Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Words from a Self-Confessed Nostalgist

Living in a country that is so fiercely patriotic about every aspect of their way of life, it does do much to remind outsiders of how far we still have to fit in. When I’m watching dazzlingly firework displays in New York City for July 4th celebrations, I’m not reminded of the day Americans finally declared themselves an independent country a couple centuries ago, rather I’m reminded of vibrant times in my own history of gaining independence and overcoming obstacles to stand as the country we are today. When I taste the first earth shattering bites of apple pie, I long back to the times when melktert was readily available because the kerk Tannies had decided to hold a bake sale at the local Spar for no other reason then to remind the people of this world that there is heaven on earth. And add pannekoek to that mix and I’d be a regular in church on a Sunday thanking God for this wonderful miracle.

Yet I’ve always found myself wondering if I were to go home one day would I jump right back into the swing of things, or would I sit back pondering of a time that use to be? Will I lock my door at night in fear and remember all the millions of times in another land I’d walked out the house leaving it completely open to friends and thieves alike and coming back a few days later to a fully furnished house and neighbours kind enough to water the plants? When watching our land’s heroes on the rugby field bringing us victories by the boatload, will I be reminded of the times people have tried but failed to teach me of the intricacies that are American football only to give up, hand me a beer and let me live my life in oblivion regarding this matter? When sitting amongst the people of my home, hesitant to speak for fear of how my words will be interpreted, will I long back to the days I sat in a classroom studying African American literature with a group of people so culturally diverse they heralded from almost every nook and cranny of this earth and debate with them about issues of racism and equality and know that it is my voice that matters and not my skin colour?

When we choose the life of the homeless we choose to give up roots that ground us and decide instead to find comforts and commonalities amidst the unknown. Being a South African in America is what sets me apart from the crowd. My difference is not only glaringly obvious the moment I open my mouth and speak with an accent that sounds (according to almost every American) light-years away from many people here, but for me it’s most obvious when we sit around the table at dinner time and I’m the only one who uses a knife whilst everyone makes do with just a fork. It’s obvious when I’m eating huge turkeys and roasts during Christmas time when what I’m use to is lighting up the braai on Christmas day and spending the time doing what we South Africans do best; cooking meat to perfection on an open fire. Yet despite the open differences there are many things that unite us, and in a country as diverse as America these similarities are not hard to come by. I may not find South Africans on every street, but I do find people who have travelled from countries I’m just coming to learn of, who have left families and friends behind to start life alone in the wilderness. The girl from Georgia (the country) who sat with me in a sauna describing life in her wonderful country and what things she hoped to achieve in her lifetime, didn’t make us strangers because of a language and cultural barrier but kindred spirits in this foreign land. Meeting a girl in a parking lot who happened to share the same language and continent but not the same country fastened us rather as sisters and not just casual acquaintances. Being away from all you know gives you the wonderful ability to wax nostalgic of days gone by and at the very same time to appreciate the beauty of where you’ve ended up. You become one of the elite on this planet that is truly able to experience both sides of the coin, to know what it means to live and work to create your own dreams in the land of opportunities that is America, and to understand a country in distress at the same time. Your life becomes a shining example for what people are capable of achieving and not just showcasing some Hollywood movie of insurmountable impossibilities because to someone out there you’re living, breathing proof and not a mythological creature.

I’ve lived in this country for just over 3 years now and instead of embracing the place I’m in, I’ve longed for all I’ve left behind. Yet it took meeting fellow South Africans at a braai in a foreign land to make me realize how lucky I am, and to snap me out of living in an era of wistfulness. By longing for what was I forget to appreciate what is. I got so caught up in existing just for that moment when I could finally put my feet back on to African soil that I ceased to embrace the joy of living in the land fortune had granted me the wondrous chance of beholding. When meeting those South Africans I came to see that home isn’t just the physical aspects that make up the rainbow nation of South Africa. Home is the people that share the same traditions as me, it’s talking in a voice that has people asking instead, “Do you come from the same part of the world as me?” and not, “Is that British (you could replace that with Australian if you so chose as well)?” Home is knowing that there’s always a place to go back to but in the end having the freedom to embark on exploring new frontiers and creating grand adventures in foreign places. And at the end of the day when all is said and done, home will be a place of magnificent people and glorious moments unconfined by the boundaries of land.

