I know. I know. I just disappeared into the heart of darkness.
I am sorry but the truth is the change in perspective caused by my being here for an extended length of time, instead of just visiting, has changed my priorities. Since returning to Africa, I’ve spend less time exploring and more time trying to get my new life up and running. It is harder than it sounds. But I am making progress.
We have not traveled at all and in fact we spend our weekends doing dull pedestrian things like taking a class for my professional development, buying cheap, put-it-together-yourself furniture so I will have a workspace and waiting for better weather.
Spring has Sprung
It is early spring here. The trees are showing that pale new green color. The birds are nesting and the weather is unsettled. We’ve had cold, windy days, violent thunderstorms and hail.
While I am glad it is spring, I notice the change of season here lacks the emotional charge of spring back home. Instead of the thrill of the first daffodils, spring is heralded by these purple things. They smell nice but I don’t know what they are.
Spring back home also means yard work and here I have no yard. I live in the sky. I am like Repunzel, locked in my high tower watching the world go by below.
The View from Repunzel-ville
And what a busy and NOISY world it is!
Every day, including Saturday, dump trucks full of dirt and boulders roll down the hill outside the apartment. Up to 17 in an hour! I counted.
Three or four times each day a water truck washes down the street.
There are also the daily treks of the children from the daycare down the street to the church next door. I find this entertaining but I do not find it quiet.
And that is just the day time. At night, down the road, just out of sight, they are working all night with a jackhammer and a loud crew of talkative men.
At least once a week a very impressive burglar alarm goes off emitting at least three different very alarming tones. Eventually someone turns it off. I doubt the police come any more, if they ever did.
What to Do with This Spring
As spring springs I find myself getting restless. It is hard to watch the weather warm and the land blossom from Rapunzel-ville. I want to be outdoors. Getting out is possible but it takes some figuring out. I definitely can’t do it alone.
Outdoor activities here: hiking, bike riding, are usually done in large groups. Whether that is for safety from animals, criminals or political activist, I can’t say. All I know is, I need to find a group. There is a hiking group, the Johannesburg Hiking Club. I looked into it, but I discovered that to hike with the club I have to meet up with the group at 7:45am on a Sunday morning, climb into some stranger’s car and be gone until evening.
As it turned out, this all day solo adventure (Steve is working) requires more courage than I have. My intentions were good but the weekend dawned cold and rainy and the guide book description of the hiking club’s planned destination, the Tswaing Meteorite Crater, as a “a ½ mile wide meteorite crater with a brackish lake on its floor and minimal facilities”, was enough to dissuade me. Apparently, there is a limit to my adventurous spirit.
Since Steve can only get away for a few hours at a time we spend much of our time eating. We eat a lot of good food here but I am going to spare you the foodie details. You get plenty of that on Facebook.
Since my failure to be brave and independent, another weekend has come and gone and once again we did not take full advantage. We did spend a few hours on “Zoo Lake” an urban park in the center of the city. We rented a row boat and maneuvered our way around the crowded lake. There was little indication that the other rowers on the lake had any experience rowing so it was a little like a watery experience of bumper cars but a nice break from Rapunzel-ville.
Dull as this post is, I beg you not to despair. Next weekend we are driving out of Jo’burg to Kruger National park to do a weekend of true African safaris. (This is scheduled time off, so hopefully Steve will not be required to work) Kruger Park is a must do in South Africa and I can hardly wait. The goal is to see the “Big Five”: lion, African elephant, Cape buffalo, leopard, and rhinoceros.
The members of the Big Five were chosen for the difficulty in hunting them and the degree of danger involved, I suspect that means hunting them on foot with guns not from the back of a covered jeep with cameras although… this is Africa, there is danger everywhere.