Category: they really did stage an intervention

July2016

From left to right:

  1. Painting I saw at First Thursdays
  2. Pretty flowers on Lion’s Head
  3. Carrot cake flavoured ice-cream from The Creamery

It’s been nearly two weeks since I’ve booked my tickets to Victoria Falls International Airport and since then I haven’t done much in the way of research and planning. I haven’t booked accommodation, arranged for any tours or check that my yellow fever certification is still current, which is worrisome considering that I board said flight in less than two weeks. Instead I’ve spent the last two weeks feasting (Ramadaan just ended), teaching myself some Python scripting, and being paralyzed by fear.

 

You see, days after I booked my plane tickets to Victoria Falls (which is situated in Zimbabwe), I would learn via Twitter of the national shutdown protests in Zimbabwe. This ultimately leaves me with the following questions:

  • Is the Zimbabwean side of Victoria Falls safe to travel to?
  • Is it ethical to travel to a country where a majority of the citizens are clearly fed up with the current government?

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Anyway, I’m currently reading “Into Thin Air“.

Here’s an extract from the novel:

“Straddling the top of the world, one foot in China and the other in Nepal, I cleared the ice from my oxygen mask, hunched a shoulder against the wind, and stared absently down at the vastness of Tibet. I understood on some dim, detached level that the sweep of earth beneath my feet was a spectacular sight. I’d been fantasizing about this moment, and the release of emotion that would accompany it, for many months. But now that I was finally here, actually standing on the summit of Mount Everest, I just couldn’t summon the energy to care.

It was early in the afternoon of May 10, 1996. I hadn’t slept in fifty-seven hours. The only food I’d been able to force down over the preceding three days was a bowl of ramen soup and a handful of peanut M&Ms. Weeks of violent coughing had left me with two separated ribs that made ordinary breathing an excruciating trial. At 29, 028 feet up in the troposhere, so little oxygen was reaching my brain that my mental capacity was that of a slow child. Under the circumstances, I was incapable of feeling much of anything except cold and tired.”

Durban 2016 - Ushaka

Crossing the finish line of the Comrades Marathon, I was filled with sheer relief, immense accomplishment and astonishment. I couldn’t quite believe that I’d managed to achieve my goal; that I’d battled exhaustion, despair, self-doubt and minor cramping to finish THE FUCKING COMRADES in 11 hours. Days later I would think back to THAT moment, the moment when I actually crossed the finish line and I’d smile like a lunatic.

And even though that feeling of accomplishment has yet to diminish, it was soon followed by the question, “What next?” I’d started this year with the simple resolve to make this year amazing, which meant that other than improving on my running, I needed to travel. So after visiting the Travel Start website on a daily basis for the last week, I finally entered my credit card details and booked that damn plane ticket.

More details to follow soon.

Anyway, here are a couple of links to my favourite travel posts and Instagram accounts.

  1. Nasrin Suleiman posts pictures of her life in beautiful Zanzibar.
  2. Olivia Rae Jame’s bachelorette party in Harbour Island.
  3. 9 American habits I lost when I moved to Germany.
  4. Hoping that I can one day tick Bolivia off my bucket list.
  5. Hailey Wist is currently in Italy at the moment.
  6. Truth Slinger normally posts pictures of his home country, Kenya, but he’s currently in Iceland.

SeaPointMay

Above two photos taken in Sea Point.

Black Diamond

I’m currently reading “Black Diamond” by Zakes Mda. It’s not my usual fare. I generally prefer more poetic pieces (think “Jazz” by Toni Morrison), but this story is funny, raunchy and has so many truths about South Africa. Here’s an extract from his novel.

