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Cape Town ’04-’05. Chronicles of a place called home…


5 February 2005 No Comment

It rained this morning at the airport and when I saw the plane it seemed as though the weather just got worse. As soon as I boarded I fell asleep, damn I was tired. Besides I get motion sickness so it’s probably for the best…

For me, as well as the person sitting along side me. I did wake up though, eventually! Only because the sound in my ears suddenly became clearer, up until that point I didn’t even realise it faded a bit because of the altitude. The most comforting sight out the window of an aircraft is that of the roofs of houses on the ground. Why? Well, because then you know you about to land. And for people like me there is no better relief than knowing you about touch the ground. While I’m on the subject of eye candy, there is nothing more spectacular than Table Mountain. I don’t think anything can be so noble and arrogant at the same time. It is so great and over powering but in some strange, other worldly way it humbles you to the extent that the argumentative voices inside of you are silenced and antagonise only against the whispers of the engine as opposed to themselves. Very peaceful. Much like the weather actually. Warm and sunny but always balanced by a light breeze to cool you down in- case you become too hot headed.

Paul Adams is cute, very cute. But he’s short, very short! He also has a nice smile, and that one I wont repeat, you have to see it to believe it. It speaks for itself. I actually doubted going to Galaxy a couple of times, (in my head); I didn’t want it to turn out being a dreadful idea. My dreadful idea! Plus there were more than enough things to take into consideration. Two of the most important being: 1) None of us had ever been there and, 2) The mere reputation of the place, (not so good as you might gather). Quite to the contrary, the place is absolutely fabulous, no sarcasm and the bad reputation is a bad rumour. And yes, I did say fabulous. The band, the music, the people, the club! Everything is ‘FABULOUS’. Oh yes and let’s not forget to mention the bouncers. I spent a good few minutes bonding with them by myself. I wont bore you with details but if you must know, ask! 

It’s a scorching hot day at the Waterfront and there’s a group playing the marimbas outside the Alfred section of the V&A. Well there are other groups as well, I mean like bands but for some strange reason the marimbas sound enhanced. We’re sitting at Nino’s and just ordered something to drink, I hope it revitalises me! “Stay away from the violence, stay away from exploiting the poor. Be gorgeous!’’ Yes, my ears are not deceiving me. These are the words they have started to sing. A basic pattern of African call and response. Now there’s a passer by, dressed all in white, from head to toe. He starts dancing infront of the band. He’s having fun. It’s quite amusing actually. Thank God, our drinks have arrived. I hope it’s so refreshing that I never feel thirsty again. Hey, there’s a penny whistle. It’s coming from somewhere, I’m not sure where but it sounds… enchanting. Whoever is playing, is playing that Mango Groove song. By the way, the waitresses name is Janice. I’m not sure how you spell that. She asked for my name, that doesn’t happen often.

On the beach. Alone. Not for long. My companions will join me shortly. The drive down here was interesting. Well, weather wise atleast. I’m enjoying the time alone it gives me time to write, but I do prefer good company. You know what I was thinking about the other day? Well, actually it was more than one day. I was thinking about life and lessons and experiences and how people always say that things happen for a reason and how you supposed to learn from them but at the same time you should take things as they come. And how sometime you supposed to differentiate form that and planning ahead, so that maybe you can have a clue of what to expect. Then I was thinking about how, ‘Lessons will be repeated until they are learnt’. But you know what? I had an epiphany. It’s a vicious circle. Lessons will only be learnt once you grow up and if you don’t grow up then it’s a pitiful catch22 isn’t it? I think people become so fixated on losing the plot that in the process they lose everything else and in the end that amounts to a whole lot more than the reason for losing the plot in the first place.

By the way I find it fit to mention my pride as far as my Caribbean tan is concerned. The fine baby hairs on my body have actually turned blonde. I want to be like this forever! There’s a British guy on the beach, throwing a Frisbee and he is only but in his glory with his intimate relationship with the sun, which is on a whole level on its’ own. It makes you want to swallow the ocean whole, but as soon as you get to the shore and your feet touch the water you cool down instinctively, without even considering the opportunity to get wet. Yes, the water is that cold! I don’t like cold water. Even when the ocean is fairly warm your body takes time to accommodate and then gradually you begin to feel warmer. Here, your body accommodates by getting so cold and numb that it passes the pain threshold and you just become dead. And that is how you swim at 4th beach. It’s lovely actually. So contrasting, so black, so white. Extreme heat and extreme cold, all in one bite. No sitting on the fence! Bliss…

Sometimes it gets cold
When the clock doesn’t get light
But I still like candles by day
Time is by my design
But only lately
It’s not like sometimes when it rains a lot 
And time is all you’ve got

You know what the coolest thing in the world is? It’s when your thoughts are completely empty and the key to access your memory box is lost and your mind is completely numb and you find yourself sitting in silence with only the murmur of a radio in the background. You hear it but you don’t listen. Instead you concentrate on the sound of nothingness in your head while you stare into space. But then, something in the murmur that is the radio becomes accentuated, your hearing becomes more focused and you find yourself smiling and more relaxed than before. If that is even possible. There’s a familiar melody making its way to your ears, something you haven’t heard in a long time. There is nothing like a good, old song. Damn… I’m speechless.

