Sunday, September 30, 2012

Returning to site

As always a journey starts with one step and that step in our journey from one part of the African continent to another [for me] starts with packing. And that means packing  - what I thought was at least 100kgs - into bags which may only contain 60kg in total! *sigh*

I started to pack my bags on Sunday afternoon. (BTW, Grant packed his bag in about ten minutes flat and when weighed, it tipped the bathroom scales at 8kg!) Within the next two hours, our bedroom back home in SA looked as if Cyclone Jo had hit it. Nevertheless, I promised myself that this time I would be completely packed for EA by the time the sun set. And I was! For the first time in history since we've been expats, I wasn't standing on cases, and pulling items out and repacking them into Grant's case with it's extra space at midnight before we left! The bonus was that when I weighed all three bags, they totaled 46kg!

Next morning Angus and Amanda collected us at 6am and an hour-and-a -half later we'd arrived at Bloemfontein airport, had the luggage wrapped and were ready to check in. However, as the Hedges are always early, there was time for a quick breakfast in the airport restaurant and a last visit with our children and grandchildren.
Top left to right: packing up in SA; 
Center: family breakfast in at Bloemfontein Airport;
 Bottom left: the Slow Lounge at OR Tambo Airport, Johannesburg 
Bottom right:  early-morning tea at Sea Cliff hotel, Dar es Salaam

As our luggage was booked straight through from Bloemfontein to Dar Es Salaam, and we'd arrived at Oliver Tambo Airport by 10.10am, with our flight to Tanzanian scheduled for 2pm, our international boarding passes in Grant's pocket, we normally have quite a long wait in the boarding hall. However, while on holiday we'd received notification as clients of the Barclays Banking group, that for a nominal fee, we were entitled to all the facilities in the First National Bank Slow [Business] Lounge. These included a free massage, beds if you'd like to sleep, WiFi availability, food and refreshments aplenty. So this is where we headed once we'd walked from domestic arrivals to international departures. 

We had a pleasant flight from Johannesburg to Dar Es Salaam, touching down on East African soil shortly after 7pm.  As Tanzanian Residents, we cleared customs easier than the previous three times (where we'd have to queue for the best part of an hour to obtain visitor's visas), collected our luggage from the carousel and met Mohamed, our company driver outside the airport. The traffic was still very congested and we finally arrived at the Sea Cliff hotel and in our room at 8.45. 

Next morning we rose at 3.45am as Mohamed would collect us at 4.30 to take us to the airport. There we boarded the 6.05 flight to Mwanza. Once we'd collected our luggage from the rather archaic of a tractor trailer from which the porters pull the cases and place them on a concrete platform  where confused passengers mill around trying to read the baggage labels ! Grant seconded an official who, in no time at all, had our bags loaded on a trolley and wheeled it to the parking lot where William, our Mwadui driver was waiting at Grant's vehicle.
 The countryside is dry at the moment, as we wait for the "big" rains, but I noticed the gathering clouds and hoped that at least Mwanza got a shower that day!

The road trip from Mwanza to Mwadui passed quickly for me as I immersed myself in the story I'd downloaded on my Kindle/e-Reader (more about how I acquired this gadget - a story on it's own!)
At least I didn't add to the luggage weight with traditional books (I normally bring LOADS!)

We arrived in Mwadui at 10am and by midday I was halfway through unpacking the luggage.
Of course, I had all three assistants who're not letting me out of sight ever again! 

I hope you're all having a great weekend.

Friday, September 28, 2012

Back in Mwadui

We arrived home on camp in Mwadui on Tuesday. It has taken me  this that long to set up my Internet but at least I'm online and back on Blogger again! 

Thanks to all for the well-wishes for Grant's eye surgery. It went well - more about that soon! We also had a good journey back from South  to East Africa which was an added blessing.
Hard to believe we toured through the Karoo, South Africa ten days ago with snow on the mountains

To arrive in Mwadui to blue skies and hot, dry conditions! 

I wish you all a wonderful weekend ahead.

Monday, September 17, 2012

Two days in the city


Thanks to all who wished Grant well for his eye laser treatment today. His first eye is being done just after midday  and the second one early tomorrow morning. He sees (pun intended, LOL!)  the ophthalmologist early on Wednesday for a final check up and home we come. As we only have a few days before leaving for Tanzania, we will be doing our last minute shopping and business in the city over the two days spent in the city.

We have had a wonderful holiday and I have SO much to share with you which I hope to do later this week.