 

“With all this talk of deployment, Don cannot help wondering how the government became so enamoured of military vocabulary. In this brave new world accumulation of personal wealth is dressed-up in militarism, as if capitalism is the continuation of the guerilla warfare that was fought during apartheid. It is as if they are compensating for the fact that most of those who are enjoying the fruits of deployment are not the freedom fighters – the foot soldiers – who bore the brunt of the war. It is mostly the leaders whose fight against apartheid was in the capitals of the world, and the trade union bosses who crossed to the other side to be at one in body and spirit with corporate bosses. Or perhaps it is compensation for the fact that the actual war itself was a very limited one, and the liberation movement was denied the glory of an outright military victory when liberation was won mostly through ordinary black civilians who made the country ungovernable, and the workers who brought the economy to its knees, and of course the western community which pressured an erstwhile ally to negotiate with the blacks now that the feat of the Soviet Union was a thing of the past. More than anything else, the so-called mass action brought the government to a standstill; we did not see platoons of cadres in a triumphant march into Pretoria after felling the Boer forces.”

 

My niece

A few months ago, my three-year-old niece (and her parents) moved into a place 10 minutes from my apartment. It’s such a delight having her close y. A few days ago, I turned up at her place after a run. My running tights were slick with sweat (so gross). She touched my thigh, looked up at me and earnestly asked, “Did you pee in your pants?”

 

Asking the Universe for a big slice of adventure 

A few friends might be immigrating to the States soon. This depresses me. I feel like everyone is leading such exciting lives and nothing ever happens to me. Eat, run, sleep and repeat.

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I’ve just finished reading the book, “Into the Wild“. Below is two of my favourite passages. It’s on ice climbing.

All that held me to the mountainside, all that held me to the world, were two thin spikes of chrome molybdenum stuck half an inch into a smear of frozen water, yet the higher I climbed, the more comfortable I became. Early on a difficult climb, especially a difficult solo climb, you constantly feel the abyss pulling at your back. To resist takes a tremendous conscious effort; you don’t dare let your guard down for an instant. The siren song of the void puts you on edge; it makes your moments tentative, clumsy, herky-jerky. But as the climb goes on, you grow accustomed to the exposure, you get used to rubbing shoulders with doom, you come to believe in the reliability of your hands and feet and head. You learn to trust your self-control.

 

By and by your attention becomes so intensely focused that you no longer notice the raw knuckles, the cramping thighs, the strain of maintaining nonstop concentration. A trancelike state settles over your efforts; the climb becomes a clear-eyed dream. Hours slide by like minutes. The accumulated clutter of day-today existence – the lapses of conscience, the unpaid bills, the bungled opportunities, the dust under the couch, the inescapable prison from your genes – all of it is temporarily forgotten, crowded from your thoughts by an overpowering clarity of purpose and by the seriousness of the task at hand.

I wish I could attempt something this scary. I want to be brave and strong. 

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It the second week of November and I feel compelled to put fingers to keyboard, compelled to recap these last few weeks, compelled to tell you that I still exist.

 

The thing is, since being back from Cali I don’t feel like I’ve accomplished much. I haven’t booked a one-way ticket to Japan. I haven’t mastered the art of Python scripting or HTML5. And I most certainly have put an end to world hunger. I’ve spent the 3 months getting back to my pre-travel fitness level and training for the Winelands Marathon.

 

Pre-travel fitness

Getting back to my pre-travel fitness level was easy enough. It took me 5 weeks of consistent training. 5 of hill repeats, 5 weeks of leaving parties early and repeating to myself that “This is the life I’ve chosen”, 5 weeks of consuming GU for breakfast. Easy enough!

 

Insert humble brag here. A couple of weeks ago, I ran the Landmarks half-marathon (21km).It’s a tough route. I did last year and was completely gutted. I just walked so much. No matter how hard I tried to will my body, my legs simply wouldn’t comply. I ended up finishing the race in 2:11. This year? This year I managed sub 2. Redemption, baby!

 

Winelands Marathon  

Where do I even start with this one? There was definitely fear, and anxiety, and despondency.

