From left to right:
- Photo of me and the niece taken by my dad
- Last two photos were taken in Kleinsky’s in Sea Point. They serve the most delicious bagels. The photos of prints of embroidery. Work by Danielle Clough.
A list of my favourite travel photos and stories:
The original plan was to have High Tea at The Victoria Falls Hotel. I use the term “plan” lightly. By plan I mean that someone suggested it and I thought it was a good idea. I took no steps to bring this to fruition. I did no research. I did not jot off a polite query to Professor Google. And as a consequence I have no idea how much High Tea costs, or what time it is scheduled.
In the end, I popped into the hotel on the very day I was to fly out. I walked through the lush grounds overlooking the falls, I snapped pictures of everything that took my fancy, and then proceeded to order the least expensive thing on the menu. I ordered the Eton Mess, a scrumptious dessert of meringue, cream and strawberries. At $10, I can assure you that I scrapped every ounce of cream from that damn bowl.
Anyway, here are some pictures of the hotel.
Side note: The manageress at the hotel was an absolute doll. She showed me around the grounds and stated that the best time to visit the hotel is at sunrise or sunset. Next time!
From left to right:
- Sunset over the Zambezi River.
- Hippos seen from a safe distance.
- Me standing at the edge of Victoria Falls, on the Zambian side.
On Friday, 22 June, hours before I was to board my plane from Cape Town to Victoria Falls Airport, the fear and anxiety I had felt when I first booked my tickets, had not dissipated. My imaginative mind kept making a detailed list of all the things that could go wrong.
- My shuttle would arrive late and I would miss my flight. (And if I were to be honest, I would admit that there was a little part of me that was hoping this would happen. A “real” excuse not to do something that scared me.)
- There would be some problem at customs and I’d be forced to fly back home.
- There would be another National Shutdown in Zimbabwe and I wouldn’t find anyone willing to take me to the Zambian border.
- I’d have to argue with every taxi driver about the fare.
- I’d get lost and wouldn’t know how to get back to my hostel.
- I’d be underwhelmed and disappointed by the sight of the falls.
- I’d be painfully and achingly lonely. That after spending only a few hours in Victoria Falls, I’d want to flee home.
These negative thoughts would occasionally be offset by the highlights reel of previous travel experiences. I remembered each an every stranger, who helped me when I lost or didn’t quite understand how to use the subway. I remembered the old Turkish guy, who gave me a lift to the bus station on his scooter, placing my unwieldy suitcase firmly between his legs. I remember taking a “taxi” in Mozambique. The taxi was a bakkie*, with a canopy made of wood. And I remember marveling at the men, who stood on the edge of the bakkie, arms clinging to the wooden frame. And I remember wondering about safety standards of this particular automobile. But only briefly. When we started moving and I felt the wind in my hair, this momentary doubt was replaced by a feeling of being free.
And I remembered all of these things, and I smiled. For a moment, the fear and anxiety I felt about travelling, was assuaged.
*Bakkie is also known as a pick-up truck in other parts of the world …
“I went to the hospital when my time come. So I could be easeful. I didn’t want to have it at home like I done with the boy. They put me in a big room with a whole mess of women. The pains was coming, but not too bad. A little old doctor come to examine me. He had all orts of stuff. He gloved his hand and put some kind of jelly on it and rammed it up between my legs. When he left off, some more doctors come. One old one and some ones. The old one was learning the young ones about babies. Showing them how to do. When he got to me he said now these here black women you don’t have any trouble with. They deliver right away with no pain. Just like horses. The young ones smiled a little. The looked at my stomach and between my legs. They never said nothing to me. Only one looked at me. Looked at my face, I mean. I looked right back at him. He dropped his eyes and turned red. He knowed, I reckon, that maybe I weren’t no horse foaling. But them others. They didn’t know. They went on.”
Extract from the novel, The Bluest Eye by Toni Morrison.
I recently stumbled across this quote on social media, “I opened my mouth, almost said something. Almost. The rest of my life might have turned out differently if I had. But I didn’t.” It’s a quote from the novel Kite Runner by Khaled Housseini and it resonates deeply with me.
