, Jimmy and James. It was so nice to chat and just SO cool to be here. Mookie told us about how there has been "power sharing" recently, and the government has been scheduling 3 hr time blocks where they just turn of ALL your power to conserve energy. Kinda like daily scheduled rolling blackouts. Crazy. She also told us that if you "run a bath", you need to run the next one right afterwards, or all the hot water is gone for at least 2 hrs... she said "Remember... you're in Africa now!" And giggled a lot. Funny. Lots of things already remind me how different it is in Canada, and especially in the USA. The idea of the government forcing you to conserve energy by shutting off all your city's power for several hours in the middle of the day, or at night when you're trying to cook dinner... wow. I can't imagine that ever happening in the USA. Yet people here seem frustrated, they say, "Well, what can you do?" and they live with it. Seems like the over-consumers in America could benefit from living here for a month or two...

Anyhow, social commentary aside - we had some nice tea and chilled out and then went to bed pretty early, and slept for ages.

This morning we got up and had an amazing breakfast outside in the sun, it rocked. Then gave some presents and took off to pick up Granny. We saw her apartment, it seems quite nice. Norm and I are going to spend some time with just Granny tomorrow morning and cook some breakfast with her. She is so happy to see us, and was so excited last night at the airport she said she was shaking. Shame. :) Anyway it will be awesome. Then saw a pic of my Dad, Granny and his 2 brothers when they were teenagers, it looks so funny. We took it so we can scan it.

Then to Uncle Affie's house as it is his birthday today. We saw LOTS of wild and interesting things on the way, the craziest of which is something called a "Taxi" - it is sortof like a mini-bus, which zooms around on the road, drives very badly, and cuts off cars all the time. People flag it down at random places (it doesn't have any normal stops) and it just stops. The "hoot" their horns all the time. It is very disorganized, over-packed, and crazy. It also appears to be a Blacks-only transport. Although it's not specifically segregated, only Blacks take it. We've only been here a day, and you certainly see these kind of old remnants of apartheid still lingering here.

Uncle Affie's house was hilarious and totally crazy!! He is a big character, and he has 9 cats, like 7 dogs and 5 birds, and 1 rabbit. It was soooo funny, and the animals were awesome. It was a bit like a petting zoo, and I suggested he open up a petting zoo and his huge guard dog could be the bouncer.

We had a great time, met Uncle Affie's wife for the first time, and a step-cousin of mine, and Mark Jutan (our first cousin, Affie's son) showed up with his wife Bea, who we haven't met yet. She was ecstatic about the Yoda card I gave to Affie for his birthday.

We dropped off Granny, then back home. Then Shelly and Clive picked us up. Shelley went to high school and then to Teacher's College in South Africa with my Mom. We met them ages ago, and they were very nice and took us out for some nice food. I got a Bagel and Lox with a Kola Tonic (awesome South African drink) and Norm got a crazy Biltong Salad with a Peartizer drink, sooooo good!!!!!!!

Then back home and then out to watch James's Youth Group play in their Youth Band, it was really good and James led the service too, and rocked out on his guitar - he's very good!!

Then home again for dinner and tea. And now the blogging. Now I'm caught up so I'm gonna try to stay as current as I can on the blog so I don't have to spend hours blogging every night here. :)

Now for lots of photos.

In Segegal

Amazing views

Flying over Africa

Norm and I after about 16 hrs on the plane

Haha, Lemonade in South Africa is sortof like Sprite

Mountains near Jo'Burg

Norm on the computer

Haha the dog is funny


James and the dog

The pool

Mookie making us an amazing brunch, eggs, toast, fried tomatoes and bananas and kippers

Norm and I at brunch outside


This crazy new building is a bank?!!!

These are the "Taxis"

Picking up Granny

Granny's cat

Funny Police Car

Turn off to Gold Reef City, the theme park we went to when I visited in 1992

Uncle Affie!!!!

The guard dog, hehe his name is "Tyson"

Lots of cats


Norm with "Crow" - this is short for "Velcro" because he "sticks to you"

Funny bird

This dog was so funny

Crow again

Another nice cat

Erin with the bunny

Cute cats

More birds

A Melktert - "Milk Tart"!!!!!!! So good!!!!!!! Kinda like custard.

Me and Granny showing off the pie

Beautiful photo of Me, Granny Leah and Norma


Haha another doggie, this guy apparently LOVES coffee, and he kept trying to get into my coffee cup!!


Norm joking with Granny

Another cat

"Chicken Licken", funny place on the way back

Corner stores

More of the drive back

This man was selling brooms on the side of the road! He loved that we took his photo.

Funny drinks like a Rooibus Cappucino

Shelley and Clive

Shelley, Clive, adnd our food

Norm's biltong salad!!

Back at the house with Shelley and Clive