Tuesday, July 21, 2009

Up Up and Away

OK my last up date was on Wednesday of last week… and I have been a little busy… with the camera of course. During the weekdays I am on my own as the DH has to work. Besides walks on the beach, along the promenade or in the village I don’t do too many things during the week. There are some American ladies here, who either work for or whose husbands work in association with the US Government also. So, whenever they have to go out shopping they invite me along. I went out twice since Wednesday (Thursday and Friday) morning. Neither expedition was particularly enlightening and my wallet did not suffer in the least. Well I did buy some food and wine from the grocery stores, but that was the extent of my shopping. I cooked dinner twice last week and I baked some ‘blondies’. Cooking has been an interesting adventure… First of all- the only measuring device in the condo is a really awful measuring cup in metric. That wouldn’t be too bad except in grade school when they tried to tell us that the US would be converting soon to metric…. “I said nu uh… we like it the way it is”. I was right, but I should have paid more attention. Aside from the one really bad measuring cup, there isn’t any other measuring device, so it was more of a guess by volume… than by absolute measurements. I like eating out much better. I did buy a set of measuring cups and spoons at the grocery, and guess what -they are US measurements!!!! So DH can cook without conversions now. The blondies were nice, but their idea of chocolate and mine are nowhere near the same… I will be shipping DH several pounds of Chocolate Chips when I get home!!!

On Saturday we visited the Durban Botanical Garden http://www.durbanbotanicgardens.org.za. What a neat place. It is open to the public and free, and the public is encouraged to spend time there, picnics, parties, weddings, etc. They also sponsor several music events too. There were many families and groups in the park. Since it is the middle of winter here, not too much was in bloom, but I did manage to find a couple of interesting items. One of the more interesting places was the Orchid House. Where there were about 30 different orchids growing or blooming, and many of them are native to the African Continent. ZA OrchidsAnother interesting plant is the Bromeliad and of course the hibiscus. There are many neat birds that live there, I managed to capture a couple of birds in digital too, and interestingly enough one of them is a sparrow! Simple Sparrow ZA We stopped for coffee and scones at the tea house, where there were several Ibis and cats wandering among the tables and the cats avoided the birds.

Our next stop was to the Umgeni River Bird Park http://www.umgeniriverbirdpark.co.za. Africa has some really colorful birds and lots of parrots, the smaller ones, not the huge macaws or cockatoos. One bird that was eye catching was a Peacock feathered Pheasant. Peacock Phesant feather In one area, lots of the little parrots were free flight and one thought DH looked particularly tasty. I always said he had a bird brain.Bird Brain It was so shady in this park it was difficult to take some pictures. But I did get a few birds. This park is going to close soon, and a casino bought all the birds, so I guess they will become casino décor.

After lunch we made a trip over to the Gateway Mall. I need a coat and hat for tomorrows adventure. DH has booked me a flight on a ‘helicopter’… but not just an ordinary helicopter… and I am finding out more every day. So like most of us… when he says helicopter I’m thinking big comfy you know room for 4. DH says “no” a little smaller, it seats just 2… OK I’ve seen lots of those flying around here… So I’m thinking I’ll get some interesting photos. Next he tells me that the cockpit is open and it says it get cold while flying. Now I’m still thinking ok… some decent photos, no windows to get in the way. So we get up early Sunday morning, hit the road by 8:30 with my new coat and hat in the back seat. When we get there, I’m not thinking too many good thoughts… the airport is deserted, but the place we’re looking for is behind the airport and when we get there isn’t too much of an improvement…. I’m telling DH that this isn’t looking too promising and I’m not sure I’m going to fly… He has told me I am or he’ll be very mad at me. The pilot arrives and unlocks the hanger… Now my expectations have been brought down from this regular copter to this small copter to ….
THIS
My Ride

My expectations have been lowered and had this little thing had even one speck of dust on it, I would have said NO WAY! But it was clean and shiny and very well cared for. So bundle up I did and with camera in hand took off for the wild blue yonder. Not knowing what to expect I wasted several good photo ops just after takeoff, but once I had a feel for it, it was a blast! I’d do it again in heart beat and hopefully on a much clearer day. I got some really neat shots of the land, hills and formations. I would really like to have a mid length lens for something like this. My telephoto was too long and my small one just too small. I’ve of course put several shots up on the Flickr page:

After the flight, we went back to the Durban Harbor to the Pier for lunch. What a great place. There are about 10 or 12 restaurants in a row with lots of outside tables. So we had lunch and I took a couple of more photos of the harbor and then we went back to the condo to download and look at the photos.

Then for dinner we met with one of DH’s associates that flew in that morning from Southern CA via London (33 hours). We had a nice dinner at one of the local outdoor tables. I really like eating out!!! By the time we were done with dinner it was nearly 9 pm. Not too much day left over!

Today, I had planned on going out to a fabric store, but those plans got changed so we could go to another wild animal park next weekend!!! Hum fabric or wild animals? Maybe both, there is still a good chance I can get to the fabric store before I leave.

As usual there are lots more pictures on Flickr than here... http://www.flickr.com/photos/27231432@N02/ so go have a look and tell me what you think!

More Later!

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