Fair warning, this is going to be a rather long post because we have some catching up to do! The last two weeks have been filled with traveling, meetings and parties! Fun times. When we last left you we were staying with Ben in Matsapha while he was at a week long strategic planning meeting.
Check out last week’s happenings for the full update, but in addition to all that we Mikayla and I got our first African hair cut. For the most part things turned out okay (a little uneven and more layers than I was expecting), better than expected really. Mikayla did great. She let them wash her hair in the big sink while I was getting mine cut and then sat there so still while hers was being trimmed. The nicest thing about the cut is that it is shorter which makes it cooler, but also it looks decent without being fixed. Since it gets hot pretty early in the day, most days I don’t feel like blow drying my hair. So a cut that can go decently without a dryer is always a plus in my book! (You can see pictures below)
On Thursday (2/23), Mikayla and I headed back to the house early to do some laundry and repacking. Then on Friday we packed up the car (again) and headed for a mini-vacation/birthday retreat in St. Lucia, South Africa (not the Caribbean St. Lucia). It was the perfect weekend getaway filled with beaches, animals and relaxation! On Friday we just checked out the town, took naps and then went out for an excellent dinner at an Italian place called Alfredo’s. The sisters treated us for my birthday gift. Thanks again Sister Diane and Sister Barbara!
On Saturday, we dressed in our swim suits, packed a light lunch and headed to Cape Vidal (a beach). The fun thing about the drive to the beach is that you had to drive through iSimangaliso Wetland Park. We weren’t expecting to see many animals beyond birds, but ended up seeing quite a few. Rhinos, hippos, zebra, lot of antelope creatures just to name a few. It was a nice unexpected addition to the trip. And the beach was perfect. The park limits the number of vehicles allowed in to 120 at a time, so it wasn’t overly crowded and not commercialized at all…our kind of beach. And we even found a little cove with water that was less than two feet for Mikayla to splash around in. She loved riding the waves, but I think she enjoyed herself more in the little cove. And despite being sick (she had caught a little cold from her friend the previous week), she had blast! We headed back to the cottage we were staying in early afternoon for naps and found that Ben and I were sufficiently burned despite putting on 50 SPF sunscreen. I guess that is what happens when you are spraying on sunscreen on the windy beach!
These guys were everywhere. Almost like squirrels are in KY. Mikayla loved watching them run around.
Mission Rock in iSimangaliso Wetland Park
Running away from the waves. As you can tell she thought this was really fun!
Dung Beetles – For Steve Kickert
It is hard to read, but it says "MLK Cape Vidal".
These guys were actually out of the water when we got to this watering hole, but as soon as we drove up they hit the water. This was the best shot I could get.
Speaking of our cottage, just wanted to put in a word for "The Wilds" where we stayed all weekend. It was a self-catering place that was perfect. They had a nice pool and play area (clubhouse, slide, etc.) for Mikayla. The owners were friendly and helpful in our decisions on where to go and what to eat. And the best part, unlike most self-catering places, they came in and cleaned each morning including dishes. Perfect! So we could cook if we wanted, but not worry about doing the dishes. Love it!
This picture quality is horrible, but here is her monkey friend in the clubhouse! This was before she noticed him.
Because of the sunburns we decided to just hang out around the cottage on Sunday. We spent the morning playing in the pool and clubhouse. Mikayla even had a play date with some monkeys in the clubhouse! We ventured out for lunch at a little place that overlooked the estuary and were able to watch birds and hippos while eating our tasty meal. That evening we headed back to the estuary and walked around the beach and lake. Again saw some hippo heads and Mikayla even found her first few seashells. I was a little disappointed with the lack of birds we saw, but to the birds credit we didn’t really go seeking them out either. Maybe on our next trip!
Tree Pictures – An Adkins family tradition!
The view from the back of the cottages.
On Monday we packed up and headed home. We had a little bit of minor car trouble, but nothing that prevented us from making a timely return.
Tuesday of course was my birthday so I laid low all day and besides laundry didn’t do much of anything. It was a perfect way to spend the day! Ben was even able to take off part of the day to make me a Funfetti cake! We had bought the cake mix in SA over Christmas and Joe brought in the Rainbow chip icing when he came in January. That evening the Sisters cooked a delicious meal of ham steaks (a rarity that they brought back from SA), noodles with a phenomenal gravy and salad. I ate more than my fair share and after my cake I was stuffed! I also got ot open my birthday gift from my parents and Ben – A combination blender and food processor! We used it to make hummus on the very first day. Love it!
The rest of the week Mikayla and I caught up on housework and play time while Ben finished last minute work stuff before his big trip to the US (he leaves on Monday for three weeks). On Friday we celebrated Dr. Seuss’s birthday by having a special birthday dinner. Can anyone guess what we had? Shame on you who didn’t guess green eggs and ham! Actually that isn’t quite true. Since ham is hard to get here, we had greens eggs and bacon. We also hat Cat in the Hat Pancake Stacks (banana pancakes for the white and pancakes made with strawberry Jell-O for the red), Cat in the Hat banana / fruit strip circles and Pink Yink Ink Drink from One Fish, Two Fish, Red Fish, Blue Fish (Sprite mixed with strawberry Jell-O powder). Last year Mikayla wasn’t much on this meal, but this year she ate it all up! And throughout the meal she kept quoting Dr. Seuss stories. I love that my daughter loves Dr. Seuss as much as I do! We loaned out our books and Horton Movie to the hostel so they could use them, so we didn’t actually read any books on Friday. But the next couple of weeks I have a ton of activities planned for our learning time!
Since Ben leaves on Monday we are laying low this weekend as a family. And in case you hadn’t heard there is a tropical cyclone (Irina) that is set to hit the coast of Mozambique this weekend which could make things interesting around here. We will keep you posted, but there is a good chance we will be without power and phone service for the next few days.