South Africa #8: Meet the Parents (I)

... continuing from last week's episode, our Innocent Heroine (IH) arrived in Cape Town early Monday morning after food poisoning, 2 hours of sleep, and rethinking her perspective after a week in Ethiopia... 

Lalala Wine
(OK I guess I'm doing 3rd person perspective this week to mix things up).

Adventure 1: Will Innocent Heroine make it through customs? Why was this an issue - because IH's tourist's visa expired in April... although her departure ticket was in May (of course, silly IH). Did she succeed? Of course  - IH picked her spot in line to go to the young (male) custom's agent instead of the older female custom's agent who looked like she wanted to deport IH regardless of visa status. Whew!

Adventure 2: Will IH get picked up from the airport?
Why was this an issue: because IH didn't have internet or phone and was just praying for Amore' to come save her... eventually. During an interview with IH after Amore' arrived and picked her up, IH was quoted saying "You know, after sitting in that Woolworth's cafe for 3 hours, I think the joy I experienced upon seeing you (Amore' and Willem) is akin to the birth of one's first child"
What in the world is Fried Patagonia and deconstructive avo ritz? 

Adventure 3: OK commence wine tour and country side excursion. Amore' took me to one of her favorite vineyards (back to first person - sneaky!) and we made a day of our reunion. Rather than go back to SANSA immediately, I decided to spend two days of relaxation and peaceful work at Amore's place in the farmlands. She has her cat trained to go on walks! We had a great time, drinking wine, walking around, and relaxing overall. I needed it because...

They are pretty stoked to be out of Michigan winter. 

Adventure 4: IH's parents arrive! In a somewhat spontaneous turn of events, my parents were able to come visit! They spent a night in Cape Town before heading down to Hermanus. It was great to see my parents after 3 months - they were also the first Americans I've seen in South Africa! On our first day, we explored the Cliff Paths and I took them Ballroom dancing (OK they didn't dance, but they 'enjoyed' watching me dance). In near exhaustion (OK Amore' threw a mini-party and relaxation didn't actually mean sleeping), I pretty much collapsed into a bed that felt familiar for the first time in a month :)

Adventure 5: Let's Split Up
What's up bro? 
Immediately, my dad needed a thrill for adventure and wanted to go cage shark diving. My mom and I were less keen, so we went shopping/exploring town while my dad went shark diving. I'm including a picture of the 4m great white sharks he saw :)

We then went for a walk along the coast to the beach. My parents can't really get over how lucky I am (me too actually) that I live right next to the ocean with these beautiful coastal paths and can go hiking in the nearby mountains. Speaking of which...
Mom taking in the beautiful scenary

Adventure 6: "That's a Cobra?" 
My parents are what the South Africans would call "very keen hikers", meaning that if we're still able to walk at the end of the day, we haven't hiked far enough. I took them on my favorite trail (see the Valentine's Day Post), and they loved it. It was a 13 km loop to about 1000 m up from sea level. You walk through all these different geological landscapes and the burned forests, etc.

Cobra is the yellow black stripes in the middle, head is towards top of picture
My dad and I summited the peak, while my mom kept guard for a bit at the base. After lunch while hiking down, my dad stopped us going "that's a snake!" I, of course, took a picture (hey, if it bit us, I wanted some identification) while the big snake (1.2 m at least, big in my opinion) slithered away. The convo went something like this:

Dad: "Is that one of the poisonous ones?"
Me: "I have no idea. The adder is brown... but that was big"
Dad: [Points] "Look it's flaring out, weird, like a cobra"
Dad: "... wait, do you have cobras here?"
Me: "Oh yeah, we have Cape Cobras. They're poisonous probably? "
Dad: "Extremely so... he looks mad, we should go"
Mom: "I didn't see it!"
My kind of cruise ship
Dad and Me: "Probably for the best"

Although rattled (ha!), we finished the trail with only a few thunder booms ("Huh, I've never seen it lightning since I've been here") and some rain. Typical Smith family adventure :)

Adventure 7: "Wait, aren't we near Cape Town?" 

Happy tourists :) 
Watch out for that tail little one
The next day was a dedicated trip to the most Southern Point of Africa, which Helen and I did in South Africa #1 (parents get the highlight reel of course). However, round 2 was even better because my parents are 'keen hikers'. We did a coastal trail that took us by an abandoned ship and some beautiful coastal bush forest. My parents collected sponges and shells ("Is this legal? Probably not.. oooh, get that one!") and we strolled along for hours in the sunshine. On our way back, we stopped at a fishing wharf where some sting rays liked to hang out waiting for food. Check out how massive they are! We also stopped to see a lake full of flamingoes on the way home and spent some time at the beach eating ice cream.
Coastal Walk

Adventure 8: "Can we have a relaxing day?" 

At this point, my parents and I were both totally exhausted. I slept 12 hours (remember that food poisoning and no sleeping stuff?) and my mom and dad were both feeling a little under the weather. Wanting to escape the rain in Hermanus, we escaped to De Kelders, where we, of course, found a coastal trail. The winds (>30 km/hr) really made the surf crazy, so we had a fun time of watching the big rollers hit the coast line.

Unable to resist, we hiked several kilometers to a park where there was a cave. The cave was massive, and a bunch of birds and bats flew out when we entered. There was also a sign that said "Warning Bees" and yours truly was the one who went pee and then had a bee chase after her. I ran about 20 m and it was still following me! EEK! We then walked back to the car and drove on. We checked in at the lamest Penguin Conservatory I've ever seen (spoiler: there were actually no penguins. Sea gulls do not count as penguins!!!!!!)

Dad in the cave!

Can't get enough of these views 
Overall, we all had an amazing time. I love my parents and I love having them here. I'm totally worn out now (sleeeeeeep). They are off to a week of exploring the Garden Route while I'm off to a week of work.  They are coming back next weekend and we're all going up to Cape Town for the weekend. Stay tuned for Meet the Parents II. Hope you all have a good week!

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