Saturday, July 27, 2013

learning a lesson

I feel as if I have been to the edge of the world and back. 
My whole life I've spent believing that the rest of the world was more beautiful than the country I live in. All it took for this to change was our short road-trip through 3 provinces 2 weeks ago.


Graham hated the driving. I, on the other hand loved it because I like to watch the world go by outside
while eating nik-naks and listening to Graham singing along to Queen. The first day we drove for 9 hours. 9 hours of watching the dry sparse landscape go past. 9 hours of Grahams choice in music. 9 hours of not being able to feel my rear end. But we eventually got to Bloem, had some dandy times with friends and food, and started the second leg of the joinery early the next morning.


Graaf Reinet was absolutely not what I had expected. A Quaint beautiful old town with one very trendy coffee shop called polka [definitely worth the visit if you're ever in town, it has the most wonderful fire place that inexplicably seems to warm the whole place. Perfect for a cold winters day/night]. After much ambling we drove to the farm where we would be staying. Our guest house was an old house that had been beautifully re-done, with wooden floors and enormous bathrooms and (the most important part) a smashing fireplace. I won't bore you with a step-by-step account of our time there- it was filled with a very wonderful reunion with two long lost friends, two icy cold nights spent snuggled around the fire place with board games books and chocolate, breakfast held under the blossoming cherry trees, croquet on the lawn, a painful hike up the mountain, watching the sun set over the river and then having hot chocolate at the aforementioned restaurant, a windy night, an early morning and breakfast on the road in some small town and then Port Elizabeth.


The boys had planned something special for Thursday night, a show of some kind, they were very proud of themselves for having thought of it. It magically turned out to be ballet (surprising if you know Graham and Sean). And the next morning we whisked ourselves away to St Francis bay. Windy as hell. There we stayed with new friends and did much bonding over Modern Family season 2 and board games. We spent the 2 days in St Francis dreading the 13 hour drive back home but it sneakily arrived at 5am on Sunday morning. We hit the road. Graham conquered 4 hours before we had to stop for breakfast at a steers (keeping it classy) sometime later- just before we entered cows-in-the-road country- I took over. Learning to dodge cows and goats as they walk into the road and then panic because they've walked into the road is definitely a skill I do not want to develop. After a few hours of rear-end numbing driving we came to the border between the Eastern Cape and KZN and it was in this area (while Graham slept curled up beside me) that I had the privilege to encounter some of the most amazing scenery that I have ever seen.

To be clear. I think (rather thought) that the most beautiful places I have seen are in Europe- parts of Germany, England, France, Turkey, Italy- but driving through the land just before we crossed into KZN I was ashamed to have been surprised that such beauty existed in South Africa. I passed deep ravines (that looked like they had been made by someone ripping the earth apart-terrifying and beautiful) which were sprinkled with fine, beautiful sand colored grasses that made the ravines look like they had been covered in velvet. The ravines gave way to enormous black hills which in turn became kilometers of pine forests. The sun started setting and the ghostly moon rose and sat above the enormous pines as we flew past. We could have been anywhere in the world but to my incredible delight we weren't, we were at home. 

Fast forward a few hours of driving and we arrived back in our little suburb in our little province. Graham and I decided that the only rational thing to do after 13 hours of driving and our happiness at being back in Durban was to get curry for dinner. So we did. 
And then we had the best sleep of our lives.

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