Wednesday, 27 May 2015

Walking along

Victoria Bay

Jump for joy

Wilderness region


As I explained in my ramblings, I stayed away from the edge. So the pics are from a safe distance.


Leisure Isle

The Heads viewpoint

Old Belvidere church

I love this old church.

Driving along, singing a song

Thursday, 21 May 2015

Random ramblings on holiday - Part 5

I wonder how many rivers I have crossed during this trip. I know I didn't burn any ;-). There seems to be a bridge every few kilometres.  Each bridge is over a river. Should look it up on a map.

Ha, ha. I am reminded of a post on the internet where a Kenyan man arrived in London, 'discovers' the Thames and names it. Much like the conceited colonialist of old who, for example, discovers a lake in Malawi and names it and claims it, like it didn't exist before and had no name and no one had stood at its shores before and no one had taken a boat across it.

Bacon and eggs for breakfast for 10 days now, but not today thank you. Yes, its great but I need a little something different right now.

The yohurt has been so delicious, honestly, thick and creamy, you could almost mistake it for a dessert. Yum. Leeuwensbosch dairy.

Well, off to see my brother now. Its been a year or two.

So I leave Wilderness, up the hill and down the other side to Victoria Bay.  It very pretty. Great now because there's hardly anyone here. Must be claustrophobic in season, there can't possibly be enough space for everyone.

Still wondering if I should drive into George but it starts to rain so I keep driving. Soon I'm at my brother's house. Yay.

Spend the next few days with them. Chatting,  catching up, reminiscing. I bake bread, they make the soup. They make the chicken dish, I eat it ;-) We have a braai because that's what you do when family gets together.

They feed the pheasants daily, almost all day. Really, they hardly leave the property, life is that good for them. The little wipstertjie walks backwards and forwards on the deck waiting for the door to be left open,  then it walks through the house and out the other side. Flies onto the deck again and waits. Hmm, this little cutie and friends are given cheese.

Some lovely protea shrubs in the garden. And two golden orb spiders amongst the hydrangeas. Waterblommetjies in an old bathtub. The Waterblommetjie bredie, you must use lamb, is a yummy dish. You must try it.

We go to the local coffee shop and the beach. Its a lovely few days.

Voor jy jou oe kan uitvee, is die vakansie verby. I'm packing my shells, pebbles, sea sand and bits of drift wood into the suitcase.

I feel wonderfully relaxed, rested, healthy and strong. I have a bit of a tan. And a bit of hestitation, soon it'll be the routine of work and responsibilities again, but nothing another great holiday won't cure.

So on the back road to George airport. It's such a pretty drive.

A vast meadow of city lights can be seen from the air, seamlessly stretching from one horizon to the other.  Oh yes, we're back.

Can't wait to see the dogs again, and the family. Actually, its always good to be home.

Thursday, 14 May 2015

Random ramblings on holiday - Part 4

Was going to have lunch in Sedgefield, but OMW, no. Horrible vibe. Did not like it one bit. Screaming and swearing on the beach by some local children, ag nee man, lelik.

The 'beach' restaurant that wasn't on the beach,  just beach sand on the floor. Not even a view of the sea - can't buy into that.

Someone, or perhaps the entire town (this is in Sedgefield), is mosaic crazy. Everything is mosaiced. A pole, 2 poles, a bench, a ball, a bin, the vet's entrance (two dogs jumping up and kissing creates the arch for the entrance), at least 83 house numbers, a memorial statue, to name a few.

Discovered that it was part of a job creation project. Nice.

Check in at the B&B then drove into town (I am in Wilderness now) to scout around. It seems smaller than I remember. Seems to have a good range of little restaurants. Will be trying out some. Ate calmari at a restaurant overlooking the beach. I remember the last time I had calmari this good, it was in Strand, from the local fish shop.

First clear sky tonight. There are more stars here then back home. Magnificent. Duh, yes, I know why, thank you.

Slept in because I couldn't get to sleep last night. 00:33 this morning and I was still awake. First evening I got past the 22:00 mark on this trip ;-)

Been wondering about the new job. How to tackle it, what to do. Hmm, no plan yet.

Seagulls diving into the sea this morning. There must be a lot of fish because there are a lot of seagulls.

And its cold. Will have to dress warmer.

So went for a long walk. Spent all day on the beach in the sun. Glorious day. Warm day after all. Swam in the sea, refreshing.

Went to the local Spar to buy water. Ugh, the water down here tastes bad. Even if you boil it and make tea or coffee,  nothing disguises how bad it tastes. I always thought people who buy bottled water are just full of it. Sorry, guys, but now I understand.

But getting back to what I wanted to say, at the local Spar I bump into a girl from work. What are the chances. She doing the Garden Route with friends.

Pizza for dinner, late afternoon, sun still on my face. The guys at the next table ordered Johnny Gold. Celebrating the one guys 50th.

Sat in the sun, eating a good pizza, reading my book and listening to their conversation.

Walked along the broad walk, I remember it as so much longer. It remembers me as being so much younger  Still beautiful. The walk, not me. Ha, ha.

Followed a road out of town, became a dirt road for a while then tarred again, it twists and turns, round and round up the hill (in second gear), no idea where I'm going.  Then I get to the top and there is a magnificent view of the river, twisting and turning like the road I have just been on, passing through the town until it spills into the wide, endless ocean. And the sun starts to hide itself behind the mountains.

If you pull over into the rest stops they have created along the road you are usually rewarded with the most beautiful vistas.

On the way down to Wilderness from Keurboomstrand saw many people asking for a lift by holding out a R10 or R20 note. Didn't take it. Didn't give them a lift. Sorry.

Next day was another lazy day at the beach. Started at Bee Juice, or Beetle Juice, in my story. Most delicious berry and honey smoothie. Sat and read the paper from cover to cover, when last did I take the time to do that? Nice.

Bee Juice is a restaurant converted from the old railway station. At the back is the platform that used to be the front (of the station).

The train doesn't come through here anymore because of a serious rock fall a short distance along the track. If you follow the track you will find the home of the local hippy. Google it, interesting story.

The locals obviously share this story with every single visitor. A long trail of people up the path towards it. No, too many people for me. And I wasn't in the mood for a sermon or feel obligated to leave a donation (When you google the story you will understand what i am talking about). I walked along the track and across the bridge, took some photos and then sat in the sun looking back at the beach.

In the afternoon I take a drive out to see all the lakes and am in search of a piece of chocolate cake. Turn off for Swartvlei and follow the road to its end. A hotel with a small restaurant, Benguela. They don't have chocolate cake but carrot cake, so I order that with a cup of coffee. I can sit anywhere, they say. I choose a table between the restaurant and the lake. Lovely cake and coffee and view. So quiet and tranquil.

Met this interesting woman at the B&B,  she's a body stress practitioner.  In Wilderness for a workshop and conference. She wants to spend time with the bushman in the Kalahari, or go to Iceland. Might sell her car to get there, she says sometimes you have to choose what's important. Sometimes that once-in-a-lifetime experience must be grabbed with both hands otherwise regret and disappointment will haunt you.

Bumped into her on the beach and we walking along the shore chatting until it was dark. She met a friend at the restaurant and I went home.

Its morning and I decide to go to Kysna after all.

Turn off the main road to go to Belvidere.  Love that church and the old village.

In Kysna I try looking in the shops but can't bear to be indoors. I haven't seen a Woolworths since I left Johannesburg,  there's one here but I don't go in.

So it's off to the Heads. Lovely view from the top. See restaurants below and it's lunchtime. So, put two and two together. Only when I get there it is a traffic jam. I park further up the hill and walk down,  pretty, but too many people.

Drive into Leisure Isle instead.  Have lunch at the local coffee shop. It seems I am the only foreigner here. Nice salad, thanks.

Back on the beach in Wilderness. Watch the guys jump off the hill over the highway and plop onto the beach two minutes later. Wanted to do the tandem paraglide but there's been no wind for two days now.  So that's all you would get, a jump off the hill straight onto the beach. Not really good enough. It makes a pretty picture though.

Seaside Ikebana

Sea etching

I love these wonderfully 'drawings' that have been etched into the sand by the sea.


Looking back

View from Robberg to Plettenberg Bay

Another day in paradise

Most beautiful sunrise,  Keurboomstrand

Random ramblings on holiday - Part 3

So then drove through Plett (from Robberg, see part 2). Went to the whale view point, saw no whales. Hmm. But did see a beautiful beach and a restaurant. 

Drove around and found the way to the car park. Had prawns, very nice. A seagull was on the roof creeping closer and closer, giving me puppy dog eyes and hoping for a doggy bag ;-)

Then spent the afternoon on the beach. It was hot so there were quite a few people but I lay on the sand far, far, far away from everyone. Walking back I photographed the children's sand castles. Each had it's own style and personality, just as their homes will be in the future.

