Wednesday, 28 March 2012

Ballito Weekend

Now that I have an Internet Connection that works all the time, I can catch up on the stuff I wanted to post long ago. This whole year I have basically had no connection. First with my problems with my Telkom line in January, then changing to Neotel mid February and no coverage at home, I haven't been able to really blog.

Mark's business in Ballito, finally started trading on the 1 March 2012. The opening date kept changing due to development and construction delays. They have not finished building the business park and there is still a lot of construction going on there. On Friday, the 2nd, he decided to have an opening launch on the 10 March, that did not give much time to advertise and organize it, but once he has something in his head, he goes full steam at it.

We all went down for the weekend. Chad's friend John came down with us and we had to take them out of school on Friday. They went to school until first break, then I fetched them, went back to work where we left from. Finished packing the car and left at 11h30. Sheila looked after the house and the animals. It was the first time we had asked her to look after the house, so it was a bit of a worry, because her English is very limited and sometimes it appears that she is not very intelligent, but it is really just a language issue. There were no problems and she took good care of the animals. Jingles was in her element, because she got to sleep with Sheila. She absolutely adores Sheila and I always tell Sheila, Jingles is her dog. Miss Piggy and Pluto slept in the bathroom at night and Spike in the kitchen. She had no problems with Spike either. He has bitten her three times. She cannot touch their beds, walk into my office when I am in it, not into Chad's room when he is in it. We know that, but forget and that was when he had bitten her, so she is pretty scared of him, but when we are not at home, he is very protective of her. So everything was fine at home and in fact this is the first time that we have been away and had no problems whilst we were gone. There has always been some problem when we have had someone stay at our house, whilst we are away. Always someone Mark trusts!!

We arrived in Ballito at about 5.30pm. We stayed at the Regal Hotel. I was not impressed. Last minute arrangements and it was close to the workshop. We booked a family room, but they did not say a family room consists of a bed smaller than a standard double bed and a small sleeper couch. Of course there were no smoking rooms, although I would not have smoked in such a tiny room anyway, but we were fortunate to have a balcony, where I could smoke and also go out onto the balcony and not feel so claustrophobic. It is really more of an overnight hotel for single businessmen. There wasn't even a mirror in the room, only in the bathroom, so doing my hair was a problem. I have to say that the Manager made up for the lack of space and comfort. He was such a nice person, genuinely friendly and nice, not just a smile plastered on his face for customer service.

Mark and the boys went to the workshop to offload all the stuff he brought down, after dropping me off at the hotel and unpacking our bags. Then we were going to go out for dinner, but decided to order Pizza from Debonairs, not the best place to get Pizza, then we went down to the beachfront and back to the hotel. The launch went relatively well, considering the short notice and minimum advertising. Mark left early on Saturday morning to start organizing everything. He left me sleeping and came to fetch us just before 9am. We dropped the boys off at the workshop and then him and I went to go buy stationary and files and other office stuff for the receptionist. She had basically no office stuff. I don't think she even had a pen. Nothing was bought or organized when we arrived there. We also had to buy towels and soaps and dustbins for the bathrooms, basically make it presentable. She spent the morning organizing the reception area. It was all a rush with so little time, but we got it done. Slowly, people started arriving at around 10.

We finished there at around 2.30pm and then went down to the beach. I had dropped Chad and John off at the Milk Cafe, Chad's favourite place in Ballito and they decided to walk to Salt rock, because John's grandparents live somewhere in Salt Rock. They never found the place and phoned me to come and fetch them. I had no idea where they were so Mark had to fetch them. Whilst Mark was fetching Chad and John someone who worked at one of the other businesses in the business park, reversed and knocked over the scooter, Mark is giving away in an opening special/competition. How you walk past a scooter in a parking lot, then get into your car and reverse straight into it, I would not know. His car was so un-roadworthy, he probably did not have review mirrors or if he did, then he does not know what they are for. I was so furious and Mark was livid when he got back. His partners, who he had asked to moved the scooter, were not too perturbed. Not their money!! So that ended a pretty good day.

The beach was pretty washed away from the big storm the previous week. I think it was called Storm Irina.

After the beach we went to the Milk Cafe (again for the boys) to have a milkshake. Then went back to the hotel and I had a sleep.  It was so humid there. It rained a bit in the morning, but was still hot and humid. It was sunny when I woke up, I went to shower and then went onto the balcony to have a smoke and was shocked to see that it was drizzling and grey. By the time Mark came to fetch us, the rain was gone and the sun as bright as ever. The heat and humidity really got to me and I could not keep my eyes open when we got back to the hotel.

Milk Cafe
Chad Being Silly
We went to a very popular restaurant  for dinner. The food was very good, but the management is still stuck in the deep apartheid era and it is so obvious to the point of being uncomfortable. Chad loves the food there and apparently they always go there when they are down in Ballito, but I don't think I will ever go back.

Mark was planning on leaving at 5am, but we spoke him out of it or he overslept. We had breakfast at the hotel and then left to come home.

Mark told us that when he went to the workshop on Saturday morning, he saw hundreds of mongoose, running across the road into the bush on the other side of the hotel. They had been rummaging in the dustbins at the hotel, in an enclosed area and as the car drove past they went scurrying into the bush. We thought he was exaggerating and he knew we didn't quite believe him, until we were sitting having breakfast on Sunday morning and saw these little things running towards the dustbins. Big ones, little ones and tiny babies, all going for breakfast. I tried to take photos, but could not get close enough. There are just so many and the Hotel Manager said that when it is quiet they come right around the hotel looking for food. They are so cute. They come from the bush next to the hotel, then stop at the one side of the gate, look around and then run across to the dustbin, then across to the bush across the road. It is a newly developed area and obviously all the construction has ruined their natural habitat.

And that was our trip to Ballito

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