It's official - a change is as good as a holiday. 5 days at the beach, however, is the best sort of holiday to have (except for maybe 6 or 7 or 8 days at the beach)! After all my sleepless nights, early mornings, weekends of general antisocial-ness and seriously hard work, I got my weekend away at Warner Beach, and it was undoubtedly worth it!
The week leading up to leaving was pretty frantic, and I didn't get to pack until about an hour before we left on the Wednesday! This was mostly because of a small problem that I encountered in the Wits postgraduate parking area as I was trying to leave campus at 10:15 on Wednesday morning: due to the ICC Champions' Trophy cricket tournament, the Wits cricket field was being used as a practice ground by the Indian cricket team, and I got parked in by the team bus! And the driver had disappeared, the Wits parking guards were unable to leave their post (because it takes 2 people to stand and swipe people in - yeah right!) and the team manager was nowhere in sight! I eventually got some police officers to help me, and the bus driver was found and the bus was moved pulled. It was pretty funny - I might even have laughed, if I hadn't been in a huge hurry!
Sarah, Garrith and I eventually left Johannesburg at 13:00, and I spent most of the trip updating Sarah on the madness that is my life, helping a tutling with his essay via sms and comparing weather reports with the Potential. I also managed to do a fair amount of my course reading before it got dark and cloudy. By the time we got to Pietermaritzburg, it was raining and foggy, which made visibility problematic, and we got rather soaked running from the car to the mall where we stopped to have supper (white t-shirt = bad choice). We arrived at Warner Beach at about 21:00, and sat and listened to the ocean that we couldn't see (thanks to the rain and the fact that it was dark) for a while. I woke up at 5:30 the next morning (and every single morning for the rest of the weekend, in fact. The joys of my body clock!), and did some reading. Once everyone else was awake, we went exploring, and took a very long walk on the beach. It was cloudy, but warm, and there was just something lovely about walking on beach sand and having the waves lap at my feet every so often. Once we got back, we went shopping, and after lunch, I wrote one of my mini-essays, and went for another walk on the beach.
Friday was pretty miserable weather-wise, since it was very cloudy and drizzling slightly, so Sarah, Garrith and I did what all Jo'burger's do at the coast in such situations - we went to Gateway. This was an excellent way to kill time - we wandered around for ages and then had lunch. We also did a fair amount of wandering around in an effort to find the car afterwards - Gateway is enormous and terribly confusing, despite the fact that we had a map (this should be an indication of how many people do get lost there - how many malls actually give you maps?!?). We fetched Graham from the airport at about 19:00, and spent the rest of the evening catching up and watching DVD's, and fighting about vegetarian food.
We finally got to swim in the sea on Saturday - it was nice and warm, and not particularly windy, and I didn't get dumped by any waves or injured, which is pretty miraculous for me! We went swimming on Sunday too, but is was incredibly windy - to the point that we were about the only people on the beach! In between all of this, we played poker (I won!) and Risk (I got annihilated) and watched some more DVD's, and I had a huge fight with my data, finished my course reading and completed the final mini-essay. We also went for a couple more walks on the beach and I took lots of photos, especially of the beach at dusk.
We all got along really well, which was nice (especially by comparison to my last beach holiday, where at least 2 parties weren't speaking by the time we drove home). I do, however, have my suspicions as to whether some matchmaking was going on, because Graham and Sarah seemed to leave Garrith and I alone on the beach an awful lot (and we kind of assumed that they were doing the "romantic walk on the beach" thing, so we wandered along and took photos). This isn't really making the situation with the Potential any less complicated, and I'm rather confused about things at the moment, and will probably be writing somewhat cryptic and dramatic blog posts in the near future. What will be will be, I guess (although if it could be simple and lacking in drama, that would be really nice)!
In any case, we drove back on Monday, in more nasty weather, and I'm now back home, experiencing beach withdrawal and enjoying my slight tan (just dark enough to make me look less pale, but not dark enough to arouse suspicion from the psych department, who probably wouldn't endorse my mini-holiday). The really good news is that I have received a 2 week extension from the department for my research report, which means that it is now due on the 30th of October. I am so relieved. And I now merely need to finish my neuropsychology essay and all my hand-ins will be complete! Win!