victory lap : december in the western cape

last time i was in plett, i heard a story about a piano that was retired into the forests behind out hosts’ house- to return to nature and gradually fade away. it no longer plays (it apparently held out for a long time) and the dogs now eat the ivory from the keys.

there was a ceremony and procession to carry it into the woods (quite the feat) and then play it for it’s retiring song. walking down a little path through the woods and coming upon this piano was really something quintessentially south african. not exactly sure why, but it just feels it. and with more time, it will only become more magical as it peels, cracks, dissolves, and splinters slowly into the earth around it.

back through the karoo, the flat land with low bushes, hot sun, and mountains that always seem to rest in the distance. don’t think there are many areas so close to each other but so different as the garden route and the little karoo. cross over one mountain pass, and you’ve changed countries.

this area is huge for ostrich meat, leather, and feathers. when the women in france went crazy for these feathers, many south africans made fortunes as ostrich features were worth more money than gold be weight.

think ‘big dumb turkey’ because each eye is larger than it’s own brain.


mimicking and making fun of it. don’t get upset peta people, they don’t mind. after this, we visited a nesting spot and i then learned they actually can get violent. our guide therefore haf to bravely walk first with a large thorn-covered stick… only in africa.

and there i was standing on the eggs, knowing they shouldn’t break, but feeling really nervous cause i would feel really sad if they did break. but even my animal friendly side relaxed enough for me to try to play cowboy on top of one! remember, big dumb turkey. they just run in circles most of the time when someone is on them.

montagu. didn’t know when we pulled into the camp site that i just stumbled into one of the great sport-climbing areas of south africa. it was good enough to drool over.

joined in with a bunch of climbers that all went to school at stellenbosch university. really fun people, good climbers, and don’t hate me because we didn’t use helmets. we did get to see ed february, a legend in south africa and known internationally.

climbing again for the first time in a year. coming back to it was amazing- you take yourself to the edge of your body’s ability, and throw your mind into a war with staying calm …whist trying to find that damn blind hand hold and clip into the rope before you fall.

i was woefully out of shape and couldn’t come to trust myself (are my feet sliding? this isnt working this isnt working this isnt working. why am i here???). this climb was physically easy to do (once you find the holds) but it was an absolute war mentally. damn, i miss climbing. ok, more shots, less words. this is going to be too long anyway.

and back to the cape winelands. cape dutch architecture, bright sun, fun wines, drives with curving mountain roads and free wine tastings.

we stayed at a historic b&b, lekkerwijn (good wine in afrikaans) with great company and many friendly animals. too many peacocks but no idea how to dispose of them.

and in other news, i am coming home- back to america! but first, i have a lovely day to myself in doha, qatar, thanks to flight delay. and thanks to sue (from kentucky – good to hear that accent again!) from (after hours on the phone) i have a free room at the la villa palace!

all i know is that it’s surrounded by sand or water, strictly conservative muslim in etiquette, and a place i never really planned on going to.

should be a good last step before i land in washington dc this saturday- cheers to the unexpected!

hope all is well,