Saturday, April 6, 2013

A year since City Hall!

Today is our one year anniversary...of our official wedding in City Hall, witnessed by our good friends Shaena Montanari and Mike Mimoun.

In the last year, we've :
gotten three jobs between us,

had a fantastic wedding ceremony with family and friends,

an incredible going away party,

moved across the Atlantic to Africa,

got dogs,

bought a car

And here's to many, many more!

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

Easter near Magoebaskloof...where's that? Close to Iraq.

Before we tell you about our Easter holiday, check out this sweet Don King moth. We found this guy hanging around in our kitchen.

For Easter, our friends Andrew and Liz invited us to spend the weekend with them in the Magoebaskloof at Kurisa Moya. More importantly, Midas & Mella were also invited! So we loaded up our tiny car Romney-style and left at 4am.

You don't really think Midas & Mella would let us put them on the roof, do you? It's cold up there.

Along the way, we bagged two new Provinces for Jonah, and only one for Kelsey. Below is the sunrise in Mpumalanga. You can see the factory smoke that put the 'pu' in Mpumalanga. 
(Seriously though, it is beautiful in places.)

The road to Kurisa Moya is marked by scenic beauty, such as this waterfall, but parts of it are not marked by pavement. We did 300 miles on tarred roads and 15 miles on unpaved roads, in the mud, in the rain, and with slightly unhappy dogs.

"Are we there yet?"

Of course, no matter how far you get from Joburg, there will always be a taxi driving like crap.

The magical part is that you arrive with all four tires intact, especially when driving a Getz.

This was not a magical moment.

The welcoming committee at Kurisa Moya was this lovely flock of guinea fowl!

We stayed in the Farmhouse, which sleeps ten, and had no electricity. There is, however, running water (whew).

Check out the bathroom shower!

And the wrap-around porch. Can you tell we're vacationing with kids?

Liz & Andrew's son was kept busy for hours...can you guess what he's doing?
Hint: Look at red arrow for comparison.
Hint: He's hiding scissors.

We spent a lot of time walking in the rainforest. This is one of the largest tracts of Afro-montane forest left in the country. Thankfully, we did not see boomslangs.

But we did see enormous Golden Orb weavers.

We also saw Knysna's Turaco, six of them to be exact.

Mellie was afraid of the Samango monkeys.

Midas was intent on finding the Yellow-wood. This is a primitive podocarp, and the National Tree. Not to mention the only food source for the Cape Parrot.

First, we thought this was the big Yellowwood.

Then we thought this was the Big Yellowwood.

Wrong again.  We had many steep hills left to climb.

By the time we found the Yellow-wood, no one wanted to pose.

On rainy Easter morning, Jonah went birding with Andrew in the Polokwane Nature Reserve. This reserve contains a rare grassland biome.

Below is a group of Red-Headed Finch. The ginger gene lives on in Aves!

Here is a giant millipede, known as a shongololo. Pictured with Jonah & Andrew's excellent guide, David.

Kurisa Moya is near towns with interesting names. No, these are not the populations. Total Nobody is actually the Total gas station, in the town of Nobody. Nobody got its name from a famous ghost who would shout "Nobody may stay here!" and scare off potential settlers.

This town got its name in honor of the vicious fighting that took place over choice plots being handed out.

When birding is over, and walks have lead you back to the house, it is cocktail time.

Midas practicing a new yoga move he's been toying with.

Braai time begins after Andrew's "owling" expedition. Last night's supper - Lamb Burgers with caramelized onions and local bleu cheese. Unfortunately there are no pictures because Jonah caught the stomach flu, and with him down for the count, Kelsey had to pull off a kitchen miracle and didn't have time to document it for posterity.

The reason we left at 4am was that the Zionist church holds an annual retreat over Easter weekend near Kurisa Moya. The attendance for this retreat is reportedly close to 4 million people. Heading home, we were lucky to speed past dozens of buses queuing to take these people back to Johannesburg.

...but not before buying some roadside fruit.

Back in Johannesburg, we finally got a picture of this creepy beggar who hangs out on the street between Wits and home.