Last weekend was a long weekend, thanks to Worker’s Day being celebrated here in South Africa. The glorious weather we enjoyed on Sunday was literally begging me to take the kids out to the beach – and so that’s exactly what I did.
If you are not familiar with it, this tiny beach (rumoured to have received its name from the bikinis worn by female students from the the University of Stellenbosch) lies at the foot of the Hottentot’s Holland mountain range, tucked up against the Gordon’s Bay harbour wall – making for a wind sheltered, safe bathing spot.
It’s popular with both the locals and overseas visitors, and I’ve even done a bit of karate there back in the day!
As you might expect, despite the girls still being terrified of getting too close to the water, both of them thoroughly enjoyed their play time in the sand and sun.
(I on the other hand found the soft sand a little too challenging for my weak knee, meaning that I got to stretch out on a bench looking out over the beach for most of our stay!)
And yes. The phone camera once again got a decent workout on the day:
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Related Link: Bikini Beach Blue Flag Status
Summer Season 2015 is rushing towards us at breakneck pace, and so pleasingly it’s quite nice to see our little Blue Flag beach in Gordon’s Bay undergoing a bit of a makeover.
Up until recently, the beach had become a little… unfriendly, in terms of it being very rocky as a changing current flow was slowly but surely taking more and more sand away from the small beach and depositing it in the entrance to the harbour/marina (itself not a very good thing for all the yacht owners with vessels moored there).
I see that’s now all been changed though, with the beach being properly bulldozed (with possibly more sand added?), the result being a once again sandy, pristine little beach, tucked away from the wind and the perfect tanning spot for the hordes of Stellenbosch students (from where this little beach is traditionally rumoured to get its name from).
Signage is being replaced, things are being fixed and sanded down, and from the look of it, even a new lick of paint is about to be applied to the standing structures.
Looks like everything will be ready and waiting for when the December holidays finally hit our little town! :)
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It’s awesome to have a local beach that continuously gets a Blue Flag rating you know – kind of makes one feel proud of the place to be quite honest.
Once again Bikini Beach (literally named for the bikinis worn by the Stellenbosch students who forever seem enamored with the place) has been awarded a coveted Blue Flag status for a year, basically meaning that the water quality is good, the amenities are all running smoothly, and in general this is a clean and inviting coastal environment.
(True it is a tiny little stretch of sand with hardly any parking along the beach at all, but still, it REALLY is a nice spot to chill.)
For some reason I always chuckle whenever the Blue Flag beaches are announced because I know, shame, poor old Gauteng must feel terrible to be missing out on this one… but then I promptly see this at my local Pick ‘n Pay in Gordon’s Bay and I remove the ‘shame, poor old’ from that previous sentiment!
Note: Jessica had loads of fun saying ‘Silly Man’ over and over again as I explained to her just why he is such a dick.
I have to say, I enjoyed a rather relaxing weekend this weekend past.
Ignoring the fact that Friday was a little shitty thanks to me having caught Chantelle’s 24 hour stomach bug that she had endured earlier in the week, and factoring in the inordinate amount of time I spent over the entire weekend playing and completing the thoroughly enjoyable Just Cause 2 on the XBOX, there was still more than enough time on Saturday for Jess and I to make the most of the gorgeous morning weather by taking a stroll out on the harbour wall, before spending a good 45 minutes on Bikini Beach playing in the sand, followed by a meet up with Chantelle (who had returned from her Stellenbosch Christmas Market application demo) at the Somerset Mall where we enjoyed a fun lunch at Tamaret, with Jessie taking a rather unhealthy liking to the cheese sauce that accompanied my food!
Oh, and of course Saturday was also the day that Jessica received her first ever push bike!
With the winter rainy weather that had crept in over the course of Saturday continuing well into Sunday, the last day of the weekend saw us do little more than do a minor Pick ‘n Pay shop, sort out the house, braai, enjoy an afternoon snooze, and venture out for a little evening walk around the complex.
Oh, and did I mention all that Just Cause 2 I was playing during all of this?
So yup, a seriously relaxing weekend with not all that much to report back on then! :)
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Friday 11 February saw the perfect way to de-stress after a long week of work, with a Bikini Beach training session to kick off the weekend.
As it turned out, the wind that had plagued Gordon’s Bay during the week had dissipated, leaving only glorious sunshine and white sand to greet the eager karateka as they hit the beach. Under sensei Birgitt everyone was soon going through their paces, mixing sweat and sand under the watchful eyes of parents and passers-by who had stopped to take in the spectacle of white dogi-clad kids and adults taking over Gordon’s Bay’s premier stretch of beach.