When I left I had to put the hire car into first gear up the hill. There's nothing after 1st, just a reluctant rolling back down. But we make it. Phew! ;-)

On the way back stopped off at Old Nick's Village. Lovely bunch of shops but I bought nothing. You heard right, nothing. Sat under the trees and had a vanilla milkshake and a coffee. Yum.
Milkshake then coffee. They were locking up but didn't rush me. Thanks, m'wah!

Packed up, ready to go. Fell asleep early, while reading.

Road to Wilderness. Wanted to get to the Sedgefield farmer's market and that closes at 11:30, had plenty of time. Ha, ha. Didn't make it.

Turned off to Buffalo Bay instead, my brother had mentioned it was a lovely beach. Awesome. Spent most of the day walking one end to the other.

Another sand castle, actually this was more of a fort. Two ninja turtles were guarding it, with some super-hero in a blue and black spandex outfit ;-) Jordan, who had built the fort told me that the blue guy was the boss.

He told me his father was fishing. He didn't like to fish but his brother did. His father and brother were having a fishing competition. Jordan and his mother were just sitting in the sun chatting and eating crisps. The baby was in the tent, in the shade.

Took a dip in the sea, twice, it was so refreshing. The area is actually Goukamma. I, of course, thought it was Koukamma. Dyslexia.

Found the beak of a Cape Gannet on the beach. Still had a bit of its neck, but most had been frayed away by the sea. Didn't photograph it. It looked too sad, it is sad.

How do fish die? Do they just stop swimming? If nothing eats them or no one catches them do they die of old age?

I lost a jersey today, I must have dropped it in the car park at Goukamma. Just as the weather turns and I needed it.

Anyway didn't stop in Kysna, it was already so busy, the traffic backing up, just before 10, ag nee wat, I don't want to be in a crowd.

Have been driving past a lot of places my brother had taken my dad and I to when we were down here years ago. He had gone to a lot of trouble to find places that were very interesting. That had been a very special few days.

Going to see him in a few day's time.

Thursday, 7 May 2015

Random ramblings on holiday - Part 2

On the way to Keurboomstrand there was a section of road where I suddenly had the taste of Buchu in my mouth, or in my imagination.

The fynbos is magnificent and thick along the edges of the road. All in flower, the proteas too. In some parts the fynbos is just shrub upon shrub of this bright pink; metres long, so very pretty.

I loved all the wind turbines in the fields. Like alien giants waving a gentle welcome. I remember the first time I saw them in Netherlands,  I couldn't stop taking pictures. Then l thought aliens may be watching from space trying to decifer the message from the sequence of the movement in each row. Yes, you're right to think I'm weird.

So on the way from PE to Kenton-on-sea there was a car broken down at the offramp as soon as I got onto the N2 and the people were trying to get a lift. And then at the next offramp and next. Then I realised that these cars weren't all broken down. They were hitchhikers that weren't left alone on the side of the road, but had someone waiting with them until they were safely in some stranger's car.

Stopped at Berlin for late lunch but it was a none event. Only 5 German dishes on an extensive menu, and only one served with sauerkraut and none served with boiled potatoes. Ag nee man.

If I wanted to do housekeeping I would stay at home. Honestly, I was irritated when I booked in and there was so much wrong in my room. I went to the beach before I started screaming and when I got back they had changed my room. It was much nicer, overlooked the pool. Power out from 8-10 that evening. Very, very dark.

A bus load of German tourists rushed onto the beach last night as the light was fading, the sun had already set, and they were gone again this morning when I went for breakfast at 8:30. I guess they were here long enough to take a selfie and post it on Facebook.

In fact, that reminds me, at Kenton-on-sea this car pulled into the car park on middle beach, 4 people got out, took a photograph of the sea across the roof of the car,  then got back in and drove off. Been there, done that, tick it off the list.

Across the dune from the hotel, is a beach full of washed up wood and twigs and a friendly seagull. The seagull is not washed up.

Get up really early and walk up the path and across the dune in the dark to watch the sun coming up. Of course, it's overcast, but the sun comes up anyway. A case of the rising sun battling the angry sky. 

Take a long walk on the beach and turn  back when the rain has seeped through my jacket. Collect all these mussels shells that are open and arrange them as you would a butterfly collection,  that's what they look like, butterflies. I take a picture of my arrangement and then pocket all the shells to take home. Sigh, yes, more projects, more clutter.

After breakfast the sun is out and it's so hot.

Drive down to Keurboomstrand. The main beach, to the left is gorgeous. Love the rocks.

