Sunday, January 21, 2007

more in-laws

This afternoon we went to Sugar Daddy’s maternal Granny’s place for lunch. She lives in a suburb a fair ways from Table Mountain, and like last time, we missed the turnoff to her suburb. She lives with her son, Sugar Daddy’s Uncle R. This family visit in some ways seemed a counterpoint to last night’s fabulous family visit.

It was hot again today, and even hotter at Granny’s. Her front lawn is parched drier than brown with nearly as many bare patches as shrivelled grass. The house was uncomfortably hot, and Granny made our lunch almost entirely in the oven: macaroni and cheese, some other things, and bread pudding for dessert.

Last time we were here, I really liked Uncle R and was slightly intimidated by Granny with her strong voice and constant motion. But things have changed. Granny must be pushing 90, and seems more tired and her hearing is poorer. She made us lunch, but that meant that we didn’t have much chance to visit with her. As for Uncle R, I was not impressed when the first thing we did when we got into the stifling house with Swee’pea was light up a cigarette. Sugar Daddy asked him to smoke outside for Swee’pea’s sake, and Uncle R just laughed sarcastically, “Ya, like I’m gonna smoke outside in this heat!” Granted, he smoked in the room next to the room that Swee’pea was in, but still. I was not impressed.

All I can do in these situations is weigh the options and choose the lowest risk to Swee’pea. In this case, the smoke inside seemed preferable to the burning heat hovering just outside the door and sneaking in through the windows. I felt bad cutting our visit short but after a couple of hours Swee’pea was cranky, sweaty and in need of a nap, preferably in the airconditioned car, and I also needed out of the heat. Which isn’t to say that Grandpa Cape Town’s house isn’t hot, but it isn’t AS hot as Granny’s. I didn’t feel bad for long though, because Uncle R told Grandpa Cape Town that Granny has to take three naps a day. So I’m sure our visit exhausted her. We will visit again before we leave, but only for tea, later in the afternoon, I think.

Coming home, Table Mountain was right in front of us the whole way. I got a chance to study it, with Lion’s Head to the right, and Signal Hill further to the right, and wonder at its size. It really dwarfs the entire city, and its skyscrapers can’t even come close. Last time I was here, I didn’t really understand how Lion’s Head got its name, but today I saw that it looks a bit like a natural, albeit crude, Sphynx somehow. And I love the way a line of trees lines the ride from Lion’s Head to Signal Hill, like the bristles on the back of a hyena’s neck.

Poor little Swee’pea seems much happier but his skin is suffering: he has a heat rash already, and of course all the mosquito bites. Poor guy got my skin and its vulnerability to heat rashes and sunburn, along with Sugar Daddy’s tastiness to mosquitoes, in the roll of the genetic dice. We took him into the pool twice today, to cool him down, and he loved splashing in it.

Amazingly, it cooled right down by about 7 pm. There is a lot of wind in Cape Town, and it seems to make all the difference, cooling down the evenings and nights. We went for a walk around Grandpa Cape Town’s neighbourhood, and it was a treat to stretch our legs. At home we walk almost every day if the weather’s ok, but here, there isn’t much within walking distance, and we’ve been driven everywhere. As we got towards the main road, we could see the mountain, and the clouds moving briskly over it in a pink and blue sky. I took some pictures and we turned around. At one point, the pink intensified over the mountain, and I noticed a tiny little crescent moon shyly peeking out between clouds. I took another picture, but I’m not sure if the moon turned out because the screen on my camera’s too small.

Sugar Daddy and I had a rare chance to talk on this walk, while Swee’pea slept. He doesn’t think he likes South Africa as much as he thought, and I think I would have to say the same. My expectations were higher setting out on this trip, so maybe it’s not a fair comparison, but the mosquitoes, as real as their nasty buzzing and bites are, are also a metaphor for me. I am noticing more of the not-so-great things this time around. Maybe it’s just the complexity of motherhood brought into the mix, I don’t know. I’m having a good time, and am certainly not regretting coming, but I’m not sure my former fantasy of living here for a year or two will withstand this trip.

By the way, I’m totally not able to keep up with your blogs. We just have dialup and apparently it’s quite expensive, so I write while offline then just go on and cut and paste. I’ll catch up when I’m home though I hope. For the same reason, I can't really edit my posts to add in the photos. Flickr just takes way too long to load. But just go check out my flickr page if you're interested.


Em said...

I see you're suffering from the heat & mozzies too ... 'tis the same here at the moment. It gets to the point where is is simply too hot to go outside and we stay inside in airconditioned comfort. J gets a dreadful reaction to mozzie bites and they often get infected. I have to put cream on the bites the minute I notice them or they swell up enormously... dreadful little creature (they like me too - but not Will or Alex).

penelopeto said...

Having a child certainly does add a new dimension to travelling, doesn't it? in my limited experience, it's because of exactly what you said - you now think of EVERYTHING in terms of how it affects your child. I'm sure that if it was just you and sugardaddy, the mosquitos would be a minor annoyance. but any chance that they are causing discomfort (or worse, though unlikely, illness) for your child magnifies it intensely.
but that pretty much sums up motherhood, doesn't it?

anyway, your trip still sounds thrilling, and your descriptions are fabulous. can't wait to read more.

Aliki2006 said...

Travelling with kid(s) always changes your persepctive on things--I found it that way, at least. I'm enjoying the descriptions!

When we were in Greece my husband got chewed up every night by some type of bug and the bites were hard and oozed pus after some time. I was never bothered by these bugs--some people seem to attract biting insects!

Mad Hatter said...

WTF? What is it with some smokers? Seriously.