Monday, February 18, 2013

We've been having a time.

Howdy folks. Jonah's away this week, so I'm sure he'll have some fantastic photos to share next week! In the meantime...Midas, Mella and I have been having quite a time holding down the fort. We'll start at the beginning...

Little did we know that the new school year started last week on Feb 11th. We were totally unprepared for the traffic we were about to experience, despite having been warned numerous times about the horrors of Joburg traffic. As you may recall, we moved in just before holiday (which lasts several weeks, remember), so we were left blissfully unaware of and unprepared for...traffic. Bumper-to-bumper traffic moves at snail's pace during commuting hours (5am-9am; 3pm-6pm), which leaves us with an average 26 min commute. I know family & friends back home in the NE would laugh that, but we're amazed by the time it takes us to commute...we live just 4K (< 3 miles) from Wits. Here is a faraway photo of the line of traffic just to get through the boom at Wits. The others just didn't do justice to the impressive traffic jams we've witnessed. I'm still trying to capture the essence of traffic here to share with you all.

While finding alternate routes to school in an effort to avoid...dun dun dun...traffic, we stumbled upon the school busses for our local school just over the hill from us. You might recognize these snazzy vehicles as the taxis we've mentioned in previous posts. The totally road worthy, brightly colored, VW vans that careen around the streets. Getting your children to fast as humanly possible.

Depending on the day's puppy-schedule, we wait out the traffic at the Post Graduate Club on campus, affectionately known as the PIG. This is the bar which you may or may not remember is located a stone's throw from Jonah's office. One of the menu items is a huge plate of fries, and, isn't it my luck!?, mayo is freely available on every table.  :)

Weather: In case you find yourself wondering "what time of year should I visit Kelsey & Jonah in South Africa?", let me help. Anytime during the Northern hemisphere's winter. It's been balmy and beautiful here, about 26C (~80ishF) each day. Every day like clockwork, there is a magnificent thunderstorm (aka boomers) that occur around 430/5pm. Lately, this has put a cramp in our puppy park visits. But don't worry, Midas, Mella & I are fast--we skillfully duck and run before lightning strikes, luckily you can see the storm coming! Here's what the sky often looks like just after a good storm. This was taken outside the PIG, where we avoided traffic.

Baseball is alive in Joburg, and approximately 4000 people play country-wide. When we happened to meet a guy at the puppy park who coaches a men's baseball team right here in Melville, Jonah was pretty chuffed. Midas and Mella are still waiting for their thank you present. I'm pleased because it means my left hand won't suffer so many injuries from playing catch! We went to observe their first game of the season against the Randburg Mets. Although there was no Pop's NY Special hot dogs offered, we did have a great time chatting with the other fans.

The guys on Jonah's soon-to-be-team call themselves the Mustangs. A couple of them have played professionally in Europe. Here's a few shots I got of the pitcher. The kid could rocket the ball over home plate.

While watching, Jonah started to get itchy to play a bit. Luckily, he now travels everywhere with his glove. Here's Jonah and another new teammate tossing the ball around during a somewhat slow inning.

After the game, we stopped by Cresta (a huge mall) to enjoy lunch at a local Indian restaurant, Sitar, that was introduced to us by Blair, Jonah's grad student. Although not exactly on par with Heritage, we give it a full thumbs up. It can't be that bad, since Jonah managed to photograph me while I sheepishly scraped down the Chicken Tikka bowl.

While at Cresta, we couldn't resist snapping this gem for you all back home. You guys may have Barnes & Noble, but we've got this as our local (Christian) bookstore. Perhaps their marketing director should check out the urban dictionary. Or something.

Puppy Update: Our babies are growing up. They're morphing from pudgy wriggling balls of flub into well-built, beautiful dogs at five months old. *tear* Walks in the puppy park still take more time than anticipated because people love to stop and admire our unruly beasts. Mellie is a particular hit, with her stunning blue eye (she gets it from her mom) :) Midas is having trouble coming to terms with his 'growing up,' and the fact that he has an underbite, so he requires a lot more coddling than our sweet, even-keeled Mellie. Recently, they've become well aware of what goes on in the kitchen. Thankfully, they are also very aware of what "Go lay down NOW" means.

Jonah's Travel Log: Early last week, Jonah took a 2 day/1 night trip with his Dept Chair to Clarens. In addition to seeing awesome dino footprints, he saw some great signs, other interesting stuff?, and possibly a plant species that I'm hoping to collect! Here's some photos from his most recent Clarens trip:

Can you see the footprint?

Not exactly sure what this'll have to ask Jonah.

More footprint observations.

Repeat: You WILL die.


A church?

Would need a specimen, but I'm hoping it's Helichrysum infaustum
Because that means I get to go to Clarens, too!

And really, don't we ask ourselves everyday, why don't all gas stations have pigs rustling around in the vegetation?