I’ve the best version of myself when I travel. When I travel I’m a little braver, a little more confident. I’m not afraid to ask strangers questions about their lives. But when I’m home, I tend to bottle up my questions. It’s not that I’m uninterested. I’ll have a thousand questions I’ll want to ask someone, but I’m simply afraid to speak up and that could cause me to appear aloof.
I wish I could be the best version of myself everyday.
Talking about travelling, have you seen this blog post by Olivia Rae James?
The view from my office.
Somewhere in Kalk Bay.
Slacklining above the pool at Brass Bell.
Last week I ran the Milkwood half-marathon (21km). I’ve rambled with this race several times before and have been disappointed on each occasion. (One year I injured myself so badly, I had to sit out for 6 weeks. That was pure torture!)
This year, while slowly crawling up the hills, I kept thinking of the narrative I wanted to tell. I kept telling myself that “today I was out for retribution; today I was out for blood.” I didn’t worry about going out too fast in the beginning. I didn’t worry about whether or not my body could hold this pace for the entire duration of the race. I didn’t listen to my jagged breathing and think, “You’re pushing too hard. Your body won’t be able to withstand this stress for 21km.” And when there were doubts, and there were doubts, I didn’t let them linger. I didn’t mutter anyone else’s mantra to get me through the tough parts. I didn’t have to tell myself to dig deep; to ignore the pain; to keeping putting one foot in front of the other. I simply remembered that I was a girl on a mission, I had come out with the sole goal of proving myself and that there was nothing more dangerous that a girl with something to prove.
Last week I ran the Milkwood Race, and for the first time in years I crossed the finish line with a smile on my face. Not only need I manage to achieve my goal of sub two hours, I managed to surpass my expectations. 1:52 – 5 minutes faster than my previous PB. I was so giddy that for days afterwards I resisted the urge to walk up to complete strangers, point to my chest and say, “1:52.”
Anyway, my goal after the Comrades Ultra is run a half in 1:49. Let’s go!
I generally spend my Friday evenings swimming at a public pool, but after learning that rain was predicted this Friday, I decided to tick one more thing off my not-so-bucket list.
The Wildlife Photographer of the Year Exhibition
Here of some of the photographs I snapped at the exhibition.
Middle photograph: A wide aperture lens was used to focus on the two butterflies and blur the flowers in the background. The female butterfly is more transparent due to an unexplained tendency to rub their wings more.
I absolutely LOVED, LOVED this exhibition. I absolutely admire the amount of patience is required to take photographs of wildlife. Not only did I get to see some amazing works of art, but I also learnt a great deal about climate change. Did you know that jellyfish numbers are increasing due to climate change? (If you go, DO read the notes beneath each photograph.)
This exhibition runs until 15 April 2016.
Where: Chavonnes Battery Museum, V& Waterfront
Time: 09:00 – 20:00
Price: R50p/p – R240p/p (depending on whether you’re a student or pensioner).
It the second week of November and I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard, compelled to recap these last few weeks, compelled to tell you that I still exist.
The thing is, since being back from Cali I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much. I haven’t booked a one-way ticket to Japan. I haven’t mastered the art of Python scripting or HTML5. And I most certainly have put an end to world hunger. I’ve spent the 3 months getting back to my pre-travel fitness level and training for the Winelands Marathon.
Getting back to my pre-travel fitness level was easy enough. It took me 5 weeks of consistent training. 5 of hill repeats, 5 weeks of leaving parties early and repeating to myself that “This is the life I’ve chosen”, 5 weeks of consuming GU for breakfast. Easy enough!
Insert humble brag here. A couple of weeks ago, I ran the Landmarks half-marathon (21km).It’s a tough route. I did last year and was completely gutted. I just walked so much. No matter how hard I tried to will my body, my legs simply wouldn’t comply. I ended up finishing the race in 2:11. This year? This year I managed sub 2. Redemption, baby!
Where do I even start with this one? There was definitely fear, and anxiety, and despondency.
I have not been able to keep up with my partners’ running pace. I have been lagging behind, and have not clocked in as my kilometers as they have. This had made me feel panicked and uncertain.
The result is that I may have asked strangers on Twitter to break my foot IF I did not finish the Winelands Marathon in less than 5 hours (qualifying time for an Ultra). All they had to do was drop a sledgehammer on my right-foot, since it already felt like it had a stress fracture. (Side note: That foot only hurts when I walk. It’s TOTALLY fine when I run.)
