I have finally finished reading the novel, White Teeth by Zadie Smith. Here’s one of my favourite passages from the novel:
“It was odious to be reminder of one’s children when one is calculating the exact shade and rigidity of a nipple that could assert itself through bra and shirt.”
I have also been doing a bit of travelling over the last few weeks.
Clockwork starting from the top left:
- I flew down to Durban to celebrate the union of two very beautiful and generous individuals. I also acted as one of the bridesmaids. Stylist: What do you want me to do with your laps? Me: Make them not look dry?
- I had a 13 hour layover at Doha International Airport, which meant I was privy to a free three-hour tour of the city. To qualify for the tour I had to present myself at the Doha City Tour Desk at 06:00, as the tour is offered on a first come first served basis. I did not need to make prior arrangements for a visa.
- In Goreme, I was lucky enough to tick one more item off my bucket list – hot air ballooning. It was a frigging awesome experience. I loved the heat of the fire on my back, the sound of hot air entering the balloon like waves crashing on rocks, and the sıght of the landscape as the sun rose. It is definitely something I’d try again.
- Graffiti in Istanbul.
A few days ago I celebrated my cousin’s birthday at De Waal Park. At first I was wary of going, De Waal isn’t my favourite urban park, that honour belongs to Green Point. But I had fun. There was lots to eat, the sun was out and their was plenty of opportunities to people watch.
My favourite moment was watching this man teach these young ‘uns how to tightrope walk. He was so patient. Kid to young man, “Who teached you to do this?”
A couple of weeks ago, I blogged about how it was only March and already 2015 was turning out to be a pretty awesome. I talked about how I’d finally obtained that effing sub-2 and how I’ve set new PBs for a 5, 21, 30 and 42km. I also stated that I was about to participate in my first ever Ultra and that there was a chance I might not complete it. And if this were to happen, there would be tears.
Well, I did it! I completed the Two Oceans Ultra (56km) in 6:25. I was hoping for sub-6 and up until the 28km I was on track. That is until Ou Kaapse Weg and then it all went downhill from there. Figuratively speaking, of course. Ou Kaapse Weg is a bitch 7km climb.
What else can I say about the race?
Well, for weeks before the big day my father and I planned to run the race together. We trained together – 5 days a week. We talked strategy. Or more accurately, he talked and I tried to absorb it all. On the day of the race, at the 7km mark, he left me. And I wasn’t surprised. Or angry. Or hurt. He’s done this before; so many times that I expected it. At the 37km mark I caught up to him. And then I proceeded to finish the race ahead of him, by 12 minutes. (It’s funny, at the beginning of the year he told me that I would be able to kick his arse in shorter races but I’d never take him in longer events. This year I’ve beaten the old man in a 10, 15, 21, 30 and 56km race. And now I want to do what he’s never been able to achieve. I want to do a marathon in less than 4 hours.)
At the about the 40km mark, there was a radio announcer slash TV presenter. He asked various runners what was the first thing they wanted to do when they got home. Some said they wanted a cold beer. Others said they wanted a warm shower. And I just thought, “I’d like to take a nice, satisfying shit.” Right now several mothers are wishing their sons would end up with someone as classy as me.
Other than wanting to take a dump, I also wanted to cry, a lot. After 42km, running is no longer fun. It’s just this stupid hobby that requires you to move your legs in quick succession. And yet, the very minute I’d crossed the finish line I was so overcome with euphoria that I vowed to run the Comrades next year.
So that’s one of the reasons that 2015 has gotten a little sweeter. The other is that I’ve been awarded a partial scholarship to go to the United States for a few weeks.
Life is good.
Photo taken at the Paolo Nutini concert in Kirstenbosch.
I finally did it! All those hours of hill training, bootcamp, early mornings and ounces of GU have finally paid off. Today, 21 March 2015, I finally managed to achieve my goal of running a half-marathon in under 2 hours. 1:58 to be precise. And even though it has taken me months (fine, YEARS) to get to this point, I can’t help but wonder, “What else is possible?” Can I possibly get faster? Can I do 21km in 1:55?
Notes about this race:
- I’d originally started the race with my dad. At the 1km mark I was slightly ahead of him. But it really did take him long to catch up (3km mark). And then he widened the gap. Man, did he widen the gap to the point where I couldn’t even see him. It took me a whole 10km to set my sights back on him and another 5km to actually catch up with him. And the whole time I was eyeing him, watching that gap close, I kept thinking, “He must be crazy if he thinks I’m just going to hand this one to him on a platter. I am going to put up a fight. I am going to make him work for it.” I beat him by 1 minute.
- I wasn’t entirely sure I’d make a sub-2. At the 19km I had ten minutes to spare. That’s 10 minutes to finish the last 2km. That isn’t a lot of time to play with. But at no time did I think, “You’ll never make it. Just give up.” This is something I think of often on races. It’s the reason you’ll occasionally find me walking during a race. Instead I just thought, “Anything is possible.”
- Complete the Two Oceans Ultra-marathon (56km) within the cut-off time (7 hours).
