Summer is coming to an end...

Before leaving for Carmel, Adriana, Pia, Olivia and John celebrated Penny’s 75th birthday together with Adrian  - and Penny, of course - at John Bentley in Menlo Park. It continues to be one of our favorite places to go to dinner.

Danish Fun in Hawaii

Whether it was exhaustion or old age remains unknown, but the keys to the apartment were left in his pockets when he went in the ocean with a bodyboard and was (of course) nowhere to be found once they returned to the apartment at 9 in the evening.

Never a Dull Moment...

AAA is also where we have an auto insurance policy and the bill, for now, four cars - with two young drivers - is something we don’t care to think about a whole lot. 

Singita - Place of Miracles

Our trip has been fantastic, and it’s always with a combination of happiness and sadness that we leave Africa. We are very lucky to have seen such extraordinary places and that we as a family can travel so well together. 

Last night in Africa

The morning drive on July 5 gave sight to a beautiful rhino. We have found such respect for this animal over the years, and feel incredibly sad that to this day it is being hunted for its horn. On average 1.5 rhinos are killed a day, and it’s a constant game of cat and mouse to try to secure them from poachers.

In Search of the White Lion

The morning drive included a walk on the river bank from where we watched both crocodiles and hippo. Later, we were lucky to stumble across three very well-fed lions and got some great pictures as they started to slowly move across the yellow grass.

From Zimbabwe to South Africa via Zambia

David, Olivia, and John decided to leave the packing until later and left at 6:15 a.m. to see the Zimbabwean sunrise one last time. Few things compare to seeing that big African orange sun come over a hill ridge bringing a clean slate and a promise of a great day.

Last Night in Zimbabwe - for Now...

With the fairly sparse number of sightings we had the previous mornings, it was time for a different approach. Thinking was that the cold winter temperatures made the animals sleep in, so a later start should - in theory at least - let us see more game. 

Breathtaking Victoria Falls

The Victoria Falls were breathtaking and the 16 viewpoints each offered different views that all brought “ooohs” and “aaahs”. We also got a close-up view of the bridge between Zambia and Zimbabwe from where Jilly would later let a bungee cord prevent her from falling head-first into the Zambezi river. 

Game Drives in Zimbabwe

Hoping to see a bit more game in the morning, one vehicle set out for the southern part of the AndBeyond concession. No joy - the animals hid well and the favorite sighting ending up being that of a baby zebra and having morning coffee on a hill overlook the area that previously were the grounds of the AndBeyond lodge. 

Johnnie Cake

The afternoon drive was better than the morning drive. The late sun and slightly cooler afternoon temperatures seemed to energize the game. Zebra, American wild cat, warthog and even a leopard was added to the list of game we were lucky to see. 

From Namibia to Zimbabwe

Once at the airstrip we waited for the third plane - a smaller Cessna 210 - that had been delayed taking off from Windhoek. John and Nick sardined themselves into the Cessna.

A Night Sky Like No Other

The winds were blistering cold and two of the three vehicles got stuck in sand storms on the way back. One car, therefore, came back much earlier, and John, Nick, David, and Isabella left to race ATVs in the sand dunes.

Visiting Deadvlei

Only David, Pia and Jilly ventured towards the 1,000’ Big Daddy while the rest chose the somewhat easier option. It was a very good hike up before - with a bit of hesitation - one could run downhill. A few elected to roll downhill. One of those that initially seemed like a good idea. 

Seeing the Coastline From a Sidecar

esterday started with the arrival of 18 motorcycles with sidecars - one for each as Penny and Adrian decided to follow behind us in one of two buses picking the wanna-be motorcycle riders up at Kirstenbosch Gardens. It was quite something to seem them all arrive at the hotel. 

Zip-lining and Cheese

Dinner was enjoyed at Gibson Burgers. Lively, hopping, loud and fairly expensive but the casual meal hit the spot and the walk back to the hotel made sure at least some of the calories stayed behind in Cape Town.

Enjoying Cape Town at a Leisurely Pace

The afternoon was spent casually exploring the waterfront while some went to the spa. At 7:00 we all went for dinner at the Old Biscuit Mill. Delicious pizza and full glasses that brought about  some good stories from Penny and Adrian’s early days in London.

City Tour of Dubai

Instead, we opted for a view of the iconic Burj al Arab hotel from the Jumeirah public beach., located to the right of the hotel. Not quite as good a view, but we got to dip our feet in the water and capture a couple of snapshots with the hotel in the background. 

My year with JetSmarter

I am grateful for having had that opportunity, and although all the coast-to-coast JS flights I’ve been on were all Gulfstream IV-SP, I’ve flown other types of jets over the last 12 months. I don’t know when such an opportunity will come along again...