The mood is like the melody
Playing sweet like the touch of a morning glow
Just for me
Just for you
I have the warmth of a sunshine with pride

People here have really good names. So… retro! Good-hope FM is even good on a Saturday night. Saturday nights and Friday nights are bad radio nights back home. There is never anything good to listen to, it’s worse than channel surfing! There is a DJ on Good- hope with the coolest, most un- conventional name I have come across. Isham September. How unstereotypically lovely is that? “I do believe that we are practicing the same religion”.

One of the most intriguing and obvious observations I made in Cape Town concerns the pronunciation of names. S’s are swapped with Sh’s and visa versa. E.g.: Safiya becomes Shafiya and Shafika becomes Safika. The streets are really narrow. Yes that is another obvious observation. I think it adds to the warmth of the place, the characteristic closeness of everything, from suburbs to street to shopping malls. You literally don’t have to search for what you’re looking for because some how it always finds its’ way to you. Except of course in the case of a pair of white, slip on, Jack Purcell’s in size 5.

If I close my eyes I can see the white, unscarred pebbles strewn neatly down the hill, contrasting to the lush green that surrounds them. They stream towards calm aquamarine waters beating vibrant pulses, (invisible to the naked eye) against the moss covered rocks. The only competitive beauty is the distant horizon. Comprising of heavenly cloud, crystal sky and sunshine so golden it’s bound to warm your soul. Every-time you breath you feel brand new. The days are so long that every passing moment literally becomes a chance to change it all back. And when you leave, a part of your heart willingly becomes etched in a mountain so bold that something as immaterial as your heart even becomes unnoticed. It’s a stony vessel that carries the souls of many and is fuelled by the stories of its’ beauty. If you listen carefully you might hear the secrets of its’ past and if you watch closely you might catch a glimpse of the shadow of its’ glory.

I find myself standing infront of a window, a French window, framed by soft maple wood boarders. I lightly touch the chilled glass while I gaze intently at the light rain outside. It is soft and quiet but wet. There rests a pot plant on the sill, rooted in a conventionally brown container. The kind you get pot plants in, saucer at the bottom to absorb the excess water. Funny, I always forget to actually water the damn thing! The window is closed but there is a calming light breeze on the inside. The type that keeps you awake but isn’t cold enough to be called refreshing. It makes the pulled up blinds resting against the windows flutter. To any one else, this is annoying. In any other circumstances I would also find it annoying but today… today it’s music.

The blanket is scattered on the bed behind me. It looks comforting, slept in, less lovely. I know the radio is on, without actually knowing that the radio is on because inevitably, the radio is always on when I hear a good melody. Something soulful. A good bass line, not too old, actually, it’s fairly new. I must admit though, it odes have that unmistakable quality of the older classics, it’s Mary J. Blige- watch this space! I acquaint myself with the neatly framed pictures on the textured wall. Very Bohemian… They all happen to be in black and white and the people they contain are all strangers to me but when I look at them I see in rainbows. The textured walls consist of raw brick, ragged silks hanging as disguises, red but how could they be so blue and wood, that smells good with freshly brewed coffee. 

You will never find the light with your eyes closed
Take your chances before they pass
Else you’ll find yourself walking backwards
‘I’m not worried’, said the sky
Maybe the world won’t come by
Í don’t go outside because I’m scared of the rain

It is cold. It is really, really cold and it’s not just because my body is really hot. It feels like mid winter in the middle of summer. There is even winter sun. It’s early so the sun’s not everywhere. It’s mostly on the east. The wind is in a mission of its’ own but the street is still full. There is no parking. Not at least with in 3 blocks of where we want to be. It’s okay we’ll walk, in the cold, icy wind. 

It is not for the light hearted – literally! I can feel my body swaying to the power of its’ forceful gust. As we cross the street, the rubbish is floating in mid air from the party the night before and having a little party of its’ own, swirling in mid air and crashing into observers and passerbys like drunken buffoons, much like those same observers a couple of hours before. Now they just stand and wait. Some quiet and patient, others just still and numb because they don’t actually have energy to move and most are there to make a day of it. For the sake of culture, heritage, tradition and also because they prepared for it for so damn long. 

These are the people that are serious about the Parade. They are just about as patriotic as freedom fighters from the sixties in apartheid South Africa. We, on the other hand, were a combination of all three variations, inside and out! Well, two thirds of us at least and while I tried my utmost at that hour to figure this out I noticed the most unimpressed, ‘What the hell am I doing here and ‘what the hell is going on?’ face I have ever seen. All I could do was smile out loud. If I close my eyes hard enough, I can taste every detail and I smile out loud again. Every time… 


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