Dubai in 24 hours

For the final part of our journey we decided to extend our layover in Dubai to about 24 hours as an excuse to hang out with Amanda’s family friend and business partner Bijoy and his sister Bianca.  We realized we have a lot to learn from Bijoy’s family when it comes to hospitality – they were the most generous and gracious hosts we could have ever imagined.  From putting us up in “the world’s most luxurious hotel in the world,” the Burj Al Arab, to personally taking us to all the top spots around town, it was an experience like no other for us.  It was sort of the cherry on top of an incredible journey that we have been on together for the past six months.  Thank you Bijoy and Bianca, and thank you to all of our faithful followers who have been on this journey with us through our blog.

On the beach with the Burj Al Arab in the background

In front of the Burj Al Arab

Looking up from the lobby at the Burj Al Arab

Looking across from our room inside the hotel

Our hotel room

Our hotel room continued

Still our hotel room

Yup, still our hotel room

And again, our hotel room

The bathroom

Another part of our hotel room

You get the idea

A tour around the surrounding hotels

The water park across from the  Burj Al Arab

Bijoy picking us up at our hotel

The Atlantis Hotel

Lunch at the Atlantis Hotel

The aquarium at the Atlantis

The Mall of the Emirates

Skiing at the Mall of the Emirates

Drinking hot chocolate halfway down the ski slope

In front of the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

In front of AT.MOSPHERE, the tallest restaurant in the world

Spotted – 2007 Joseph Phelps Insignia!

Enjoying drinks and dinner at AT.MOSPHERE on the 122nd floor

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Phelps Family comes to Africa

We were so honored and blessed to have Will’s family come all the way from California to visit us in South Africa.  We started our trip with a checklist of about a hundred things we wanted to see and do in and around Cape Town, and after nine days of very fortunate weather and everyone’s enthusiasm we accomplished just about all of it.  Then we all flew to Rwanda to visit the mountain gorillas, one of Will’s mom’s lifelong dreams – we did it in honor of her 60th birthday (HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MOM!).  Our time with them in South Africa and Rwanda were truly unforgettable, and below we have posted some of our favorite moments.  Next up, the grand finale of our journey – Dubai!


Lunch at The Waterfront (with Table Mountain in the background)
An incredible tasting menu experience at Greenhouse Restaurant in Constantia
Looking for the whales in Hermanus
Feeding the Zebra at Paul Cluver
Will tasting with his dad and winemaker Andries Burger at Paul Cluver
Allie with her favorite little girl at Nomzamo safe house in the Langa township in Cape Town

The view front our hike halfway up Table Mountain
Lunch at Delaire Graff in Stellenbosch on father’s day
Greeted by baboons at Cape Point
The tip of Cape Point
Overnight game drive at Aquila Private Game Reserve



We took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain

Celebrating Will’s 26th birthday with a bottle of 2002 Insignia


Shopping for African loot at Green Market Square in Cape Town
Visiting Bridges of Hope with Will’s familySome local Rwandan kids we met on our walk into the jungle
This guy led the way as we tracked mountain gorillas in the jungle









Endless potato fields at the base of the mountain







Baby mountain sheep!
A tribal dance at the Mountain Gorilla View Lodge
The friendly local kids right outside our lodge saying hello

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On the road again

Last week it was time for us to head back to Cape Town to meet up with Will’s family, so we left a few days early to stop at some fun spots along the way.  The first two nights we stayed in Oudtshoorn, the ostrich capital of South Africa.  The highlight was getting dropped off at the top of Swartberg Mountain (where there was snow and it was about 35 degrees!) and riding bikes 33 miles back to our backpackers hostel, stopping at the Kango Caves and an ostrich farm.  We were really blown away by the beauty of this part of South Africa – it looked and felt like we were in the middle of the Swiss Alps!  Then on our third night we drove to Cape Agulhas, the southernmost tip of South Africa and the spot where the Indian and Atlantic oceans meet.  As you would expect it was stormy and the coast was very rugged. Then we drove back to Cape Town and ate at Cape Town’s only truly Mexican restaurant, El Burro.  It was our first Mexican food in six months, and man was it good.

Waving goodbye to the Seventh Heaven crew
Rust en Vrede Waterfall outside of Oudtshoorn




The top of Swartberg Mountain


Will, deep in thought
The Kango Caves – check out tiny Will in the foreground!


The ostrich farm in Oudtshoorn


Fish and chips at Cape Agulhas

The lighthouse at Cape Agulhas



Where the two oceans meet

Back in Cape Town
El Burro Mexican Restaurant

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J Bay – it’s been swell

Scrabble on the beachWill surfing with Red for the first time at Point

Stir fry at Red and Vanessa’s houseSunrise yoga at our place

Cinco de mayo party at our place
Playing “Catch Phrase”
The view from our deck – check out those lines
Lunch on our deck
Amanda found all of these on the beach
Movies and KFC with the kids at the 7th Heaven safe house

A visit to Seaview Game and Lion Park outside of Port Elizabeth


Who knew you could pet tigers in Africa?


Formal dress-up braai at Brad and Vickie’s house


These were the nicest clothes that the interns had
Brad’s birthday party with a “The ship went down and you were…” theme



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One year anniversary – Cape St. Francis

This past weekend was our one year anniversary and we decided to celebrate by going on a little adventure to Cape St. Francis, about 45 minutes from Jeffrey’s Bay. We were blown away by how charming this little town was – almost all of the buildings are built with traditional Cape Dutch architecture, and a lot of them are situated along a picturesque canal that runs through the town. From staying at a quaint B&B right on the water overlooking the surf break that they surf in The Endless Summer, to massages and a full day at the spa, to hiking four hours to Shark Point, to two great dinners with champagne, we couldn’t have asked for a better way to celebrate one amazing year of being Mr. and Mrs. Phelps!

 

 

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The Wild Coast

Last week we took a week off with Red and the Christian Surfers interns to visit Coffee Bay in Transkei. It’s about a twelve hour drive through the “Wild Coast” from Jeffrey’s Bay. This part of South Africa is regarded as “real Africa” compared to the other parts we have visited so far – people still live in tiny villages run by chiefs and they mostly make a living by fishing or farming. The water was about 78 degrees, so even Amanda caught a few waves despite multiple rumors that it was very sharky! From surfing and doing art with the local kids to hiking to “Hole in the Wall,” we had an incredible time in this wild place.

*to watch video footage you must visit the blog itself

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RESURFACE in Africa

Last weekend Aleph hosted a gallery show in Cape Town called Milk and Honey. Red and Vanessa knew about my background with RESURFACE, so they asked me to create a board for the event.

*to watch video footage you must visit the blog itself

Searching for shells, feathers, stones and coral for inspiration for the surfboard

The boys back in the classroom drawing what they found

Thanks, Red for the canvas!

I printed a photo of a wave in J Bay onto pages ripped out of an old Afrikaans book

Painting shells the boys found on the same book pages

Will and Vanessa packing the board for the gallery show in Cape Town

Milk and Honey Creative Showcase 2012, Bree Street Studios, Cape Town

Photos of the boys beach combing

Totes and backpacks made by women in the township in J Bay

Live theater

Red and Vanessa spreading the word about Aleph Surf Foundation

Aleph promo video

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