Christmas At Tala

Christmas At Tala

Dikkop At Tala

Christmas started at the usual 6am for us despite having not set an alarm. Sharon gave me a minor tongue lashing since I made her make me a cup of coffee before allowing her to open her gifts. Lesson learned; don’t get between Sharon and her presents.

I’m not sure quite how it happened but we had a pile of presents that seemed to be for 20 people. Score! And even better – not one of them was a dud. Some of the highlights/funnies – a Superman shirt for me from Sharon, we both ended up getting the exact same torch, and my mom bought Sharon some very raunchy underwear (is that right?).

The gift opening was followed by packing for the Tala trip. We then quickly headed to my mom’s house to phone her in the UK, check her fridge and backwash her pool. When we finally hit the road the worms had set in and we stopped off at McDonalds for our Christmas breakfast, a McMuffin McMeal McSlow.

We arrived at Tala just before lunch and were lucky enough to be allowed in to our accommodation before the 2pm check-in time. The weather was looking ominous so we elected to go for an early drive in order to avoid it being spoiled by rain later in the day.

Sharon got a few lifer birds and we saw more Widows and Whyders than I thought existed. We also came across the most beautiful giraffe which I got to walk with. It was amazing! Cliché?

Giraffe Landscape

The rain then started to bucket down and we decided to head back to our unit. Upon arrival back at our A-frame we were greeted by a family of 12 who had elected to occupy our balcony (designed for 2) to take shelter. Sharon was in no mood for this rubbish and quickly sent them packing. You go girl!

Tala had informed us that there was a braai area per unit. This turned out to be a blatant lie as there was only 1 braai servicing all 5 units. And since this braai was occupied by a group of Indians having a fish braai Sharon and I had to wonder into the picnic area to burn our meat. Although this in itself wasn’t a huge problem it was somewhat inconvenient thanks to the rain.

We concocted a cunning shelter using a couple of chairs and the lid from one of our picnic boxes. This proved rather effective and kept everything dry except for me who stood in the pouring rain, beer in one hand and tongs in the other. Sharon had cleverly pulled on a poncho which I’d bought her for Christmas and managed to remain mostly dry. Thankfully all the effort paid off and our burgers were fantastic.

Rufous Naped Lark

When we woke up on Boxing Day the rain was coming down hard. There seemed very little point in going for a drive so we elected to head to the nearest Wimpy instead for a cooked breakfast. This was also brought on by the fact that Sharon had brought eggs for breakfast but forgotten a pan (fried eggs on a braai grid is surprisingly difficult).

As good as the Wimpy idea seemed on an empty stomach, it turned out to be a somewhat poor idea. When we were eventually escorted to a table it turned out to be under both a freezing aircon and a drip. This combined with the fact that nobody took an order for 20 minutes led us to stand up and head down the road to Steers where we had fast, efficient service and one of the best milkshakes ever.

Things got even better as we grabbed a coffee from the Wild Bean Cafe on the way out. After mocking them in a previous blog entry I must give credit where credit is due…the coffee was top class.

Back at Tala the rain had died down enough to go for a short drive. This resulted in a few more lifers for Sharon including a species of duck which should not occur in the area (the South African Shelduck). The rest of drive was spent doing some vicious mud driving thanks to 12 hours of solid rain, and of all the roads, the one into camp was the worst. Good luck to Sharon’s sister who was arriving later in the day.

Sharon And Sarah

Shortly after Sharon’s sister and her family had arrived we all went for a game drive in my vehicle. The plan was to find the “elusive” Rhino for the kids which we achieved with great success. The rain then started once again so we headed to one of the hides for a quick drink before going back to camp.

Upon arrival back at camp the kids were adamant they had to swim so after much kicking and screaming we headed over to the rock pool. They jumped in, there was more kicking and screaming (because it was so cold), and we headed back to our huts.

We all then had a second “Christmas” dinner and exchanged gifts. I got a fishing stool with a built in cooler box. WIN! My cracker sadly produced a key ring (damn it, I hate those things) but thankfully I managed to swap it for a laser light. Another win.

Dinner was another braai, this time with our neighbors who were a cool, but somewhat strange, couple. The guy was a 50 years old metro sexual (yes, he owned his own facial machine thingie) bouncer who did kick boxing and looked 35, while the girl was a 30 year old athlete with 2 Cape Epics and 10 Comrades under her belt. Either way, we boozed it up by the fire and had a great time.

We were woken up at 5:30 on Monday morning thanks to a forgotten work alarm. After that we tried to doze off but it was relatively hopeless and so by 6am we were up and at it. Once again we had the issue of trying to make egg and bacon without a pan. Thankfully Jason was feeling energetic and as a result he started a fire and we had a bacon braai at 6:30am.

Everything after that seemed to happen somewhat slowly and at 10am people were still getting ready. Since we needed to be out of the A frames by 10am we packed everything into Jason’s car and took my car out on one last game drive. This of course involved stopping at the restaurant for a cup of coffee thanks to the lack of a kettle at our accommodation.

From Tala we headed home and then straight to the Pavilion to get our Sterkies shopping done. The plan was to buy a Coleman but we eventually settled on just borrowing my moms. We got the majority of the food shopping done at the Pavilion but did a quick stop at Tops in Hillcrest to check if Bavaria was still on special. It was! Groweth does the pile!

Back at home we packed for the trip, ate some McDonalds, played Xbox and were in bed by 10pm ready for the adventure that would unfold the next day. Sterkies BABY!