The Adventure of a Lifetime Begins…

Now, I live in a tourist country, as many of you know. More so, I live in what is regarded as a tourist town, although out-of-season, the streets are rolled up at 5 PM. My favourite local destinations are Cape Town and closer to home, Wilderness and the Tsitsikamma. I’ve been to Durban and I spent the first nine years of my life in The City of Gold, and while it holds a nostalgic place in my heart, I’m not sure I would ever want to live there again. I’m a lover of small towns, with history or places that have trees. Cape Town has both characteristics, so that’s why it qualifies for me, despite being a city.

Carmen once told me “you either have a heart for Africa, or you don’t”. I thought it was a joke. Seriously! Yet, ever since I was 12, having learned about Cecil John Rhodes, David Livingstone, and Henry Morton Stanley in history, I’ve had a yearning to visit Victoria Falls. I finally realized, after a stint in hospital earlier this year following a major depressive episode, that it’s time to realize long-term dreams, and then dream some more, turning those dreams into goals, with a definable deadline.

I’m going to blog about the best experience of my life in parts, because a single post will not do it justice.

I had a lovely flight from George to Johannseburg on Mango, enjoying a Zulu Blonde, a beer brewed in Eshowe in Natal.

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I spent Thursday night with Kayla, at her home close to OR Tambo International Airport and met another amazing soul, Caroline. For the first time since my hospital stint, I had a drink, and then another and then another and well, at the end of the evening, it was 4 ½ bottles of wine and a truckload of laughter later.

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Kayla made me swallow two paracetamols before bed, which thankfully warded off the worst part of an insane hangover. Caroline kindly dropped me at the airport, which was somewhat chaotic as the national airline, SAA is once again striking about wage increases. It irks me every time to hear about strikes, but even more so after my visit to Victoria Falls.

I went through passport control quite quickly because I was keen to browse around the duty-free area. So many shops, with so many wares, but nothing was bought because I didn’t want to have to lug anything all the way there, and then back again. Soon I was at the boarding area, where I sat reading my book, drinking coffee to properly wake up, and copious amounts of water to flush out the Wrath of the Grapes.

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The BA flight to Livingstone left on time, and while I unfortunately had an aisle seat, the flight was pleasant. As we approached for landing, the Mighty Zambezi was clearly visible through the opposite window and I began to cry. I was so overwhelmed. My dream was slowly becoming truer by the second. Exiting the plane on the tarmac (which I’m used to, because we do it at George as well) at Harry Mwanga Nkumbula International Airport, I was hit squarely in the face by stifling heat. I hate getting hot, but there is something magical about the rays of the real African sun kissing your skin.

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Declaration to enter in hand, Customs formalities were dealt with. Quickly and efficiently. Soon I was on the transfer bus, with another declaration form to complete to cross the border into Zimbabwe, which would be my home for three nights. The bus driver’s name was Stanley, a Livingstone local.

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He drove me and some other BA travellers to their respective hotels (if within Livingstone), and the rest of us to the Victoria Falls border post. Once again, Customs entry was painless. Stanley handed us over to another driver, Lungile, and we entered Zimbabwe. I was the last person to be dropped off, as my accommodation was in the Zambezi National Park itself – an incredible place called The Old Drift Lodge.

My next post will be about The Old Drift Lodge, in the form of a review, which I will post to other-travel related sites, such as Tripadvisor.

My Time is Now

So, during this week I joined Yasmin and her writers’ group for a historical/ghost walk through town. I’ve lived here for 31 years and some of the things I saw for the first time, only because they were pointed out to the group. Just goes to show, as people, we’re not as observant as we’d like to think. I did get spooked when someone closed a window above us while we were being told the tale of a soldier that allegedly haunts a former hotel after being stabbed in the stomach.

The story that stuck with me though is that of Louisa Ann Delbridge (aka Popsy) who in 1887 was raped and murdered at the age of seven. Her body was found in the grounds of a local church. The perpetrator, William Matfield, who was married, with four children of his own, confessed and was condemned to death. While I didn’t say it, I immediately thought: how history repeats itself. I remembered the report of a murder in 2005 where the victim had also been found church garden, and of all the crimes committed against women and children (particularly those trusting little souls that don’t have the instinct to know something bad is going to happen). It not only maddens me, but saddens me tremendously. Part of me would like to understand what drives someone to do something so inhumane; so diabolically evil, and the other part of me is incredibly grateful that I don’t.

