On Saturday, Jacob’s plane got in at 8:35 am. Keri was her usual amazing self and dropped me off at the airport to go fetch him. Fortunately we found each other immediately, which was a miracle in the sea of people. There are actually a lot of shops in the airport, including a Woolie’s, so the first thing we did was get some grocery supplies from there and then grab some coffee from Mugg & Bean. Then we were off to get our rental car.
To put it mildly, I was a bit anxious about my first driving experience in the country. Even though I learned how to drive on a manual transmission, it’s been a year or two since I’ve had to do it. Add to that having the driver’s seat on the right side of the car, having to shift with my left hand, drive on the left side of the road, deal with Joburg’s crazy traffic and not having any idea where in the hell I was….yeah, I was nervous. We picked up the car from the rental place, which is a sporty little red Nissan hatchback. We had also gotten ourselves a GPS, but because we were afraid that the route it was going to take us to get back to campus would go through town, I decided to just print directions up from Google maps. I had looked at the map and I was pretty confident that I understood what was going on.
Cut to me sitting down in the driver’s seat. WEIRD. However, there was nothing to do but take the first step, and we were off. Once I got going it wasn’t that bad. My only issue is that I tend to list to the left because I’m used to the right side of the lane being much further from me, so Jacob was remaining vigilant and warning me when I was about to drive us off of the road.
The problems began when we ran into construction. Because of the construction, exits weren’t numbered, so while I knew what highways were coming up, I had no idea which direction I would actually be going. Sure enough, I got on the right freeway going in the wrong direction for about 20km. Whoops. Fortunately, we managed to figure it out, turn ourselves around and made it safely back to campus. I’ve got to say, I did give myself a little pat on the back.
Our first activity was our friend Roger’s birthday party. He and Greg held it at their house in Victory Park, and it was the perfect day. Not too hot, nice and sunny, and we were outside by the pool and the bar chatting, eating and drinking all day. Roger and Greg’s friends were lovely and accommodating, and it was the perfect first activity for a jetlagged Jacob, as not much was required of him. However, after about 4 hours in the sun, fatigue was beginning to set in. We headed back to campus so that Jacob could get a short nap in before our activities for the evening.
We went to dinner at a Portuguese restaurant called Nuno’s in a neighborhood called Melville. Melville is another one of those neighborhoods like Greenside or Parkhurst that has a bunch of bars and restaurants, but it’s a little bit more chill. We had a great meal. Jacob tried Mozambique style prawns in a spicy beer sauce. They were definitely labor intensive but worth it, and he had it alongside his first South African beer, my favorite, Black Label. It was on draught there and it was sooooo delicious. I had some grilled fish, and once again was presented with a plethora of sauces with which to accentuate my dish. We were able to sit outside and have a nice leisurely evening.
After dinner, we headed over to Greenside to meet Keri and Ana for drinks at our favorite, the Office. We hit some more driving trouble here, as our cracked out GPS took us the wrong way on one way streets and ran us in the dead ends. Also, we were driving in the dark, and none of the streets were lit, so it was a really special experience. I definitely got flustered enough to stop paying attention and start driving on the right side of the road for a couple of seconds. Fortunately, there was nobody else on that particular street, so I managed not to kill anybody. We did finally get ourselves sorted and to the bar, and indulged in a much needed cocktail.
Jacob was able to hang in there until about 11:00, but the jet lag seriously caught up with him, so we packed up, headed home, and passed out in my veeerrryyyy cozy dorm twin bed. I can’t wait until we’re in Cape Town and have a proper bed again. So far this holiday is going wonderfully.
Next up, lions, giraffes, and lots and lots of meat.