There’s Rain in Africa

I felt a little bit exposed to the elements this week.
I live in a summer rainfall area of South Africa and normally, we don’t really have rain until the 10th of October. But, this year – we didn’t really have rain at all until the 16th of December. And since then, it’s been coming down in buckets.
I’m not complaining about the rain, naturally. If I complain about that, then I am never allowed to complain about the fact that it doesn’t rain ever again. I love rain and on the odd occasion, I even like getting caught in the rain. There’s something invigorating about standing in the pouring sheets of water. The rain drops are cool and sweet, much better than any normal shower.
Of course, I do not appreciate having rain in my car…

I’m taking a few steps back.

I started work again on Tuesday after having the week off between Christmas and New Years. My first day was spent in the office, catching up with beginning of the year paperwork and assignments that I neglected to do before I took my leave. Wednesday I decided to start my traveling again to the chicken farms where I do my business. I drove to an area relatively close to us (about two hours drive) and I could tell right off that it was going to be a very wet day as the thick white clouds followed me wherever I went.

The roads were also in a terrible condition (though I should add that they were bad to begin with). As things are in my country, the tax payer’s money rarely reaches its designation and our municipalities do not see the value of fixing roads. (They’d much rather all drive shiny cars). I took these pictures coming back from my appointments to show to my work as proof why I had been late for more than half of my appointments. My traveling time was almost doubled because I had to constantly stop, dodge pot holes, get off the side of the road, crawl through some poor farmer’s maize field and then finally get onto the road again only to be held up by some poor soul who needed to change a tire… It was harrowing to say the least and not for the first time, I found myself wishing that I had a 4×4, not a small little hatchback Opel Corsa Lite.

But, I came past all the literal pit falls in my road safely, without even loosing one of my tires, a feet very few people accomplished that day. If you look at the photos, I would like to point out that most of the road looked like this

I was pretty fed up with driving by the time I turned home, but Mother Nature was not done with me yet. The clouds, which had disappeared over lunch time, came back with a vengeance and pretty soon, dark clouds stole my sunshine and anointed me with more rain. This would’ve been fine if I had that 4×4 but sadly, my tiny little Corsa isn’t very rainproof. Or rain friendly. In order to keep my windows from fogging up, I have to keep one window open. I don’t mind getting wet all that much, but this was no ordinary storm. Before long, I was driving (slowly) through knee deep water, keeping my eyes fixed on the car in front of me, trying to take comfort in the fact that the car behind me was a jeep and could pull me out of the mud if I sailed into any trouble. To add to my discomfort, a truck stormed by me, sending a wave of muddy brown water into my lap because I had to keep my window open…

Again, I’m not complaining about the rain. For all the flooding that’s been happening (which wouldn’t have happened if people build things correctly and kept nature’s water ways in mind when they put up settlements…) it’s been a blessing. On the farm where I keep my horse we’ve really had a grazing problem because there was just no grass for the animals to eat. The wonder is how quickly everything just suddenly started growing! Grass which looked barely alive a couple of weeks ago now stood almost ankle high, lush and green, the bare ground almost completely covered. I am thankful for it every day and there’s no such thing as too much rain. There is, however, something like an inefficient car…

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Discovering the Spoken Word

Writing can sometimes be a bit of a two edged sword, because it takes up quite a lot of my free time. I discovered a few years ago that ever since I started writing regularly, the amount of books that I read started to drop. I didn’t think of it immediately, but kept buying on books and putting them on my book case with the idea that I’ll get round to them. It came as quite a shock the day that I inspected my books and realized that there were quite a number there that I hadn’t read. So much in fact that I wouldn’t have to join the library for a full season.

I got round to reading the ‘hype’ books (which is why I can get very worked up when I read bad fiction) and did catch up with a lot of my ‘one day I’ll read you’ books when I was in England thanks to public transport but this year, the amount of books that I’ve gotten round to reading is appalling.
And, in a sense, it’s all writing’s fault because I find myself pushing more of my free time there than towards sitting down and enjoy other people’s fiction.

On impulse, I decided to by a cheapish audio book (The Postcard Killers by James Patterson and Liza Marklund) in order to establish whether or not I could utilize my time in the car more positively. It turned out to be one of the best decisions I’ve made.

I loved listening to a book while I was driving. Yes, it was no substitute to reading, but it was much better than listening to fading radio stations or the same old songs over and over (and over) again as I drove hundreds of miles a day. And, I got to respect the stories that were out there. The book that I’m currently listening to was also a good choice. It has a lot of suspense, interesting characters and frighteningly detailed gore. Time and time again I found myself clutching the steering wheel, wondering what the hell I was doing in the car alone with these fictional people.

It was a great experience and I believe that it’s made me a safer driver because quite suddenly I find myself savoring the drive, enjoying the story rather than putting petal to the metal in order to speed home. I was quite content to be stuck behind a truck because it meant I’d have more time listening to the book.

So, I’ve started a new habit, one which I’m hoping will catch on with my other friend who also spends a lot of time on the road. Together then we could buy books and swap them back and forth because I feel that it’s the answer to the biggest frustration we’ve experienced so far (that our time spend behind the wheel is wasted time).

If you drive a lot like I do, I can highly recommend the practice.

Undeniable.

I cannot deny it.

I love travelling. I love packing, I love sorting out the stuff that I leave at home, I love waiting at an airport. Yes, Ladies and Gentleman, I’m one of the very few people who are at their happiest when they are at an airport, waiting for an airplane.

I’m not impatient, not stressed about flying and I’m not apprehensive about boarding. When I have my boarding pass in hand, and my luggage has gone the way of all down the conveyer belt, I find myself relaxing to enjoy the ride. The thing with travelling, especially by plane, is that for most of the time, things are out of your hands. You have no control of the airplane, of the weather conditions, or of whether or not things are going to work out the way you planned, all that there is for you to do is wait. In my two years travelling abroad, I’ve refined the art of waiting to perfection. I think it’s because I spend so much time waiting for airplanes, busses and trains (with normally every kind of problem or delay that you can think of thrown at me) that I have evolved past the impatience to a state of contentment.

I have missed the feeling and have almost forgotten its peace until now, when I find myself waiting in an airport lounge for the plane that would take me on my Holiday. I’m going to the Cape for a week, visiting old friends and taking a break before I start my new job. I haven’t taken a break ever since I started working in the restaurant and I have to say, for the first time I feel as if I need it. So, when the feeling of peace descended upon me as I looked for a place to sit down with the cheapest cup of coffee I can buy and a place for my laptop, I embraced it like a long lost friend.

Wanderlust followed in as well of course, but I’ll deal with it later. 😉

So, I have to run. My plane’s about to leave and it would be hysterical if I miss it. But, I want to invite you this week to come with me on my trip. It might not be very exciting, but I’ll keep you entertained.

Or at least amused. 😉

Alyss