Wednesday, August 16, 2006

Slow Start in a Strange Land

I had forgotten how slowly the days go by when you’re in a new city, and you know no one. Well, they go by even slower when you’re in a small town, have no real way to get around, and are apprehensive about walking around town by yourself - when every home has a top notch security system and there are bars on all the shop windows. The funny thing is, most South Africans swear that this is a safe place… so why all the extreme safety measures? I guess this isn’t the type of thing you wanted to read in my first entry. Well, let me tell you some of the good stuff then…

We arrived four days ago, on August 12th. Tobi has found a beautiful home for us, which undoubtedly has one of the best views in the city. Our home is on a hill above the town, looking over Mossel Bay, onto the bay itself and mountains. And it’s not just a little glimpse of the bay and mountains from part of our back porch. We have a panoramic view of everything – from nearly every window of the house! And the balcony area is great for entertaining… it’s huge and there are stairs going down into a lovely garden full of South African trees, birds, and bushes. There’s a fence around the yard, too… which means we can let Felix out to play during the day (once he’s finally arrived… he’s on holiday in Germany right now).

A couple of houses down is a foot path down into the city. I packed Lukas up in the Baby Björn yesterday and we headed down the path and into town to do a bit of exploring. The thing with Mossel Bay is this… if you’re walking into and around town (and not driving), it’s very hard to avoid some of the “normal” neighborhoods. They’re not ghettos, but they’re not the kinds of neighborhoods you’d want to live in. That being said, we did walk down some not-so-pretty streets yesterday, and no one bothered us at all. I think it’s pretty safe in the day time, but plan to double check with the local Tourist Info center later this week, just to be sure.

Another big (albeit pathetic) plus is that there’s a lovely shopping mall in George (about 30 minutes from here). Mossel Bay also has a very nice shopping center, but it’s mostly outdoors (and it’s still a bit chilly at times, although Spring is reportedly on the way).

Little Lukas has been a real trooper. He seems to be dealing with the climate and altitude changes quite well, and continuously amazes us with the rate in which he grows and develops. He’s using his hands more every day, still smiles and laughs throughout the day, and is quite certain that he’s speaking in plain English. He’s also experimenting with crawling, propelling himself forward with his legs on occasion.

It’s late Wednesday morning, and right now we’re sitting in the living room, in front of the gas heater that Tobi bought last week. Lukas is in his beloved American Evenflo “Entertainment Center”, and I’m on the floor next to him, typing away. Lukas takes his nap in the mornings, and Tobi tries to come home for lunch when he can. Today he’s going to bring us to the store to buy some stuff for baking. Unfortunately, it’s very difficult to buy a car here as a foreigner, and Tobi needs the rental car most days to drive into work. We might check the newspaper for a car in a few weeks… we’ll see.

A huge milestone is going to be getting a telephone and Internet in a couple weeks. For now I have to rely on Tobi’s super expensive work connection, the town’s Internet café, or the occasional “hot spots” in local cafés.

That's all for now. Gotta run!

Elise / Liz

No comments: