We arrived before 8 am, then drove 80 km west to the small town of Jeffery's Bay. When we arrived, we decided to drop in at our BnB. We figured our room wouldn't be ready, but we could change our clothes before going to the beach for the day. The woman who owns the place met us (with her two dogs). She said "you're in luck today. It's a busy weekend, and I've overbooked your room. So, you'll be staying at the house across the street."
She walked us across to a lovely plantation style house overlooking the ocean (about 300 m away). The owners are German, and I presume they use the house for vacations only. This place wouldn't be out of place in Better Homes and Gardens. We all get our own rooms, there's a chef's kitchen and a big covered deck with an old-fashioned charcoal bbq. Ursula and Molly especially like the soaker tub with a view of the beach. Imagine a nice place in South Carolina overlooking the ocean, the beach and the dunes.
After settling in, we went to a neighbourhood supermarket. Ursula says food is about 25% cheaper here than Canada, and there's loads of fresh fruit at great prices. The 'vibe' in the store was typical of any beach town in December - a combination of locals and visitors is shorts and flip-flops listening to Christmas carols while doing their shopping. It felt a bit like Cocoa Beach.
I also hit the "bottle store" and picked up a dozen Castle beer and a bottle of good German-style white wine - all for about C$11. I'd say 80% of the wine I see in stores here is less than C$5 a bottle, and domestic beer is good and cheap too. We don't drink much, but it's always nice to feel like you're not getting hosed by the government for tax on alcohol.
We came back to the house, unloaded the groceries and had a quick lunch before driving to the main beach at the other end of town. When we parked, the first place we saw was a surf shop. George asked if he could try surfing. We chatted with the owner (a stereotypically laid-back and friendly 'dude'), and decided George and Molly would go this morning at 10 am for their first lesson. (FYI - a two hour lesson, including a board and wetsuit, is C$25 per person.)
For dinner, we came back to the house and had a typical South African braai (bbq) with marinated pork chops and baked potatoes. People here don't seem to have gas bbq's. Our chalet at Sanbonani and this place both have built in charcoal or wood-burning units, and charcoal is for sale everywhere. I guess this is consistent with the slower pace we've experienced here, something we seem to have adjusted to. When you're overlooking the ocean, sipping a beer or wine, and listening to some tunes, it doesn't seem to matter that it takes a little longer to make your dinner. It's also nice there are NO BUGS here. Every house in this country seems to be inside it's own gated and fortified compound, so you can leave doors and windows open all the time.
Anyway, as usual, we were all in bed asleep before 9 o'clock. They don't use daylight savings time here, so the sun is up before 5 am, and it's dark about 7 pm. As such, we've decided to adjust to an 'early to bed, early to rise' routine. (Having said that, Molly was glad to hear that yesterday was the last time we have to get up early for the foreseeable future.)
As I write these blogs and tear pages out of my "reservations binder", I feel that our trip is steadily rolling along (109 days done; 67 to go). One of my little routines is to change the settings on my weather.com homepage to include upcoming destinations. Every time we move, I delete the place we've just left and add one upcoming. (I have 3 onscreen - where we are, plus the next two destinations.) Yesterday, I deleted Johannesburg and added Hoi An in Vietnam.
This morning, it's partly cloudy but still pleasantly warm and breezy. Ursula read somewhere that this region has the second mildest (least extreme) climate on earth, after Hawaii. Apparently, it almost never goes below 10 degrees, and rarely goes above 28 degrees. After 30-38 degrees at Kruger, 25 feels nice.
Tomorrow we will drive 200 km west to the "secret place". As you may recall, my parents bought us tickets to the Harry Potter studios in London in September as presents for upcoming birthdays. That worked out so well they decided to do something similar for Christmas. I suggested they rent us a nicer place than we could afford for a couple of nights in South Africa. I found a cool spot online, and we're going there tomorrow for two nights. Stay tuned to find out why it's special.