Tuesday, January 20, 2009

Panorama Route Jan 11-13

Ok here we go – blentry number 2!! PS blentry = blog entry. Start getting used to these mashed words bc they come out of my mouth (typing mouth) a lot.

So I left you at Chapungu which – again – was just incredible. January 11th. We leave and get a ride to the Hoedspruit airport where we rent a car. Mom is a little paranoid (what? Mom paranoid? No way) about our suitcases fitting in a car so she asks to make sure that we get a big car when she ordered it through our travel agent. So we’re expecting a small euro SUV or something but they lead us to this 10-person van – a Toyota Quantum. The quantum of solace. So now each suitcase gets its own seat and me and mom get our own rows of 3 seats – Jeffy and Alex in the front navigating. I don’t feel too silly about driving this Brady Bunch van, but as in some other countries South Africans drive on the left side of the road. Dad is an excellent driver, but even this took some getting used to – of course he got to do this in a van that is meant to max at 60mph AND with a standard transmission. And to make this all better, the turning signal was on the right hand side of the steering wheel which (for the 3 days we had the Quantum) led the windshield wipers to swing every time we were about to turn. Anywho we drive to the Panorama Route, which is a long drive through a beautiful mountain area that has all of these waterfalls and other nature thingies. Our first stop were these potholes that were naturally formed in the rock bed of a river – pictures to follow. They actually were really cool, but how long can you stare at rocks? Next we drove to Graskop, another town along the route, famous for Pancakes. There were signs everywhere like, FIRST PANCAKES! SINCE 1989. Hmm. We ate lunch somewhere, but couldn’t concentrate because mom had a HUGE hole in the butt of her pants. And it started “small” (barely covered by her tied-around-the-waist jacket) and continued to disintegrate until there were basically no pant left. Okay I’m exaggerating, but who puts on pants with a huge whole in the first place? We find this adorable little boutique that weaves silk clothing. Mom gots some pants that don’t disappear as you wear them, I a shirt, and alex a white silk shirt (pimp). Onward! So we leave this area and I’m feeling really funky so I fall asleep in the car.

Next thing I know we are at our beautiful hotel in Hazyview along the panorama route and I have a FEVER – so the whole Hazyview memory is a little…hazy. I slept until the next morning, but J, J, A had dinner at the restaurant at the hotel and Alex had latkas! I’m still resentful that they didn’t bring any back to the room. We stayed at the Rizzington Inn and it had just been struck by a tornado, but it still looked like heaven. The lady there – Harriett – is mom’s hotel manager god. Anyone is organized and happy is mom’s god, but Harriett was apparently especially wonderful so I’ll document it. Harriett thinks my fever was a bad reaction to the malaria pills so I stopped taking them and got better! And no malaria either even though my legs had enough mosquito bites to pass for chicken pox (mom says the mosquitoes like me because I’m sweet!).

Next morning (Jan 12th) I am still fevered, but I am a trucker and went with it. Unfortunately for the second day in a row there were clouds filling the mountains so we didn’t even get to see all of the views. First we drove to MacMac Falls, a waterfall of the MacMac persuasion. It would have been beautiful, but there is only this small viewing area at the top of the mountain far away from the actual waterfall. So we couldn’t see anything and couldn’t even get a good angle for a picture to pretend to all of you that we were closer. So we left, but not before mom bought some Curios – or African stuff. We bought a mask and a little elephant out of stone and mom spent hours (minutes, but a lot of them) deciding which salad bowl to buy and she decided on none of them. Then, to scare the disease out of me, Alex and I did this COOL freefall thing. It’s a 20-story tandem drop over a waterfall and then at the bottom of the fall we swing back and forth over the river. The fall was so scary that I couldn’t even scream, so mom’s video is silence with her going “oh god oh god oh god” and then when we start swinging I start screaming. But it was amazing. UNTIL we had to walk back up those 20 stories on slippery wooden stairs along the side of a mountain. They don’t tell you that little tidbit until you have no choice. And then we bought more honey nut Curios from the local Africans.

Our last day up north was spent driving from our hotel to this little town called White River, which had adorable little shops including this furniture store called Equilibrium. The owner carves everything in the store – tables, beds, sinks, doors, everything from African wood and it is incredible. I could have lived in the store. Of course ma and pa took his card and are planning to put his stuff in our new house since he ships from Tampa and he can design custom pieces! And then we go to Kruger Airport to fly to Cape Town!!!!!!!!!!!

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