Sunday, February 04, 2007

wrong turns

Ok. So not only did we take a wrong turn on the way to Granny’s, but we got a bit lost trying to find the right turn, AND we took a wrong turn on the way home. With all due respect to Grandpa Cape Town, I think I know where Sugar Daddy got his HORRIBLE sense of direction from.

We had a nice visit with Granny, this time just for tea, so we actually got time to talk, along with consuming a great lemon meringue pie. Uncle R smoked in the house, even though it was considerably cooler than last time, but whatever. Not much we can do about it, and given that Granny will celebrate her 90th birthday in June, we wanted to see her again before we left.

Uncle R is rather a character. He told me about a trip he took around about 1992 with a mate. They took a boat, pulled behind their dune buggy, up to Mozambique to travel to some island off the coast, and things were still pretty violent. He said they must have been held up six or seven times on the way, so casually that I figured he must have meant they were delayed six or seven times, which I didn’t think made for an interesting story. Then he started talking about people pointing AK47s in their faces, and I realized that he actually meant held up, like at gunpoint. But they made the trip and the island was beautiful.

I asked him if he was scared getting held up, and he paused, then said, “Aww, they were mostly looking for smokes and booze; just fooling around.” But he went on to say that when they got into Maputo around 2 in the morning, some soldiers stopped them, “And they weren’t fooling around; they were all agro’d.” They stuck their AK47s in their faces, and angrily questioned them. Apparently, they were driving near some important place, I can’t remember who, but some statesperson or something. Eventually, the soldiers just told them to get outta there.

He also told me that Granny saw the only fatal shark attack at Clifton (a beach, which never has shark attacks), thinking it was her husband who was attacked. Apparently sometime just after the war, she went to call her husband for lunch. She saw someone swimming, then saw the shark come up, saw the swimmer’s legs up in the air, and then never saw the swimmer again. Thankfully, her husband came walking up the beach shortly thereafter, but she still had quite a fright. Her husband, Sugar Daddy’s Grandpa T, was an Olympic cyclist and swam nearly every day in the freezing cold Atlantic waters. Uncle R told me that Grandpa T often took him out as a baby, arms wrapped around his neck. He said the water’s quite refreshing. I have dipped my toes in those waters, just up the coast at Yzerfontein, and I can tell you even at the height of summer, the water is mind numbingly, screamingly cold.

Just before we left, Granny ladened us with small gifts, and Uncle R presented us with a pencil drawing he did of the shacks in Khayelitsha, one of the townships here. He really is very talented, even if he does smoke around babies, and I really like the drawing. I took some pictures of him in front of his paintings, and the light was actually quite nice, and showed off his eyes, which are icy cold and the colour of the sea.

This afternoon, we go up the coast, and we’ve decided to stay for two nights and just chill. Maybe we’ll take a few walks, maybe we’ll just sit around and chase Swee’pea around the house. But we’ve been keeping up quite a pace of visiting and sightseeing, and could use a bit of a break. I’ve started a new book, which I found on Grandpa Cape Town’s large, overflowing bookshelves. This is by a South African travel writer and photographer, about his trip around Mozambique in 1999 or so. The going sounds terribly rough, with lousy roads, sometimes even no roads, and the risk of many nasty illnesses. He’s not funny, but it’s not a bad read, and I feel better reading about somewhere that shares a border with where we are.

So I guess it will be a few days before I post again. I’m really feeling quite disconnected, not being able to read everyone’s blogs. When I get home, I will have a lot of catching up to do, with blogs and tv. Hopefully, my friend Banana has taped House and Grey’s Anatomy for me…


Beck said...

That is QUITE the trip you're having! I don't know if I'd ever want to go to South Africa - it sounds terrifying - but you describe everything so vividly and beautifully.

Aliki2006 said...

I'm still amazed at all you recount! I'm glad you were given that pencil drawing, it sounds like something you'll probably really treasure once you get back.

Mad Hatter said...

If you think for a minute that you have to or even can get caught up on reading blogs, then I say to you "Tee Hee."

Enjoy yourself. The bloggers? We'll still be blogging away when you get back. So far I haven't heard of one shark attack or gun-point robbery in the blogosphere. It's dulls-ville here, man, dulls-ville.

ewe are here said...

Enjoy a few days of downtime. Every vacation needs such moments.

It still sounds like an amazing trip.

Mimi said...

this is my favorite part of your post: "He really is very talented, even if he does smoke around babies". teehee. your travel stories are making me feel warmer even though it's like minus a gazillion here ....

gingajoy said...

I would Love to go to South Africa. In a heartbeat. I am actually working on a work project right now that is very much related to that neck of the woods.

blogosphere, schmogosphere--enjoy it when you get back:)