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ex cape town

2 Feb

If this week has been a whirlwind of packing and organising and frenzy and partying and dining and last-minute admin like never seen before, then yesterday was a veritable tornado.

In retrospect it is clear that leaving ourselves a day to not only pack our own bags, but also pack up the office and cottage we’ve been using thanks to the world’s most magnanimous in-laws, was ridiculously ambitious. Stof and I have promised ourselves that we “won’t do that again”… the great thing about this being a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity is that the odds are fairly high that we WILL NOT do that again…

The craziness climaxed just as my parents arrived to fetch us for the airport, Stof’s dad and Sis-Curly came home from work for farewells and my mum-in-law shuffled over the garden from the main house to see if all was in order. The big bags were (over-)packed – more on that later – my “keep” clothes had been jammed into boxes, I’d crammed most of Stof’s remaining (but who knows whether they are keepers because he has refused to sort them since we moved out of our house in JULY. Breathe, Saartjie…) and all that remained was to pack my hand luggage, shower and re-attire in comfy but not too scruffy airplane clothes.* Then we could leave for the airport leaving only a minor wake of shambles behind us (sorry Nova for putting  you through that).

Enter: The Great Hand Luggage Crisis of (1 February) 2011. Set aside for my carrying were:

  1. My laptop;
  2. The B-GAN (satellite internet connection: not that much bigger than  a netbook, just bulkier and heavier);
  3. The folder with all our important documents;
  4. Small bag with important** jewelry, i-pods etc;
  5. Cruisers manual to commence the provisioning;
  6. Leggings and cardigan in case it was chilly in the plane (or LA);
  7. another Object which shall be revealed forthwith; and
  8. bitsnpieces…

I had Stof’s old backpack set aside to accommodate all of the above.  I own a rather larger, more accommodating backpack, but Stof had insisted that the green*** backpack be put  in storage so we had no alternative but to insert all of 1 – 8 above into the old (Stof’s) backpack.

It did not fit.

I issued forth a blood-curdling yelp. And a few more. There were probably some choice swear words mixed up in the yelping. All the stress and balance of the past few days, weeks and months were working towards this moment of getting to the airport with all in tact. The possibility that it might not happen smoothly (and the realisation that it was happening, period!) culminated in some pretty gnarly noises. Sorry mum and mum-in-law and dad and dad-in-law and Sis-Curly and (mostly) Stof-my-love for the horror of my outburst.

And then the problem was solved (temporarily, I am presently typing as quickly as I can so we can go out and buy a more suitable replacement hand luggage bag), goodbyes were hugged, and we were already at the airport with about 130kg of luggage.

130kg of luggage made up of three suitcases, a sail bag and a set of spear guns (for fishing) is not a small amount. Especially when your limit as a couple is four bags not weighing more than 23kg each. (Which would be about 92kg in total – for the numerically challenged.)

Somehow, miraculously, we had an angel (called Lynn) working the desk. With some imaginative solutions, strategic removal of various heavy objects, the insertion of the spear guns into the sailbag (ok, they do stick out a bit), biting-the-bullet to pay for some (not too ghastly) excess, and the genius intervention of Lynn: we were checked in! And it only took us and hour and a half… Moral? We are so arriving for our other flights at least three hours early. Probably more.

So now we are in Dubai. Whew. And Wow. Although I’m not really “wow-ing” Dubai as a city as we are yet to venture out of our hotel wich is RIGHT across the road from the airport. But this hotel has a bed and hot showers and place to walk around in and stretch out and with a 16-and-a-half hour flight to Los Angeles ahead of us, that is sounding pretty marvellous! There was a panic on the plane when I thought that I hadn’t actually paid the deposit for the hotel and then we would have to try to find somewhere to stay at 6am when we finally cleared customs, but standing at the bottom of the (long) escalator leading to passport control was a beautiful woman with a placard with our names on it! She showed us the way and assured us our hotel transfer would be on the other side. I nearly kissed her I was so delighted.

Now we are well and truly on our way.

*Speaking of airplane clothes: South Africans! What is it with that scruffy travel look??? I can spot you in almost any airport around the world. It’s like someone told us we didn’t have to travel in our Sunday best so we took the dress code of the sky to be “hanging out at the plaas (farm)”.

** Not important enough to leave behind, though.

***My one, of course it’s green.


just checking in

20 Jan

Today is clearly NOT my birthday any more. In fact, I cannot believe it’s been a whole jolly week since I last wrote on this here blog. Even more unbelievable is that we have just under two more jolly weeks until we leave… which should account for my writing absence.

Days have been filled with errands and tasks and ticking things off the list. Nights have been chockers with getting in kwality time with our loved ones. We also hosted a superb party* which ranks as one of my favourite times ever. If that is how our adventure begins, I can’t wait for more. (Not to fear, Sara dear, there will be plenty more. And soon!) 

* Stof keeps telling people it was a real “party, party”. This makes me smile every time. I think he means that it rocked the socks off all who attended and he was right.

today is my birthday

12 Jan

I just wanted to let you know…

I walked (and breakfasted) on the mountain with my husband and dog; lunched with my girlfriends; and picnicked and watched Shakespeare in the park* with my family. A tremendous day!