With less than a week to the marathon, I’m no longer feeling this way. I’m feeling calm. I’ve told myself that I don’t need to finish this marathon in sub 4 hours. There’ll be plenty of other marathons. All I need to do for now is qualify for Comrades. And set a new PB for a marathon … Easy. No pressure.
AND now for a random quote:
“I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind.” Toni Morrison
I spent a few days in Goreme, Turkey – visiting the Open Air Museum, hot air ballooning, going to a hamam (a Turkish bath), taking photos of so many pretty flowers, getting lost, worrying about dehydration and screaming like a little girl at the approach of a dog … I now wish that I hadn’t been so impatient to leave and see the rest of Turkey. It would have been nice to ride a horse through Rose Valley.
Photo taken at the Amber Fort in Jaipur.
At the end of January and February, Nicole from “A life less bullshit” recently sent her no BS club a monthly review template. I had every intention of completing January’s review, but didn’t … Anyway, here’s my review of February.
Thinking back over the month of February, I am …
Most proud of: Completing the Cape Peninsula Marathon (42km) in 4:27. I’d set a goal of 4:20 and missed it by seven minutes. And I’m okay with that. I set a PB of 25 minutes. And I still believe that one day I’ll run a marathon in under 4:20. It just requires work. (In January I set a new PB for 30km. I completed the Bay to Bay race in 3:08.)
Deeply grateful for: My running club. I love how they push me to run further and harder. I love the constant encouragement. And let’s face it, I love hearing the words, “Oh we’re not in her level. She’s does a marathon in 4:27.”
Delightfully surprised by: How willing I am to speak to ANYONE about any aspect of running. You want to talk about how you’ve lost a toenail? Cool. You have advice on which Garmin running watch to buy? Awesome! You want to tell me that a sub-2 half-marathon is totally possible? Stop flirting with me!
Letting go of: A crush, a fantasy, the idea of someone perfect. I am letting go of this with the firm believe that someone out there will appreciate my sense of humour. (FYI, my WhatsApp status once read, “Does this smell like chloroform to you?” )
Feeling inspired by: The characters in Grey’s Anatomy. (I’ll take inspiration wherever I can get it.) I love how gutsy the female characters are. I love how they say what’s on their mind. I love how brave they ultimately are. Here’s a link to some of my favourite quotes from the show.
Photo taken in Indonesia.
I’ve slowly been editing and cataloging my photographs and have come to the conclusion that I am an awesome photographer. I am also exceptionally humble. (One of my favourite bloggers once tweeted that there was nothing humble about his brags.) On a serious note, I do realise how incredibly lucky I’ve been with regards to travel. In 2014, I was lucky enough to travel to India, Cameroon, Eastern Cape, Durban, Johannesburg, Langebaan and Cape Agulhas. This year, I attend a wedding in Worcester and will be heading to Durban AND Turkey. I simply cannot wait! Did I mention how I plan to eat ALL the Turkish Delight in Istanbul? Did I?
Anyway, let’s talk books.
A few weeks ago, I finished reading “The Rosie Project.” The book is easy to read, funny and oh so adorable. The main character, Don is a socially awkward geneticist (reminds me of Sheldon Cooper from the Big Bang Theory, and Adrian Mole). Don is intent on finding a wife and even devises a scientific test to find the perfect woman.
Here’s an extract of the novel. Don is giving a talk on Asperger’s to young sufferers and their parents.
“I decided it would be helpful to provide an example, drawing on a story in which emotional behaviour would have led to disastrous consequences.
‘Imagine,’ I said. ‘You’re hiding in a basement. The enemy is searching for you and your friends. Everyone has to keep totally quiet, but your baby is crying.’ I did an impression, as Gene would, to make the story more convincing: ‘Waaaaa.’ I paused dramatically. ‘You have a gun.’
Hands went up everywhere.
Julie jumped to her feet as I continued. ‘With a silencer. They’re coming closer. They’re going to kill you all. What do you do? The baby’s screaming – ’
The kids couldn’t wait to share their answer. One called out, ‘Shoot the baby,’ and soon they were all shouting, ‘Shoot the baby, shoot the baby.’”
The above paragraph had me laughing so hard. I just found the idea of little kids screaming “shoot the baby” so absolutely ridiculous.