Friday, February 27, 2009

Everyday living - Driving

I know I have talked about alot of this in earlier blogs but wanted to put something all together out because I had some questions...

I have said in earlier blogs that the driving was a little strange at first.. you are on the opposite side of the car on the opposite side of the road. Right turns are like left turns against traffic... So it takes alot of concentration at first. The traffic laws aren't that much different.. except there is NO turn on a red light ever.. not even for a left turn. The one thing that I have not gotten use to is the child safety.(or lack of) Here it is much more lax. I guess they have laws but they are certainly not enforced. Kids Aiden's age at home are in boosters until 80 lbs (I think) here they are just in a seat belt (if you are lucky) and alot of parents allow them in the front. Oh and they really think I am crazy when I strap Evan into a car seat which is only for babies here. Other kids Evan's age are in boosters (sometimes). It is not that they are neglectful they just don't see things the same way. And I see a grandmother pick up multiple kids from school .. like 5 little kids will just pile into the back of a small car without seat belts or anything. I find myself biting my tongue but it is their culture here. Also riding in the back of pick ups in always seen here.. The other day in the paper there was an accident because there were 27 people in the back on one!! And I am not talking about a full size.. S10 size pick ups. CRAZY!

To get a speeding ticket you will most likely get caught by a camera.. some are automated along the road but alot are guys sitting by the road with a camera taking your photo... say cheese! I guess this is a way of employing people. Also some of the terms.. traffic lights are called robots, a small pick up is not called a truck it is called a bokkie, truck is used to refer to the large commercial trucks,. They have lots of traffic circles here instead of stop signs.

The cops definately don't have a presence here and the are NOT respected at all. I was told if you need help don't go to the cops.. go to a security guard or pull into a gas station they are more helpful than the police. Which again they haven't been given the authority and have misused what they do have. Someone I know was broken into and they called the police.. the cop actually asked what they wanted them to do about it. People rarely get caught or pay for those types of crimes here. I mentioned security guards earlier.. there are a few companies in the area that are armed security for businesses, homes, etc... Atlas, Chubb, etc. These guys respond when your alarm goes off and are seen just driving around town alot as well. One of the first times we set our alarm off I was stunned when they showed up... they were wearing bullet proof vests and armed very well. I definatley wouldn't want to be the bad guy in that situation!

The other thing about driving.. the radio. Arghhhhh. There are two maybe three stations here. And the music they play stinks! Unless you absolutely love 80's and want to listen to is all the time as if it was just released! Every once in awhile they throw in a new one to throw you off. I miss XM in my car!!! Luckily we have a subscription online so we listen to XM on our computers alot.

Most of the cars here are small... the H3 and a couple of range rovers are the largest vehicles on the road. Gas or petrol,as it is called here, is regulated so you pay the same price no matter what station you go to. It is all full service which is kind of nice although it is sometimes a bit slow. Most of the workers get to work by bus or the taxis.. these are like a vw bus type van ... max capacity 10-12 usually holding 20 fly up and down the roads, honking and picking people up to take them around town. These taxis are the thing you have to watch for.. they do whatever they want whenever they want. But is the main mode of transportation for most. Right now there is fighting going on and we have had alot of taxi strikes. I don't know all the details but I do know that it is based mostly on some plans and contracts the powers to be have with the buses, and taxis for the 2010 World cup soccer games. They are building stadiums, repairing roads etc getting ready for the big event all over SA. And there disbute over the amount of "work" the taxis are getting compared to the buses and other modes of transportation for the event. So they strike which means most hard working people can't get to work. It has been going on now since we arrived .. and they randomly pick days and don't run. Such a pain... On some occasions there have been some violence when the strikes were taking place, so you just have to watch what is going on around you and watch which areas you are traveling in on the strike days.

Luckily PE is a small town that is very easy to get around in. I don't think I have gotten lost very often. And we are 5 minutes from everything.. shopping, school, restaurants, etc. So that has made things easier to get use to and get around.

This is a donkey cart... yes donkeys in the street!

This is a security company vehicle. You see more of these than police cars!

This is Scott's bokkie (or truck)

This is one of the many taxi's... this is actually a really nice one.

More to come.....


Well we had some visitors at our front door the other day. They just stood there for about 10 minutes like they were waiting on us to come out! We were actually headed out for school and the boys are a little afraid of the swans because they have chased them before (the swans just want to be right next to you if you are walking... odd) So we had to sneak out another door to get to the car.