Tuesday, 13 May 2014

The Return of Shana

I can’t believe it’s been over a year since I last posted anything on here. I keep meaning to write and tell of the glorious adventures I’ve been on and some interesting and quirky places I’ve seen, but then life gets in the way, things get crazily insane, and every good intention flies out the window along with my very rare thread of sanity. But I have finally resolved to stop meaning to do things and actually start doing them. I am going to become a woman of action.

Since I last wrote I’ve begun an adventure of a whole different kind, some regard it as a willing form of prison meant to inflict untold amounts of torture upon young minds. To other unknowing mortals this institution is known as college.

My life at college began during a time of great change last summer. I was finally moving away from being just an au pair and evolving into a creature that roams the halls and courtyards of a college campus. That first summer as a student was thrilling and, as all things in life should be, something that wowed my mind with enticing new facts. As a class we spent hours debating the hidden symbols in movies such as Silence of the Lambs, seeking out mirror scenes in Forest Gump and admiring the use of camera angles in age old classics like Notorious. It was during that time that I eagerly began to anticipate the start of the coming school year, of opening text books and learning even more of the grand secrets this world held about all kinds of weird and wacky things.

But a class held in the summer months during the relaxed days of warm weather, burdenless workloads, and an entire culture of fun is universally different from fall and spring sessions. And boy have I come to realize that surprising fact.

Today I have finally finished my first year as a full time American college student and it’s been one rollercoaster ride of a journey. I’ve met people that inspire me to do wondrous things with their buck loads of passion for things as simple as food, to greater realms of making changes in the lives of those less fortunate then themselves. I’ve bumped into old and young alike on this college campus that foregoes the discrimination of age and welcomes with open arms anyone with a mind open to learning and a heart willing to achieve. And then I’ve met those unusual characters that make me wonder if eccentricity should be a class group all its own. But then again they probably think the same of me.

Sitting outside in the sunshine now after what seems like a long and almost never-ending road, I’m glad I found my light at the end of the tunnel. I’ve enjoyed debating about the philosophies of Socrates and Plato with a professor sporting the coolest head of hair I’ve ever been fortunate to behold. Learning of the intricacies of the computing world put my head in a spin, but thankfully I had my psychology lessons all geared up to inform me of the exact state my mind was in, and how to go about being somewhat less crazy. I held a spot in an English class with a professor that, to say the least, was one I will never hold similar views on regarding anything and that’s okay. But thank goodness I was learning some terrific moral lessons in ethics because my attitude in that class could have been very immoral indeed.

And so as I sit here contemplating my journey I would like to share with you three of the most important lessons I’ve learnt throughout this year:

1.     1. Daily planners were created for more than just creative ways to use trees and kill the forests. It is in actual fact a very necessary tool needed to ensure your imminent success as a student. Because trying to remember the million things you need and the gazillion places you need to be cannot all be crammed within a head that is being used to store an infinite amount of new facts. And when you’ve finally decided to dust it off, doodling is an extra benefit but not the main purpose of this useful tool. Hint: try writing down the necessities of what needs to be done.

2.    2.  Remember those times you thought those monsters known as adults had forced you to shut your eyes and catch a few winks, and you’d obsessively sworn they were evil aliens out to eliminate all the goodness in your life? Well I’ll let you into a secret here. These alien adults knew that in a few short years they’d be ushering you off to college and your days of sleep would be a thing of the past. Come to think of it, sleep will be something only defined in a dictionary and seldom, if ever, practiced in the regions of real life. Welcome to the world of the walking dead fellow zombie, I am pleased to be meeting your unsleepful acquaintance.

3.     3. Just because you may be living in the comforts of home with mom and dad still hovering about to take care of your every need (if you’re that lucky), college is a time when you have the very rude awakening that you’re now all grown up. Be ready to welcome in grown up responsibilities like work and paying for stuff (like wine because mommy and daddy don’t think this juice does much for the revitalizing of your brain cells, and you’re going to need it). You now have to juggle responsibilities and, I say this as tears stream down my face, forego those parties with the uber hot swimsuit models in favour of maintaining the grades that keep you in good graces with wiser folks of humanity. It’s almost like being a parent with the amount of juggling you’ll be doing thankfully minus the tiny, screaming humans that are the hardest creatures on earth to attempt pleasing for more then 2 mere minutes at a time.

And so I am closing off this chapter as a first year, full time college student and ecstatically rushing out to greet the much-anticipated return of summer. The winter was grueling, the snow frostbitingly atrocious, and the cold utterly heartbreaking. But better things await us all when the sun comes out to play and the professors take a break from the institution of torture for young minds.

