It’s been a little quiet over here at LJT headquarters. It wasn’t intentional but turns out we really just needed a break. Even Worldschoolers, with all the many adventures, need a vacation. We didn’t get to go to our beloved USA for a Red Robin-eating marathon and visits with family, but we did get warm weather, a beach, a pool and lots of food delivery services. So it was
not even almost as good!
When we arrived in Cape Town in mid February after our nightmare travel day, we immediately started looking for a place to settle for about 6 weeks. We identified an area between Port Elizabeth and Cape Town (called the “Garden Route”) and we were open to just about anything in between. That’s a pretty big stretch. To drive it would be about 9 hours. But we felt like we were pretty open. Unfortunately, we just weren’t finding anything that was a slam dunk for our home-away-from-no-home for March and part of April. We would find a house we liked but it had no or extremely limited internet. We would find a place with internet but the location wasn’t right. So when we visited a house in Gordon’s Bay, just about an hour south of Cape Town, and it had decent internet and lots of space, we booked it.
Unfortunately, it was not ready for us to move into until March 2nd, so that meant we had 10 days to kill. Daniel does what Daniel does… he looks for respite and warmth. I didn’t really see it coming but he did: we needed some down time. We have a great car that we’ve rented for the time here in South Africa and he was ready to put on some kilometers and head for the sun. For our entire lives our vacations have been in sunny beach/pool weather and this was no exception. So we took off for Durban, where the ocean water is 20 degrees warmer than on the Cape, and the weather is some of the best in the country.
It took a few days to get there. I didn’t realize what a long drive it was. But it was not a bad drive. The roads were well maintained, the speed limits were generous (which means our ACTUAL speed was even more generous), the passing lanes were frequent and the views ranged from relatively interesting to downright gorgeous. We saw an elephant, zebras, baboons and all kinds of farm lands from the road. We saw a bunch of sheep and at one point Zoe exclaimed excitedly. We asked her what was so great and she said “I thought those were golden retrievers!”. Yes, Zoe, because they usually put hundreds of golden retrievers out to pasture. Honestly, this girl needs to get out more!
We also saw a cop, twice. The first time, on the way to Durban, we were pulled over for speeding. Of course there’s no evidence we were speeding but it was coming out of a town and they had a speed trap set up. We saw a cop in the middle of the road, flagging us to stop. In Panama, Dan has actually just blown past them, acting like he didn’t see them (and it worked). But he’s not as brave here yet, I guess. So you just kind of have to take whatever the cop is going to deliver. The cop was very smiley, was curious about the girls, asking them their ages and their grades (they had to think long and hard about what grade they were in, which I’m sure was NOT a suspicious thing!!) and then he says to Zoe: “Don’t worry, your Dad is going to jail but he’ll be out in 2-3 years.” This was our first time being pulled over so we really didn’t know what to think, but I was pretty sure the jerk cop was kidding. He didn’t actually say “I’m kidding” so for 5 minutes while they talked to Dan over by the cop car, I had to reassure Zoe that he was kidding. Talk about faking it ’til you make it in front of your kids! But what a jerk! Anyway, that situation was resolved easily with 600 Rand (about $50). Some cop had a nice dinner out with his family.
After 2.5 days of driving, we eventually dragged ourselves into the resort hotel, dropped our bags and sat down. We pretty much didn’t move for 6 days.
We did not go to a single museum.
No hop-on, hop-off bus tours.
No guided educational historical tours.
No authentic food experiences.
No workshops, no research into the region’s history, no monuments.
There was a guided nature walk that happened twice a day that started a few steps from our hotel. We didn’t even do that.
Zoe became Queen Bee of the resort, rounding up every kid between the age of 5 and 12 as her personal posse. By the second day we had kids coming to our door looking for her. Haley did a little exploring in nature but pretty much just holed up in her room. Dan did a lot of the same. I went to the spa. Three times. We went to the largest mall in Africa. Three times. We went to the movies. Twice. We ordered ENDLESS meals for delivery and we sat by the pool. We got sunburned and we slathered ourselves with coconut oil. It wouldn’t be a vacation without coconut oil.
It was a long drive back and we were pulled over again, but this time for a routine traffic stop to check “papers”. The cop didn’t like that we only had an ELECTRONIC copy of a sticker instead of the physical copy of it so the cop gave us a ticket to pass along to the owner of the car. We didn’t worry so much this time because it was really no skin off our nose. But Dan, being the warrior of liberty that he is, doesn’t take too kindly to law enforcement when they think they’re saving the world by getting technical and issuing what amounts to “power trip” tickets. So he gave the poor cop a speech about how wonderful that he was keeping his country safe from tourists carrying the correct paperwork in electrons instead of dead trees. Can you say “government fundraiser”? (The owner had sent us the renewal sticker via email but it “technically” had to be affixed to the car so you know, the “world must stop so this cop can feel like he’s important”… Dan’s words.) Zoe got schooled on Dan’s views on cops that day.
Speeding tickets and long drives notwithstanding, we all agree that it was worth it just to be “offline” for 6 days, doing nothing in the sun and not feeling a bit guilty about it. We are now back in the Cape area, ready to explore, hit the homeschool books and fulfill our destiny as Worldschoolers. If you know of any cops who work in this area, be sure to let them know we’ve arrived. Dan would love to talk to them.