It's amazing how fast the time is swishing by!
Last week I took the plunge and bought my ticket to South Africa. I have been watching airfares on google flights and they had dropped so I grabbed it. First I fly to Burbank for a few days with Ryan, then on November 20, fly out of LAX to Johannesburg via Heathrow, on Virgin Atlantic. It's a 30 hour trek and then a short hop to either Durban on Pietermaritzburg, depending on where Mick can pick me up.
And that is just the start of the next big adventure. The planning is coming together, bit by bit and with the distillery visits to include, it is going to be a busy time. Roughly, very roughly! these are the plans, subject to major change, of course.
On arrival, it will be recover from jet lag for a few days, rent a tiny car, then I want to go to a couple of distilleries in Zululand that make rum! Pure, Natal sugar cane into something delectable. Zoze arrives from New Zealand at the end of the month and we are hoping to go to Umzumbe, a beach with hundreds of memories for both of us. We will stay at Jenny B's (Zoze's school friend) beach house for a few days. I am hoping to plan some time with Rosemary, my dearest school friend and mother of my god daughter at the cottage at Clansthal beach.
Then comes the trip down to the Cape, where we will stay part of the time with Biff and Julie at their new home in Villiersdorp, and some of the time at a self-catering cottage right near them. From here, I want to visit as many distilleries as I can, and as we will be almost in the wine country, there are numerous ones, with brandy being at the forefront. Then, at some point after January 6, I want to take the Light Blue Train from Cape Town to Jo'burg, where I am going to do a basic distilling course and visit more distilleries!
Then it's back to Maritzburg, more distilleries, more visiting and then I am scheduled to leave at the end of February, when I fly back to Los Angeles before heading to Belize, which is a completely different adventure!
If you are wondering about all the distillery action, I am working with the American Distilling Institute, doing some writing for them. And while in South Africa, getting assistance and introductions to the South African craft distillery scene through Hendre Barnard of Distillique, who heads up the new South African Craft Distilling Institute. This is a steep learning curve for me, but a lot of fun! I've really not been much of a "hard liquor" drinker, except for gin! But I am discovering a whole new world out there. Once you get away from the mass produced products, the craft spirits open up brand new tastes, flavors and aromas and I'm finding that spirits I never liked or didn't even try, are amazing! And each distillery has it's own unique flavor. So you can just imagine how much fun it is!
And of course, the visual delights in the facilities - huge, shiny copper stills, enormous stainless vats, rows and rows of aging barrels, bottles filled with all colors of liquids! Every distillery seems to try to outdo the others with creative names for their spirits and labels, some of which are just gorgeous.
So there it is, my rough plan.
In the meantime, I have three articles to write; find a perfect home for Hinckley and Buddy; take care of this house in some way; sell my car; sell or donate everything in the house and reduce my belongings down to one suitcase.
Wish me luck!