I swear I am going to spend next December in Joburg – it seems to be the only spot in SA with reliable summer weather. I tried Stellenbosch and Cape Town in early December and was treated to gale-force winds and an honestly average amount of sun. Then I tried Keurbooms, Plett and Knysna in mid-December and there was record rainfall not seen in the last two drought-ridden years. Now we’re in Umhlanga where I was preparing to be panting like a little poodle in the heat – except we haven’t seen the sun for three days straight. I have just given up my poolside possie, realising that one can’t really tan when it’s drizzling. I swear, if Joburg were naturally beautiful and had a beach, it would be so invaded by rich foreigners, none of us Saffers would be able to afford property there. We just have to get our head around holidaying in The Big Smoke – best tanning opportunities in the country, no doubt.
As a result of this kak weather, my usual holiday ritual of breakfast-pool-cocktails-pool-lunch-pool-cocktails-pool-dinner, has been rudely interrupted. (Okay, virgin cocktails this time, owing to being knocked up and all). And, as a result of Umhlanga resembling downtown Jozi in rush-hour, The Husband’s usual holiday ritual of cycling-cycling-cycling, has been derailed. So we have invented a new holiday ritual, namely the Spousal Tennis Championships. But this is not just any tournament. It’s a tournament involving a seven month pregnant yours-truly and her viciously competitive husband. The game works like this. The Husband tells me, “Honey, you mustn’t run for the ball”. Sounds sweet, right? But then he finds himself in a tight spot and he goes in for an impossibly short, drop shot. This little challenge has two possible effects: it either makes me stop dead in my tracks to give him a death stare, or it makes me sprint (okay, waddle, quite quickly) for the ball. If it’s the latter, The Husband has the audacity to shout “Don’t run!” To which I respond, “Don’t drop shot me!” To which he has no response. He knows that I know that he just can’t face the prospect of losing a game to his heavily pregnant wife.
And so the spousal tennis champs go… The usual, relaxing stuff that couple vacations are made of.
Tennis champs aside, though, I have learned that The Husband and I have a very different view of how to spend our holidays. I like to pick one form of exercise and then I like to get it over with as quickly as possible – preferably not more than 60 hellish minutes. Thereafter, I feel absolutely justified being a pool-side sloth for the rest of the day. Pool-side slothing activities include reading, napping and eating, with the occasional pool dip here and there but only if the temperature is just right and that there are no kids in sight who might wet my hair.
The Husband, on the other hand, thrives on a strict regime of at least three sports a day. Today’s tennis in super humid conditions, left him wondering whether he’d really had a cardio work-out, just because he sweated up a storm? Anyway, he wasn’t convinced so he decided he’d just make sure by heading to the hotel gym for a bit of aerobic exercise. By mid-afternoon it was time for his standing 3pm personal training session at the gym up the road. Upon his return, he woke me from me poolside slumber because he wanted to know where the swimming goggles were so he could do laps in the pool. And he still wants to sign up for surfing lessons…
The long and short of it is that we either spend holiday time together trying to annihilate one another on the tennis court or we hook up at meal times. (When all else fails, there’s always the food bond). There has however, been one exception when I managed to chain him to a deck chair with his book. That was when he decided to expend his excess energy by passionately explaining to me what he’d just read about the Riemann Hypothesis – all part of his holiday reading on “the greatest unsolved problem in Mathematics”. My gut reaction was to try and distract him and what better way to do so than to go: “Race you to the other side of the pool, baby!” He was almost at the other end before he realised that I hadn’t actually entered the pool. However, he had forgotten about the hypotheseis by then and had moved on to testing how far he could swim underwater.
I’m just hoping this boundless energy is here when there’s a kid diving off his shoulders, another one pulling down his swimming costume underwater and when Mommy is decidedly indisposed on her deck chair, reclining with her book in her one hand and her caipirinha in the other.