Monday, 22 June 2015

Sea Sand and Sunshine

Last week Tuesday was Youth Day so we closed on Monday and made a long weekend of it. Mark never usually closes on a workday, but it was quiet at work so the staff had a long weekend as well. We went down to Salt Rock on the KZN North Coast. We left at around 13.30 on Friday afternoon. We were meant to leave at 11.30, but Chad was at gym and so we had to wait for him. In his defence, he asked me what time we would be leaving and I told him that Mark wanted to leave at 11.30, but there was no way we would get to leave work before one. How wrong was I, I left at 11 and Mark at 12 and then we sat waiting for Chad.

We stayed in an apartment right on the beach. We had stayed there previously and falling asleep and waking up to the sound of the Ocean is the best thing in the world. The letting agent never returned my calls or emails to confirm that she had received our payment and to make arrangements to collect the keys and I was worried that we would have a problem. Mark phoned her on the Thursday and she answered his call and arranged that we collect the key at the Shell Petrol Station. She is the epitome of coastal living business attitude and I don't know why we use her. When we arrived at the Shell at around 7.30pm, there were no keys for us and nothing written in the book. The Shell Service Station seems to be the collection and drop off centre for most of the letting agents. Mark came to the car to ask me whose name the booking was under (I was squashed at the back of the BMW, so did not get out the car). I was about to call the letting agent, when Mark happened to see an envelope lying on the counter next to the Cashier Window, with "Mark" scrawled across it. They were our keys luckily.

We bought Pizza for supper (yes my diet flew out the door and has vanished since eating piles and piles of sweets on the way down, resulting in a broken tooth and healthy eating a distant memory). We arrived at the apartment and can you believe it, over a long weekend or long weekend for most people, we were the only people staying in the 12 unit complex and we were the only ones staying there for the whole weekend. I believe the stairs are the reason for an abandoned complex right on the beach. Walking up and down those stairs is a killer - add luggage and shopping and it is no picnic. I am happy to note that the last time we stayed there was in 2012, I was a heavy smoker and this time I can honestly say that I felt the benefits of giving up smoking, because I walked up and down those stairs in fairly high {new} boots and managed with not that much huffing and puffing like I did previously.

To The Beach

To The Pool Above Our Roof

Past The Pool To The Car Park

The photo below was what we woke up to each morning, courtesy of photographer Mark {inside joke}. Mark woke up early, never mind that it was Saturday and we should be sleeping late and took this photo and shared his view with everyone on whatsapp and Facebook, me included, at some unearthly hour. He could not understand why I found the view of the back of my eyelids more pleasurable than the view of the sun rising over the ocean.

We had breakfast on the balcony watching the Ocean and saw fishing boats and lots of dolphins playing behind the breakers. Mark then went to look for a place to fix the cars windscreen. We were not even out of Johannesburg when a car hit a stone up on the windscreen and chipped it. We also had to spend most of the morning waiting for someone to come and fix the shower in the bathroom. The whole pipe was broken and although the apartment had two bathrooms, the other shower was over the bath. You would think that the units were checked before being let out.

We went for a walk on the beach and Mark saw a bird being washed up and down by the waves and he went to rescue it. The poor thing was busy drowning.

Mark picked up the bird and it was so waterlogged and stunned, it did not even try and bite him or fight him. He carried it to the dry grassy dunes and then began the task of finding some bird rescue place to help the poor little thing.

We tried the local SPCA about four different phone numbers all went to voice mail. The Flag Farm came up when we Googled Wild Bird Rescue Ballito. We were left holding for over 10 minutes after speaking to two people and so we gave up. Chad went to get the bird some bread, the only thing we had in the apartment besides egg and bacon - we hadn't been shopping yet.

The bird tried to stand up and flap it's wings, but was so wobbly, it tried to eat and then just lay down. We left and went back to the apartment, quite disheartened that we could not find a bird rescue and rehabilitation centre for wild birds. We were sitting in the apartment waiting for the handyman/plumber to get back with the parts to fix the shower and Mark said that I must Google WildLife Rescue places in Durban. I found this article about a lady by the name of Karen who rescues wild animals, like monkeys and birds and bats etc in Ballito. There was a mobile number, which I called and it went to voicemail. I left a message with very little hope that I would get a call back. I had just put down the phone and my phone rang it was Karen.

She was busy having an eye test at the optometrist when I called and she asked if we could cover it with an old towel and bring it to the apartment. The only towels we had were the towels we brought with to use. I said I would go and see if the bird was still where we left it. We had not thought the whole thing through, she could have come all the way there and the bird had flown off. It hadn't. Mark and I walked down and we I thought it was dead. Mark touched it and it got up wobbled and lay down again. We knew it was going nowhere. I phoned Karin and it was not long when she arrived with a crate and took the bird. She said she would feed it sardines and take it to Ushaka Marine World the next day. I think she said it was a Cormorant, it was a seabird with web feet. She also said it was young, but in good condition and sometimes they just get thrown around by the current and get very tired. Mark said I should have phoned her to see how the bird was, but I didn't incase it had died and I didn't want to know and also she may have felt bad that the bird died on her watch, She also told us that the article on her had been done 2 weeks ago - she really lived up to her reputation of saving wildlife.

After our bird rescuing adventure we went shopping and then had a braai {barbeque} out on the patio. On Sunday morning, Mark was awake early again and we sat and had breakfast on the patio again. It was so lovely and warm compared to at home. Again we saw dolphins playing behind the breakers.

We sat around relaxing and then we went to the Milk Cafe in Ballito for waffles and Milkshakes. So many restaurants in Ballito have changed names or closed down. The Milk Cafe although authentic and quirky has really gone down. The waffles I make taste so much better than theirs and even look better. Mark ordered something off the menu and unfortunately their blender was broken so nothing on the menu that required a blender could be ordered. The Milkshakes came in these quirky bottles and pets are allowed and even have items on the menu for pets. The long wait {and it was a very long wait} was not worth it as the milkshakes and waffles were not good at all.

After the Milk Cafe we went to visit my parents to see the cottage that they had just moved to. Then we all went out to Dinner at The Upper Deck a new restaurant that was previously called Crawdaddy. Mark was not having the best of luck with restaurants. Two things he chose to eat they did not have on the menu - they were changing their menu. The food was really way below standard not nice at all. We were having a lovely weekend, but our eating out was proving to be disastrous.

Our Apartment - Middle Balcony - Balcony Above Is The Pool

On Monday, we spent the morning at the beach and Mark and I even swam in the sea. It was so lovely. Mark was in for ages and then called me in. We stayed in for quite sometime, but then it started getting rough and the salt was burning my eyes, so we left. We went home, changed and went to Mozambik for lunch. Mozambik did not disappoint - their food and service was great and well worth the late lunch.

On Monday night we had another braai at the apartment and on Tuesday morning we reluctantly left to come home to an icy cold Johannesburg envious of our coastal counterparts and their warm town. The fact that KZN has a water shortage ended our envy somewhat and although we had no water cuts whilst down there, it was evident by the bottles of emergency water left in the apartment, that the water could be cut off at any time. Having no water does not equal paradise for me. We did have a lovely weekend though and leaving was easier when the clouds looked dark and heavy on the day we left after a really lovely mid year mini break.

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