Left my sandals on the sand to photograph the river meeting the sea and a wave came and took my sandals into the sea. Then spat them out again, took them back again. By then the left and the right had been seperated a good distance from one another. I got them back but had to get very wet to do so.

On the way back I picked up the rock/ stone I had selected. Perhaps I won't be buying anything but it seems I will still be taking something back.

One of my favourite spots is Nature's Valley. It is as I first experienced it. There's still the one shop in the same spot. The beach is lovely, hot. The light is so bright there is no softness between the shadow and the object; just harsh contrasts. I have it all to myself again but later a fisherman comes down and then a family line up, face down, on some towels under a blue umbrella.

You get to Nature's Valley you drive past some lovely farms and lots of fynbos, take the windy Grootrivierpas through a forest before you arrive at the turn-off to NV. It's so very pretty. On the way back there was a buck grazing on the side of the road, didn't bother him when I stopped to take his photo. Same markings as a bushbuck but smaller, will have to look it up in the book.

Stopped at a farm stall for coffee and a slice of chocolate cake. Bought some fynbos honey. Shared a table with a British tourist. Sweet woman, we had a good chat while we ate. She recommends the chicken pie and salad.

I leapt up because the cows came home, heading across the road and down a channel to be milked. Gosh, they were so curious to see what I was doing I held up the row and they backed up and dumped into one another, ha ha. They were all tagged with their names - Dream, Bloem, Max. Hmm, thought I would remember more of them, they were so wonderful.

To add to my delight I found the most refreshing board at the gate to the farm: CS Wilson and daughters.  Lovely. 3 daughters, no sons, I asked.

Swam in the pool that is in front of my room. Two laps. It was so cold that two muscles in my neck froze. It felt like short ice cold steel rods had been inserted in my neck making it impossible to move my head. Ouch.

Had supper at Enrico's, Scott had recommended it. Sole and veggies.

The bath is so narrow I only just fit in. If I put my arms on the side of my body I might get wedged in and probably won't be able to get out. Ha ha.

Got up early and drove down to Enrico's to get a good sunrise shot from the raised walkway. Took photos every few minutes for an hour. Got one really amazing image. On my Instagram,  caption reads another day in paradise. I have been posting a few pics from the trip every day.

Robberg. Oh my word, I had so looked forward to hiking here. I could not do it. It was a path on a cliff at the edge of the sea. The path not always clearly defined, a couple of loose stones on some dune sand. I recall walking on a similar path in the former Transkei, at the edge of the sea, A tuft of grass keeping the path from crumbling, where I thought I would stumble into the sea at very step. Sam laughed at me and did a little dance along the path and lost his footing, illustrating exactly what I was afraid of.  Without the agility of a goat and because I wasn't a surefooted as an ass I was the total coward. You know what they say; its not that you're afraid of heights, but you're afraid of the fall. 

Anyway, back at Robberg, the magnetic pull of the sea had me leaning towards it and made me light-headed, dizzy until I felt I would slide gently down the hillside and with a soft plop hit the water before disappearing under the sea. 

No, instead I turned back and went up the exit path. This looked easy, metres from the edge, a flat path - great. Until the top of the hill, just before the Gap, a steep descent with no handrail, are you crazy? No, thank you. Across the Gap I could see people battling the narrow paths. I saw them, not pausing to admire the view; no, hesitating because they didn't know if they could carry on. Good luck, guys.

People in the car park with young children and babies strapped on, all rubbing themselves with sunscreen in anticipation of this great adventure, well I admire that it is so effortless for you. That you can do it without a second thought, but I sat at the top of the hill thanking myself for not pushing ahead, thankful for having turned back. No regrets.

Of course, if it had been make-or-break on the Amazing Race I would have clawed my way along the path on my hands and knees. Ha, ha. 

Follow the path

Butterfly collection

without a lie, the colour of the sky

Monday, 4 May 2015

19 April - arrive in Kenton-on-Sea

Random ramblings on holiday - Part 1

My nieces say they dream about the same things over and over. The one dreams about princesses, dogs and cats. The other dreams about meeting friendly dinosaurs.

OMW, I didn't know how much M was attached to me, Ma-vas is what we would call it in Afrikaans. My heart breaks that we would scream and cry as I drove off. BJ jumped the full height of the fence and gate, 2m.

I hit a dove on the way to the airport. Bad omen or stupid bird?

Delayed on the tarmac for an hour. Hot. The little girl behind me said to her father: this is a good time to cry. She sounds like the girl in the Oreo commercial, or maybe the DialDirect ad.

