This is incredibly outdated, i kept wanting to put pictures in it but that takes much more internet strength than is possible... maybe soon
Blog july 7 2012
Its been about a week and a half since Mamma Spud has been rock’n & roll’n in South Africa! It started June 28th with my tired eyed bun headed self waiting at the arrival terminal in OR Tambo international airport. Her flight landed at 720 am, meaning I had to leave the backpackers at 545am to catch a train to take me to the airport from Pretoria. I got to the meeting place at 715am and was more anxious than I remember ever being on a Christmas eve or election day (maybe). A load of people exited the sliding glass doors of freedom, it was fun to see so many hugs, smiles, and kisses- and even better because that meant the good waiting spots were starting to clear up. I sat back with my coffee watching people struggle pushing their luggage through the doors to finally reach the point their loved ones could come and help them, and watched some confused tourist look through the many people holding small signs while they looked for their name on a sheet of paper, clearly having no idea what company their travel agent booked them through and where they are going now. As the flight trickled in and people left I was able to find a perfect waiting spot against the barrier, near the edge so I had easy access to step around but clear view of the glass doors.
Then, I waited. I watched other people run to each other and hug, little kids running and jumping- and couldn’t help but cry. I was so so so excited, happy, anxious, and nervous I couldn’t help but be a bit overwhelmed. 730, 750, 800, 830… jesus mom get here! Her plane was landed and according to the info board overhead it said everyone had disembarked. As the people trickled in the tapping on my foot and biting of my nails increased and I began imagining my mom at customs not being able to remember where we were going. Or maybe one of the suitcases full of donations was lost- ah! I was so nervous!
Finally a little lady pushing a big cart appeared, I stared at her and wasn’t sure at first if it was my mom. She looked confused, so it must be. I began to run to the doors (security is a bit…lax) and I think I scared the crap out of her. We were both surprised to see each other, actually I think my mom was still confused at who was hugging her. Apparently she didn’t realize she was already through customs and was shocked to see me. Ha. We may have caused a small scene, but I think we did our excitement justice.
I did not give my mom time to rest- we had a lot to do and I had some work to finish up before I could relax. We took the Guatrain to the best place in Pretoria, Khayalethu- the backpackers where I’ve spent more time than I should admit. But the people here are more of a host family than I have in the village, so my mom had to experience it! Since we had to rearrange suitcases and get my mom settled we stayed in the private guest house rather than the dorms (fancy I know) and it was great! We showered and immediately headed downtown so I could turn in some paper work for my org to the department and went to the PC office so I could take care of some medical nonsense. Looking back that was a little cruel of me, but she saw a lot of my PC life right away. The office, experienced tea with KZ, met one of the PC head people, saw the general crappy shady-ness that is Pretoria, lack of customer service of the department of social development, we even stumbled on a police station to ask directions, and saw Bosman (my taxi rank when I travel in) and we rode the train again.
That evening was great, one of my dear friends also happened to be in PTA so the three of us had a very delicious and fun dinner, drank beer, and went through all the fun things my mom brought from home (And of course ate chocolate).
The next morning we took the Gautrain back to the airport and flew to Cape town, and Cape Town was just fab, well it became fab after I was done fighting with a taxi driver. We stayed at an adorable and very friendly backpackers called Amber Tree Lodge. It was very exciting because two other PCVs trip overlapped with ours so we were able to hang out with them for a couple of days. We had an amazing wine tour that was SO much fun! The four of us did a tour with AfricanStory and consumed a lot of wine, learned more than I ever needed to know about wine, learned I really DO NOT like brandy, and ate an amazing meal. We had a great tour group and seriously laughed the whole time! My mom and I also did a tour all around the city, and on another day did a tour around Cape Peninsula, and of course Table Mountain and Robben Island. It was the most touristy week either of us has ever had! Considering we only had 5 nights there and there is so much to do I’m glad we did things through tours. We could have definitely spent another couple days just hanging out and exploring the great food choices, but we still managed to get to the markets and eat a LOT of great food.