Anyhow, enough about the darkness that lurks in our society, and onto something happier.

One of my favourite people, Melody, surprised me with a text last night, letting me know she’s in town, so we are going to get together tomorrow night for a catch-up. I last saw her in July last year when she, her hubby, some other friends and I had dinner. Seeing her is tonic for the soul. We have the kind of friendship where we don’t talk for months, but when we see each other, it’s as if not time whatsoever has passed.

Further in the future, 42 days and a few hours to be exact, I depart on my dream-come-true holiday to Victoria Falls. I got confirmation of the extra excursions I booked and paid for them, so shit’s getting real! I’ve been watching YouTube videos to get a feel of what I can expect and I’ve already cried. I will probably bawl my eyes out when I see the Smoke that Thunders for the first time.

I was chatting to Elena over sushi about all my plans and she said she is happy for me because I’ve worked hard for this and I deserve it. And you know what, as conceited as it sounds, I do! I am going to soak up every second and be in the moment from the time I walk across the tarmac to board the plane in George (yes, our airport is that big!) until I get back home almost a week later.

I’ve decided that my new motto is going to be Life’s for Living. I’m going to do what makes me happy, because for too long I’ve just existed, or lived vicariously through others because of fear. Another friend of mine, Tyron said when I turned forty “Something changes, you look at life differently and your perspective completely changes” – he is right. My time is now! Watch out world, this Misfit may be reflective, but she’s also Fabulously Forty.

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Bang, Bang! You Shot Me Down…

…Bang, bang! You shot me down.  Bang, bang! I hit the ground.  Bang, bang! That awful sound…

Today I’m going to talk about triggers.  Not the thingies that you pull to fire a gun, but the ones that fire something in your brain that leave you feeling explosively emotional, whether happy, sad, angry, overwhelmed, excited and/or (insert whatever you’d like to here).

Wood Texture Background. Vintage and Grunge style.
Wood Texture Background. Vintage and Grunge style.

I had two instances over the weekend that triggered negative emotions in me.  One was an altercation with a frog-eyed woman who was undecided about what cereal to put in her shopping cart.  She was standing on one side of the aisle looking at the variety on display telling another woman with dark hair to bend down and look at something lower down only to tell her “No, I don’t like that flavour”.  The Bean asked, “please can we get past?” and the brunette moved out the way.  She then said something about “just standing a little to the side” and Mrs. Frog Eyes got all in her face about “we’re all shopping here”.  The Bean replied with something in the line of “that’s why we should be considerate” and The Frog shouted down the aisle for her to “Shut up!”  I turned around, angry, and said rather loudly, “Excuse me?” and she carried on with “your mother is rude”.  I told her she was being rude, and she rewound to “we’re all shopping here!”  I think if I’d engaged with her a bit longer, her skin might have tightened so much she would have suffered an ocular proptosis, or worse.  I wonder if she ever told her mother to “Shut up!” or if she would allow her children to yell at her to “Shut up!”  Either way, I hope her fishwife behaviour left her feeling proud.

Needless to say, what was supposed to be a fun outing for The Bean and I had been rained up both literally and verbally.

Should I ever be in the unfortunate position of having to deal with something like this again the future, I’ll take a leaf out of David Sutcliffe’s books in the first episode of Cracked.  I imagine it would provide for some kind of entertainment.  Either that, or it could get me committed.

The other was a tv feature called Mighty Cruise Ships which is airing on Discovery.  Each episode deals with a different line, vessel and route.  It’s extremely interesting, but it left me feeling a bit empty, especially after watching an episode that dealt with various ports of call in the Med and Europe, which co-incidentally would have been the route I would have been on with Charlie for three weeks starting later this month, but life happened and that dream is back in the box.  Sure, I’m going to Victoria Falls which is something I’ve dreamt about since I was knee-high to a grasshopper, but part of me longs for the original plan that I was so excited about and looking forward to. I read today that people wanting to do The Devil’s Pool excursion in Victoria Falls need to be able to swim a portion of the Zambezi against the current, so I will have to start swim-fitness again.