Jungle Gym

We had a jungle gym installed this week for the boys. They had to wait two days before they could get on it because of the sealant they put on it! So far they seem to like it... lets hope it lasts.

Sunday, February 22, 2009


Well this weekend was birthday mania... we had a birthday parties on Sat and Sun to attend. Saturday was Graham's first birthday! It was great to celebrate with them.. boy how time flies since mine were one! And today was a party for a friend of Aiden's. The theme today was a snake/reptile theme.. so they had a local guy who runs a reptile place in town come do a demo. He had lots of snakes, lizards and a tortoise. The kids loved it! The also got to touch a snake when it was over.

Now the big excitement for the week is that we are getting a jungle gym installed in the back yard tomorrow! I will post of pics tomorrow night. Maybe that will use up some of their energy.

Well this is a short one but don't have much to report. I will post more this week!

Sunday, February 15, 2009


Well the last couple of weeks have been busy as usual.. This week Aiden had a beach outing for school that was a lot of fun! They went to a spot on the beach with small pools made up of rocks that housed lots of starfish, crabs, seaweed and lots of other small sea creatures. They had a blast. They all had a list of things they were to find and then they built sandcastles and had a treasure hunt. The boys are doing great with their swim lessons.. if Aiden would put his face in he would be a fish and be swimming like crazy.

We started off the weekend with an adult only dinner on Friday night with some friends! It was great food and company. We are planning on doing it more often. The rest of the weekend was birthday party, and we headed up to Addo National Park to drive thru and see what animals we could find. We saw elephant, kudu, wart hogs, eland, and a jackel. We had to find something to do on a cloudy and rainy day! It has rained most of the weekend, but we needed the rain. Well gotta run... update more soon!

Valentine's Day

We wish you all the love in the world from across the world!!

Tuesday, February 3, 2009


This week we spent most of it on Aiden's birthday as you have seen. But that is quickly changing...
The boys are doing well in school. We had meeting at each school last week to meet the teachers and get the low down on things going on at the school. Now my life is getting busy.. they both have school everyday until 12:15/12:30, then on Monday Aiden has music class after school, Evan has music on Tuesday and then after that Aiden has golf lessons on Tuesday afternoon. Tomorrow we go to find out what classes they will be in for swimming and will schedule that accordingly. And on Friday after school they have sports for Aiden.. soccer, cricket, basic ball skills, tennis, etc..

I have joined the gym and have been trying to go on a regular basis. I actually have some sessions with a personal trainer set up. Crazy!! A lot of people here are very fit and into running, swimming, cycling, etc. There is an Ironman here in April. There was a triathalon in East London a few weeks ago that a few of my friends did. There are cycle races, ocean swims, and running races regularly. So maybe this will get me motivated and actually get myself back in shape.

We are getting a jungle gym for the boys installed in the backyard this month. So hopefully they enjoy that and it keeps them occupied and works off some energy! They have way to much. I wish I had half of what they have.

I have made some new South African friends thru school. The people here are so nice and friendly. The boys have also made some great friends at school.. Aiden is always asking to have his friends over. I guess I will have to organize a playdate. He is such the social one! Evan is so funny.. he loves school but while I am there he doesn't talk to his teacher or anyone else.. once I leave he chats and answers questions. It of course takes him awhile to warm up, but once he does watch out!

When I have more time this week I am going to try to do some posts about "everyday life".. things like the language, shopping, driving, economy, general differences, etc. It is crazy but since we have been here 4 months things that seemed strange at first now are quite normal. I really love it here. Of course I miss home (mostly people) but it is great here and I plan on enjoying it while I am here!

Ok - gotta run get the boys ready for bed! Talk to you all soon.


Aiden's Birthday Party

Aiden had a great day on Saturday! He had all his friends over to Windsor Play Place for some birthday fun. Aiden asked for a race car theme so we had a race track birthday cake and goodie bags with race car items. We had about 20 total kids there who all had a blast.

The Boys before the party....

These are pics of the kids playing at Windsor .. this place is so cool!

Here are some more pics of the kids and parents that joined in on the fun!!

Photos of the cake and Aiden blowing out the candles! I still can't believe he is 5!!

Everyone had a great time! I am now working on the Thank you cards which will be a Drivers License for each kid with a photo and everything! I know ... I have too much time on my hands. Aiden got lots of great gifts and loves all of them. On we go thru another year!