Category: animals

I’m looking forward to my next adventure: hiking the Whale Trail. I’m a little apprehensive that I’ll be the weakest link and that I won’t be able to keep up with the rest of the guys.

Here are the last of the Victoria Falls photos.

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Flowers - Victoria Falls

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From left to right:

  1. Sunset over the Zambezi River.
  2. Hippos seen from a safe distance.
  3. 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 …

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The view from my office. 

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Somewhere in Kalk Bay. 

IMG_2915Slacklining above the pool at Brass Bell

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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. WildlifeExhibition

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).

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The next night I share a dorm room with the snorer again. This time a German friend jumps out of his bunk bed and screams at the snorer to wake up. The snorer continues unabated.

The next day we will have an in-depth discussion about the snorer. We discuss the rhythm of his snoring, the fact that the snorer is still sleeping at 10:00 in the morning, while some of us had to retreat to the safety of the hammock outdoors in order to get a couple of hours sleep. At some point, someone will pipe up and claim that the snorer is actually quite a nice dude.

There is French toast one morning, a kayak down the river and a hike to the waterfall. There are discussions about the latest book I’m reading, “Into the Wild”. There is swinging from a tree, underneath the stars, while a guy strums his guitar. There is an unwillingness to pack our bags and leave the very next day.

I’ve spent the last few days traipsing along the Garden Route. Here are some photos and a brief account of my trip.

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Day 1: Wilderness National Park
Epic sunset. Pizza from Pomodoro’s. Hummingbirds. Afternoon swim in the river. Sleep desperately needed.

Day 2: Tsitsikamma National Park
Hike across suspension bridges. Lone dassie. Too much time spent in the car. Wishing I’d brought my iPod along. I can’t stand anymore reggae.

Day 3: Tsitsikamma National Park
Alex’s laughter as we sped to the waterfall on a boat.

Nature’s Valley.
Lots of cheese. Close run-ins with baboons. Secluded waterfalls and rock pools.

Day 4: Wilderness.

Overheard at garage store:

Guy: Do you have any Peaceful Sleep for mosquitoes?

Store clerk: No, but we do have Doom.

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Spectre

I watched the latest Bond film, Spectre at The Labia. I cannot get the opening scene, which is set in Mexico City during the Day of the Dead Celebrations (Día de Muertos) out of my head.

 

I also couldn’t help but wonder how one becomes a professional assassin, not that I’m looking for a new line of employment.

 

Running

I ran the Pollsmoor 10km. I managed to complete the race in 50 minutes – a new PB. I could never have accomplished this feat without the encouragement of a fellow runner. He kept reminding me to breathe deeply, and wing my arms as I headed up the hill.

 

Running outta time

My colleague says that he is still young, only 31, far too young to be married with kids. I wish I felt that way. I wish that I felt YOUNG. I wish that I didn’t feel like I’m running out of time.

 

This body is earned

I recently turned 30 (ahem) and I love my body more now that I did in my twenties. It’s not perfect, but it’s strong and lean. And this shit is earned.

Days after arriving back home, a friend asked me if I wanted to spend a couple of days on Table Mountain in October. My initial reaction was to say, “No.” I’d just spent a month in Turkey, followed by 5 weeks in California. And although 90% of my Californian expenses was covered by work, there was that other 10%. One night’s accommodation in a 4 bed dorm (without a bathroom!) in San Francisco, set me back R800. For those of you who are unfamiliar with South African currency, R800 is a month’s petrol. But after agonising over the idea for several hours, I reasoned that if I wanted ensure that 2015 would be my BEST YEAR EVER, I would say, “Yes.” And if money ever became an issue I could always sell a kidney. Not necessarily mine …

I’d love to rhapsodize about the incredible people I met on this trip and the things I saw along the route, but I’ve just run 14km and I am exhausted. So I give you photos. Enjoy!

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We stayed in the Overseers Cottage. For more information on the accommodation prices, visit the SANParks website.

Before I subject you to my photographs of this week’s exploits, may I direct your attention to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar’s article on body-shaming black, female athletes?

Quote from article:

Sharapova, at 6 feet 2 and 130 pounds (Williams is 5 feet 9 and weighs 150 pounds), admits that that she wishes she could be even thinner: “I always want to be skinnier with less cellulite; I think that’s every girl’s wish.” (Is it? Should it be?)

I think it’s so sad that Sharapova worries more about her weight and cellulite, than about being awesome and kicking ass.

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IMG_4028The first two photos were taken at Monterey Bay Aquarium and the last few were taken in San Diego. 

My time in Davis, California is drawing to an end and in my spare time I’m trying to document every aspect of this little college town.

Here are some photos taken at the Arboretum, one of my favourite places in Davis. (My other favourite hangout is the Co-op, a grocery store close. There’s not much to do in Davis.)
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The photos don’t provide an accurate depiction of the Arboretum. They neglect to to highlight the pair of river otters feeding in the creek, the couples lounging on the lawn, the love locks on the bridge, the spectacular birds who won’t stay put long enough for me to snap a picture. Inconsiderate little things. How am I supposed to win the National Geographic award if they don’t stay still? 

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I’m currently reading Zadie Smith’s novel “On beauty”. I absolutely love her writing. It is so addictive that I’m already planning on purchasing her other novels. Here’s a quick extract:

“Summer left Wellington abruptly and slammed the door on the way out. The shudder sent the leaves to the ground all at once, and Zora Belsey had that strange, late-September feeling that somewhere in a small classroom with small chairs an elementary school teacher was waiting for her.”