In both instances I recognized that I was being set off into a spiral of sadness and also that these things are not a result of something I have done.  Still, it doesn’t make me feel less meh about things, so I did what my therapy dictates – I journalled about it, albeit only today, I drank water (because my brain doesn’t work properly when it’s thirsty), I read a bit and I had a (reasonably) early night.

Anyhow, tomorrow I start work for a new company (the one I’m with has merged with another, so it’s business as usual; only it’s not).  My social calendar is full for the next two weeks and work is also major-league busy with financial year-end.  It’s going to be an interesting last quarter of the year, that’s the one thing I’m certain of.  Let’s all keep our wobbly bits crossed that I don’t do my nut before the end of it again, because I am taking a bit of strain again.

I doubt I’ll be one hundred percent hunky dory tomorrow, but I’ll follow Dory’s advice:  Just keep swimming – both emotionally and physically – because #DevilsPool is on my #bucketlist

‘Til Next Time

 

Reflective Misfit Ramblings

I’ve been a bit “unbalanced” today, not sure why, but I think it may have something to do with a hypnopompic episode I experienced last night. I went to bed early and at some stage during the night found myself in the lounge obsessed with wanting to know what the time was. I kept saying to myself It’s dark, it’s still time to sleeeeeeppp, but my brain was having none of it until I found the time. Seventeen minutes to midnight… Hallelujah, I could go back to the snugness of my bed and get at least another six hours in. I did, but I tossed and turned the whole night. When my third alarm of the morning rang, I set another. Fortunately work wasn’t demanding today, so my lack of brain-power stealthily remained under the radar.

Now, I’m sitting at my favourite writing spot, double-shot cappuccino for company, loungy-kinda music in the background being drowned out by a table of patrons clearly celebrating something and a crackling fire for warmth. I’ve blogged about fire before because flames are mesmerizing. The way they dance across the wood, creating glowing embers is almost hypnotic.

Today I finalized arrangements for a part of my upcoming-40th birthday celebrations: A vintage-style ladies’ high-tea for some of my closest girlfriends and of course, The Bean. The blokes will be included at a separate celebration (which I’ve planned as a picnic in the park, but that idea may change given the limited numbers of positive RSVP’s received). Every year I try and do something “different” from a hobo-themed party to an as Nathan jokingly refers to it “a boring meet and greet”. Last year I had a movie-themed trivia-chill night which was a great success. For those of you wondering what I looked like, here is a photo of me as The Joker. Charlie did my make-up.

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I was telling Charlie afterwards that I almost always feel “deflated” after my birthday because the actual event, while always fabulous and fun, seems to be anticlimactic, because I have so much fun planning. Today when I confirmed the number of attendees and menu options with the owner of the venue, I told her “I’m starting to get excited now.” Her reply was “You should be excited. The Germans don’t say ‘Die vorfreude ist die schonste freude’ for nothing.” Given that my German is about as good as every other European language I know, I called in my trusty friend, Google. Turns out that what the Germans say is true: The anticipation is the most beautiful joy. I love the excitement that comes with a celebration of some sort.

On the subject of celebration and mounting anticipation, I have had a dream ever since I can remember and that is to visit Victoria Falls. Shalya-Rae says it must be because of a history lesson we had in fifth grade about Livingstone and Stanley. I don’t remember it (does the memory start going at 40?!), but whether it is the reason or not for my obsession with The Smoke that Thunders, I can’t say. All I know is that I am going! In November… and I’m over the moon about it!

I had actually saved for another holiday, but things didn’t go according to plan. Initially I was disappointed, but then the opportunity to visit one of my bucket-list destinations came along. I’m not big on signs from The Universe, but this was a cosmic confirmation to realize my dream. I didn’t really waste time in making a decision. I armchair travelled with Eliza and Nathan one evening, saw the lodge and booked my spot the next day. Everything lined up perfectly. I’ve gone all out – an all inclusive package, accommodation at a five star tented lodge on the banks of the Zambezi. To say I can’t wait is an understatement.

I have told everyone that if they want to get me a birthday gift, I’d like money for my holiday, because I’d love to do the Flight of the Angels and if possible, visit the Devil’s Pool. Harriet gave me my first US Dollar and subsequently The Bean found three more which she gave to me. I’m crossing my fingers and my not-yet-sagging-boobs that it will improve.

Anyway, my dinner’s just arrived, so I’ll catch y’all on the flipside.

‘Til next time…