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Travelog for: Pinky Bear

Christmas tree, South Africa - 9th December 2008

By: MrsC

Usually Fi puts up her Christmas tree on the first day of December. This year she didn't feel inclined to bother.... so the children nagged and nagged and said they would decorate it.

Eventually she decided to haul it out of the trunk it is kept in - it is just too hot for a real tree, it would be dead way before Christmas!

So we helped 'puff' it all out.


Not very awe inspiring is it?


Oh...<blush> that was just the bottom piece, it comes in segments...


That's more like it! Fi said we could stay on there if we wanted and be the decorations. Ha ha ha! Always so funny...Hey! Take me down!!!


The children started decorating the tree - three days later they still hadn't finished so Fi took pity on them and finished it off - You will have to wait then to see what it looked like.

In the meantime, we popped up our tree - easy peasy - it took 2 seconds!


...and we hung up our stockings... there is no fire place and therefore: no mantle, so we found the next best thing: the gas heater.



* Posted Jan 19, 2009, 7:58 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Sweat shop, South Africa - 10th December 2008

By: MrsC

You know, Fi really takes advantage of us....
baking, tree puffing and now KNITTING! Honestly...


I didn't even know I COULD knit!

* Posted Jan 19, 2009, 8:09 pm Last edited Jan 19, 2009, 8:10 pm by MrsC [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Dining room, South Africa - 12th December 2008

By: MrsC

She's at it AGAIN...or rather WE are at it again...


We are not really even that sure of what we are making...


* Posted Jan 19, 2009, 8:20 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Still at it..., South Africa - 13th December 2008

By: MrsC

Oh! They are mice, Christmas mice! They are gifts for fi's friends - they each get a bowl of tree decorations....


...and what would Christmas be without gingerbread men...and ladies?


* Posted Jan 19, 2009, 8:31 pm Last edited Jan 19, 2009, 8:33 pm by MrsC [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Jo'burg Zoo, South Africa - 16th December 2008

By: MrsC

Today is a public holiday in South Africa called 'The Day of Reconciliation' read about it here.

We went to visit Fi's Mom for lunch. We thought we would stop by the Zoo in the afternoon to look at the animals and then wait till the lights came on.... Luckily we passed the Zoo on our way and saw that it was jam packed, so we gave up on that idea and just waited until dusk to go when we knew most of the people would have left.

This is the closest you'll ever get me to an ostrich.


I have an uneasy feeling that something is going to drop down on me....


This is the entrance to the gorilla enclosure. They were inside though as they have a new baby (a few days later Fi's brother walked through here and the gorilla threw a stone at him! Can't say I blame him.)


How brave am I? Actually, I think I am too small for him to see or bother with. But if he takes a step sideways he will squash me!


This has got to be the only place a lioness would meet a polar bear...


This Christmas tree looks tiny in the photo but is was really, really big! Whoops, the top lights seem to be off...


Yikes! A hippo wants to eat us! Run for your lives....


Phew! We had to sit down and catch our breath after all that running!


We are safe here... oh! The flash just blinded me - it lit up the whole area, could you see what was behind us Fi? Why are you laughing?


That is one grumpy looking buffalo.


Hey! We found the gorilla! Mostly, because we nearly tripped over him in the dark.


This was Natalie's favourite.


Oh and this one!


We had a few turns on the funfair rides and then we left as it was getting late and very dark and none of us had eaten supper.

* Posted Jan 19, 2009, 9:07 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Olivedale, South Africa - 20th December 2008

By: MrsC

We went to Fi's sister for supper as the children had been swimming there all afternoon.

This is a traditional way of cooking food. It is called a 'potjie' which means 'small pot'. Usually it is placed on a fire but a Cadac gas cooker works just as well. The food is layered in the pot, with the longest cooking ingredients (meat usually) at the bottom and the quickest cooking at the top.

In the rural areas this is the only way to cook when you have no electricity. These post range in size from tiny to ridiculously enormous (a friend of Fi's has one so huge it takes three strapping men to lift it!)


Hmmm! Smells delicious! Lamb and rice...


* Posted Jan 20, 2009, 7:40 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Krugersdorp, South Africa - 21st December 2008

By: MrsC

Today we went to the Krugersdorp Game Reserve, but we didn't see a single animal...

We were there for an end of year party with some friends and just went to the recreational part of the reserve.

