Dorje and Oma: Skype feedback from school holiday in Hermanus

September 26th, 2008 by MUM

Day 1

[13:42:33] Oma: Sat watching whales, climbed the rocks (was'nt in my daily planner) fed dried seaweed back to the sea. Because I care for the seaweed, he says.
[13:43:04] Oma: We also bought a power ranger puzzle but tv for now
[13:43:46] Oma: Wanted a 1000 piece puzzle, managed to divert to a 93 piece
[13:44:03] Oma: my rug is al klaar
[13:44:31] … you have not been ,mentioned ha ha ha
[13:45:34] Oma: He asked when he is 40 how old will I be. I said 100 and replied, then you will be my mom

Day 2 …

[10:49:48] MUM: hey
[10:49:52] … how was night 2?
[10:49:54] … :*
[11:26:36] Oma: why are you bothering us when we are fine?
[11:26:46] … He woke me up!
[11:27:02] MUM: :)
[11:27:03] … sorry
[11:27:07] … i kinda miss him :)
[11:27:11] … what time?
[11:27:17] Oma: come and get him!
[11:27:23] MUM: :)
[11:27:23] Oma: 7.15
[11:27:35] MUM: yo :^)
[11:27:39] … must be the sea air
[11:27:55] Oma: Dragged the curtain and said look it's day
[11:28:30] MUM: shame, you get about a million heaven points for this
[11:28:54] Oma: still in his pajamas
[11:29:04] MUM: and you too i hope ;)
[11:29:12] Oma: no
[11:29:39] … going for a pancake and a dop at 1.00
[11:29:51] MUM: hahahaha
[11:29:53] … enjoy the dop
[11:29:59] … and leave dorje in his pj's :D
[11:30:04] Oma: macaroni and cheese for supper
[11:30:25] … leaving him at home by himself
[11:30:37] MUM: you know how you can win sleeping late? put a tv in HIS room lol
[11:30:44] … oh lol at leaving him at home :D
[11:30:49] Oma: hahaha
[11:31:04] MUM: swop rooms and give him the remote for the next 3 days
[11:31:11] … i will come early friday to let you off :D
[11:31:22] Oma: don't worry
[11:31:47] … the traffic is going to be hectic. whale festival
[11:31:58] MUM: oh crap ja
[11:32:02] … ag sigh
[11:32:21] Oma: hope you are still coming?
[11:32:32] MUM: changed my mind - can you keep him for 2 weeks? :D
[11:33:03] Oma: You'll see a for sale sign at my house, one child and a remote
[11:33:18] … tv free
[11:33:39] … nearest offer secures

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Pictures from the middle of nowhere

September 11th, 2008 by dad

Here are some pictures of the trip to the Tankwa Nature Reserve.

It’s hot, 25 degrees, semi-desert, and snow in the background

Taken by Dorje

Getting out of the way so we can see the snow better


Dorje’s experiment with the camera effects

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Nine-hundred and ninety-nine green bottles…

September 8th, 2008 by dad

This weekend, Dorje, Anique and I drove up to the Tankwa Karoo National Park to join some friends in a house there. The trip was estimated at about four hours, and we left around 3pm on Friday.

We got there at at about 2pm on Saturday.

The maps and directions we got were humourously bad. “From Ceres, take the R355 north…” There is no R355 in Ceres, and no-one in Ceres seemed to have a clue where Tankwa or the R355 were, and, being the last to leave, everyone else was already out of cellphone reception.

Eventually someone pointed out where he thought the R355 was, and, being in a vaguely northerly direction, and the most likely route according to my guess, we headed off.

An hour later, as we were beginning to lose faith, we discovered the R355, turning off from the road we were on. Flushed with success, sure we were a short distance away, we turned off. It was now already dark.

At some point, the ‘R355’ petered out into a dead end, and we approached nearby farmhouse for help. “We’re going to Tankwa”. “O Hel!” was the unpromising answer.

