Saturday, 11 July 2009

SA holiday

Last year I did not blog about our SA holiday, after all this blog is about our life in India. Arriving back from SA on Thursday, I discovered that literally all my friends that haven't left Chennai for good, are still somewhere on their home leave (school holiday is still on for another month). I now realised that home leave is such a big part of expat life, that I decided to share a few things about it. It is a weird thing - home leave. Going to your home country for a month or two. Visiting relatives, friends and being a tourist in your own country. Trying to rest, get a break from the host country, but also trying to do, see, experience as much as possible in the limited time. For me it means catching up with friends and family, going for walks around Stellenbosch, eating biltong, melktert, shopping at Woolies, reading a nice Afrikaans book and the past year's Saries, watching 7de Laan, taking the children on outings to special places, showing them the country and of course braai, braai and braai. During my time in SA, India was just a colourful memory, almost dreamlike, far, far away.

What struck me most this time round were the mountains. I spend my first 30 years (give or take !) under the Stellenbosch mountains. The past 7 years I lived a mountainless life. "I lift my eyes to the hills" - just not the same anymore. However, back in the Western Cape, so many beautiful mountains - Table, Stellenbosch, Simons, Paarl, Helderberg, Klein Drakenstein, Worcester, Kogmanskloof, Lange, De Doorns, Franschoek ! For this holiday we decided we need some peace and quiet and visited the Karoo National Park close to Beaufort West. I didn't expect to found mountains around there as well, but yes, there as well. The highlight was driving back through the Swartberg Pass to the ever popular Route 62. As always I took many photos, but they don't do justice - best to see it yourself.




Table Mountain, Cape Town (left) from Waterfront. Botmanskop, Stellenbosch (right).



Simonsberg, Stellenbosch (left) from Le Pommier and Table Mountain (right) from Strand.



Mountains around Montagu (left) and Stellenbosch Mountain (right).



Red Hills, Calitzdorp (left) and rock formations in Swartberg Pass (right).



Pieke (Twin Peaks), Stellenbosch from Lanzerac (left) and Worcester mountains (right).

Karoo hills

Friday, 10 July 2009

Weer in Chennai

Dit het gevoel soos my langste reis ooit, 28 ure van Stellenbosch tot by ons huis in Chennai. Na 'n absolute heerlike 4 weke in SA is ons terug. Kan 'n nie-Indier ooit gewoond raak aan Indie ? Is dit ooit moontlik om hier aand te land sonder dat die plek jou asem wegslaan ? Na 18 maande van hier bly, is my antwoord steeds nee. Wanneer hou kultuurskok dan op ? Reeds waar ons wag om te ''board'' by hek 231 in Dubai tref dit my. As die oues, gestremdes en mense met klein kinders (ons) nader geroep word, storm almal. Om eerste op die vliegtuig te kom is reel 1 (behalwe as jy gelukkig is om besigheidsklas te vlieg), want almal het 1 klein tassie, nog 1 of 2 sakke en 3 duty free inkopie sakke wat iewers 'n plekkie bokant ons koppe moet kry. Ja, die reel is eintlik hier ook net 1 stuk handbagasie. Sodra ons sit in die vliegtuig, word die hele vliegtuig gespuit vir ?? (nie na SA, Dubai of Engeland word daar ooit gespuit nie). Sodra die vliegtuig land, spring almal op - lugwaardinne kan maar skreeu ''sit down'' van waar hulle nog vasgegespe sit, want reel 2 is, kry daai 5 sakke hand bagasie so gou moontlik. Chennai lughawe is moontlik die vuilste lughawe. Met die eerste tree af van die vliegtuig tref dit jou, die bedompigheid, die soet Indie reuk, die vuil, die uur wag vir bagasie terwyl almal stoei om heel voor te staan. Uit by die lughawe se deure is dit 'n see van mense, 'n lawaai van toeters en dan iets bekends, Kotti se vriendelike, laggende gesig met sweets in die hand vir Inge en Jean - Welcome back sir ! How was your holiday madame? Wat 'n plek.