Friday, May 30, 2014

Ellie's Trip to South Africa - Leaving on a (Few) Jet Planes

The night before Ellie, Kohlton and Mark left for South Africa, we met up at the Bass Pro Shop for a nice, relaxed meal.
After dinner they headed off to the Hampton Inn Suites near the Denver International Airport. Mark likes to start off the trip in a relaxed, excited fashion. I was a little weepy thinking about how much I would miss our girl. And, it was a bit scary sending her off on her first international trip with someone else, though we knew she would be safe because Mark treats her like she was his daughter.
One of the advantages of staying at the hotels by the airport is that they allow you to park your vehicle in their covered parking garage for $3 a night, much cheaper than the long term parking by the airport. At the hotel the kids had a good time swimming.

The next morning they were off early and on their was to Washington, D.C. where they would meet up with the other people on their tour. They were able to board the South African Airlines airbus early, but then had a two hour rain delay. Once in the air, they were comfortable and the food was good. Plus, they could watch as many movies as they wanted to.
The flight is a long one, with a layover in Dakar for refueling. It was about 11 p.m. or midnight our time, so the kids slept through it. Ellie and Kohlton seemed to naturally work out a sleeping schedule where one would try to watch a movie while the other one cuddled up and slept. This way they both got rest. I doubt that they others can say the same since planes are crowded when you are tall.
When they were in Dakar, Senegal, Ellie woke up enough to see the 160 foot tall "Monument of the African Renaissance" which was pretty impressive.
They stayed that first night in South Africa at the Afton Guest House in Johannesberg, just a short distance from the Tambo International Airport.
The people were nice, but they did not speak much English. They had a small gift shop where they used handwritten receipts. Ellie loved the mask, but they were too large to take with them or to shop. She settle for smaller gift like jewelry. She also wanted to send a few post cards, but they were locked in a glass cabinet, so she only had time to send one post card to little Issac from school. She thought that would be a thrill for him. The pool looked inviting, but it is the fall in South Africa and so it was too cold to take a dip.
The next morning they took another plane for East London.

Next, they drove to the Wild Schutzberg Game Reserve and then on to Hunter's Hill.

Ellie made dinner again tonight and it was wonderful. She made Chicken Broccoli Shells and grilled corn on the cob.

Chicken Broccoli Shells
via: Taste of Home

1 jar (16 ounces) Alfredo sauce
2 cups frozen chopped broccoli, thawed
2 cups diced cooked chicken
1 cup (4 ounces) shredded cheddar cheese
1/4 cup shredded Parmesan cheese
21 jumbo pasta shells, cooked and drained

In a large bowl, combine the Alfredo sauce, broccoli, chicken and cheeses.
Spoon into pasta shells. Place in a greased 13-in. x 9-in. baking dish.
Cover and bake at 350° for 30-35 minutes or until heated through.

This cheesy entree can be assembled ahead of time and popped in the oven when company arrives.

Grilled Corn on the Cob

Ear of Corn with Husks attached 2 per person

Preheat the grill on high at least 10 minutes before placing the corn on the grill.
In the meantime, gently pull back the husk, run cold water over the ear of corn and the corn silks. Then pull the corn silks off. Throw those aside.(Some people opt to put flavored butter on the corn before pulling the husks back up. Gently pull the husks back up to cover the corn. Then soak them in water for at least 15 minutes. This will keep the corn husks from catching on fire and it will make it so that the corn steams while cooking, instead of drying out.

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