Saturday, May 15, 2010

Home and away

Things are hotting up here in Joubs. Life, in a small town can get claustrophobic, especially when you, your husband and your children all 'work' at the same place. The school and the koshuis (the foodhouse - how appropriate!) are consuming us all at the moment.
A month to go until it all closes down, but till then we have to get through
- teething problems at the koshuis (I am being euphemistic here - you understand!)
- writing exams (the children)
- setting exams (L)
- practical drama exams (yours truelly)
- marking tests, tasks and exams (my darling L)

So, last weekend we headed out, L and I. For weeks I had been muttering about needing to be in a city, be amongst people I don't know....
And whining on about seeing the sea, like some landlocked sailor, or wind blown seagull tossed way off course.
A solution presented itself - a meander to Port Elizabeth. We left the children, they had no desire for shops, or even for sea breezes. I am very fond of PE, having grown up there. It is, as someone said, a ten minute city, although many also say that they lose direction there, get lost. I could never get lost, feeling it is only those Capetonian types who are used to steering their vehicles by the rudder of that huge mountain that get disorientated.
Port Elizabeth has only a blue sky horizon, but I love its hills and kloofs gashing their overgrown, green way through its centre, under bridges and cutting relentlessly through suburbs.
I am not a shopper, and I was no sooner in a mall than I wanted out. Out, out to the sea again....the wonderful sea and the sky.
L and I ate fish and calamari and drank wine in a sort of swanky restaurant with a glorious view of the sea, so close we could smell it! And towards the end, with my head light from wine and sea air ,I too leant on the balcony railing as a pod of over 50 dolphins blessed us with their presence. I watched them, as others ran down to the waters edge, and stopped there, unable to get closer. Wonderful, untouchable they were, arching over the waves, unconscious perhaps, but everyone thought they had come just for them, probably, before they headed out to the deep sea.

Anyway Port Elizabeth was never going to be big enough for me right now. I think I have a longing for a place like London, Paris, maybe even New York!

But nothing like that is possible right now, so we returned, having found a Twee Rivieren friend parked in the carpark next to us. Home was definitely not far away.

This weekend was the Krakeel Bazaar. The dominee told us it is not to be missed. That morning we took too long, arriving at 11 when it had started at 10. Just about everything was sold out. But Krakeel is a pretty place, apart from its entrance through the poverty area, but the houses are quainter that Joubertina, the church hall all old stone, with a huge shady tree. We bought braaivleis and roosterbrood, all other tables were stripped bare, everything having miraculously vanished. Still, the company was good (Krakeel attracts, it seems, some 'kunstig' folk ), and we settled down on kitchen chairs outside - like so many people in Provence, and waited for the auction to begin. It was an amusing one, obviously providing an event whereby the locals can make largish donations to the church by paying R700 for a very ordinary tart, or R250 for a bottle of outlandish green witblitz.
A friend of ours bought one of those bottles, and we all sniffed it, before the daring amongst us sipped some from the bottle lid ( the sun was only just over the yardarm...) They declared themselves disappointed, the sip not having delivered the expected kick of a mule. They muttered that they expected that only peppermint flavour had been used - the dominee was particularly down at the mouth!

We had to leave early, exam papers awaited us.
It might not be New York, I thought to myself, but in terms of a cultural experience this life rates quite highly.
Tucking into my cold chop and roosterbrood at home I felt quite satisfied, and determined to have some of that green poison next time I visit!

1 comment:

  1. So glad you enjoyed your trip to the friendly city of Port Elizabeth - do come again soon.