 

I have not been able to keep up with my partners’ running pace. I have been lagging behind, and have not clocked in as my kilometers as they have. This had made me feel panicked and uncertain.

 

The result is that I may have asked strangers on Twitter to break my foot IF I did not finish the Winelands Marathon in less than 5 hours (qualifying time for an Ultra). All they had to do was drop a sledgehammer on my right-foot, since it already felt like it had a stress fracture. (Side note: That foot only hurts when I walk. It’s TOTALLY fine when I run.)

 

With less than a week to the marathon, I’m no longer feeling this way. I’m feeling calm. I’ve told myself that I don’t need to finish this marathon in sub 4 hours. There’ll be plenty of other marathons. All I need to do for now is qualify for Comrades. And set a new PB for a marathon … Easy. No pressure.

 

AND now for a random quote:

“I didn’t fall in love, I rose in it. I saw you and made up my mind.” Toni Morrison

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Photo taken in Turkey.

I’ve just finished reading, “Best White and Other Anxious Delusions” by Rebecca Davis.

My favourite extract from the novel:

“Then Desmond Tutu really set the cat among the pigeon by proposing that white South Africans should pay a ‘white tax’, to which many white people responded with fury that they already paid a ‘white tax’ called ‘tax’.

It’s cute how many white people genuinely believe they are the only ones who pay tax, as if whenever anyone else gets to the Shoprite till, the checkout lade presses a secret button marked ‘No VAT FOR DARKIES’.”

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Did you know that they pay a tampon tax in the UK? Coz tampons are a “luxury” item …

Grazegraze

The above photo was taken at Graze, a new restaurant in Harfield Village.

Books

I am currently reading Irvine Welsh’s latest offering. He’s the very same guy that brought us, “Trainspotting”.

Part of the narrative is told by Lucy Brennan, personal trainer who is obsessed with exercise and weight. Here’s an extract from the novel.

“The only fast-food place handy is this pizza joint, so I order a couple of slices. The line is busy with just one fat chick sweating behind the counter, trying to keep up with the orders. – Sorry about the wait, she says.

– Well, that’s a start. But don’t beat yourself up, take action, and I hand her my card.

She looks at me like she’s going to burst into tears. – I meant … I meant the wait! That wait you’ve had in this line!”

David Sedaris

I absolutely love David Sedaris and I’ve read most of his books. In the following article he talks about a cow giving birth:

“What might I have thought if, after seven hours of unrelenting agony, a creature the size of a full-grown cougar emerged, inch by inch, from the hole at the end of my penis and started hassling me for food? Was that what the cow was going through? Did she think she was dying, or had instinct somehow prepared her for this?”  

 

Art, elephants, colour, India

Doors - Blue City

Jodhpur walls

Blue City

Boy feeding the raptors

The above photos were taken at the Mehrangarth Fort in Jodhpur. The Mehrangarth Fort is where the latest Batman movie (The Dark Knight Rises) was shot. The Mehrangarth Fort is where I spent the first day of 2014 – ziplining across dams. The Mehrangarth Fort is where I watched a young boy feed dozens of raptors (eagles?) pieces of meat. *Sigh*. I only wish I’d taken more photos to capture the exquisite moments.

Grainy photo
The above grainy photo was taken with my cell phone. I was too afraid of taking my DSLR with me, as I ziplined from one to the other.

Colourful elephants

Elephants - Jaipur

Old man - Jaipur

View from Amer Fort, Jaipur

Mirrors - Amer Fort

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I’ve been back home (Cape Town) for less than a month and I’ve already planned my next two adventures. The first adventure on the agenda is a trip to Joburg. A few girlfriends and I are planning to attend a concert there. Plane, train AND concert tickets have already been purchased. Yes, that’s right, we’ve purchased TRAIN tickets from Cape Town to Joburg. That’s a 26 hour journey!

The second adventure on the agenda is a family trip to Durban. I an’t wait to cycle along the Durban beach front.