Have a great week and I look forward to telling you more great tales soon.
Safe travels!

Tuesday, 16 April 2013

The Great Ohio

Before I go to a new place I start forming all these crazy expectations in my head of what it will be like. So, when I knew I was going to Ohio the crazy expectation filled head of mine was working overtime. My expectations were of a place that would have a whole lot of open land with miles of nothingness and nowhere and a bunch of insane hill-billy types that sort of resemble those people from the Hills Have Eyes or Wrong Turn. To say that Ohio was not my top choice was fair enough, I put it down to watching too many scary movies though. And then I got there and I realized how wrongly I had judged, thank goodness for that because being hacked to pieces on an abandoned hi-way was not how I planned to spend a weekend.

Ohio is a place that offers so much more than we expect from it. We expect to be bored by a whole lot of open miles, but instead we can be amazed by the history and architectural uniqueness of the small towns that you pass through every couple of turns in the road. We expect there to be a lack of fun, yet they offer activities out of the ordinary that require you to be just that little bit more adventurous and embrace a side of you that would normally lie dormant, like biking to some town and experiencing their wondrous downtown vibe, taking a tour of the many farms in the area or just appreciating nature at its best, quiet undisturbed and perfect.

Cincinnati offers much in the way of sturdy architecture and friendly people. There are many little shops that will inspire that shopaholic within you to empty those pockets. Over the Rind in Cincinnati is one of the very interesting parts of the city as it holds a great deal of history and tells a story of just how far this place has come. Yellow Springs is the kind of town you go to see what you hope America would be like, a place where you can find friendly people willing to support a few boys selling daffodils from their mothers garden, it is a place brimming with so much soul and artsy vibes you cannot help but want to embrace your inner hippy, oh and did I mention that their funnel fries could quite possibly be the best in the world. Just thought I should mention that very important fact.

It is hard to choose exactly which place in Ohio really stood out for me. It could have been seeing the sparkling lights of Columbus while eating one of the most absurdly original burgers on the planet. It could have been seeing the beautiful farm in Xenia while feeding the ponies and petting the greedy goat. It could be seeing Serpents Mound in twilight and marveling at the grand things of human culture. Or seeing a million other places that are just as fantastic. It is hard to choose when the state of Ohio continues to leave me gaping at each corner.

There are many things that will never cease to amaze you when you take the long road down a dusty hi-way in Ohio. You could meet people who will warmly welcome you into their homes as if you were their beloved family, you could see unexpected and peculiar sights, but most of all you could be amazed when you set aside your expectations and be utterly entranced at what you find within this state that holds so much. Ohio is a place that will continue to defy your expectations and set about to prove you wrong. It will show you the best it has to offer no matter where you are looking, be that at field ready for the plowing or in a busy downtown metropolitan city. Ohio is surely a place you want to put down on your list of places to be.

Safe Travels

Sunday, 31 March 2013

Irish Pride

Being an Au Pair is amazing in that our Area Director’s go out of their way to find exciting things for us to do at our monthly meetings. For those of you who are not too sure what Area Directors are; this is the person in the United States who ensures that we follow the rules, have a great time and we are still living and breathing each month, kind of like a mom (except she can’t ground us when we misbehave, thank goodness for that because I would probably have spent my whole time in this country in my room without a cellphone). And the monthly meetings are the times when we see our Area Director in person. So being March what better way to spend it than at a St Patrick’s Day parade. Just a pity though we could not spend it in true Irish style with a keg or two in our hands singing about the good ‘ol days in our dear Ireland while dressed in green .

Morristown, a beautiful town in Morris County, New Jersey, was the place chosen for our monthly meeting. The weather that day was superb, the sun was shining and there was just enough of a breeze to make it bearable but not too cold. The parade started off with a group of girls dressed in colourful traditional Irish dress dancing to upbeat folksy tunes and skipping and hopping higher than should be humanly possible I thought about trying it but then thought I could come up with much better ideas, I think I will just put this down to the fact that they were young and not that I was certainly very unfit.

With the streets filling up with all sorts of people who had just discovered they all had some sort of Irish heritage, most though dating back probably a couple centuries, some wonderful Au Pair discovered a Starbucks. Now Starbucks is the very way of life for us Au Pairs, it is where we go to meet new friends, to fill our veins with coffee so strong it’s a sure bet we will not be sleeping for the next few days and it’s the place you go to gather your senses when your kids have frayed and dashed each last nerve you had. Starbucks is home. So in we go to gather our little comforts to make the most of standing outside. After all that it was back on the street to watch the parade unfolding before us.