- Get faster. Set new PBs. I’ve already set a new PB for 42km (4:27), 30km (2:53) and 21km (1:58). But I’m hoping to drop my marathon time by 12 minutes (4:15).
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.
The above photo was taken at Graze, a new restaurant in Harfield Village.
I am currently reading Irvine Welsh’s latest offering. He’s the very same guy that brought us, “Trainspotting”.
Part of the narrative is told by Lucy Brennan, personal trainer who is obsessed with exercise and weight. Here’s an extract from the novel.
“The only fast-food place handy is this pizza joint, so I order a couple of slices. The line is busy with just one fat chick sweating behind the counter, trying to keep up with the orders. – Sorry about the wait, she says.
– Well, that’s a start. But don’t beat yourself up, take action, and I hand her my card.
She looks at me like she’s going to burst into tears. – I meant … I meant the wait! That wait you’ve had in this line!”
I absolutely love David Sedaris and I’ve read most of his books. In the following article he talks about a cow giving birth:
“What might I have thought if, after seven hours of unrelenting agony, a creature the size of a full-grown cougar emerged, inch by inch, from the hole at the end of my penis and started hassling me for food? Was that what the cow was going through? Did she think she was dying, or had instinct somehow prepared her for this?”
Cape Town is absolutely gorgeous.
This weekend I celebrated a friend’s birthday at at Kleinplaas Dam, in Simon’s Town. Kleinplaas Dam is found at the top of Red Hill. If you find yourself driving pass a squatter camp (informal settlement) then you’ve gone too far. It took me an HOUR to drive from Plumstead to the dam. And when I arrived, I found that I was the first person to arrive. The others would all arrive an hour later. My spent the time reading “Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas” and praying that a large, dangerous snake (Cape Cobra, Puff Adder) would not cross my path.
Swimming isn’t technically allowed in the dam. And if caught, you are liable to pay a fine.
I took this photo weeks ago at the Waterfront. It’s been a while since I picked up my camera.
If you’ve been wondering what I’ve been up to over the last few days, I’ve been busy. Watching YouTube videos. (Side note: I think I’m adorable. I have a feeling that I’m the only one that shares this sentiment. I have the feeling that others find me impossible, frustrating and uncoordinated. And I’m okay with that. I mean sure, I’d love to be able to walk and talk at the same time, but whatever.)
Besides the YouTube videos, I’ve also been busy reading. Like actual books.
A few weeks ago, I wrote a post about how this year I’d only managed to read ONE book from cover to cover. I’ve started reading many books, but they were tedious and reading ultimately felt like a chore. So I gave up. Since then I’d managed to plough my way through “Empire of the Moghul: The Serpent’s Tooth”. Yep, that’s right in the last 6 months I’ve managed to read TWO whole books. I am on fire!
“The Serpent’s Tooth” wasn’t a great book. It was okay, just okay. I did learn a lot from the book. I learnt about posta, which is this milky concoction of opium poppy. Pousta was served to Shah Jahan’s grandson, Sulaiman Shukoh on a daily basis. The daily dose of pousta eventually killed Sulaiman.
I am now half-way through “Porno” by Irvine Welsh, he’s the very same guy who brought us “Trainspotting”. “Porno” is an absolutely fascinating read! I simply can’t put it down.
I’ve also got the following books lined up:
Photo taken at Excelsior Wine Farm in Robertson.
It’s June and I don’t have any travel plans for the rest of the year. This year has been great – adventure wise. I’ve spent a couple of weeks in India, gorging on fresh fruit juice and curry, ziplining from a fort and crying at the sight of the Taj Mahal. I’ve spent a few days in Joburg with friends, watching Joss Stone perform live and feeding giraffes. There was Cameroon on someone else’s dime. And there was sunshine and bike rides in Durban.
Photo taken in Limbe, Cameroon.
It’s June now and I don’t have any other trips planned. A friend asked me to consider a roadtrip to Grahamstown. I shut her down before she could put forth her argument. I am broke. I’d just managed to pay off my credit card debt (or more accurately I’d finally reimbursed my brother, who’d paid off my debt). And I wasn’t planning to get back into debt, especially not for a local trip to a small town.
Besides I have other plans. There’s a bookcase that needs purchasing. (I’ve concluded that my current system of discarding novels beneath my bed, no longer works.) There’s also a coffee table, vacuum cleaner, ironing board, juicer and washing machine that’s needed. BUT these items will have to wait. Instead of being a responsible adult (how boring) and purchasing the necessities, I will be scurrying away money for my next big adventure.
At present, I’m still undecided as to where to go. There’s Malawi, whose images of its lake have left me breathless. There’s Ecuador, my lifelong dream, with its volcanoes and lush forests. There’s Turkey with its hot air balloons and cave dwellings. And there’s my 19 days of leave that needs to be spent. So I have the time and I have options, I just need the funds. (I am totally willing to sell a kidney to raise the funds. Not necessarily MY kidney. Ahem.)
So until I’ve accumulated enough moola, I will remain here. I will remain content. I will focus my attention and energy on becoming a better runner, cook and person. No, scratch that. That “better person” thing sounds like way too much work. I’ll just stick with running and baking.