My mother in law arrived safely last Wednesday night, slightly ragged around the edges, but well. She bucked up considerably once she’d had a cigarette. Her suitcase was the only cling wrapped one on the carousal, so that drew a few sideways looks from the other Gladstone friends and families helping their arrivals collect their luggage.
For those who are not familiar with cling wrapping of bags, it’s the latest fashion statement out of Johannesburg. That way, not only do you not have to worry if your luggage is anything other than Louis Vuitton, but it prevents the petty thieves who work at OR Thambo International Airport, formerly Johannesburg International, formerly Jan Smuts, from helping themselves to the contents of your suitcase.
Not to be defeated in the face of rampant theft, a few entrepreneurial South African spirits have set up an incredibly lucrative business at the airport check-in desks wrapping travellers’ suitcases in meters and meters of cling wrap. It is a deterrent that works wonders.
Her trip was long, and mostly uneventful. Apparently the customs guy atSydneyairport wanted her to open her suitcase so that he could check that her shoes were clean. Adair, in true form, told him quite confidently, “I can assure you my shoes are spotless!”
He let her through.
I’m not sure what scared him more. Adair, or the prospect of unwrapping 80 meters of cling wrap.
We took her home, where we cut the 80 meters of cling-wrap off her (Polo) suitcase, fed her, and put her to bed early, so that we could wake her up in the morning and put her on the boat to Heron Island.
The boat trip over was too horrendous for words. Well – two words might do it: Vomit. Everywhere.
The island, and the 6 days we spent there, were exceptional. It is an absolute paradise. The pictures are all up on Smugmug.com (75Derbyroad). But as is always the case, even the most beautiful photographs can’t capture the 360degree view. I did my best. My favourite is the beautiful photo of Dylan in the water, with a shark fin just behind him. Mother of the year.
The weather was perfect. Not too hot, not too cold. The water temperature was perfect, not too hot, not too cold. The food was delicious. Not too hot, not too cold. The snorkelling was amazing. The wildlife was incredible. Nathan spotted a baby turtle, just hatched, and we escorted it to the water, scaring away the birds hovering nearby. We saw and snorkelled with a number of adult turtles, sharks, manta rays, and of course, millions and millions of beautiful, multicoloured tropical fish. The coral itself was colourful and alive, crackling with life. There were multicoloured starfish, sea cucumbers, anemones, shells. It was just beautiful.
Moreover, the company was delightful. We had such a lovely week, catching up. Adair and the children have been inseparable. They’re always off on one adventure or another. Justin and I are at somewhat of a loose end actually. The boys have been super stars as usual, but we’re struggling a little to keep Adair in line.
One evening, on the way to the dining room, walking along one of the windy forest paths, Adair and the boys leapt out from behind a building to boo us. Apparently, we were the second couple to be on the receiving end of this frightening boo. They’d misjudged our walking speed, and pounced out from behind a building onto completely unsuspecting strangers. The strangers were not too perturbed at being boo’d by a 3 year old and a 5 year old. They did however look a little anxious at the granny who leapt out at them while they walked calmly to dinner; hand in hand, enjoying the peace and quiet of their island holiday. They looked at us a bit funny after that.