I don't think I have ever been on such a quiet and well behaved flight, maybe the engines are just too loud to hear the conversations of others.

My niece told me on the phone that M and BJ are very sad. Very sad. They are waiting at the gate for me. She says they can't wait for me to get back.

You're going to laugh at me. I booked time at Kenton-on-sea because I remember this wonderful beach, and the great day I spent there. Well, as I am driving there from Port Elizabeth, actually only after I turn off the N2 and go through these wonderfully lush, green hills and valleys with cattle, sheep and farm stalls, I wonder how I ever ended up here before because nothing is familiar and it's so far off any road I travelled before. I remember it was during a trip in the 1980s, and then it hits me, it wasn't Kenton-on-sea but Brenton-on-sea. I laughed so much at myself. 440 kms off the mark. But without that dumb mistake I would never have come here, never have had this great day.

I went out early this morning before breakfast, dressed like a bear. It was freezing. I stuffed myself at breakfast. Delicious scrambled eggs and mushy tomatoes, I don't like it when they only warm the tomato through. It must be cooked until it is soft, yum.

After breakfast went for a long walk from Kariega river mouth. A dog attached himself to me and followed me for most of the morning. When big dogs threatened him I had to fight his fights for him. We sat and watched as two fishermen couldn't get their boat out the water. Honestly, I had sat down and taken my top off, just sitting in my bra, yes, I was still wearing my long pants. And what did it matter there was no one about. Suddenly, seemingly from nowhere, but of course we both know its from the sea, a boat lands in front of me, directly in my line of vision, okay about 100 metres away. I put my top back on and the dog was on guard. 

Eventually I had to walk away because I couldn't stand it another minute watching these two idiots trying to pull their boat off the sand and not understanding why the rope kept snapping. You have to use a winch, argh. Its not going to glide across the sand onto the trailer, I know this and I'm a girl. It's sunk into the wet sand and its stuck. I couldn't even look back to see whether the sea had swallowed their boat or them, ;-).

I'm staying at this really lovely place wooden floors. And a shower with wooden frames for the glass.

Anyway my host told me that Boknes and Canyon Rocks are two lovely resorts. Hmm, they look lovely but there was no one there at all. It was a little intimidating, to be the only person there amidst homes that have been abandoned after the summer holidays. Only some workmen about fixing things. And some loiterers, and the wind.

The sea behind me and the fields in front, a lovely little drive back.

Things I forgot to pack that don't bother me but the locals may not feel the same way; a comb and mascara.

I know why god made the sea salty, if he hadn't we would have used it all up aoens ago and it would have been all over so very long ago. He made it salty and unpredictable to try and keep it safe.

My luggage was exactly 20kgs, well 20.08kg, so I won't be able to buy anything to take home.

Got into the sea. But only waist deep. The first try I thought my feet would break off at the ankles, it was that cold. Tried again today, the day was darker but the water was warmer. So waist deep only, my heart didn't want to be cold. Ha, ha, yes dear heart, very funny.

Yes, I did pee in the sea.

Stopped at this beautiful shop with a corner coffee spot that has a sliver of a view onto the ocean. Nice and relaxing. Today at Viola, because its raining. Good coffee, bohemian vibe. The best music. A delicious steak roll with caramelised onions and a salad.

Walked on the other side of the river this morning. I was the only person there. Two people where doing yoga near the car park and eventually a jogger ran by.

Had to turn back after 2km, before I could get to the top of the hill to see how much further Diaz Cross was, it had started to drizzle. It was so fine I hardly felt it but by the time I got to the car my back was wet. Rained through my jacket, a jersey, and a top.

I am not racing from one place to the next this holiday. In fact if I hadn't paid a deposit on all the other places and a flight from George I would have chosen to spend the entire two weeks here. I see the merit in being in one spot and totally relaxing and eventually doing nothing every day. Bliss. Certainly going to choose that next time. 

Everyone is telling me there's so much to do here. Thank you. But I want to do nothing.

Georgie girl, the dog, can open the sliding doors when she want to get out. Nudges them open with her nose.

I stand at the edge of the sea, waves lapping at my ankles and covering my toes with sand, I know my feet are firmly on the ground but I believe I am in heaven. Well, paradise at least.

