Bloem to Durban…

…was a different kettle of fish altogether…

We hit the road after eight, thanks to the GPS on my phone telling us that Durban was a mere 486 Km from Bloemfontein.  Needless to say, it wasn’t.

It was pouring when we left and the rain didn’t let up at all by the time we got to Bethlehem for the mandatory Wimpy coffee stop.  As none of the women in the car was able to pinch their bladders until we arrived there, we stopped off in some obscure little town called Senekal, where we went to the loo (not that we used them because they were beyond filthy!).  With great difficulty we clamped our bladders shut until we got to Bethlehem.

Once again, leaving in the pouring rain we continued our journey East.  Just past another obscure little town called Kestell, we aquaplaned, while Dad was behind the wheel and had an accident – landing meters away from a large, gushing storm water culvert.  We spun around three times before actually leaving the road and skidding down a steep embankment where we finally came to a stop, centimetres from a barbed-wire farm fence.  Had I been driving we would more than likely have rolled, and been badly injured, or worse, dead.  He controlled the spin like a pro.

Fortunately nobody was hurt – but Mom was in such shock, that I had to slap her – just like they do in the movies.  I must admit that I did get some satisfaction out of it.  Poor Uncle Barry got absolutely drenched trying to flag down some help, but as can only be expected in this day and age, people are not keen to stop, let alone help.

Being stuck in the sinking mud, cellphone signal was nil, so I clambered my way up and contacted MTN emergency who cut me off not once, but twice.  I then opted for Geri and Dan who told us to sit tight and that they would get us all sorted out.  Minutes later I was on the phone with a police officer from Kestell who dispatched an ambulance, just to make sure we were all unhurt and who gave me the number of a towing company.  Upon contacting them, I was told that they would come and pull us out of the culvert as soon as we put R1100 in the hand of the driver.  Between five of us we had quite a bit of money…in US DOLLARS!  Again, on the phone to Geri and Dan who got hold of the towing company, transferred the money and got us sorted.  What we would have done without them the Lord alone knows.

About a half hour after that, we were being pulled out back onto the road, and were taken to Harrismith where the car was put on the lift and checked.  No serious harm done, except (as we only found out on our trip home) that the rear shocks were shot.

By the time we eventually arrived at Geri and Dan’s place in Amanzimtoti, we were too exhausted to do anything – a braai had been planned, but it was still raining, so we ordered pizza instead and just chilled at home.  I was stunned to see just how big their children have become. 


 is five already and

little Lulu is not so little anymore,

 turning three this March. 

They are gorgeous children, who managed to creep into my heart in a matter of minutes.

After dinner, my folks, Aunty Carol and Uncle Barry headed off to their guest house just up the road and I helped Geri with the washing up.  They went to bath James and Lulu and put them to bed.  While they were busy I took some photos of the view from their verandah

and phoned Jay – I just needed to hear his voice.  I told him quite honestly that not a day had passed since his visit that I hadn’t thought of him.  He was relieved to hear that we were all safe and told me to really enjoy my holiday.  I rang off feeling better.

I spent some time catching up with Geri and Dan, but by 22:30 I just couldn’t keep my eyes open anymore.  The day’s events had really taken my oomph out of me.  I went to bed, again not even remembering putting the light off.

The Roadtrip…

…to Bloemfontein for the first leg of our two day trek to Durban to board the MSC Sinfonia started with us locked and loaded into the car a touch after six in the morning.  The air was filled with palpable excitement. 

Our first stop en-route was just outside Willowmore, where we had breakfast under the trees (in very cold, windy conditions).  After that it was a mandatory refuelling stop in Graaff-Reinet for not only the car, but us – we run on Wimpy coffee.  I wasn’t really hungry so I opted for a cream cheese and carrot muffin which was very yummy.  Mom and Aunty Carol weren’t so lucky with their bran ones, which tasted like what I imagine dog biscuits to taste like.

From there we hit the road to Bloem where we stayed at a delightful place called Blueberry Hill.  The host, Alta makes your stay a home-away-from-home.  The entire house is at the disposal of the guests and can sleep up to 9 people.  It is comfortable, clean, fully equipped and above all, reasonably priced.  We will definitely stay there again when we go up North.

After a quick unpacking session, and a welcome cup of tea on the verandah…

we headed off to the Windmill Casino – needless to say, it was a waste of our time and money.  We weren’t even there for two hours when we headed back.  I had a shower and got into bed.  I was so exhausted, I don’t even remember putting the light off…