Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Africa Part 4

A few days ago, I went to my first South African birthday party. A 21st birthday party, for that matter. (Although they were able to legally drink at 18, and probably no one enforces it earlier). But I digress. Anyhow, apparently here, themed parties are really quite popular—last month there was a circus theme and this time it was Cuban. So basically, cigars, and red stars. Woe was mine, there was no salsa/rueda, but there certainly was dancing. To music that surprised me. The ever-popular-with-SouthAfrican-youth-house type music was blasting, (not surprising) but I was more than thrilled (girlishly shriekingly so) when I heard Earth Wind and Fire and some funky James Brown.

At dinner before, the jukebox was also churning out tunes so very American- though I’m not sure that anyone there could locateSweet Home Alabama on a map. Apparently (correct me if I’m mistaken), during apartheid, most of the music coming out into the country was indeed from the US I’d like to do some more reading on that!

Weather in South Africa is, erratic. In other GRE-type words: capricious, mercurial, desultory. Yesterday I did some by-hand laundry (which was pretty meditative with Otros Aires playing) it was warm enough to dry my clothes in a few hours. This morning? Pretty dismal looking. I think it’ll end up getting pretty warm though, so I’ll take the gloom.

On the warm days, we scavenge around for wood to burn, because usually the cold days are also wet. And wet branches suck for flames. I’ve become quite adept at starting fires a roaring, (practically a girl scout). On Sunday, in order to save up for the cold drizzlies, took an axe to and had my way with some tree. . It was cathartic, to throw your body weight into chopping and hacking the pulp out of something. I’ve got the blisters to show for it too.

This weekend, a group of us went a gallivanting around to a dam between Pietersburg, Tzaneen and Haenertsburg. On the way back, I stood in the back of the bakkie (or in American English—the bed of the truck) and bumped around up and down, whipping through the trails. It was freeing, really. We all had sundowners and thereafter, it was more freezing than freeing. But for a while, we sat and ate near a beautiful brook, and I could have stayed there for hours. It was one of those places that you wanted to file mental pictures of into a slideshow to click through in your head when days don’t feel so beautiful, as hard evidence that they absolutely are.

Oh! In other news, we got a shower! I think that if I had to, I would be able to bathe however the facilities allowed for, but I was absolutely ecstatic- that first shower session was just a few shades short of a religious experience.


  1. Nanci, you are absolutely the bravest and shiniest and most daring creature I know. I am so thankful to know you and so happy for you that you are having this experience.

    Your Loving Girlfriend

  2. I second Marie's are one of a kind!