So what have I learnt sitting on the beach waiting for the sun or the rain - I have a good life. It turned out well. I was steered away from all the big mistakes I could have made by intuition, listening to the heart and not the razzle dazzle of fake promises. I missed no opportunities but took them as they came. Some I embraced fully, some I gave a chance but not a second chance. The bad things I did are part of life, part of learning right from wrong, part of growing and becoming me. I love my family, my dogs, my job, my country. Everything has its obstacles and I might have stumbled but I did not fall.  Ein guter stolperer fallt nicht, my dad used to say.

Three pied kingfishers hover to the sea. One takes something out the sea and lands with it on the beach.

I went to the beach in my PJs this morning. And to breakfast. I was already late for the sunrise so I just pulled a poncho over. They had told me when I booked in to make myself at home - and I never get dressed for breakfast.  Breakfast first, then a shower, then get ready for the day - so that is what I did here.

I also gave up wearing a bra but will put one on when I hit the road again tomorrow.

I am reading two books at the moment. Whenever this happens I am reminded of a man who tried to chat me up in a restaurant, this was when I was young and nubile, he had analysed who I was and the only thing I remember is he said I am the kind of woman who reads two books at the same time. Not simultaneously of course. I guess I remember it because it is true.

I learnt alot about my host. He had a farm. Worked a quarry in two shifts, then when he was told he had a bleeding ulcer, he told his staff no one would work before sunrise and after sunset ever again. Used to be up at 3:30 everyday before then. Chaired a round table meeting once a week. Preached on Sundays. Built the cupboards in the house. Has a boat. Members of family on his mother's side - 152. Would be lost and feel awkward on his own (if he lived like me). What I learnt from his wife is that they go to pick figs in Craddock 15 October every year. Her friend has just had open heart surgery. She is always busy and her days are full.

From too much sleep comes bad dreams. Just woke from the shitest dream ever. Trying to not go over it in my mind again. But it the case of don't think of an apple and then that's all you think and see in your mind.

Reading this book: The search for the rarest bird in the world. I don't care whether they find it or not. The guy writes in these metaphors that are so wonderful I just want to keep reading. The Amharic language was rich and pulpy, like the juice of a foreign fruit plucked fresh from a tree in a wild place - sticky to the tongue and oddly delicious.

I see and hear the sea from my bed  obviously at night I can only hear it. Looking across I can see whether it is raining.

I think there is a bat living on the patio. Do they live alone or is it always in groups?  What is a collective of bats called? Group, colony? 

I spoke to my hostess about this and they have been trying to determine what it could be. We agree it is actually bigger than a bat, and not as dark. Or there albino giant bats?

I keep saying Keurbosstrand and then no one knows where that is but its Keurboomstrand, sorry folks.
I say Roggeberg but its Robberg. And Tergeniet when its Tergniet. No wonder my niece says Lugaarde instead of Lughawe.

How long does it take to read a book?

How long does it take to read a book? All the way from Kenton-on-Sea to Wilderness.

Some excerpts from the book. Enjoyed it soooo much!

The search for the rarest bird in the world – Vernon RL Head

I moved on a tide of humanity through queues linking people as hyphens link words...

The Amharic language was rich and pulpy, like the juice of a foreign fruit plucked fresh from a tree in a wild place - sticky to the tongue and oddly delicious.

But cities are not flowers that open naturally and live within nature; instead they expand like foreign,  parasitic things that continue to take, banishing the wilderness as once they banished lepers.

We proceeded along the wide, winding serpent ever southwards towards Nechisar, contained on either side by the purple shiver on distant mountains. Midday made them rock like boats on the sky.

Our vehicle entered into a dance with the mule and the truck, in the suck of the truck the animal spun, twirling and wobbling in a tragic circle, a macabre pirouette. Then, like a gust from nowhere, the great hulk steadied itself, walking miraculously as if it were a limping dancer to the other side of the road,  and began to eat from the verge like a mellow hippy. It ate immediately and nonchalantly, this hippy horse, as one might eat from habit. Then a man with dreadlocks and smoke coming from his head tapped it on the thigh, but the mule lingered like a street dog near its food.

We sat in a corrugated corner of the town, on the edge of this mess, like coffee granules stuck to the side of a cup. All about us lay a lazy choas of things that would have been easy to pick up and put right.

At times happiness is intensely private: a place of solitude and yet immense abundance.

The town of Arab Minch appeared to have slid lazily downhill. It sat like an old person, a little tired and askew but contented.

And I felt how a smile could talk.

The darkness came suddenly before I noticed the dusk, as if the sun had become the moon.

Then the moon snuggled up to a cloud and buried itself, content as a bird in its nest. The darkness was immediate.

©Vernon RL Head