I hope you're all having a wonderful day.



Mmm, I wonder if the specialist will permit blogger/photographer/wife  to watch and record the procedure today!

Sunday, September 16, 2012

Update on our SA activities

Hi everyone! We've been back from our bike ride since Wednesday. I will post about our trip in due course. One of the places we stayed overnight, was at our friends' - Mart and Pete - guest house in Knysna, in the Cape. During June after the birth of our latest grandchild, Israel, our son John and daughter-in-law, Debbie and family stayed over there. Mart showed me an entry that our nine-year-old granddaughter made in her visitor's book.

Isn't this a gran's precious keep-sake?

I may be offline again for the next two days, as we're off to the city for Grant to have cataracts removed from both eyes tomorrow. Although this is the first time we've heard of the laser procedure for this problem (I had laser treatment on my eyes exactly 13 years ago this month! ) we now hear how many people have had this done, and successfully so. 

I trust you're all having a wonderful weekend. 

Thursday, September 6, 2012

Have bike, will ride

 This is the view I have of the bike while we're riding (I take photos in the ride, too) Those are my knees in the bottom of the photo!

As this post is aired, we'll be on our way on the open road on a our new bike. Grant upgraded, yet downsized weight-wise (never CC-wise, LOL) to a bike that is more manageable in his old age, HA! It is a beautiful machine and I'll have many photos and stories when we return home in about a week. 

Three Hedges men discussing and checking out the new machine!

Thanks to everyone of my readers and followers for your kind comments and visits. Until we meet again, you all have a wonderful weekend and a new week ahead!

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Our SA menagerie...

and Emily.

Yesterday was the official beginning of our holiday. It was bliss to stay in bed (on electric blankets) sipping my tea and easing myself into the day.  A far cry from my hectic schedule of running the company Guest House in Mwadui! 

Emily, our house-lady duly arrived at 8am and many hugs and greetings all round. She and the two gardeners always receive an extra [cash] bonus from Grant at this time.
As usual Emily had taken good care of our three dogs and three cats in our absence. She also keeps the house clean and tidy, while John and Simon keep the garden neat. There's nothing nicer when you have been traveling Intra-Africa, to arrive home to a neat patio and spring annuals already blooming; with fresh bed linen, shiny floors and clean-smelling rooms indoors.   
 Emily smiles for the camera as she completes her last tasks before leaving work

Shortly after lunch,  I wandered out onto the patio to photograph the animals. Tigger and Chip are our oldest cats (and pets) at 16 and 13 years old respectively.  Felix is nine years old and my friendliest cat. He also has the loudest purr that I've heard in a cat! 
 16 year-old Tigger

Tigger, my 16 year-old cat still has a very healthy appetite. is eyesight and hearing still seems to be good but his voice is definitely croaky! All three cats sleep indoors on their own blankets or in their own igloos and as soon as they've had breakfast in the morning, they wander out onto the patio where they soak up the warm morning sun! 
 The cat - books say that cats sleep for about 22 hours per day. Well, Chip, our 13 year-old cat [above] proves this and more! 
Felix at nine-years-old, is very laid back and has the sweetest nature I have ever come across! 

The cats took a little while (until evening snack time, in fact!) to accept our presence but the three dogs were ecstatic and greeted us with great enthusiasm as we arrive home on Saturday.

Angie, our rescue dog is almost five years old. She is the sweetest dog with friends, family and all the pets on the yard but is a brilliant guard dog when the need arises! 

  Megan, who needs a haircut, is almost thirteen years old. Her favourite thing in the whole world - apart from her bone-shaped nighttime treat - is to go in the car with us to the city to be clipped! 

Eddy, our long-haired fox-terrier, used to be John and Debbie's dog. When they left Marquard, she stayed with us while they built their new home. Eventually though, it was decided that Eddy should remain in the Free State, where she was born. She and Angie are wonderful friends

I hope you're all having a wonderful week. 

For more posts of other people's worlds, click here

Monday, September 3, 2012

Home in South Africa


Joel and Abby "discuss" the new cuddly cat that my friend, Amanda made for the little girl

We arrived home in SA on Saturday afternoon. It was so good to see our family and friends again! 

I hope you're all having a wonderful new week! 

Sunday, September 2, 2012

Mum's gone!

Hi Bozo, this is Ambrose Hedges from Tanzania. My mum has left us here and says she'll be back in three weeks. Do you think that's along time? *Sniff!*

For more pet posts around the world, click here