A lot has happened since my last post in March...
We went to Swaziland with mom and dad and had an amazing time. We had our own two-bedroom cabin (complete with working fireplace and wrap-around porch) in the Mlilwane reserve, home to several rehabilitated species that I hadn't seen on other safaris in Africa. We had an incredible safari in the Mkhaya reserve for endangered species. While we didn't see black rhino, we sure did get up close and personal with about 12 elephants and got trumpeted at. Awesome. We bought incredible glass souvenirs, hand-woven baskets, and handmade jewelry. Perfect, incredible trip.
In April, we set the date to move back to the USA: October 20, 2010. There was just something special about 10/20/2010 that it seemed right. We'll set foot on USA soil on 10/21/2010 and probably take a couple weeks off work to figure out where to live, what to do about a car, ahhhhhhhhh. Very scary, but very, very exciting. I will have been gone from the USA for over 27 months. As the song says, "Still in peaceful dreams I see the road leads back to you..."
I traveled to Namibia for work twice - once in April, once in May. I'm wishing we had time to go back, but I'm thinking it just won't happen while we're here unless we take some serious time off work before we head back and I'm not sure that I can. We really wanted to go out to the desert at Sossusvlei, but oh well - it may just not be meant to be for now.
Our buddy Zach is here and we're so happy to have company again! We just got back from a 3 night stay in Cape Town - quite possibly the best trip to Cape Town yet! We stayed at an awesome apartment in Kalk Bay with ocean views, heated floors, and cable TV. Its one of the first times when the pictures on the website look EXACTLY like the place! We ate at Cafe Olympia no less than 4 times - potato & bacon soup, tomato & lentil soup, linguine del mar, scrambled egg breakfast with arugula (why is that so very good???), french toast croissants (sinful), and massive fresh berry parfaits. Yum, yum, yumyumyum.
We did the great white shark trip I've been dreaming of forever and yes, not only did I see lots of great white sharks, I did see one jump out of the water for a seal! And the seal got away - awesome (or not? Ask yourself!)! It was amazing to be a part of the circle of life. Will and Zach got in the cage and took some amazing close-up pics of the sharks. Its surprising how gentle they actually are - its not at all like you see on TV with them munching on the side of a boat. Who knows. The only bad thing was I got terribly sea sick and yammied not once, but twice over the side of the boat. I was too sick to get in the cage, let alone shimmy into a wet suit. The waves were super choppy that day and I don't feel bad as half the people on the boat joined me in hanging over the side of the boat. It was so bad, I stayed sea sick the rest of the day, even after we got off the boat!
We had a full day Monday, which was also Zach's birthday. After breakfast at Cafe Olympia, we visited our new buddy Dragana Jevtovic and bought an insane amount of her beautiful guinea fowl pottery. I now own a soup tureen. So exciting. While there, we got didgeridoo lessons - who knew?
Afterwards, we headed to Lindhorst Winery, for a private lunch and cellar tour with the owner, Mark Lindhorst. They made these awesome steak sandwiches with little soft rolls and a horseradish/mustard sauce, as well as a yumtastic mushroom sauce. The cellar tour was incredible - we tasted straight from the barrel! Very interesting to taste the flavors that start off his amazing wines. We had such a good time, the sun set on us.
We then went to dinner at the 12th restaurant in the world, La Colombe. WOW. It was like southern food meets France. No jokes - we had "pork crackling" served with honey - yes, fancy pork rinds! I had springbok tartare and veal medallions with morel mushrooms (MY FAVORITE) and a yummy zinfandel. The food was incredible! They topped it off with bringing us desserts that said "Happy Birthday" for Zach and "Happy Anniversary" for me and Will. Very special and very fun.
On our last day, we had breakfast at Cafe Olympia and took the drive up Chapman's Peak, which is so stunningly beautiful. We then decided to lunch on the beach at Camp's Bay, finally settling at Paranga for incredible sushi with ocean views. So relaxing, so fantastic, so perfect. I will think on that moment and the subsequent walk on the beach for years to come. Just a perfect, perfect day.
We're back in Pretoria and work is starting to pick up for the end of the FY. Next weekend is USA vs. England (YAY) plus Pilanesberg safari time. I can't wait!