Friday, October 10, 2008

SA trip + a weekend in KL

One sure way to bring people together is with a wedding. This was the 3rd annual home leave trip to SA that we had to plan around a wedding. This time it was Marc’s brother Claus and Linda tying the knot. As bridesmaid, I left a week before Marc to host Linda’s bridal shower and to lend a hand with the final wedding arrangements.

It was a busy 2 weeks leading up to the wedding; with hair and make-up trails, dress fittings, a trip to the venue, choosing flowers, shopping for accessories and shoes, flower arranging and other wedding related stuff. I seriously don’t know where the days went though. My three and a half weeks in SA flew by; luckily I managed to at least see some of my family members and we saw a few of our friends. Sadly we ran out of time and did not get to see everyone that we would have liked to see ;-

Saturday, 13 September - BBQ with some of my cousins and their children.

Sunday, 14 September - Linda opening one of her gifts at her bridal shower.
Thursday, 18 September. Dinner and catch up with a couple of our friends.

The Friday before the wedding was pretty much consumed by wedding stuff and to follow tradition the bride spent her last night with her bridesmaid doing flowers, nails etc. with the mother of the bride.

Saturday, 20 September. Finally Linda's big day arrived and it was all wedding systems go. We had a quick breakfast, packed all our stuff and headed off to the lovely venue in Pretoria East, Villa Francesco where we decorated the tables while Linda's mom and dad devised a plan to block off the wind in the outside area where the ceremony was taking place, in exactly 5 hours and counting.....

Off we went to Brooklyn Mall where the blushing bride had her hair and make up done. At around 3:30pm we made it to the guest house where we were getting changing, just in a nick of time for the 4pm ceremony. Lucky for us the pastor was running late; "phew", which meant we weren't ;-).

So, after the... do you Clive Botha (I mean Claus) take Linda to be your awful wedded wife. And no, I'm not quoting Mr. Bean, the Pastor really did say that. He also said; I now pronounce you Mr. and Mrs. Botha, which was also very funny because Linda's last name is Botha, Claus is actually BEUTHE (sounds like Reuters with a B).

Never a dull moment, that's for sure. Over all it was a very memorable wedding and I was very happy to be a part of Claus and Linda's special day. It was a super, fun wedding with good food and great company. We had a great time!

Originally I thought Linda was crazy taking on the role as bride and wedding coordinator but she did a fabulous job doing everything her self (with a helping hand from her loving mother of course); From the gorgeous dress to the beautifully decorated tables. I particularly enjoyed the flower arranging and I still can’t believe I made my own bouquet. I was very impressed that it did not fall apart during the bouquet toss. But, the best part for me was driving the “bridal car”. LOL ;-). Definitely a first; Imagine the bridesmaid and bride arrived in a small dirty Opel Corsa with a suitcase on the back seat. Out of site of the guests at least, but the look on the pastor’s face was priceless!

Hats off to a very hands on bride and, to my surprise ;-) a very organized groom (I was very impressed, Claus). Something must be said about a groom that takes care of the order of events, complete with bullet points and time lines.

The bride and groom sure looked the part. Congratulations Mr. and Mrs. Beuthe!
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Marc doing his very well thought out and practiced best man speach. Claus finally admitted that Marc was the "best man".

Sunday, 15 September we enjoyed breakfast with our gracious hosts (Thanks Terry and Sylvia). So gracious that they wouldn't take no for an answer and insisted that we sleep in their bed, complete with chocolates on the pillows and bottled water. So spoiled...I'll be sure to book in advance next time ;-)

The next thing we knew, it was Monday, 22 September and we were in the car, on our way to the South coast, Scottburgh, where we spent 5 days with Marc’s mom and Dad. We were very excited about diving Aliwal. Well, at least Marc was; I was not going to be doing any diving with the cold that I came down with and battled to shake until a few days ago. Unfortunately for Marc though, the weather did not play with and the sea was up side down. Luckily he managed to dive the Nebo, a wreck near the Aliwal shoal, near Umkomaas.
Marc practicing his swing, after hours on the golf course.

Wednesday, 24 September - a drink at the Parrot bar, Wilsons Wharf at the Durban harbour with Dean, who visited for two nights.

Saturday, 27 September we flew from Durban to Cape Town where we met up with my Mom and youngest sister, Jacqueline for 5 days.

Sisterly love... (Sorry, Christine wasn't there though)

Jacqueline is currently working on the Semester at Sea, which is a floating university sailing around the world. What an amazing experience! She started the voyage in May. We enjoyed listening to all the crew stories. She is a beauty therapist working in the spa. She works while they are at sea which is usually around 5 – 8 days, with the longest being 11 sea days. When they are in port she is off duty and gets to explore the city that they are visiting, usually around 3-6 days.

