Tourist at home…


I played tourist in my home town today. It wasn’t a conscious decision, it just happened.  In fact, it was only out of sheer boredom that I decided to leave the house today.  I have everything I need right here and everything I need is enough.  I have enough to read and enough to watch.  I just got bored.

It started when I walked out the door and saw the mountains for the first time. I’ve looked at them a thousand times since I moved here, but today I saw them for the first time.

“and in the naked light I saw, 10 000 people maybe more – people looking without seeing, people hearing without listening, people writing songs, that voices never share, ‘cause no one dares disturb the sound of Silence. Fool, said I, you do not know, silence like a cancer grows…”

That’s how I felt when I saw the mountains – like I am one of those people.

I followed my normal path to the beach, but this time I really saw it all – the colours, the dogs, the people. I discovered a butcher / deli with the most amazing produce.  I must have walked past it a hundred times before.  I carried the air of “I don’t belong here, I’m just passing through your town”

As the tide went out I found myself looking at the rock formations and longingly thinking ‘One day I want to go walk there with someone’.   Something inside me replied ‘why wait?’ so I went.  It was like entering the belly of the beast.  I was intruding in a place that, in just a couple of hours, will be transformed and hidden beneath the waves.

I went to my regular restaurant, but didn’t sit in my regular spot. I didn’t ask for my regular waiter and I didn’t order my regular cream cappuccino.  An old man walked past me and turned to pause at my table.  I smiled, he smiled.  A hundred stories etched along his face.  Big liquid pools of chocolate looked down at me and he said “Do you know how gorgeous you are?” and he walked away.

I walked along the harbour wall and just sat there, right at the edge of the wall, with nothing between me and ocean, admiring the view when a voice said “You’ve picked a good spot”. That’s where I met the German born Mauritian that now calls South Africa home, probably twice my age.  We sat and spoke for the better part of an hour about what life was like before technology swallowed society and we became strangers to everyone around us.

I went to the club, in broad daylight (GASP!) and had lunch time drinks with the girls.

I got invited to two parties – one a birthday and one a farewell – both for people I’ve never met.

I walked home and silliness got the better of me, waving at completely random people, giving them a huge smile as they drive past. The confusion on their faces were priceless (do I know you, should I know you, have a forgotten who you are, shit I better smile and wave right back) and they all smiled and waved back.

I walked past my favourite tree, the one I touch every time I walk past it. This time I stopped, took a photo and did something that would make Luke die of embarrassment.  I hugged my tree.  I love that tree, it is so old and wrinkly and big and strong – never-changing, always there.

Now, I’m back home, enjoying a Cape Town Easter tradition: hot cross buns and pickled fish. You can’t do Easter in Cape Town without discovering this.  And the best part, there’s no one around that I have to share it with.  It’s all mine!

It’s been a beautiful day…