Of course, for the adults it was more a case of keeping a watchful eye on the kids and making sure they all more or less stuck to the plan, but in the end it was a lot of fun for everyone involved, and as a bonus the dojo got some pretty nice pictures to use for its website.
To view the full set of photos coming out of the day, hit the gallery here: http://www.funakoshikarate.co.za/bikini-beach-training.
Gordon’s Bay is the home of Funakoshi Karate International South Africa, and what good is living by the sea if you don’t use it? After all, it makes for a great training ground!
So as all we South Africans know, Tuesday was a grand old public holiday, Freedom Day if you’re counting. Now judging by the traffic pattern on Monday, it’s pretty clear that a lot of my fellow Capetonians decided to take Monday off and enjoy an extended long weekend – something I with my 0.25 days of available leave was unfortunately not able to emulate.
But that doesn’t mean I didn’t have a good day off. Apart from the usual time wasters like household chores that included doing the washing and cleaning the dishes, I still found the time to sink a lot of web development across my CodeUnit and Funakoshi sites in, as well as polish off all the remaining episodes of Batman: Brave and the Bold that I now own on DVD. Oh, and considering that I had Monday evening to play Red Faction: Guerilla all the way through to 00:30, I really can’t complain about not being entertained!
Of course, with Tuesday being such a particularly beautiful day, it would have been an absolute crime not to enjoy the outdoors, fresh air and sunshine a bit, and this then explains why at midday I found myself with hat on head, decked out in walking shoes, and happily trotting along the road with Chantelle up past Bikini Beach and the Naval College, down to the end of Gordon’s Bay Main Beach and then finally back up to the guest house again.
Seeing as Chantelle is currently in the whole detox, eat healthy and exercise more frame of mind (spurred on by the great success in this field that Retha is currently enjoying), it seems like this will be the order of the day for quite some time yet, something I quite look forward to (as you should know by now) as it is always good to get that little bit of extra exercise in! ;)
However, such a beautiful day couldn’t be satisfied with just a hour-long walk and so we decided to extend our outdoor session by going through to Bertie’s Mooring where we joined all the other patrons out on the shaded walkway next to all the fancy sailboats in the harbour and enjoyed a delightfully relaxed and slow-paced luncheon which saw Chantelle enjoy a healthy grilled fish with salad while I stuck to my guns and had the always tasty deep fried hake with chips. (But did select the much more calorie light Castle Lite as my tipple of choice for the day – if only to be able to sing Ice Ice Baby and not look like an idiot!)
And that pretty much summed up my Tuesday public holiday, though I must still mention one more little, teensy weensy detail – all of this was done whilst in absolute agony!!
My thighs were burning, my joints were stiff, my shoulders and arms were sore! Hell, I was like an old man who managed to get his shoelaces caught up in the wheel of a bus and who was then dragged for the next kilometer or two down the road!
The reason for my particular discomfort?
An exceptionally enjoyable karate training session on Monday night, marking my return to training following an off period of two weeks (i.e. four sessions) thanks to that stupid bout with flu and a chest cold I previously suffered through!
Although I had started to prepare for my return with some light sessions in the gym, obviously it wasn’t enough because the intensity level at karate in anticipation of Sensei Marius from Germany’s visit later this year and the upcoming grading has definitely been cranked up! It would seem I missed some pretty cool stuff (including the start of weapons training – something I haven’t done since I learned a bit of Chinese Broadsword back when I still did Kung Fu) during the time I was gone!
So in an effort to whip us into a respectable shape physically as well as to prepare us for the upcoming June grading, it looks like we’re going to be in some pain for quite a bit longer – but as always, well, well worth it if you ask me! :)
(Though I do feel a bit sorry for Chantelle who is going to just have to now deal with my moaning and groaning in pain every time I sit down and get up from the couch! :P)
Somehow we only managed to get to bed after 03:00 on Saturday morning and after five or so hours it was up and at them as I realized that we don’t have any food or drink at the GB flat which is a major catastrophe considering that we had Claire and Riley passed out on the couches in the lounge. So with everyone asleep around me, I sneaked out the front door and made my way over to Pick ‘n Pay to stock up on some supplies.
