Sunday, January 21, 2007

wind and water

Well, I think we are settling in. Swee’pea is sleeping more and crying less, and seems more like his usual happy friendly self. I am worrying less about the sun, since we went to Kirstenbosch and the sunscreen has proven that it really does work.

Yesterday was really hot. Unpleasantly hot. I felt mildly ill off and on through the day. So we didn’t do much. But I did find a place to upload a few photos for only 8 rands, so I will update my earlier posts with them when I get a chance. We went for dinner at Sugar Daddy’s Uncle J and Auntie L’s house in Somerset West, and on the way stopped at the Strand for Sugar Daddy to take a dip in the ocean. It was still REALLY windy, and people on the beach were getting sandblasted by it. Swee’pea had fallen asleep in the car anyways, so we stayed inside the air conditioned sand-free car. I really want to see Swee’pea on a beach, but I think we will wait to go to Boulders Beach, which is sheltered from the wind.

We took the N2 to get there, which is lined with informal settlements. The homemade shacks are nearly piled on top of one another, but at least they have electricity now. Sugar Daddy pointed out the street lights and wires. It was an interesting drive, and we passed a few roofless abandoned buildings whose white walls were covered with graffiti. There are periodic pedestrian bridges, which look like tunnels snaking over the highway, and we noticed a line of cattle crossing through one of them, single file, which was strange.

Once off the highway, on the way to the Strand, there was a small pickup truck ahead of us with a muscled tan blonde man in the back of it. I don’t know if he noticed my camera, or didn’t notice the husband and baby in the backseat, but he smiled at me, then proceeded to go through a range of stretching exercises, followed by a chat on his cell phone, back to stretching, and so on. Sugar Daddy thought he was showing off. I thought it was pretty silly either way.

Uncle J and Auntie L are still as warm, fun and wonderful as I remember from my last visit. They love to entertain, and are really good at making you feel welcome and special. Uncle J is a potter, and last time we were here we were given wonderful wedding gifts that he had made. This time, he agreed to accept money from us, and we bought two beautiful large bowls that I couldn’t choose between, a couple of large mugs and a couple of small plates for Sugar Daddy’s mom. Their house is full of their daughter’s paintings and Uncle J’s pottery pieces, and is fabulously colourful and comfortable. Outside, it’s painted a golden yellow, and I took some pictures of the late afternoon sun shining on its warm walls.

Since we last visited, Auntie L was diagnosed with a benign brain tumour and had to have brain surgery. Benign is rather a misnomer when dealing with brain tumours, because they can still cause a lot of damage, and so can the surgery to remove them. I’m not sure whether it’s from the surgery or the tumour, but Auntie L lost hearing in one ear, and the right side of her face is paralyzed. She can’t blink her right eye and the right side of her mouth droops uselessly. But it’s amazing how much animation she can fit into the other side of her face. I was worried that her personality had changed, but from what I can see she is still as friendly, interested and just plain lovely as ever.

After our last visit, I sent cards that my brother made to all the family members I met, and Auntie L told me yesterday that she kept it on her fridge for nearly a year. We brought a small painting for them, also by my brother, (although we forgot it at Grandpa Cape Town’s) and she exclaimed that it sounded wonderful and what a special gift to be given. Seriously, it just made me feel SO good, and I feel privileged for having been invited into their home not once but twice. I’m hoping we’ll squeeze another visit in on our way to or from Stellenbosch before we leave the country. We have to bring their painting and pick up our pottery, which Uncle J is packing up in bubble wrap, anyways.

After a fabulous dinner of egg drop soup, ginger stirfried veggies with noodles, and a sort of strawberry mousse with melon, Uncle J pointed out a comet in the sky, which was very visible to the naked eye, and kind of magical. It disappeared before we left; I don’t know where. We drove back in the dark, listening to Johnny Cash sing his own version of other people’s songs. Grandpa Cape Town has much better taste in music than Swee’pea’s other Grandpa.


Beck said...

That guy in the back of the truck sounds like such a freak. Lucky that you were there with your camera!

Stacey said...

Would that be Comet McNaught?

Sounds like you're having a great time:)

cinnamon gurl said...

Hey cool! That must be it. I was thinking I should google it but I couldn't be arsed. Thanks!

Aliki2006 said...

I"m glad the day was so great (minus the strange guy in the truck). I'm glad you're all recovering from the trip...