The actual parade was a wonderful affair. Most of the people were men dressed in skirts, oh make that kilts (I never did understand the difference), walking to the beat of drums, flutes and bagpipes. Glorious red fire trucks passed our way filling up the entire street and amazing us at the sheer size of this monster machine. A mime artist walked by entertaining children in silence, and for two very amazing seconds we experienced that same silence from the children as they tried this imitation, I believe from now on I will be playing this game with my kids. There were a group of people and dogs from the Seeing Eye Dog foundation which is very famous in Morristown and then some more very famous Irish dogs. The Irish wolfhound left most of us gaping with its enormous size, it was truly a magnificent creature.

The parade was wonderful as it left us with great memories. For me it was the chance to meet some great, friends from exotic places in this world, to learn about the Irish culture in a fun and interactive way and to add to my already over flowing bank of memories of my exceptional time in the United States of America.


Safe travels!

Tuesday, 5 March 2013

Friends, food and Madiba

Nestled snugly in a City that never ceases to stop for just a second is the most perfect reminder of home. A place that is not just a nostalgic reminder because of a name we all associate with our country, but the place bustles with the lively atmosphere of a typical South African shebeen. About 80% of the people there are all natives, so familiar accents and words that many of us hear so seldomly fly around like we are all sitting back at home catching up with old friends. You are greeted with a, “Hey China! Howzit going!” and you promptly respond with, “Lekker bru,” with no awkward glances and feeling for the first time in a very long time as if someone really gets this very unique thing we all share. It is a place for those us who long for the country we all dearly miss to have some sort of connection to, because ultimately that is what South Africa is made up of, a melting pot of amazing people and Madiba in New York City captures this so impressively.

I must admit I had my doubts about this place, recreating an atmosphere and place that completely symbolized the very way of life for every South African in a place that was so completely opposite was going to be a challenge. South Africa lives for the “just now’s” and moves on the ever unpredictable “African Time,” we seldomly stay strangers with people for very long and smiles are given away like candy. In New York City, despite how amazing this place is, you are hurried from one place to the next knowing that every second counts, and most of the time we are so busy glancing down at our feet we forget to see the people who pass by us on the street. Yet our first step into this place was like taking a giant leap out of the USA and stepping into the warm embrace of home.

Madiba was our choice of restaurant for the night because we were meeting some South African friends flying in from the UK. Familiar territory for all. As we walked through the door we were handed an original ballot sheet from the 1994 election, and they had even taken the time to mark off our vote for us. The place was jam packed with people squashing elbows in this knee and standing on that toe. The music playing in the background was a mix of up and coming South African artist, with some of the older more famous tracks in between. At our table we sat down in old style farm house chairs that were all miss matched, and sturdy looking tables that came out of our grandparents’ era.

The food was amazing! We started off with a light white wine straight from the vineyards in Stellenbosch to accompany our starter of “vetkoek” in a sauce of chutney and a hearty supply of “slap chips” drenched in vinegar. Now the hard part came, choosing from the multitude of traditional dishes which would satisfy our appetite and longing for home. At this point in the night when we have all starved ourselves the whole day for the anticipated meals ahead, the decision is a very difficult one. I settled on the tasty “bobotie” and more chutney which turned out impeccably capturing all the flavors of this very scrumptious meal. Kate, Mavis and Jen both tried the “pap en wors” with the side of chakalaka. I had a taste of the pap and have to say honestly that no one can truly make better “pap” then my wonderful “Goggo” back home, but it came a very close second. Kev and Nicole tried the very traditional oxtail, and both raved about the delicious meal.

At this point we were all stuffed to the seams, but how could I leave without trying “iets soets?” After selling off my beanie in exchange for a dom pedro I was hoping it would be worth it. It was great that Kate was paying, but it was also frigidly cold outside that door. The first sip was more than worth it and the rest of that wonderful glass was a delightful bonus.

The night turned into a great surprise. A time to reconnect with all that we left behind at home, to catch up with old friends and to be in a place where we could just have a “lekker jol.”

Safe travels!