31. Such a quirky number. I’m no mathematician, but I do appreciate a prime number (especially when they’re few and far between these days). 30 was tough and gritty, but full of planning and waiting and anticipation. 31 must be full of living.

* Taming of the Shrew. Frothy and light.

never say no to water… and bubbles

14 Dec

[Before writing this it seemed like there would be a point, but it’s turned out to be a bit of a rambling collection of thoughts about nothing very substantial. Sorry.]

A little while ago Stoffel decided that it would be an excellent life-rule to set oneself the mantra: “Never say no to water.”

What a good rule it is!* Now, whenever either of us is offered a sip/glass/bottle of water we are ethically bound** to accept. We like to catch each other out:

Stoffel: Would you like a glass of water, my love?

Saartjie: [favourite glass water bottle in hand] Um, No I’m ok with my 750ml of H2O right here…

St: Did you just say NO to water?

Sa: Errrrrrmmmmmmmmm. No… I’d love a glass of water.

We’re very mature like that. And (clearly) well hydrated.

While we’re on the topic of refusing to refuse liquids, another beverage I am yet to turn down is a sip/glass/bottle of champagne.***As long as it’s not sweet and has bubbles, I love it the most!

Which reminds me of the most marvellous evening we enjoyed two nights before I went to Antarctica (i.e. when I still had absolutely no idea that I might actually be going to Antarctica). The Hillratts were invited to a Champagne Tasting! The tasting was held in a breath-taking manor along the Bishopscourt ridge overlooking Constantia and all of False Bay. For those not acquainted with the Fairest Cape (we’re quite modest about our city) this vista includes scenes of great beauty. After the “tasting” part of the Champagne Tasting there were bottles and bottles of Bolly to be drunk freely while we snacked on oysters! sushi! salmon! french cheeses! home-made vanilla pod ice cream! multiple other delicacies! Delicious. It was certainly a lifestyle I could become well acquainted with. Although I would most certainly morph into an enormous piece of solid lard.

Oh! On the subject of Sara’s lardiness: I have resumed some manner of exercise regime and self-discipline in the eating department due to the scary rate of increase of lard-to-muscle ratio in my body. I have even run**** three kilometres for two days in a row. And counting. Nice one, Saartjie!***** Just thinking about it makes me feel thirsty. I think I’ll have some more water, please.

Would you like some too?

* Have I mentioned that I love a good rule? Something to do with being a Type-A bossy-britches, perhaps… Or too many years working with rules.

** I am an ABSOLUTE rule-nerd…

*** Or cap classique. Which is what they call a bottle of bubbles made in SA because those frenchies insisted we call it something else and they are fussy like that.

**** I use the word “run” very loosely: sometimes I just walk along puffing heavily in between actual spurts of jogging.

***** I even felt inspired to add a category entitled “fitness” whch might just be wishful thinking…

here i am!

8 Dec

[Sailing out to welcome our circumnavigating friends. Dorky grin, bottle o’ bubbles and “HELLO SAILOR” t-shirt included…]

I haven’t disappeared entirely: I’ve just been doing a First Aid course every day which has been most informative and has GOBBLED up my time… Last day today! I’ll be back…

a pain in the bot-tom

3 Dec

Blegh.  A fatal combination of stress (moving office! skippers exam! last work responsibilities!) and lack of exercise (see all of the time-consuming activities listed in the previous parentheses) has left me with a lower back in spasm. So there’s actually a pain in my bottom, my leg, my back and my waist. I’m experimenting with various industrial strength drugs to make life manageable.

Our friends on uMoya are returning to CT tomorrow after nearly two years of circumnavigating! We will be sailing out to greet them with bells and whistles (or, more likely, vuvuzelas and champagne). I can only imagine the cocktail of emotions they must be feeling right now.

Hope it’s a marvellous weekend. I shall have a fabulous time as soon as the pharmaceuticals kick in.

i’ve got that funny feeling

30 Nov

I’m moving out of my office: today is my last official day as an advocate. I thought I would be feeling excited, relieved and maybe a little exhilarated. Those feelings are there… in theory.

In practice, I’m feeling slightly terrified. It’s the fear of change. In the midst of what may well be one of the most spectacular adventures of my life, I still have a small hankering for things to stay the same. A segment of my heart wants to carry on living my happy life in our gorgeous home (too late!) and taking our strange little pup for walks on our beautiful Table Mountain. I quite like sitting at my big lovely desk, bantering with colleagues and turning client’s complaints into legal writing. I’m sad for the wedding and baby parties we will miss and nostalgic for the dinners, braais and weekends away which we won’t share with our friends and family over the next few years.

It’s not so say that the trade-off doesn’t trump the unease hands-down every day. But I am a little surprised at the sadness too. When I think about its dispassionately, I am relieved to be a little melancholy: it must be a good thing to mourn a lifestyle that is blessed and blissful.

This will be my last post perched on my chair in chambers… farewell, this life. The Pacific passage draws a whole lot nearer.

[I will return with more Antarctica porn when things have settled. In addition to moving, I have some outstanding work to nail AND my skipper’s theory exam to pass this evening… tra-la-laaaa!]