Mostly we sat under a thatched umbrella to stay out of the sun (it was so hot!) and the children swam...


We watched some young men playing soccer....South Africans are CRAZY about soccer.


We made some international friends... (We may have eaten them...oops, tasted just like chocolate!)


…and we just hung around chatting and listening to music...


Then we ate too much...Braaied (BBQ'd) chicken and pap (finely ground corn meal that is mixed with water and salt and cooked to a stiff porridge - it is a staple in the diet of most South African people) with tomato and onion gravy and carrot and pineapple salad.

* Posted Jan 20, 2009, 8:04 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Christmas fun, South Africa - 24th December 2008

By: MrsC

It's Christmas Eve!

There is a great air of expectancy around the house, everyone is excited! Well... the children and TVs are excited...

To keep us occupied Fi gave us and the children a job (as usual) but this one was fun! We got to decorate the gingerbread house. Fi had assembled the house the day before, with much wailing and gnashing of teeth - the icing would not set - most likely due to the fact that it was 36°C (96.8°F) and the air was humid, thanks to a brewing storm. It set very nicely once Fi re-arranged the entire fridge to remove one shelf so the house could fit in!


Burp! Pardon me! I may just have eaten more sweets than I put on the house....

Once we were done with that, Fi banished the children upstairs to watch a movie and threatended them that Christmas would be CANCELLED if they so much as peeked down the stairs!

Hmmm...smells like more work for us....

Oh boy, here we go again...


None of us could figure it out....a sort of nappy? Who knows...all we did know is that the fabric is a local one called shwe-shwe. It is a stiff cotton that becomes softer with washing. Traditionally it was made in blue or brown but now comes in a slightly wider range of colours like red and yellow. It has pretty patterns on it, usually small repeats. On the back there is always an animal stamp to denote the manufacturer. We have a leopard and an elephant here. Maybe these are elephant pants...um no...too small...

Now that it is turned the right way round it looks like a doll with a flat head!


AH! The penny drops....

It is a pouch for Natalie to carry her doll in!


This pram had belonged to Fi's sister in law 25 years ago. The plastic had all deteriorated and the children improvised with a blanket!


Fi got rid of the blanket....


Then the natives started getting restless and demanded to be released from captivity! So Fi released them and wrapped the gifts in her room safe from prying eyes.

And then a million people descended on the house for supper... well ten adults and three children and four TVs... but it felt like a million and her husband certainly catered for a million- we ate left overs for the next three days (interspersed with Christmas lunch)!

* Posted Jan 20, 2009, 8:58 am [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Christmas tree, South Africa - 25th December 2008

By: MrsC

Merry Christmas!

At last!


Why am I hanging in the tree? Um...I am not quite sure...but it's Christmas at last! And how do I know this? I have been counting down everyday since the first of December with the aid of an advent calendar and there are NO MORE CHOCOLATES!


Our Christmas stockings were filled with candy canes and chocolates and SOMEONE seems to have forgotten to take the photo....

Never mind. Put on a silly paper hat and pull a cracker!


BANG! Oh that was scary and fun! Squirt read the silly jokes and we all fell about laughing...


Yay! My turn....


BANG! Ha ha ha....look what we all won!

Shaggy Bear Hmmm....those will come in useful late at night when everyone else is sleeping....


Hector oooh! Ladybug crayons....


A yo-yo! Want to see me do tricks with it?


Squirt A pipe? How odd... oh, you blow out of it and try balance the ball. Squirt is very good at that because he can take such deep breaths and let them out slowly...


Right, is everybody ready for turkey? Time to leave and visit Fi's sister for Christmas lunch... I can't believe SOMEONE left the camera at home.....

There was a power failure so the potatoes and veges were roasted in the Weber (BBQ). Luckily the turkey was smoked and the ham had been cooked on the gas braai (BBQ) the day before (during the previous power outage). It was so good, but there was a lot of turkey left over - I can already tell we'll get sick of it soon!

* Posted Jan 26, 2009, 9:35 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Stuck inside, South Africa - 26th December 2008

By: MrsC

It has been raining....again... look at that miserable sky...


* Posted Jan 26, 2009, 9:51 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

The 'Woods', South Africa - 29th December 2008

By: MrsC

If you go down to the woods today,
You're sure of a big surprise.
If you go down to the woods today,
You'd better go in disguise.
For every bear that ever there was
Will gather there for certain because
Today's the day the teddy bears have their picnic.

