Before getting back to my ordeal in the hospital, I’d like to take a small break from the doom and gloom and tell you a little bit about my recent holiday in South Africa during the month of July. It was a most welcome vacation since we hadn’t had a break for the last year and a half due to my 2nd relapse and consequent treatments. Anyhow while we were visiting family there we decided to break away for about 8 days, so that it would be just the 5 of us having some quality time together. We decided to travel to the Eastern Transvaal which is one of the most beautiful parts of the country, and on our way there, we travelled through the Kruger National Park. We first visited a place called Blyde River Canyon where we stayed at a lovely resort in a 4 star self catering cabin. We had barbeques at night under the stars and it was just stunning. On our second day there, we decided we wanted to go on a walking trail. Upon enquiring at the reception about this, we were informed by the lady behind the counter that the Guinea Fowl Trail was the nicest to go on as it wasn’t too challenging and was suitable for the whole family. We were told that it was 2 hours long. Upon setting off we were in high spirits. The scenery down into the canyon was breathtaking and the weather was perfect. Although we were crossing over at certain points into the Leopard trail where there had been some recent sightings of them which made us a little uneasy, we kept the faith and pushed on.
I don’t know to this day what the lady at the reception desks definition of not too challenging was, but 3 hours later when we found ourselves crawling on our hands and knees up steep, big rocks, treading perilously on very slippery mud and wading through freezing cold rivers, I started seriously questioning her credibility! 4 hours later and I had never been so happy to see two things; one the sign that said ‘End of trail’ and two, the tarmac road! By that time we were hot, tired, thirsty and biting each others heads off. If we’d known it was going to be so damn long, we’d certainly have taken a backpack along with extra water in it, not just one small bottle each!) Upon arriving back at the cabin, I retired to the bathroom with a glass of sherry and a long, relaxing foam bath. It was there that I had time to reflect on the day, and realized that despite everything it had been totally spectacular. You see, I like being challenged every now and then and stepping out of my comfort zone and this particular experience was the epitome of that. I was also deeply touched by how my whole family reacted while we were on this hike. All four of them became very protective of me. I was ordered to the middle of the pack, where the one in front could lead the way (that being my eldest daughter Rochelle) and where the person at the back was the most vulnerable to attack by wild animals (that being my husband). As much as I protested and wanted to swap places, no one would allow me. Everybody drank just half of their water because they knew that towards the end, I would end up needing it more than anybody else. When I was finished in the bathroom, I went and gave them all a long hug, telling them how much I loved them and appreciated what they did for me. My awesome family!!!
A few days later and we were ready to move on and were busy packing up the car early one morning. The girls had gone down to the trampolines to get a last jump in. I wasn’t fully aware of where Jaco was, but while I was packing up the last of the groceries in the kitchen I suddenly heard a violent rustling of a plastic packet and a few stray things falling to the floor. At first I assumed it was Jaco taking some things to pack into the car, but alas we had made the classic mistake of leaving the sliding door open to allow wildlife in. Looking out the kitchen window, I saw to my utter dismay a baboon making off with one of our grocery packets clutched in its grubby little paws. At that precise moment I wasn’t aware of the fact that Jaco was innocently trying to take a pee. Judging by his reaction, he must’ve thought I was being raped or murdered because I immediately started hollering like a mad person. I screamed ‘Jaco a baboon has one of our packets…help’! He said afterwards that he didn’t hear that, he just heard the major performance I was making. He came running down the passage with just his underpants on. On seeing him I shouted, ‘Go and put your pants on’! With that I raced outside in pursuit of the little blighter. At the edge of the dense bushes the baboon stopped and proceeded to tear open the packet and, dropping the packet in disgust it strolled away arrogantly, upon discovering that the packet only contained clothes washing powder and fabric softener. I arrived not long after that to retrieve the packet and Jaco was not far behind me, this time with his pants on and a pole in his hand, which he said afterwards he would gladly have shoved up the baboons rear end if he’d had even the slightest chance to do so.
Another installment from our holiday to follow soon!