Returning to the Camino

I’m off again, this time to the Camino del Norte. Last time I began my blog with a quote from Goethe and this time I’ll start with T. S. Eliot. 

“We shall not cease from exploration; And the end of our exploring; Will be to arrive where we started; And know the place for the first time. ”

Thank you Virginia for sharing this inspiration. 

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Catch The Beat

It is magical when I catch – and keep – the beat.  Today was may second class in African drumming.  The palm of my hand in the middle of the drum to hit the base tones and fingers on the edges for the high tones.  Using both hands, start slowly, follow the leader, now getting faster, bring in additional rhythms, and then we all arrive – repeating the rhythm in sync and in time.  I concentrate on my neighbour, his green runners in fact, sometimes close my eyes, and I am in time, feeling the pulse, following the rhythm and keeping it going.

I discovered drumming last Saturday and was drawn back again today. On a side street in the centre of Cape Town, chairs and drums are set out on the sidewalk for the regulars – master drummers – with an invitation for newcomers, tourists and passer-by’s to join in as well.  A tall, beautiful Ghanian leads the session and his cousin brings our  stools, chairs and drums as more people gather – perhaps 30 today.   The sight and sound draws in quite a group of onlookers. Today, two begger-children joined in with gusto and glee.  All ages, all races and backgrounds, it is an amazing levelling field; an harmonious gathering of all who comprise Cape Town.

Two hours, perhaps more, and I leave while a small group of masters continue to play. Everyone contributes what funds they can to the basket in the middle and slowly more people take their leave.  I walk away on air, the pulse in my head and the beat rolling on. Driving back home, I take a detour along Ocean View Drive, high above the city and, true to the road’s name, with spectacular views of the ocean. The sun is getting low and peace reigns.  The beat goes on….

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How to Hibernate

The trick to hibernating is the temperature indoors, not out. Winter in Cape Town is ideal – no insulation, single pain windows and no heating. Capetonians hunker down and hibernate. Last week it was 2 degrees in the early morning, below the norm of 8-10. Tricky getting out of bed and quickly into a warm shower.

I’ve developed my own hibernation routine. A bath to warm up, some dinner and, before the cold takes hold, snuggle up in bed with a good book. It’s a treat to forget all that I should and could be doing in a warm apartment and retreat to my heavy duvet. It’s a new way to experience winter and not bad at all.

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A winter eve in Cape Town.

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Me at the Sea

IMG_2333 IMG_2324The topic may be getting rather stale – my fascination with living by the sea – but it still inspires me. This time it’s a picture of me and one with Fumi. Proof that I really live here, just in case you had any doubts.

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Seagulls No. 2

The seagulls still make me smile. Who knows why. So, here is number two in my seagull series: Gulls in a Puddle. Two gulls wading around, with typical Cape Town reflections – Palm trees and a local security vehicle. Enjoy.

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To and From Work

My view first thing in the morning and on my return. I still cannot get used to the fact I live by the sea. It overwhelms me every time I see the ocean. I take a detour to the bus to catch sight of the gulls, the sunrise and the power or peace of the waves.

The gulls make me laugh, all lined up on posts and looking the exact same direction. It’s a game to see how many I can capture with the camera, all in a line, and how close I can come. Today it was two. The game continues.

I wish you a beautiful start to your day.

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20 Years of Democracy

It’s Election Day. 20 years and the fifth election in democratic South Africa. To think, it’s only 20 years since Mandela was elected, apartheid came to an end and all could vote. It is such a short time and so much has been achieved.

We take our right to vote so for granted. It’s moving to see everyone lined to vote and committed to exercising their hard-won freedom.

Since many have to travel to their hometowns to vote, today is a holiday as well. I’ve taken the chance to develop a new routine: long walk on the promenade followed by a cafe latte and reflecting on my life here.

Here is Vicky – my waitress – and soon to go and vote for the 5th time.

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Fog Horns

I woke this morning to the sound of fog horns. That’s how close I am to the Atlantic in my new flat. Instead of this view from the skylight in my bedroom it was all swirling white and grey.

My container and I arrived on the same day at my beautiful new place. I’ve been 6 weeks in transit and now I’ve arrived. Feels so good. Here’s last evening’s view from the nearby beach promenade.

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Arriving

It takes time to arrive in a new place. I guess that’s what I’ve been doing my first month in Cape Town. A step or two into the unknown, get comfortable and then continue. There is no point in pushing myself. There are limits to the speed I can go, as I discovered when I came down with a cold.

It’s like a roller coaster at times; the joy of living in this stunning city and the beauty all around, followed by the effort to manage so many things on my own.

However, I’m not really alone and people I hardly know have been a huge help. It is actually quite amazing where I’m at one month down the road. I impress myself.

I now own a car, have insurance and can drive without the GPS all the time. I’ve found a great flat, close to the sea, and my furniture and goods arrive April 28, right in time for moving. How perfect is that.

I’ve been to the repertoire cinema, the theatre, lots of coffee shops and I’ve discovered some beautiful beaches, including the official nudist beach.

While work still overwhelms, I’m getting better at focusing on one thing at a time. It’s Easter weekend, a 4-day break from work and a good chance for more discovering. Here are some shots from the top of Table Mountain.

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Mani/Pedi Therapy

Forget retail therapy, this girl needs mani/pedi therapy. The highlight of my first day was finding a spa to pamper myself with a manicure and pedicure. Last time you saw me I had nails in green, this time it’s red, with the addition of an Atlantic beach.

I’m inspired by Maslow and am discovering my own pyramid of needs. With a beautiful setting, a great b&b and an income that keeps me fed and clothed, we’re talking about higher level needs. Still, to feel at ease I’m finding I need to have a basic comfort zone in place.

The mani/pedi was a start, followed by a cafe to retreat to with a book. A kitchen to use and someone to answer all my questions comes with my b&b and a GPS with the renal car. A good grocery store and gas station nearby and an ATM that takes my card completes the picture.

With that in place I was ready to venture forth – in my rented standard, lefthand drive car – and meet the challenge of finding a parking spot at the beach. Here you go, the results of my first weekend.

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