Sunday, January 2, 2011

Christmas in South Africa

A wonderful gift from the Smith family suddenly put me on a plane to South Africa over the Christmas period. I have not had a sunny Christmas since I left SA in 2003. A very long flight, but now direct from Atlanta to Johannesburg (~15 hours) after another 4 hour from Seattle to Atlanta, and I was seeing stars. But I followed some of my routines when flying, that I will share with you on the next post and it helped me not be completely useless. 

This was the first time my parents did not help me buy the ticket, so I decided not to tell them I was coming and make it be a surprise. I was re-introduced to my dad with a miley-cirus wig on and big glasses as cousin Gary's new aupair just in from America! You can see he was bowled over with this arrival who looked strangely like this daughter!

From there time was spent running around the golf course while dad played. He finished the 18th with a beautiful birdie claiming 'tiger woods would buy that putt off me'. Then I stepped outside my comfort area and went mountain biking at the Cradle of Humankind. But didn't want to repeat the Alan Campbell saga where he started 2010 in SA with a mountain bike injury sending him to hospital! The following day I went mountain biking in and around Rivonia. I was happy to end the ride on road, going uphill. Delon and Jon close on my heals! Hills are my friend!

I had some fun doing circuits in and around the house, finding tree branches as pull-up bars, outside benches as jumping boxes etc. I hope to compile a video soon of the sports. Will post on my youtube channel.

I also got to introduce the paleo cooking to the Smith family. I left Nell Stephenson's Paleo Cookbook behind as a gift and changes are happening. Uncle Robert already has gone through the kitchen declaring 'most things in here are inedible!'

Christmas day was perfectly as I remember. Mom made a fantastic trifle. A little sherry soaked finger biscuits, red and green jello, custard, nuts and cream. Boxing day was also insuit of tradition, spending the day on the day, doing watersports. Not including rowing, unless floatation devices went array, but on the snake and the wakeboard making its appearance.

Little time left now, so sunny days were spent running around the LC Divillars sports grounds, at the University of Pretoria, and I got to train in the new HPC Center (High Performance Center). Guess what it had: 2 of the Aussie made Indoor Sculler. Not quite as smart as the RP3. But it got me through a good piece. All of the SA rowing team seemed to be out of town so never got my fingers went with a boat on a dam and the team.

Coffee with friends and my dear athletics coach, Mrs. Erasmus was also good time. Drove the street of Lawly looking at Christmas lights. Went to the Rhino and Lion park seeing the animals dear to the South African landscape. And there was a wonderful wedding in this whole trip too! Congradulations to Nikki and Grant!

Back in Lake Stevens, WA and the wonderful 28 deg Celsius has dropped to -7 deg Celsius. Rowing in this cold made me grumpy in the beginning. Now I'm adjusting, fast. Time to get going!
More photos on Flickr


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