Thoroughly enjoying springtime in Johannesburg. Brimming with gratitude for all that this gorgeous and abundant city has to offer. (Groceries, cafes, pain au chocolat (!!!), thriving art and design scene, milkshakes, movies, textiles, inspiration everywhere…) Totally grateful that my guy is here with me now too. This weather is idyllic, low 70s during the day, 40s in the eve. Very little humidity, my hair has never behaved so well. We are forever delighted to be greeted with such genuine smiles. This may be one of the friendliest places I’ve ever been. Chatting with the clerk at the pharmacy last week, she beamed with pride when I told her how much I’ve been enjoying myself here. “Ah, yeahzz, momma, tis a beautiful country”. How is it that a stranger can call me “momma” and it sounds so endearing?
Speaking of which, due date is the day after tomorrow, Friday the 12th. Although I had convinced myself around 3am that there was some regularity with what I perceived to be contractions, after switching positions they went away. I still feel great, if a little impatient. I’m mobile, not swollen or achy. Planning a milkshake and movies date night (again!) tonight.
Snakes had the day off at the consulate yesterday thanks to National Women’s Day, so we decided to take a little day trip. We loaded into our Spark Lite rental car (which has a smaller engine than his bike…) and headed out into the foothills just north of the city. It was just over an hour drive to reach our destination: The Ann Van Dyke Cheetah Sanctuary. It was a gorgeous afternoon of what I think can best be described as “Safari Lite for the Very timid or Very pregnant”.
One of the highlights was getting to pet this cheetah who had the most resonant and soul-stirring purrrrr I have ever heard, a borderline growl. Such incredible creatures! After a brief intro and photo-op with the sanctuary’s star we all climbed onto big open air trucks and bumped along through the grounds. Most animals were behind fencing: endangered brown hyenas, rescued vultures. Oh, how I loved the vultures! I have a whole new respect for these guys and the good work they do, removing disease from carcasses across the continent before other scavenging mammals can become infected. AND they mate for life! Who knew that vultures were such hard-working romantics?
As we ambled our way through the park, we were greeted by wild dogs, antelope, ostriches and more cheetahs, all of whom were free to come right up to the trucks. Sitting in the back corner, I was unaware of my proximity to the raw meat filled feeding cabinet. This didn’t pose much anxiety until the end of the tour when the cheetahs were prowling around and sniffing out dinner. I’d be lying to say that I wasn’t concerned with my preggie hormones and smells which I suspect delighted (?) these hungry cats. Luckily they were sated with their massive chunks of lean meat donated by the local zoo.
On our drive home we started tentatively planning what we’ll do this weekend. Bush babies, lions, elephants, maybe stick closer with a tour of Soweto or a trip to the botanical gardens. (There is SO MUCH to do and explore here!) It’s such a strange time. We are so eagerly anticipating our girl and know we need to keep active to spur her arrival. More spicy food, bouncy drives, long walks, “early bedtimes”, purring cheetahs….what else, mommas?? We’re growing impatient to meet our little lady!