Thursday, 31 December 2009

New Years Eve

The Tent from Christmas had been reformed for New Years Eve –into a Disneyland theme. Some of the attempts to ‘copy’ some of the characters were a little bit frightening, but the overall theme was ‘Close enough’ (I'm sure Walt Disney would have turned over in his grave..).

We reserved a table for all of us, up near the back of the the music wasn't blaring right in our ears from the stage. Each table had "party bags" with hats, blowers, balloons, sparklers and clickers.

The bags soon ended up as hats, and we ate and danced the night away!
A Can-Can with some of our favourite Chefs!
Ninja warriors...using the ties from the chairs...
Koala impersonations...
Happy 2010 from us!

Monday, 28 December 2009

Snorkelling with the kids.

Just off the resort were some great reef pinnacles, in about 3-5m of water. These were within easy reach of the pier, and when Phil wasn’t out diving, he would take the kids out for a snorkel on these reefs. The ones closest to the pier were dead, with a few fish inhabitants.

The ones further away had not been stepped on or treated as badly, and had heaps of live coral and fish stocks. The boys loved going out when it was calm, but when the wind blew in and it got a bit choppy, it was left to the dads and the bigger kids to snorkel by themselves.

The boys really enjoyed seeing the coral and fish. There were Moray Eels, lion fish, trumpetfish and lots of others that the boys were able to see just by snorkelling over the surface.

After about 20 minutes they were usually cold and a bit tired, and it was time to head back in. Our guess is that when they are about 14 or 15 they will join Phil on a scuba course, and then Nicole really will be a diving widow...

Sunday, 27 December 2009

Phil learns to dive

Being on the Red Sea, Phil decided it would be crazy to come all this way and not learn to dive. Given that the Ramsays love diving (with their eldest son, Stuart, a professional dive instructor), it was an easy choice! Phil studied all of the books before flying to Egypt, and enrolled in an open water course.

After time in the pool, Phil had 2 days (4 dives) out on the reefs in ‘school’. Here he learned all the basic skills and safety to allow him to dive. He passed the test with flying colors, and promptly enrolled in 3 extra days of diving.

The feeling of being 15-20m under the water, with unlimited visibility, and massive amounts of fish, coral and other sea life was amazing. Seeing the likes of Moray eels, Crocodile fish, more angel fish than you can count, Clown fish, seas snakes, trumpet fish, barracuda, lion fish, scorpion fish, tuna, wonderful coral gardens and pinnacles teeming with life and so much more was an amazing treat. Diving with the Ramsays Phil had a great time, and continued to learn.

As Stuart was an instructor, Phil also was able to do a wreck dive, a drift dive and some deeper diving that he wouldn’t have been able to do otherwise. All brilliant experiences.

Phil is now hooked, and has plans to dive in many other locations, such as the Great Barrier Reef, the Pacific, Maladives......and thinking about an underwater camera...

Saturday, 26 December 2009

The Dana Beach Resort

The resort where we stayed was ideal for families. We went on an all inclusive package, so it was easy for any of us to get a drink or snack when the mood struck. The resort was massive, with a big reception complex, 2 heated pools, a spa centre, 2other pools, a huge seawater lagoon, many restaurants and bars and a large beach area.

Once we had seen the lay of the land, the kids were given the freedom to roam and play as they wanted, as long as they stayed together.

The minigolf and the paddleboats on the lagoon were favourites, and they also spent a lot of time building and playing on the beach. All interspersed with crepes, ice-creams, plates of chips and soft drinks.

A perfect holiday for the kids! There were lots of sun lounges by the pools and the beach, and the hardest decision each day was where to base the families, beach or pool? The resort had a great Spa complex, a diving centre and lots of other activities if you chose to enjoy them, or just lie back on a sun lounge, read a book and sleep...

Our room faced onto the beach, and had enough room for us all.

When we felt too lazy to walk up to breakfast, a motorboat taxi ran the length of the lagoon, from the beach to the reception.

This made getting up and down the complex very easy (and was a great way to cruise around the complex to check in on the kids!)

Friday, 25 December 2009

Christmas Day

Santa found us at the Red Sea.....he brought new bathers, and snorkels!!!

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Christmas in Egypt

In December, we were trying to plan our Christmas holiday. Where to go? We had several ideas, but really hadn’t settled on any of them. Our good friends, the Ramsays, had organised 2 weeks in Egypt, at Hurghada on the Red Sea. This was not on our original list, but we were easily convinced. 2 weeks in the sun, on the beach, relaxing? Sounded great.

We boarded an early flight, and had a short stopover in Luxor. It turned out to be a long stopover – there were no landing slots in Hurghada, so we had to wait on the tarmac in Luxor for a few hours until one became free. Finally we made it, and we checked into the resort. It was Christmas Eve, and a large Christmas party was planned. Seemed like a great way to start our holiday! We booked a table, got ourselves settled in our rooms and made our way to the party tent – which was set up on tennis courts, as a massive marquee with the floor covered in oriental rugs, a massive dancefloor and stage and miles of buffet.
Interesting use of food colouring in all the desserts!

A tree made from strawberries

Sonia and Alan
James, Stuart and us

We had a brilliant night, partied until late, had a few beers and wines. The kids really enjoyed the show, the food, and the freedom to explore and be a bit independent.

Sunday, 20 December 2009

KaDeWe Decorations

Cameron and I stopped off at KaDeWe for a couple of things, and we wandered into the main hall to have a look at their Xmas trees. We had a Santa photo here a few years ago, and the Santa was so scary, the boys were put off KaDeWe forever!!!

If only we had 20 foot ceilings to have trees that would fill the room, and decorate them with all these fantastic decorations (Can you hear Phil groaning already??)

Saturday, 19 December 2009

Alexander's Theatre Club

Every Saturday morning we head off to Kruezberg to the English Theatre company where Alexander does a kids theatre club. This Saturday afternoon we went to watch the end of year performances where each of the kids did a monologue from a play.

Alexander had a monologue from a piece called "4 Square Blocks" by Michelle A. Hamilton. He was Gabe, a "down and out writer, and a kind of philosopher".

He did a terrific job! All the kids involved did a terrific job with their monologues. It was an enjoyable performance!

Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas Gingerbread...

School finished at 12 noon today, and Felix came over afterwards.

Time to make Gingerbread cookies. We had stars, trees, men and women, and amplemen. Amplemen are the old East German traffic light figures used on traffic lights. Cameron found these cookie cutters and really wanted to use them this year.

We made the dough, and it was supposed to sit in the fridge for 1 hour. In -12 degree tempreture, we put them outside on the window ledge, and the dough was ready in 10 minutes.

Decorating them was interesting...I have no idea what Felix's parents thought of them ones he took home! They had a lot of fun!