FIVE FESTIVE WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

Getting there …
I’m not sure if one is still allowed to call them that, but the 2nd of January used to feature what was locally known as the Coon Carnival (Kaapse Klopse) – I believe it has been changed to the Cape Carnival. They sing a song called : Cape Town’s the Place For Me! Right now, it’s true for me … but who knows for how long! I was so hoping to see the carnival but it was postponed twice and then it finally happened on the day I flew back to Cyprus!

I touched down at Cape Town International Airport on the 13th of December and I feel as if I haven’t touched down since! Wow! What a fantastic experience!!

20141214_193236 This was the sight that greeted me on arrival – Table Mountain with its tablecloth on.

The thing is that I have never really come to know the Cape and Cape Town itself. I lived on the Highveld and Durban used to be our chill-out place. Cape Town was always so faaaar away! This time I’m getting to know a part of my motherland I have not previously known except for brief visits on business. I have learned things I have never known – they were not covered in the history books I was forced to study at school … I have seen things I never knew existed! The most important aspect, I think, is that here in Cape Town I feel safer than in the Johannesburg area. Of course you have to be vigilant, but here one can walk without looking over your shoulder constantly. There is a different FEEL to the local people – it’s more trusting and everyone is always ready with a smile.

20140424_120952 This is a street market in St. George’s Mall once a week – the food is outrageously gorgeous!

I am grateful to have been granted this opportunity of ‘learning’ my country of origin once again. The fact that shops stay open till all hours is like manna from heaven! And, here where I’m staying in Adderley Street, everything is in walking distance.

Cape Town has become a hub for filmmakers and often you would see streets closed off with batteries of generators and cameras with lots of people scurrying around. The locale lends itself to easy conversions of global settings. We have been walk-by extras in two scenes already!

The other thing that I am enormously grateful for is that I am getting to know my grandson better. This young fella has suddenly become a grown-up. Yesterday he made the discovery of ‘detachment’ – that ‘letting-go’ thing with which so many people have problems. It was wonderful to watch as he gave himself a lecture on how it was done, with the truth revealing itself. He just loved it!

This young man has a girlfriend who is an aspiring model with lots of casting calls. They both seem to find it hard to believe that they have found each other – it’s really cute to witness. It is also a wonderful feeling when they ask one’s opinion … and actually listen to the reply!

There is however, something I am trying to get to grips with; something that I never really considered before. For those who did not know it, I have just turned 70 in September but am still very young at heart. The thing that I find slightly difficult to compute is this age-thing. I’m suddenly more aware of my three-score-years-and-ten when people I regard as “my own age” call me Gran! I simply don’t see myself as this older person! They do say that 70 is the new 50 … But the nice thing about that is I’m usually put me at the head of the table … an honour and a reminder that I am the Wise Woman and should behave in that way. But, when we fall about laughing, the age-thing goes right out the window. And that is one of the great things about this holiday : we laugh a lot! I’m developing new (improved) wrinkles!

Being there …
Tomorrow, 22nd December, we fly to the Highveld and the day after that we depart for the farm up in the north-west of Limpopo Province, close to the border with Botswana and not too far away from the Kruger National Park. My son-in-law’s family have a stud farm near a place called Lephalale, where they breed Brahman cattle. This is where we will be spending Christmas. I am looking forward to that as it will make me feel like a child again, having grown up on a farm myself. It will be full of rituals and traditions I have long forgotten.

20141224_110138 20141224_110207 Don’t worry, the leopard is not real although a real one DID pass by on that sandy road while we were there!

Christmas turned out to be everything I could have dreamed of. We walked barefoot in the sandy road, looking for a fallen tree branch to decorate. We need not look too hard – Mother Nature knew what we wanted.

20141224_181229  Isn’t this just lovely?

Mother Christmas handed out the gifts and the fire was there for atmosphere only. We had far too much food on the table, providing an ample meal for 16 celebrants commemorating the birth of the Holy One – it was really good!

20141224_201332         20141224_201004   20141224_194620   20141224_215542

This was my contribution : Moroccan chicken – it was good!

2015 was welcomed in with my brother and his wife, Rita, in Thabazimbi and once again, we had a grand time. We came face to face with a likkewaan on their doorstep! Vollie, my brother, was standing guard as this creature tried to go inside the house … I never realised just how lethal their tails were! In a team effort, we managed to capture it and he and I drove it out to the golf course and released it into its own habitat. What excitement!

!cid_A5583A20-C7CB-4FDC-9601-26FEA3546566  He/she doesn’t look lethal here but I can testify otherwise!

20141229_145832  New Year’s Eve in the boma with gorgeous food … again!

20141229_145910  Thank you, Karen and Stefan for making the trip!

After a week in Thabazimbi, I visited my friends at Hartebeespoortdam once again – great to see them again and also to catch up with Marina.