As it is, I should perhaps not have bothered at all as Claire and Riley kind of skipped breakfast anyway, instead getting up, getting dressed and going off to gym – a kind of dedication that Chantelle and I can only dream of :)
The morning passed by quite quickly in all honesty with me once more stuck into the mess that is the man room, trying to sort a path out of all my junk that has been steadily piling up there now. Luckily our flat became a little lighter when Andrea showed up with Albert’s bakkie in tow and dragged off a sizeable pile of all her stuff that we had been using to recreate Mt. Fuji on our patio, meaning that we could at last take a little step back and admire the space that we are soon going to be turning into “home”. Chantelle already has her interior designer hat firmly in place and is coming up with sweeping plans that involves black, white and a furry mat.
My workflow for the day received a bit of a blow when we got a phone call from Claire a little later, asking us if we wanted to join them for lunch in Gordon’s Bay seeing as they were still in the area. It turned out that Claire’s friends in Pringle Bay had let them down and so to pass the time, we became the final option. No matter, who turns away friends and family who have come out to our corner of the world anyway? It is going to be pretty scarce occurrence so we had best pounce on all opportunities that come our way! :)
Chantelle organized for us to all meet up at The Tavern, a quaint little sea-themed pub sitting in the old harbour next to Bikini Beach, and so after rushing to get ready, we darted out to go and meet up with Claire and Riley who were already sitting and waiting for us. Managing to avoid getting blown off the road by the crazy strong wind that was gusting through Gordon’s Bay (as always), we reached the pub in good health and quickly discovered that Claire and Riley had abandoned the upstairs open deck, seeking refuge inside the rickety old building instead. So surrounded by tranquil blue shades of paint adorned by all sorts of colourful plaster fishies, we got down to the serious business of choosing what to chow for lunch.
As always Chantelle headed straight for the calamari (which she will rue one day when a tentacle reaches out and grabs her I tell you!), Claire and Riley opted for the chicken burgers and I went straight (more or less) for a basket of crumbed chicken strips – not very fishy, I know. While the four of us had a great time chatting and talking nonsense, we didn’t have such a great time waiting for our food. Our particularly short waitress turned out to be one of the worst waitresses I’ve ever had serve me and by the end of the day I was seriously considering “short-changing” her on the bill. Just a “little” payback if you know what I mean! ;)
(As it is, the silly girl even managed to forget the portable credit card machine on our table after processing our bill! The perfect cherry on the cake for her)
Disappointed in that we had managed to create a bad impression of GB eating venues to Claire and Riley, we parted ways and made our way back to the flat for… you guessed it… more unpacking and packing. *sigh* Wait, actually, we didn’t do that. Chantelle reminded me that we still needed to do a spot of shopping, so we jetted off to a rather quiet Somerset Mall where we browsed for our missing carpet at House and Home and priced the washing machines for good measure. As it is, I think we have found our match in a little 6kg LG machine that is shallower in depth than most other machines and should fit rather nicely under our open counter space. The window shopping done, it was time for the real thing as we entered Game intent on buying a nice shiny steel dustbin for the kitchen. Girding my loins, I boldly stepped into the store and promptly walked out clutching two sets of shiny stainless steel, heavy duty cutlery, a bread box and a copy of Tiger Woods 07 for Ryan.
Thankfully no dustbin had managed to woo my wallet in time.
Not wishing to abuse my debit card anymore than what I absolutely had to, I grabbed Chantelled and raced off back to the flat to get my work done. Or at least that was the plan, because truth be told we did not have all that much time left to us anyway.
19:00 and we needed to be back in Bellville to join up with Malcolm and Andri for supper with them and little old Corban (probably the REAL reason why Chantelle wanted to meet up with them in the first place!) On arrival and one nappy change later, we were treated to a delicious supper (although it could have done without the twirly noodles and mushrooms in my humble opinion) and were soon talking the evening away, covering all topics from application selling to iridology and our upcoming outing to Madame Zingara’s in April to boot. However, after a fairly lengthy stay, eventually fatigue got the best of everyone (well, us mainly) and we bid them a fond farewell, heading back to my rather empty flat for a well deserved, good night’s rest.
Well, it would have been a good night’s rest if it wasn’t for the strangest muscle spasm that gripped my right tricep in the meanest of vices in the early hours of Sunday morning, causing me to writhe around in pain for a good half an hour, swearing like a sailor and generally scaring Chantelle out of her own good night’s sleep. So with that extremely painful and excruciatingly long period behind me, I didn’t get the best of rests and as it ended up, needed to traverse the whole of Sunday with a generally stiff and painful right arm.