Friday, 8 February 2013

Part Four: I'm in Miami

It is a Friday night and I cannot go out because it’s snowing. So, I thought I would catch up with my blog since I have been neglecting it terribly for the last few weeks. I have done a great many exciting things since the last time I posted anything, so hang in there and if like me you have nothing to do on a Friday night, grab your mug of steamy hot chocolate, a huge bowl of chocolate ice cream and a chair and read away. Or anything chocolate for that matter. I hope I provide some sort of entertainment for you tonight.

So we ended off the road trip saga in Key West, Florida. I have one more fascinating destination to tell you about before I can close off that chapter. This blog takes place in the unbelievable city of Miami, Florida. A place where the party, literally, never stops.

Having spent a really fun, lazy day in Key West, we took a rather slow drive up to Miami. Slow because the fastest you could drive at any one time was 50 mph and that was if no cops were in the nearby vicinity. We arrived in Miami and made our way straight to our hostel, because I was a grumpy person and Kevin was almost on his deathbed. The one great thing about America is that most major cities number their streets, so when you’re navigating your way through unfamiliar territory at least you can kind of feel like you have some semblance of hope that you know what you’re doing. So the hostel was on 9th and Something Street, this would make it easy, especially for someone like me who needs things to be made very simple. I am driving and I find the numbers and I count along in my head, just making extra careful. There I go, 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10. Something wasn’t quite right there. So I turn around and start again. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10. Not right again. They say third times the charm so one more time. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 10. Somehow I just knew I should have listened during those math lessons, but well too late now. Eventually, in his near death state, Kevin wakes up, relieves me of the horrendous task of driving and manages to find the street, the 9th one. If you’re lucky with numbers, you’re lucky with numbers.

One thing I have to say about Miami though is that hostel are certainly not for the fate of heart. If you go there expecting a place with a comfy bed, noise free, personal space and a clean bathroom, you would have better luck booking in at the $1000 a night, 5 star hotel down the road. It was my first time ever in a hostel, and to say the least it was like a huge cultural shock. Almost like packing my bags, flying way over the ocean and living in another country with no familiar face. It was almost that bad. While it is an awesome place to meet people from all over the world, I met some girls from Russia who were probably here competing for world’s tallest human, a guy from Cambodia who spoke better English then an English speaking person, and someone from Germany who wasn’t too sure what country he was from. The bathrooms were a place you entered and didn’t judge too closely anything you found that slightly resembled a foreign specie. In order to keep your sanity about you, just go in there do what needs to be done and leave. That is the only way to survive.

Miami is this place where they have the most amazing specials. Being the shop obsessed individual I am, I cannot under any circumstances pass up a bargain. It would go against everything I stand for in life. But these “amazing specials” tended to drift towards the more adult beverages. A special is a special, I was not about to let this one pass me by. So after huge cocktails and recovery sessions on the beach, it was time to make our way back to yet another hostel, this time we had our own room, to get ready for a night out on the town. Now the main building for the International Hostel is but three blocks away from where we were staying. Keep that in mind, three blocks. We go there to make our reservations for the night and then walk over to our apartment style hostel. Well, Kevin and I made it there anyway. I spent an hour getting myself ready for the night, and still managed to watch a movie and helped some poor lost traveler from Brazil, or was it Spain? I cannot remember, try find his friends who abandoned him at the airport. So three hours later and there I see Shaii and Kate walking down the street, with a huge bottle of water and rationing off a chocolate bar like their lives depended upon it. What had happened to them you may ask? They too got lost somewhere between the three blocks they had to walk from the main hostel to where we were staying. I’m still trying to wrap my mind around the fact that they walked in one continuous circle for three hours. I think after the first 10 minutes I would have been bored. But kudos to them for persevering the way they did.

Miami was really great. We didn't just spend our time on half priced cocktails and shaking our booties in clubs. We managed to see a little more than that. We saw the amazing beach, went on a boat cruise around the harbor and got to ogle celebrity houses and ended off our time with an insanely delicious meal at a very fancy restaurant. So, go to Miami all you young at heart and if you feel especially brave go try out a hostel, it will be sure to change your world.

Safe travels!

