Monday, January 12, 2009

Weekend in Pearl Valley, Paarl

One of the great things about living in Cape Town is that you're never too far away from yet another beautiful place to visit, within an hour's drive away.

This past weekend, we went up to Pearl Valley estates in Paarl. The last time we were there was about a year ago for Christmas 2007. Kelly's friend's dad has a holiday home on the golf estate there and we were invited to go hang out with them.

Fabio came along with us in our NO-AIRCON car (in 34 degree heat).

We drove past scenes as varied as pylons... vineyards.

We got lost along the way, since it's been about a year since we were last there, but good old Fabio whipped out his latest toy, the Nokia E71, and turned on the GPS navigation system. We nicknamed the voice "Nikky the Nokia Navigator". She was just like the Garmin system, but better, since she is also a phone.

The boys were pretty sure we'd taken the right turn-off, but Nikky kept saying "U-turn and take the next turn-off". We decided to follow her, but then she made us U-turn again... I think she had a set path to follow and we had to backtrack in order to get onto her path instead (instead of the Garmin chick who tells you she's "Recalculating path..." if you take the wrong direction). Whatever, we made it there in the end. We were all impressed this lady could read maps. And give better directions than the boys.

We took a short detour to the Paarl Mall to pick up groceries for the weekend, and I was amused to find a branch of the Christian bookstore here as well:

No, seriously. They're a Christian bookstore and I think the name is an acronym for something (I think it stands for something like "Christian United Ministries" or something...?) but it's a rather unfortunate, ironic store name.

Anyways, we finally made it to our destination.

It's basically a gated community out amongst the wine estates in Paarl. There's a golf course here and houses that are built on the property, spread out around the course. The whole idea is to get city slickers to own a second home here and drive their golf buggy from the garage directly onto the course.

Security here is TIGHT! There are cameras and guards everywhere, and you need to sign in before they'll allow you to your host's home.

...which is a great thing coz there's hardly anywhere else in this country where you could leave your front door AND back door open and not have to worry about thieves. On the inside, it's basically like the well-manicured golf course extends out to the homes... it reminded me of St. Francis Bay (but with tiled roofs instead of thatch), very peaceful, suburban living (but out in the country) where all the houses kinda sorta look the same but not really.

Tim's dad's place is absolutely GORGEOUS!

Tim's been living in London for the past year or so, and it was cool to finally see him and his foreign imports - his Swedish girlfriend and her identical twin sister were also here on holiday.

That's not really beer in our hands. We both don't drink alcohol. I'm allergic, and Tim's into the Art of Living. So he found 0% alcohol beer and non-alcoholic sparkling grape juice in a champagne bottle. Seriously.

I was looking forward to it, but the moment I had a sip of the beer, I realized how gross it actually tastes and how much I DON'T miss it.

Of course we had a braai. Every South African social gathering involves a braai. Except this one was a gas braai, with no need to fuss with coals and getting fires burning... it was all rather civilized. The next braai we get will definitely have to be a gas braai.

Kelly actually COOKED!

Him and Fabio were having a gay time.

It all looked nice and cooked on the outside, but apparently the meat was raw on the inside. HAHAHA. He'd turned up the gas too high! even a gas braai can go wrong.

We ate, drank, were merry... and then all too soon had to make the trip back to Cape Town the next morning. Tim and I practiced some yoga on the outdoor patio before we left, and it's so peaceful out there I told Kelly that the next place we have has got to have a garden!

We came back rested and recharged and ready for the week (Well ok, not quite ready for the week, but it helped...)

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