I woke up today, my thirtieth birthday, with a hangover from drinking too much Pinotage at a South African country estate near Pretoria. So I guess this is my life now.

It’s been kind of a whirlwind. I left DC on Wednesday afternoon and got into Johannesburg on Thursday evening.  Al was waiting for me at the airport with a bouquet of red roses (a romantic, that one!) and we embarked on our first South African adventure together: driving back to our apartment in a rental car, with no GPS, on the left side of the road.  Nothing like a few brushes with death to really make one feel at home in a new place, eh?

Our apartment is in an area called Craighall Park, which is home to a fancy mall and a fancy grocery store (Woolworths — go figure) but is also curiously abundant with sex shops.  We live directly across the street from a charming little place called Sextopia.

Our apartment complex, however, is gated off, leafy, and quiet.  When we entered the gates, there were four little kids playing with water guns in the driveway.  They all eyed us shyly and the oldest one asked us, very properly, how we were doing.  We were fine.

That first night, we ate dinner at a restaurant in the fancy mall.  I was immediately impressed with the food and the wine here, both of which are delicious and cheap.

My second day in South Africa, Al and I ran essential errands, which included buying a hair dryer, stocking up on wine, and getting a “wireless stick” for my computer, and then we packed into our rental car again to drive north to Kievits Kroon, a country estate where Al’s company was holding a retreat.  We had cocktails on the veranda of a manor house (built in the “Cape Dutch style,” I am told) looking out over lush green lawns. A cat purred around our ankles. It was lovely.

I spent the rest of last night stuffing myself with a variety of tasty local dishes, including ostrich medallions, and a *bit* too much Pinotage, which is the signature varietal of South Africa, so how could I not, right? When in Pretoria, I say.

Anyway.  Today I woke up thirty years old and with a red wine headache.  But you know? I feel pretty good about it.  I’m in Africa on a Grand Adventure with my husband.  Bring it, old age.  I’m ready for you.

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