By this point, Dorje was thankfully fast asleep, so the drive back to Mount Cedar, the suggested stopoff point for the night, passed fairly painlessly, albeit with me asleep in the back, after the five and a half hour drive coupled with the four hours sleep the previous night finally caught up.

Mt. Cedar was full (there was snow on the mountains, what were we thinking, they implied), and they suggested either Op Die Berg, about another hour (back the way we’d come), or all the way back to Ceres, a further hour after that.

Driving back to Op Die Berg, we saw the elusive turnoff to the R355, rather hard to spot in the dark. The gate to the National Park closed at 9pm, and it was already well past that, but at least we knew where to come tomorrow.

Miraculously, Op Die Berg had a place for us, and we spent the night at the Oppi Berg Gastehuis.

The next morning, over breakfast, the owner showed me a map. The R355 turnoff we’d missed and spotted on the return the previous night actually wasn’t the R355. It joined the R355 after an hour’s drive over a mountain pass, and we were still 2 hours away from our destination.

The pass, which I can’t find right now on Google, opened (or was at least renovated) in 1999, and is called something like the Katteberg Pass.

Crossing the pass made the delay entirely worthwhile, as this pass took us from the snow-covered Ceres mountains, to the dry and dusty Ceres-Karoo. The vista was unbelievable at times. A hot day, about 25 degrees, snow peaks in the background, and dry deserty sands before us.

So we stopped to take some pictures. As we pulled off, a rock leapt out in front of us, and the car found itself wedged in the air over a rather large rock, unable to move.

We unpacked the car, and the boot, and dug out the jack, one of those devices designed to meet the absolute minimum standards of jackdom. In other words, lifting the car by hand would have been only marginally more effort.

I jacked the car up, then did it again after the jack collapsed in a heap during the first attempt. We moved the rock, and repacked the car, and the boot.

At this point Dorje decided he’d had enough of sitting in the car, and raced up the mountain. I cursed our expeditions together, wishing I’d brought him up on ice cream and computer games, and scaled the peak after him in my flipflops. With Dorje on my shoulders, heading down, I slip gracefully onto my backside as the occupants of the only car we’d seen all day wave cheerily as they head on past.

About 22 hours after we started looking, we finally turned onto the R355, and arrived at Tankwa an hour or so after that. We get detailed directions to our house, fifteen kilometres away, and, measuring to the metre on my odometer, we head off.

There’s no sign, but at exactly the right point, there’s a house, and we turn in. None of the familiar cars are there, but it must be right, and I knock on the door. Two strange woman are inside, but they refuse to open, or even come, to the door. I shout that I’m looking for Maanskyn, our house. They gesture for me to leave.

Assuming it’s the wrong house, we leave, and carry on along the road. Almost exactly to the metre, a few kilometres further, the next turnoff appears, and I realise I’d been measuring accurately all along, and the previous house must have been correct. Perhaps the road continued behind that house?

We head back. Dorje has by this time lost his sense of humour, and wants to go home, little caring that it’s twenty-three five hours away.

Back at the house, the two woman remain as welcoming as ever, and there’s no sign of any other house or road. By this time, twenty-three hours after we left, both Anique and I are also starting to lose our sense of humour. We head off back on the fifteen kilometre road to reception, ready to kidnap someone and insist they lead us directly to the house.

My sporty Golf GTI, not the most practical car for the Tankwa Karoo, cuts out as I, in my good humour, roar over the potholed gravel a little too ambitiously at thirty kilometres an hour.

We manage to get it going again, and continue at a more sensible twenty. There, coming the other way, is one of our companions in his slightly more practical Toyota Corolla. He waves as he drives past. And doesn’t stop… Or at least that’s what it seemed like for a unpleasantly drawn-out second.

“Are you lost?”, he asks, casually, as I try and greet him civilly. “Follow me!”

We turn and follow him… back for the third time to the house with the strange women. It turns out we’re sharing the house with them – the back part of the house is completely separate, which is probably for their own good, as I wouldn’t have been too friendly if I’d had to share space with them.

Finally, twenty-three hours later, we’d arrived.

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