Tuesday, 7 April 2015

An Epic Family Long Weekend in Jozi

This long weekend, Jozi WAHM and family decided to have a family fun weekend and explore what was on offer in Jozi. We decided to holiday in our own city and cram as much fun into the long-weekend as possible with a one-year old and four-year old in tow. Here are the highlights:

Friday:

The highlight for me was getting to sleep in late(ish), which never happens since Noodle and Squish are both early birds. Noodle slept over at granny's house and Squish had a bit of a rough night so he slept in the morning.

In the afternoon, after Friday prayers, a family bowling trip at the Zone, Rosebank was on the cards. I am not very good at bowling and have not been bowling in about seven years, but it was fun nevertheless (although I did spend much of the time running after Squish, who was determined to pick up bowling balls that are literally heavier than he is). Noodle loved the experience. They are able to modify the lanes to be quite kiddy friendly. Besides the child bumpers on the sides of the lanes, they have a contraption with an incline so that little ones with weak little arms can roll the balls with enough momentum to actually knock something. I appreciated the fact that the establishment did not force us to wear stinky bowling shoes. 

We also had a late lunch at Burger King. I was salivating at the Oreo pop-up shop directly across it but the idea of those long queues with two little ones was off putting.

The Zone, Rosebank
Saturday:

We decided we would spend a couple of hours at the Rand Show, another event we had not attended in several years. To our surprise, there was so much to keep us busy that we ended up spending the entire day.

We did a bit of shopping and were surprised to find quite a bit of free entertainment for the kids in the shopping halls- the Pirates Paradise (a big play area which had a variety of giant jumping castles and slides), putt putt, gingerbread making, lego's and even free popcorn and candyfloss. There were booths for kids to watch their favourite cartoons but I was relieved that this was not even requested by my kids. 

There were also fun learning experiences. The science hall had plenty of interesting things for kids to try and Noodle enjoyed the Sci-bono displays. Another hall had little roads for kids to learn road safety and also displays of police cars, ambulances etc, which Noodle found fascinating.
Top: An electric experiment | Bottom: Noodle successfully builds the tangram puzzle

The favourite for Squish was the animal farm and he enjoyed interacting with the animals and even a dog show. No surprise, the amusement park rides were also a big hit for both kids. 

By far the biggest highlight of the day was that Noodle and I went on a helicopter ride, which is something Noodle always said she would love to do one day (and something I had never tried before either). We promised her that we would take her if she walked through all the halls and she kept her end of the deal. I was worried that she might be frightened but she LOVED every second of it. The ride was very short but we had fantastic views over the south of Johannesburg. Okay, some of it is just mine dumps but the view of the FNB Stadium with the Johannesburg city centre as its backdrop was spectacular. 

Helicopter ride over Jozi at the Rand Show
Sunday:

On Sunday, A's family came over for lunch. Luckily, my sister-in-law, who is a great cook, offered to make the main course of chicken biryani, served with the traditional accompaniments of dahi  (a spicy sour milk sauce), papar (a spicy crisp) and achaar (spicy pickles). I did salads and desserts (cheesecake and chocolate mousse). I will post the recipe of my strawberry cheesecake, which always ends up being gobbled separately.

We do not celebrate Easter, being Muslim, but I must confess that we love scoffing down the easter eggs (any excuse for chocolate is good in my books).

In the evening we had family movie night at home (a tradition we do at least monthly) with a family friendly movie, lights dimmed and popcorn. It is rare that we find a movie that the kids like and that we can tolerate, but the evening's choice of Disney's 'Alexander and the Terrible, Horrible, No Good, Very Bad Day' fit the bill.

Monday:

The highlight of the day was a trip to the Sultan Bahu Fete, an annual event which is held every Easter weekend in Mayfair, Central Johannesburg as a fundraiser for Sultan Bahu's various social outreach projects (which include a children's home, a dialysis centre, feeding schemes, drug rehabilitation etc.)

It is pretty much like a smaller, Indian version of the Rand show (sans the hefty entrance fee), with lots and lots of bargain shopping and an amusement park (which is almost as big as the Rand Show one). Despite having large grounds, the turnout was massive this year, so it did get extremely crowded, which made it difficult to see all that was on offer at the flea market. After some shopping, Noodle went on even more amusement park rides (like she did not get her fill on Saturday). After some snacks, it was time to call it a day.