Back to Cape Town for the rest of my southern sojourn with Mango Airlines – such an appropriate name for an African airline! Pity about the screaming child …

Going home …
As the Boeing 777-300 ate into the airspace above Cape Town, I was suddenly overcome by emotion; tears jumped into my eyes as I watched miles of sandy beach below make way for the mountains that majestically keep watch over the Cape of Good Hope.

How quickly the distance grows between place of departure and that which is our goal. Often, in life, the same thing happens and we lose sight of where we wished to end up when we were still at our points of departure.

In aircraft, they soon distract you with warm wipes for sweaty palms and tempting dishes on the menu. Often though, the distraction serves no one and the most delectable dish turns out to be disappointing. So it often is with distractions on our chosen journey through life.

Oh, Cape Town could not have been better. The weather was just glorious and I spent hours of quality time with people I love dearly. We feasted and pampered ourselves and then did more feasting … yes, you have guessed it: I have gained about 5 kgs! However, time enough back home to get rid of those.

I visited dear friends in Stellenbosch, driven there by my grandson and friends. It was a lovely afternoon and I was led astray by the young ones … they do warn you about blue drinks! Here is one image I shall treasure for ever!

Blue drinks   Blue drinks! Lethal …Thank you Brittany, Jason and Stygi for a brilliant afternoon – you are super young people!

We made picnic on Clifton Beach and watched the sunset … the young couple cuddling have been together for a long time!

20150110_195705 20150110_193814 - Copy 20150110_192133   So relaxed …

The one (or two actually) things I did not enjoy much were the bus journeys to and from Plettenberg Bay to visit my friend, Vanessa – 9 hours there and 9 hours back! Next time I take that Beachcraft with time to spare in case of bad weather.

Visiting Vanessa – it could be the title of a book. It could actually BE a book as it was that eventful. However, here is a little peep into the wonderful place a stayed … you will have to wait for the book to come out to hear the full story!

20150113_172830 20150113_172917 20150113_172716 20150112_121056  Plettenberg Bay with Vanessa and Huncha (Stephanie)

10407087_10152830738224017_141215911368638813_n 10469327_10152830742694017_2915400070835422152_n 10530898_10152830739809017_4232017406199371122_n 10710716_10152828998234017_4411807850094424665_n 10731024_10152830741709017_2338693209946104972_nAnd this is where I stayed at Vanessa’s – isn’t that staircase just darling? The woodwork is brilliant all over the apartment and the bedroom feels as if one is sleeping in the trees – windows all round.

And speaking of that burst of emotional tears, I can honestly say that having spent 26 out of 35 days in the company of my closest family members made parting all the more poignant.

I went to Africa to ‘spy out the land’ for future-planning. What I have seen and experienced created a favourable impression but my main stay was in the Cape Province – not an ANC stronghold. Most residents there would like to see the back of Mr. Zuma and his corrupt cronies. Most everything works in the Cape and the environment is cherished. Recycling, up-cyling and down-cycling is the order of the day – every day! I even got a carbon footprint conversion certificate from the hotel where I spent the last night!

Going back to stay? I think not. At least not in the near future.
I am not ready to call it a day. Not yet.

I am here – in this moment …

My life at present is precious – every moment is precious. I am in my ‘state of grace’ having reached the anticipated three-score- years-and-ten – henceforth, it is spending each moment in total awareness. Awareness of each breath I take, of each bite I eat, every move I make and remaining ever grateful for having been granted the opportunity to do so in good health.

I wake up each morning in gratitude for that which I have. Miles separate us, but family ties bridge distances; we are always connected, as we are connected to everything in the Universe.

I wish you good fortune, good health and luck with the Lotto in 2015!
Namasté!   from the Old Wise Woman in Cyprus.

P.S. You may have thought that I had forgotten you this year when you did not receive a Christmas card. Actually, you have been instrumental in acquiring a new dialyses machine at the general hospital here in Paphos – the money that I would have spent on cards, postage and gifts has been donated to the Kidney Foundation. Doesn’t that make you feel good? It works for me!

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4 responses to “FIVE FESTIVE WEEKS IN SOUTH AFRICA

  1. I’m glad you had such a wonderful time in SA, I have thought about you several times but wasn’t sure when you were going back to Cyprus. My art teacher spent Christmas in Cyprus with her sister and said she can’t remember the last time she was so cold. We expect these places to be summer temperatures all the time. We are currently in Lanzarote for ten days trying to get an early dose of sun. It IS sunny but very windy too so it is a question of finding a sheltered corner to sit. We are doing quite a bit of walking which we are enjoying and a lot of chatting. Something that falls by the wayside so easily at home. Our dog sitter is off to SA in March, hence our early get away. He really is a god send.

    You certainly have some lovely pictures from SA, they look as if you could paint some of them. Can’t remember if I told you, we went up to Doris’s funeral about three weeks ago.

    It wasn’t too sad as she had a good life on the whole and I think even the last year was not too bad once she was in the nursing home at Stocks field. John, Gill and the two grandchildren all spoke about her, and Gill really summed up her outlook on life ” I think there’s a break in the clouds ahead”

    Nice to hear from you again. Love P

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