Sunday, 6 January 2013

Part Three: A Life of Laze in Key West

The wonderful thing about a road trip is that you are never bound to a destination or how you will travel. If a place piques your interest than staying an extra night is an option, if by morning you find that it just does not add that certain excitement you expect, then packing up and leaving is as easy as that- packing and going. So, with our New Orleans part of the journey coming to an end, choices had to be made. Where to next? How were we going to travel? Did we stay an extra night? Being Christmas morning and just about everything shut down but the trusty old Starbucks (where we all made hurried calls back home, lest we land up in mom’s bad books and had to forgo a Christmas gift for next year), the best choice was driving another 20 hours straight through to Key West, Florida. Now it all seemed very practical; no accommodation costs (we would be sleeping in the car), we could actually fit this unique destination into our travel itinerary and we had something to do for Christmas day since everything was locked tighter then my brothers secret stash of money. But thirty minutes into the drive and with another nineteen and a half to look forward to, you have to wonder what possessed you to think that driving so long would be such a brilliant idea. The car begins to feel like a moving prison cell, the radio sounds much better when it’s playing static then the endless hits radio stations keep leaving on repeat, and you much prefer the company of the four other people in the car with you when they are dead to the world rather than awake and breathing. In this case I mean when they are napping, but the thought did cross my mind a time or two.

Arriving in Key West, Florida is like driving into a place that does not quite understand that life in other parts of the world revolve around busy schedules, hurried work lives, screaming children and far off thoughts of that idyllic retirement all alone on a secluded island. Key West is that place we all dream of going to, to unwind and forget that we have a job to go back to. It’s the place where a, “I’ll see you in 5 minutes,” can mean anything from 5 hours to 5 months. You set your own pace here, or none at all for that matter. Arriving bright and early the next morning we made our way to a Laundromat to do laundry. Yes, even on vacation this heinous task will still present itself. With laundry in and taking its sweet time to run through a cycle, I spotted a bag of homemade nuts, raisins and m&m mix in the car and with my stomach and me having many life changing conversations in that car over the hours, I eagerly grabbed it before someone spotted the loot. And then what would walk across my path? A rooster. Now you should know this about me, I am a sucker for poor, starving helpless things, even when that perceived starving helplessness is in my head. So, my only option was to feed this poor thing with the only food I had available to me. My stomach was already protesting, but I was doing this for the greater good. I love m&m’s and my absolute favorite kind are the blue one’s. So seeing as I was not going to eat the other colours, I began throwing them out to the Rooster who quickly devoured his morning meal. After about 5 minutes of this and thoughts that maybe chocolate was not the best choice for a morning meal I quickly switched and gave him raisins instead, figuring a fruit a day would keep doctors away and all that. When I decided that overeating was not an indulgence this fine looking Rooster should partake in, I abruptly ended our meal together and bid him farewell. Unfortunately he did not quite get the farewell part, and instead took it as in invitation to invite his fellow chickens. Well, at least Shaii got some great pictures in between running away from chickens and throwing them food to encourage better poses for his photo’s.

With laundry all done, our next stop was food and a doctor’s office. We did not harm anyone in the process of this road trip, but the ever stoic Kevin did manage to get himself sick. Remember that unhurried pace the citizens of Key West choose to enforce in their lives? Even doctor’s offices implement this concept. So after about the second hour and no sign of Kevin emerging out the air conditioned building; Kate, Shaii and I made ourselves comfortable by rolling the windows down low, leaning our heads back and just slightly closing our eyes. Now if you were to do this anywhere else in the world you could find yourselves without a car and a couple of limbs, but considering the time it would take for people to do this and all the work it would be we figured we were more than safe in this community. What seemed like an eternity later, Kevin finally came out with a prescription for Strep Throat and a mood blacker then a starless night. And not a drop of sympathy from his fellow friends.

The rest of our time in this breathtaking place was spent lounging and drifting into bouts of much-needed sleep on the warm beach with the ocean at our toes. With the sun slowing descending against the horizon and realizing I had forgotten my camera in the car, Shaii and I made the mile long walk to fetch it. How could we come to Key West and forgo a picture of the sunset? With the camera strapped securely around me, we made the arduous trek back to the sleeping beauties on the beach, but somehow got side tracked when Shaii spotted an Iguana. This prompted me to tell him that in South Africa we have the same except with one flick of their tail they can break your legs, and then screaming that one was coming for us. It brought tears of joy to my eyes to see him get so scared and uncertain. Believe Shana or lose my legs were probably the thoughts colliding in his head. We also got to explore a fort complete with cannon balls and dingy prison cells and still made it back in the nick of time to take the most gorgeous photos of the sun slowing slipping behind the ocean.

With the sun set on this part of our stay, it was in the car and off again to a new place and a whole set of new memories to be made