I was so excited with all the salad choices I think I think I ordered a salad every meal, it was wonderful. Our favourite was a place called Davinci’s on Long street and Fat Cactus on Park. Fat Cactus was a Tex-Mex place and it was great. The four of us had a hilarious time there, we showed up and the place was packed. Apparently there was some important rugby game on, so we waited at the bar for a table, naturally, we got a pitcher of margaritas and an appetizer. Margarita was excellent and so were are nachos. Our table was outside, it was cold, and the service was very slow. So obviously we ordered another pitcher of margaritas and another appetizer. My mom stuck to Corona so the three of us enjoyed our drinks- the best part was they gave us BLANKETS because it was cold. This place was the best. Then we got our burritos (probably after 2 hours) and instead of tortilla chips we got normal South African chips (French fries!) ha! Awesome.
July 20th – rest of the visit!!
Back to Limpopo
I was ready to head back, CT was great but I was out of my element. I was overwhelmed with the city and my lack of knowing how to get around, what best to do, and well, I guess just being a tourist. I was exhausted!
When we got back to Pretoria we stayed the night at Khayalethu before heading to Limpopo. It was pretty crazy because a LOT of PCVs were there for various reasons- but most because a group just got done with a training. So my mom met even more PCVs and heard a lot of random stories and I think hearing us all talk probably gave her a more intimate view of our lives than she normally would have not got. Luckily for us, it was Pizza night! My mom became BFFs with the Kreate Pizza crew and we had a nice evening with pizza and beer.
The next morning we picked up our rental car (later to be named PoloPot) and headed to Mokopane for Lunch at my old watering hole with Seth and Cate- my lunch mates when I lived there- then to Polokwane. Being back in Mokopane is always weird, I miss it in a weird way. Mainly miss the familiarity and my shopping town buddies (Cate, Seth, Elizabeth).
Polokwane was excellent, as always. We stayed at Lyndas site- as in, the Polokwane Game Reserve. Cate joined us and it was a party as three other volunteers were there. So including Lynda it was 7 of us celebrating 4th of July. We didn’t have fire works but we had a great BBQ, plenty of beer, and Lynda made homemade apple pie. My mom loved the reserve, because it was great and Lynda is the best host ever, duh! We enjoyed driving through the game reserve to see some game and also walking through it.
From Polokwane we went to Tzaneen for two nights. It was really nice and relaxing, and we saw the giant Baobab tree! That was an adventure in itself- just trying to find the damn tree! I got directions online which I should have known would be sketch, but after many turn arounds and dirt roads (where we prob should have had a 4 wheeler) we made it! The tree was, giant. Ha, it was really cool- but the hype of having a pub inside it was a bit false. There is a pretend bar inside, but whatever it was cool. My mom pointed out how it would have been much nicer is there wasn’t piles of wood next to it, and plastic signs on it- but hey, TISA! (This is South Africa)
After Tzaneen we went to Phalaborwa, the nearest town to where I live. We drove through Kruger which was tons of fun- and of course hilarious when we didn’t see ANY animals at first. We eventually saw a lot of elephants, zebra, smaller game (different gazelles and boks) giraffes, and hippos. The drive itself was also pretty fun.
It was really amazing spending time in the village with my mom, although it was a bit cramped in my little house and at one point we were both miserable because we were sick- it was wonderful! She was such a trooper! Of course she was great with the kids and they love her! I am very lucky to have had her here, she brought so many donations that will keep my arts and crafts fun times up for a long time! I wish I could borrow her brain and motivation! She had so many wonderful ideas she showed me, and seemed to have tons of energy to play and work with the kids. After being here this long I am tired. Very tired, so it was refreshing to have someone so…fresh! I wish I could have done more with her in the village while here, but the flu kept us down for a couple days – but I think I still managed to give her a glimpse of my life. She worked in the office with me and saw everyone else sitting and doing literally nothing for hours. She was asked very awkward questions and was begged for money/gifts. She saw the pure joy in the kids when you gave them something as little as a piece of paper and crayons. She saw why I am in love with my kids. She experienced the taxis- something I can never really describe. And I think she had fun, I am very – very grateful I was able to spend three weeks with my mom, doesn’t matter how old I am she will always inspire me and make me feel better. I already miss her L