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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.

Happy happy happy

6 Jan

Back in CT! Less than a month to go until we step onto the plane and join our Laura Takalani… We have one million-trillion things to Get Done before we depart, but: Hooray!

New Years was spectacular. It looked for a very long time like it might not be spectacular as it was raining in paradise and I was ill and feeling sorry for myself. I did all the things one SHOULD do to ensure a recovery (rest, vitamins, abstaining from bad-stuff) in time for our new years celebration and I continued to feel lousy, which was… lousy. Finally, at about 4pm on the 31st of December I decided to just drink through it. What a rousing success! What followed was one of the most marvellous new years celebrations. Ever. It involved masks and champagne* and dancing and laughter.

I continued a few fundamental New Years traditions that I have been following since I was a wee lass in Brazil for Rotary exchange. I wore a new white** frock, but I had run out of time to buy a new pair of panties prior to entering the Transkei, so one of my staples fell by the wayside this year. However, I did INSIST on traipsing down to the sea shortly after midnight and numerous “HhhhaaaAAPPY new years!” so that Stoffel and I could jump over seven waves and make seven wishes. I have done this every year since I was 17, and I figured it wasn’t a good idea to miss out on any rituals that might amuse the sea gods in the year in which we will be living on the sea.

As usual, I have no idea what wishes we made as the party was a goodie and there is no point in having a party for new years that actually enables remembering the wishes. Nevertheless, the wave-jumping-wishing box was ticked and I only wished for good things (of course). After making our seven jumps and seven wishes, Stof and I removed our masks (which we had crafted rather brilliantly earlier) and tossed them into the sea! It felt like a fitting offering and we were very pleased with ourselves:

…as you can see.

I wish you all a beautiful start to 2011. May this year be a year of passion and vision and (importantly) achieving that vision.

* Of course.

** Not quite white, actually… more of a greyish off-white. White will not be good to wear on a boat.

family holiday

17 Dec

Yesterday was the Day of Reconciliation. It’s one of those amazing South African stories where we have tried to turn some really horrendous incident-event in history into a holiday for all! Mostly, it marks the start of the Christmas (and summer) holidays! Hurrah! In keeping with the tradition, we travelled to Knysna yesterday for a short snatch of holiday with the family.

Knysna (pronounced Nise-na… or as I repeatedly quip (jeepers I can be annoying) “nice, na?”) is a gorgeous marvellous town on the famous garden route. My in-laws have a second home here and Stof and I have escaped for a few days to hang with Stof’s ‘rents, his sis and her three fabulousa daughters. We’re still ploughing through the Things That Must Be Achieved, but in an altogether more relaxed environment. We’ll be back in the routine on Monday…

Family holidays are both hilarious and awesome. Especially when they’re not actually your own family.*

AND: For those of you involved in the Running Challenge, I have been So Good! [The Running Challenge is a challenge to people who like to think about themselves running. The point is to encourage each other do actually do some running over December and January (more specifically: the 14th to the 14th). The person who works in the most runs will be sent Awesome Stuff from the other participants!] I didn’t run yesterday in the midst of my travels, BUT, I’ve run three days out of four since the 14th. Brilliant!

* When they’re your own family, family holidays are a mixture of infuriating and hilarious and awesome.

all about stof

18 Nov

This just in: the theme for the 2011 AfrikaBurn (the SA version of Burning Man)  is “STOF”.

I lifted the following off their website:


STOF Is the Afrikaans word for dust.
The Germanic word for matter.
matter and energy, is the building material of everything,
plofstof  are explosives, ignition
dust  – Tankwa is all about dust,
stuff – materials – the stuff we work with
stuff- materialism…we have too much stuff, too many belongings
kool stoff  is carbon, the base of all life
the stuff in my head…..what to do with it!   
Stof is fabric, the fiber of our being
Stof is felt, its drapery,
It is to mold…to shape our own reality
Stof is soil, clay, sand, the elemental silt
Stof-suier – domestic applications
Dust  to dust,
substance, energy , particles,
kick up dust.

[And now back to my work.]

PS. My “Stof” is short for his whole first name. But he’s a whole lot of the above description too…

why stof needs a wife… or a p.a.

15 Nov

Last week, I received a phone call.

*ring-ring* *ring-ring*

[Except, it’s my cell phone and plays The Entertainer when it rings, but I couldn’t properly illustrate that above.]

Saartjie: Hi, it’s Sara speaking.

Rather Irate* Lady: Can I speak to [Stof].

S: Um, I can give you his number. What is it in connection with?

RIL: I’m calling from ICASA.** Why did he do his radio licence exam again?

S: Oh! Because he failed it the first time…

RIL: No. We issued him with a licence in 2000.

Yup. turns out that Stoffel did his radio licence in 2000.*** He has absolutely no recollection of this event. None. In fact, doing the exam twice in 2010 did not even jog his memory.

Sometimes, I wonder what his life would be like without me… He’d definitely lose a lot more stuff and end up repeating things a whole lot more.

* In retrospect, it made me laugh that the lady was so irate. Did she think Stof did the exam twice (three times, if you count the one he did earlier this year that he didn’t pass) on purpose??? It was almost as if she felt that he had gone through the effort just to give her more admin and make her day harder.

** ICASA is the independent communications authority of south africa. They’re the people who administer the  radio licences.

***We met in December of 2003.

the other cruise

11 Nov

You may be bemused to learn that Stoffel and I are saving for another cruise, as we plan to embark on our adventure across the Pacific. The “other” cruise won’t involve quite as much hard work and should require a whole lot more formal attire.

On the first Thursday of every month, we have dinner with a group of about 10 mateys. We refer to ourselves as the First Wednesday Club (even though it’s on a Thursday, we know). The First Wednesday Club has very exacting standards and that month’s hosts can usually be found in the kitchen for a few days preceding the actual dinner sweating over some culinary delight. (Or they should be anyway.)

We also like to make rules, like: who can attend, what constitutes a quorum, under what circumstances the FWC might be moved to another night, etc. Most of the time we imbibe too much, cackle hysterically about the new rules, and then forget what we decided in time for the next first Thursday. Repeat.

There are some pretty fab people in our FWC. Between us, there are 4 doctors (although only one in medicine). We comprise a lawyer, a spammer (Stof likes to be described by his more lofty occupations), a dentist, an oncologist, an economist, an editor, a parliamentarian, an environmentalist, a film-maker, a children’s rights advocate, and an English academic. They are all marvellous.

The English academic is lady I call MJ. MJ has a dream. She wants to be the kind of “mature” woman who goes on cruise ships to far-out places. Us First Wednesdayers think it might be splendid to join her.

Most of us can’t be too sure that we will have the funds or inclination to go on a cruise liner in the 2030’s. So we’re starting up a cruise fund for MJ’s cruise now. We’re all going to ring-fence a certain (modest) amount of money and then ask our investment analyst friend to invest it wisely so that in (approximately) 25 years time we can all go on a cruise together. Depending on how wisely it’s invested we might end up having to travel from Durban to Mozambique, but we’re all holding out for something a little more exotic! It’s Serious Business: even a constitution for the FWC has been written (and rigorously debated, with only a very slight suggestion of irony) so that we can open a bank account and regulate the money over the years!

It’s quite a strange thought: to plan a holiday so far in advance. I wonder what will become of us in the interim years? The least that I hope for is that we will all still be around to want to go away together.