Tuesday, December 19, 2006

Christmas Countdown

Nevermind the fact that our child mimics the dog by eating cheerios directly off of his tray, or the fact that when you take off his diaper, he gets very silent, as if meditating... and before you know what hit you, you're sitting in a puddle of pee... our child is a genius. Yes, despite these minor setbacks, we think he is destined to be a rocket scientist. Yesterday, while watching the "Little Einsteins", Lukas lifted his hands up in the air, in anticipation for their line, "Now raise your hands, way up high, and yell, 'Blast Off'!". He's not even 11 months old yet! I think that's HUGE!

I know, we parents have a tendency to make a big deal out of the most insignificant things... but I love the fact that he's really starting to understand the world around him!

Well, since I haven't written in ages, let me get you up to date on our latest adventures...

Last Friday, December 8th, we headed off to Cape Town, with the dog and baby! It was Lukas' first long-distance car ride... and although he did well for three of four hours, we won't be repeating that anytime soon! We arrived in Cape Town shortly after 9 PM, and found our pre-arranged accommodation in an area called Fish Hook. We had stopped at Steers (a favorite South African burger joint) for dinner on the way, so we were able to just fall into bed upon arrival.

The following morning we took the dog on a walk and then searched for a good brekky place. Well, since Lukas fell asleep as soon as we started the car, we decided to go for drive around until he woke up. We were able to drive threw Simons' Town and past Boulders (where we saw a colony of penguins), and on to the Cape Peninsula National Park before he woke up. As we were driving, we saw lots of warning signs for the baboons in the area, but the baboons themselves were nowhere to be seen. When Lukas finally awoke, we decided on a little café on the main street in Fish Hook. However, after eating there, we decided to eat breakfast in our little apartment for the remainder of our time there. Saturday was chock-full of shopping. We shopped at the Waterfront area and the Canal Walk (both of which were ridiculously full), before stopping at the Cape Town Fish Company for a scrumptious meal. The food and atmosphere at this Cape Town establishment are fantastic, and we found it to be a wonderful way to escape the crowds and chaos for a while. Because we ate such a late lunch, we ended up skipping dinner and retiring early in our little apartment in Fish Hook.

On Sunday, after walking the dog, we decided to take advantage of the clear skies and head to Cape Town's prominent Table Mountain for a great view of the city. The cable car was closed, due to high winds, but we were able to take a few really nice photos before heading to the Waterfront again. Afterwards we walked down to the Two Ocean Aquarium (http://www.aquarium.co.za/), where Lukas got a kick out of all of the colorful fishies and the penguin exhibit. That evening, we had dinner at a place in Kalk Bay (very close to where we were staying) called Cape to Cuba (http://capetocuba.com/). What a fun atmosphere! It wasn't super child/family oriented, but we still enjoyed it.

Monday, December 11th, marked another milestone... the arrival of Lukas' 7th tooth!!! After taking his morning walk with the dog, Papa was off to work (which was over an hour away!), so Lukas and I were on our own for the day (and we had a second rental car during the week). We drove to Kalk Bay and walked around a bit, stopping at a little Pancake restaurant situated in an old railroad car. After a bit of brekky, we headed out to the town of Westlake to visit a kids store (http://www.kidsemporium.co.za/). Then we stopped in Kalk Bay again on the way back, visiting a lovely bookstore and the neighboring café before heading back to Fish Hook. Once Tobi was done with work, we met him at the Paulaner Beergarden in the city center (but only after an ordeal which involved us getting locked into our apartment, as a result of Tobi accidentally taking the house key with him).

On Tuesday, December 12th, Lukas and I spent a lazy morning with Felix in the apartment. Around 10, a woman that had been recommended to us stopped by to look after Lukas for a couple hours. Then it was off to the Waterfront for a nail appointment (my nails look horrible here as a result of the South African water and the absence of a dishwasher). My appointment was at a hair salon inside of the Waterfront center, and afterwards I stopped quickly at Woolworths to pick up some lunch. I got back around 2 PM, and Lukas and I walked the dog before getting ready for a Christmas party for Tobi's work. Unfortunately, the power and water was out, which made it a bit difficult to get ready, but somehow we managed. Since the winery was an hour away, Tobi and I met at the airport, which allowed us to drop off the extra rental car, then we drove to the party together, which was at the magnificent Spier winery (www.spier.co.za) in Stellenbosch. The party was fun, and Lukas was the center of attention, as usual. He was sooo good! And Tuesday marked another big milestone. Lukas realized how fun it is to hear himself talk! He was a little chatterbox!

Wednesday Tobi had off, and so he was able to help pack and get ready for the long journey home. He actually ended up taking the dog and baby on a walk, which allowed me to do some intensive packing without interruption. Once we got everything packed up, we left the dog behind once more, so that we could quickly visit the Cape Peninsula National Park (http://www.places.co.za/html/cape_point.html). The views from the park were spectacular, and we stopped at Boulders once more on the way back, to introduce Lukas to the penguins. After picking up the dog and loading up the car, we drove to Camps Bay, to view the famed "Twelve Apostles". The drive there was breathtaking. We drove over Chapman's peak to Hout Bay, reaching Camp's Bay shortly thereafter. I think this was really the highlight of our trip. What an incredible coastline!!! Despite the many lovely cafés in Camps Bay, we decided to begin our journey back to Mossel Bay, since the baby had just fallen asleep. The drive was also quite nice, as the National Highway, N2, passes right through a big mountain range.

And that, my friends, was our trip to Cape Town. I'm so sorry that it took me so long to share this with you! I've just been so busy Christmas shopping lately!

I'll spend most of the day today preparing for our Christmas meal tomorrow (it's now Saturday... it took me 4 days to get around to finishing this entry!!!). Rijanah (our nanny) and her family are going to join us, and then we're going to bring a hot meal and some toys to the people at the local shelter for abused women and children.

So long for now! I'll write more in a couple days, and tell you all about Lukas' first Christmas!

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