From the sunshine at the Stadium to a storm during our Shark Dive

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Africa » South Africa » KwaZulu-Natal » Durban
October 28th 2010
Published: November 16th 2010
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I made Ellie and I a big fruit salad with yogurt for our breakfast then we had a lazy morning reading our books and getting ready. While the girls were at school, little Lily was clomping round the house in her wellies, dragging her rabbit under her arm and getting under the maids feet.
We left the house at 10.30 and bought tickets for the Durban football stadium tour (where lots of the World Cup 2010 games were held). The guide told us lots of facts about the stadium including how many seats it has (up to 80,000), how much it cost to build (1.8Billion Rand) and how many jobs building it created (13,000). He also explained that the reason the seats were a random mix of colours is so that they won’t look empty to TV viewers if the seats aren’t filled.

After the tour we read our books for a while in a “Japanese Garden” public park. It was glorious sunshine but by the time we got to Bangkok Wok to meet Laura for lunch it had started to rain.
Then the storm came.

Fortunately for us we made it just in time but we saw shoppers and business men running through the streets to get back to their cars or offices. It was mayhem.
The food was really great and Ellie's Mam rang her mobile and we got the message that she’d had dinner with Prince Charles this week! After our yummy Thai food, Ellie and I headed off for a Shark dive at USharka, a water park and aquarium in the city.

We worked our Zeli magic and managed to get the dive for only 100rand each (£10) instead of 200 (!) and also saved money by doing it in our bikini’s instead of hiring wetsuits. We weren’t nervous at all until we overheard a man asking for a refund as the weather was too hectic. Then we were truly freaking out.

We put on our goggles then climbed up a ladder and into a Perspex box in an enormous Shark tank. The pair of us paddled water for 30 seconds before we were brave enough to duck under and take a look. It was incredible to see the huge sharks swimming right past us. They came in all sorts of shapes and sizes and in my opinion were a bit ugly looking…. OK, they were hideous!
We didn’t have breathing apparatus so had to keep bobbing up for air and unfortunately for me, my horrible cold really had an effect on how long I could hold my breath for. But we spent loads of time under water and had a few under water hugs at the excitement from it all.

Afterwards we were buzzing and some boys had crowded round to talk to us when we got out, but the last thing you want is to be seen with tangled hair and mascara streaking down your face so we dodged them and ran to the changing rooms. We couldn’t find the showers and thought the people at the desk had tried to make us go in the boys’ loo, but the showers were actually outside attached to a bamboo fence so we had a good laugh at that. We snuck in to the Aquarium which we hadn’t paid for but no one would know and had a look at some of the cool eels and fish disguised as rocks.

We had a skinny latte and shared a blueberry muffin to warm us up and the sun came out yet again - its such strange weather! Ellie commented on how much fruit and veg we’d managed to eat today and included the blueberry muffin in her list of our “five a day”. I didn’t burst her bubble though.

As we drove past shops and restaurants, I realised that in a few days I’ll be starting my new life in Oz and will have to find all new favourite places… like the best Chinese restaurant for Sunday nights in, and a new hairdressers to go to. How exciting!!
At home we had hot showers to wash the dirty shark water off, then climbed in to clean (and ironed) pyjamas to have a nice night in with her family. I don’t iron a thing but Veronica (their maid) irons everything here which is lovely. I don’t think my Mam or Grandma will have ever ironed my pyjamas when I was little so it was a bit of a novelty and I liked it.

Laura made a killer Thai red curry. She soaked her chicken in salt water for a few hours which made it wonderfully soft. It was gorgeous. (Laura - I hope that wasn’t a secret that you didn’t want getting out??! I’m really sorry if it was). We sat around the kitchen table and talked for a few hours. Ross was telling me that 1 in 3 black South African people have AIDS and all the time they sadly hear of people they know dying from the disease. He also educated me about the South African Government and all the awful things that go on over here but I’m guessing I can’t really publish it on the internet.
One of my favourite things about travelling is learning about new cultures and seeing how different people live. It makes me incredibly grateful for what I have (meaning friends, family, education etc. not money or clothes) and for the secure environment that I was fortunate enough to be brought up in.

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