May 27, 2006
E Coli from McDonalds
I haven't been writing much lately as there hasn't been a lot happening over here except for a lot of work, ultimate, and sleep. Last week I flew to Durban, Pietermaritzburg and East London. While in Pietermaritzburg there was a freak hail storm. The hail was bigger than golf balls, and when it was over the it looked like the ground was covered in snow. Our rental car had considerable damage done to it. I have a couple pictures on my camera, and will upload them soon.
I've been in South Africa for 43 days now and I'm officially ready to go home. My flight has been booked for June 6, and I can't wait to get home to my fiance, summer, my cat, and see everyone at my birthday yacht party. This is officially the longest I've been away from home, beating last years record of 38 days in South America.
The weather the past week or so has been quite odd. When you're sitting at home in Canada you don't picture yourself having to scrape frost off your windows in the morning before you drive to work. The temperatures are getting down to below zero overnight. Sure they are getting up to 20 or so during the day, but that's not the point. I'm sleeping with a heater in my room!
Tomorrow I'm hoping to take a day off and head up to Pilanesberg National Park for the day. There haven't been many days off since I've been here and next weekend promises to be the craziest one yet.
My birthday yacht party is June 17 for anyone who didn't receive an invite in their email. It promises to be a great bash as always, and so if you are interested in coming drop me a line.
May 18, 2006
I went to McDonalds for the first time in 18 months on Saturday and was treated to a special surprise.. E Coli. I had a Big Mistake, err Big Mac, and asked my co-worker if his tasted funny. He said no, and I thought nothing of it. I can't be 100% sure it's E Coli as I didn't have time to get lab tests done, but I have all the symptoms and when the shoe fits, beat someone over the head with it. I've been feeling like hell for the last 5 days, but am finally starting to feel better after getting a truck load of pills from the doctor. I've never had such bad stomache cramps, it felt like someone was stabbing me in the guts for 4 days straight.
Aside from that all is well in South Africa, I'm now in Durban which is only 150km or so from Ladysmith, and am hoping to pop over there for a photo op. For those of you that don't know I was born and raised in Ladysmith, BC.
Work and Play
May 11, 2006
I've been working extremely long hours of late, but have been sneaking away on Tuesday and Thursday evenings to play ultimate. I'm not sure if I've 'blogged' this or not but the quality of play is really good. Last week was the 'most players ever' at 24, and then this week blew that out of the water when 41 people showed up. I am the captain of Team Black, and although we got absolutely crushed the first game I think that we'll do well in the long run. By the time I get back to Vancouver I should be back in decent shape. Johannesburg is slightly more than a mile above sea level and apparently that helps..
I have to say that if you like food, then you have to come to South Africa. The price of things like clothes, etc is the same price, but food is dirt cheap.my co-workers and I have been eating like kings! Tomorrow night we're going out for a really nice dinner and a wine tasting, can't wait. Get to see Pam (of Hamilton and Pam fame) again as well. It's great to have such enthusiastic tour guides.
The project I'm working on has been pushed back by a week so it looks like I'll be here until at least June, it's tough being away, but Skypemakes things easier.
May 4, 2006
Strangely enough Speedo and I have the same posting days apart, even though we're on different sides of the equator, in opposite seasons and he's 17000kms away. I joined an ultimate league in Joburg, and tonight was the first pickup game. I was quite surprised, the most players they've ever had out was 24 (compared to Vancouvers hundreds), yet the quality of play was very good. I might get to play when I am working in Pietermaritzburg as well which would be very cool. I'm so glad to be doing something active while I'm here, living off restaurant food, working long hours, and being cramped up in a hotel really gets to you after a while.
May 2, 2006
Back to Joburg
Well I've had to keep it somewhat of a secret for the past few days as Dayna wanted to surprise a few people, but on April 26 I asked Dayna to marry me!
I've been telling everyone (including Dayna) for quite some time now that there's no rush and that I hadn't even thought about getting engaged. Dayna and I also agreed that we'd talk about it after she graduated. Well truth be told I've been trying to figure out an exciting way to ask her, and I wanted to make sure that I kept it a surprise, to her and to everyone else. Everyone does it differently, but I wanted to make it as romantic as I could by picking a ring for her, asking her parents permission, getting down on a knee, and have her be absolutely flabbergasted. Well it worked! She said yes straight away, but was so in shock it took her about 2 hours to clue in to the fact that it meant that a wedding went along with it, and only then because I asked her when she wanted to get married.
We had originally been loosely planning a trip to Bermuda or somewhere else warm for the last week in April when I was informed that I would be working in South Africa for 6 weeks. My manager said it would be no problem if I took 10 days holidays right at the beginning, which matched up perfectly with the 3 week break that Dayna got between semesters. The only logical thing to do was fly her to Cape Town and propose there instead. How many people get engaged 16000 kms away from home after all? It was a bit stressful transporting the ring that far, and even more stressful leaving it in my hotel room after hearing so many stories about things mysteriously going missing in Joburg, but it all worked out and I got it to Cape Town safe and sound.
I wanted to propose on the frist day she arrived to make the rest of the trip extra special, the problem was that it was overcast and rainy. When it's cloudy you can't see anything at all from the top of Table Mountain, and I had decided that it was the best spot. It took a few days for the weather to clear up, but by Wednesday it was back to 30 degrees and not a cloud in the sky. We got up nice and early and caught the tram up to the top of the mountain. I wanted to get there before the tour buses and hordes of people did, and it worked out perfectly. I was expecting something like Sugar Loaf in Rio where you have a small viewing area, whereas you can actually walk all the way around the entire mountain, and it was easy to find an amazing lookout where there was no one around. I set up my camera as if I was taking a picture on timer mode, turned it to video, and recorded the whole thing! The video is huge, and the internet sucks in South Africa, so here's a panoramic picture taken from where I proposed.
No we haven't picked a date yet. Dayna finds out in September if she gets into PDP (her teaching program) next year. If she does, then it will be sometime in the summer of 2008. If she doesn't then it most likely been "next summer" as Brad predicted.
Dayna in enroute back to Vancouver, and I am back in Joburg. We had an amazing 10 days together in Cape Town. I'm not sure how most people spend their vacations, but ours was spent getting up at 7:30am and trying to cram as much in as we possibly could. We drove almost 3000kms around the Cape region in total, and saw penguins, baboons, elephants, giraffes, rhinos, buffalo, rode ostriches and much more. Table Mountain was my personal favorite, but the coastal roads, wineries, and wild life was exceptional. It was a new experience vacationing to a primarily english speaking country, and I missed trying to have conversations with people who had no idea what you were saying, but other than that everything was perfect. Dayna should be home soon, and once she is I'll be able to post more pictures, etc.
Oh.. and I've managed to join an Ultimate league here in Johannesburg! Working 24x7 and eating restaurant food the whole trip is quite gross. Ultimate Tuesdays and Thursdays will help offset that hopefully.