Picnic time for teddy bears;
The little teddy bears are having a lovely time today.
Watch us catch them unawares,
And see them picnic on their holiday.
See them gaily gad about.
They love to play and shout,
They never have any cares.
At six o'clock their mummies and daddies
Will take them home to bed
Because they're tired little teddy bears.

SURPRISE! Oh! They remembered it was my birthday!


The others have been slaving away in the kitchen to surprise me - oh, I think I may just cry! How sweet they all are.... sniff....
They made bear biscuits and a chocolate cake with bear sprinkles for a surprise picnic party for me.

Fi lit the candles for us (we are not allowed, it is against THE RULES.)


I need to blow out those candles and make a wish! What shall I wish for? Phewwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww!


Hmmmmm....honey tea and cake!


Oh these biscuits are simply heavenly... don't worry they are not made from bears....just shaped like bears...


Once we were all rolling around from eating and drinking so much, they surprised me wuith a HUGE present! Sniff....sniff.... now I really am crying! Whahhhhhhhhhhhhh! Oh I love you guys...even the turtle.....


What on earth can it be?


EEEK! I'll have to share this! That is the biggest bottle of honey I have ever seen....oh I am so spoiled! Thank you Shaggy Bear, Hector and Squirt!


* Posted Jan 26, 2009, 10:24 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Window ledge, South Africa - 30th December 2008

By: MrsC

And suddenly...to make up for all the horrid rain... Mother Nature gave us this sky....BEAUTIFUL!


* Posted Jan 26, 2009, 10:35 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Olivedale, South Africa - 31st December 2008

By: MrsC

Tonight is New Year's Eve!

We ended up at Fi's sister again, this time we had to make supper ourselves...

Roll out the dough...


...smear it with a tomato sauce and pile it with ham and cheeses and whatever else you feel like!


Then pop it in the table top pizza oven.


And wait and wait and wait and wait....guess it wasn't hot enough yet or it needed more coals. By the time it was ready we were too hungry to take a photo of it! It tasted really good and the next ones didn't take as long to bake, but by then we wondered off to play a game called 'Cranium'. We were on Fi's team so we won of course. It wasn't long before someone asked what the time was....



Luckily there were no fire works to terrify the dogs because it was bucketing down with rain!


* Posted Feb 9, 2009, 7:43 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

2nd Cup, South Africa - 10th January 2009

By: MrsC

Today we went to a cute restaurant to help celebrate a friend’s birthday. In the middle of the hustle and bustle of the suburbs, is a walled off property. It is like a tropical jungle inside, with a quaint little tea room, a few craft shops, as well as an antique/ junk shop and a book store. The whole place is decorated with old farm equipment (possibly because the property WAS once a farm - the tea room certainly looked like an old farm house.


Chickens run around underfoot and you feel like you are miles away from the city.


...and look at the cakes!


Hmmm…blueberry pancakes!


They grow their own flowers to decorate the dishes with....


I can't believe it is not raining today!

* Posted Feb 9, 2009, 8:05 pm [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

Cradle of Humankind, South Africa - 19th January 2009

By: MrsC

We were all starting to get cabin fever from all the sitting at home during the never ending rain

Fi had to take a 'little' drive out to the Cradle of Humankind, so she stopped here at  Maropeng so we could have a look. We didn't go into the centre  as there wasn't time. But we learned a few cool facts.

This area is where the oldest evidence of mankind is found. AND, some of the earliest forms of dinosaur were found here too (200 million years old! Wow!) The first stone tools were used in Africa (2.6 million years ago).


This is a 'dig' site where fossils are excavated from. You can clearly see the layer of fossils in this bit (about half way down).


I also learned that former South African president, Thabo Mbeki , has tiny feet!


...and Kofi Annan has big feet!


Then just for the heck of it, we drove down to the actual Sterkfontein Caves where the important fossils like 'Mrs Ples' and 'Little Foot' were actually found.



Isn't it a beautiful view? This is where our ancestors once roamed....okay, I'm a stuffed toy... YOUR ancestors.




* Posted Feb 9, 2009, 8:37 pm Last edited Feb 9, 2009, 8:44 pm by MrsC [Quote] [View just this post] Go to the top of the page

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