On Thursday, 2 October the ship left the Cape Town harbor for Chennai in India which was another 11 sea days that she had to look forward to, or NOT. Though it meant 11 days of good tips it also probably meant rough seas with tea cups sliding off tables, drawers opening and closing and other such sea sickness contributing factors. Which is of course all forgotten when she sets foot in yet another exciting country, meeting fascinating people and just loving every minute of her very exciting life at sea.

We stayed in a lovely self catering apartment, Sonwyck in the heart of Green Point. Down the road from the Buena Vista Social Club which makes the most delicious chili poppers and down stairs was the premier Italian delicatessen, Giovanni’s so we couldn't have been in a better location.

We were lucky to have 3 good days of sunshine and blue sky, as the weather in Cape Town has been rather dreadful. We enjoyed a fantastic day driving to Stellenbosh enjoying the breathtakingly beautiful scenery of one winery after the other.

Our first stop was the Ernie Els Wine Estate where Jaqeuline used to work as a tour guide before she joined Semester at Sea. One of her friends is one of the wine makers and he kindly showed us around, explaining the wine making process followed by a wine tasting which we really enjoyed. We unfortunately only had time for one more wine farm, and Jacqueline suggested Tokara where we enjoyed another tasting, admiring the beautiful misty view.

We used to go to the Eastern Cape growing up but the last time I was in Cape Town, was 19 years ago. I know....shocking. I felt like a real tourist in my own country. Needless to say, over the next few days we took in the sights incl. half way up Cathedral Peak (as it was closed for maintenance in preparation for the Cape Argus), Hout Bay, visited the African Penguins at the Boulder in Simon's Town, a drive to the Cape of Good Hope (Cape Point), spotted whales past Muizenberg and drank beer at Mitchelle’s Brewery at the V&A Waterfront, which we definitely would recommend. Try their milk and honey brew, "it’s delicious”. PS. Tuesday’s are Karaoke nights…Oh, what fun!

The very trendy Camps Bay.

The stunning views from Signal Hill.

A night out at Buena Vista Social Club.

The V&A Waterfront - I love it!

The beautiful view, 4km up Cathedral Peak.
The Waterfront in Simon's Town.

African Penguins at the Boulders, Simon's Town.

The magnificent views from Cape Point. What a stunning place!

Thursday, 2 October - We flew via. Malaysia and figured a two day stop over in Kuala Lampur on our way back would be a great way to end the holiday.

We arrived at 6am on Friday morning and headed straight for our hotel, Hotel Istana where we tried to catch up on some sleep that we missed due to a 6 hour time difference. After a 4 hour nap we were ready to hit the streets of the bustling KL. A trip to KL would not be complete without an electronics purchase, now would it. The Hotel Istana was centrally located, within walking distance to Bukit Bintang Walk and other Malls in the vicinity and at $80 per night it is good value for money. After a couple of hours of camera hunting we finally decide on a Sony digital camera and continued strolling around taking in all the sights and sounds;
Independence building

This guy travels with 8 cats on a motor bike and he parks off and allows people to photograph while he cleans the cats, puts on music while he orders the cats to move around, sit, stay etc. He apparently rescues the cats and has 120 of them at home that he cares for with the money he makes from going around the city.

Having dinner at the night market; KL is known for it's very delicious street food.

We've lived in Asia for 2 and a half years but we haven't been brave enough to try durian. They say it smells like hell but, tastes like heaven. I'll take their word for it.

Saturday morning we took a taxi to Batu Caves followed by
A strole down PETALING STREET - The heart of Kuala Lumpur's original CHINATOWN,

and from there, again strolled around central market where we looked at amazing handy crafts and other Malaysian curios but the highlight of the weekend was the cute Cute Fish Spa LOL ;-),
The fish originate from hot spring in Turkey where they are commonly known as “Doctor Fish” and they basically eat the dead skin on your feet. Call it a “fish pedicure”! As I put my feet in the water a big shoal of little “Garra Rufa” dashed over to start their feeding frenzy! The fish are actually toothless (thank goodness!) and nibble in quick, sucking motions which feels like a “weird” massage. At first Marc wasn’t to keen on trying it but it didn’t take a lot to convince him that the toothless fish won’t hurt. After all, he is a grown man, right?

…..that giggled like a little girl. It was sooooo funny, LOL!

Did our feet feel any smoother? It surprisingly did. It felt smooth and silky after only 10 minutes and NO, it didn't smell fishy.

Late afternoon we sat in an Irish pub, sipping tiger beer waiting for the tropical rain storm to pass. We ended our weekend with more yummy street food and a 1 hour foot massage before heading back to the hotel.

On Sunday, 5 October, we enjoyed a leisurely morning at the hotel before we left for the airport to catch our 1:30pm flight back to a HOT and sticky Jakarta.

A week later we are back into “Jakarta mode”, looking forward to the last 3 months of 2008, already planning a couple of trips away, so watch this space!