I will be in sunny South Africa for most of February.
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Yay. Sunshine, temperatures in the high twenties, long white deserted beaches, cheap fruit, friends, family, Afrikaans, earthy humour, crazy drivers, bad service, slow internet, chaos, crime and corruption! I can't wait!
I'm not being facetious. I think I've become way too complacent in Japan. You see, third-world countries …
Oh, I know I should be politically correct and refer to them as developing countries, but to hell with that. I need to practice blunt speech now that I'm going back. SA is a banana republic. It just happens to be exceptionally beautiful and relatively more efficient than other banana republics in Africa.
Anyway, you see, life in a banana republic has its own joys: energy, vitality, unpredictability, spontaneity, madness, laughter, creativity, warmth, no rules, no restrictions, no manners, danger, excitement, adrenaline.
SA is not a safety country, but it's my home, and it's good to be going back.
I haven't been to SA for three years. I used to resent trips back home, mostly due to the expensive airline ticket and the hideously long journey: 26 hours of economy hell, a total of 36 hours from door to door. This time, though, I'm looking forward to it. I haven't enjoyed a summer in South African for many years.
I will stay in a small coastal town called Kleinmond, which is near a bigger town called Hermanus. That part of South Africa is called the Whale Coast. It's a breeding ground for the southern right whale, which makes it one of the best whale-viewing spots in the world.
You will understand why I don't tell random strangers in Kleinmond that I live in whale-hunting&munching Japan. (Let me state for the record: if a species isn't endangered, I see no reason why it can't be eaten. There's no moral distinction between killing a dumb cow, a cute bunny and a majestic whale. Personally I eat no seafood, and meat perhaps once a fortnight and only when dining out; but if you want to eat McDonalds or whale sashimi every day, どうぞ!)
Kleinmond is also famous for its fynbos. The so-called Cape Floral Kingdom, the smallest of the world's six floral kingdoms, covers only 0.5% of the area of Africa but is home to nearly 20% of the continent’s flora.
So this time I'm taking my big camera with me. I want to take photos of our beaches, our flowers, our food. I won't be able to see whales – wrong season for that – but I might be able to snap a fairly huge human. There are plenty in SA.
I'm going to go offline this coming weekend. I won't access the web while I'm gone. Sometimes real life is more important than the virtual world, and anyway, the internet in SA is so slow that it turns me into a gibbering wreck within ten minutes. That's how long it takes for Google's home page to load.
I'm also going to disable comments before I leave, because I'm sick of the vile spam comments I've been getting.
Totsiens, almal. Goodbye, all. Stay warm, and talk to you again … I dunno when … I'm already on Africa time!
I don't have good photos of my home-home, because I've never lugged my big camera halfway around the world, but here goes:
|The coastal road from Cape Town to Kleinmond|
|Kleinmond's beach, with Table Mountain far away in the distance|
|Table Mountain again, this time from the vineyards above Stellenbosch|
|Stellenbosch: blue sky, blue mountains|
|Also lots of vineyards and damn good wine!|
|University of Stellenbosch|
|Lanzerac, a Stellenbosch wine farm that was established in 1692|
This map shows you where I grew up: the Western Cape of South Africa. I was born in Worcester, studied in Stellenbosch, worked in Cape Town, then lived in Johannesburg for several years and finally returned to Stellenbosch. After I moved to Japan, my oldest sister, her family and my mother moved to Kleinmond. That's where I will spend most of my holiday.
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