Back to Bloem

by marietteferreira

Now we’re  back to the beginning, its just a feeling…”

It’s been 5 years since I’ve been back to Bloem

I booked an overnight flight from Dubai to Bloem. I slept and read Me Before You and arrived in JHB airport for a 2 hour stopover.

Suddenly I was flying over South Africa – homes with square gardens and trees and pools.

It was Sunday in Bloem warm and quiet and dry. My phone was sorted out and I bought a cupcake from The Bread Shop a place whose cupcakes I have long remembered.

I am living with some old friends of mine, they fill their home with lovely music. After arriving I walked from their home to my old house. Down familiar streets and passed long-forgotten memories. There are two routes from their home to my old place and then again two routes from my old house to Baysvillage. I would walk one route there and the other on the way back.

In front of my house I paused, I knew the people who lived there I could ring the bell and join them. “One thing at a time” said another voice in my head. First get to Bloem and sleep then go see people. I walked on, my feet still knowing the way.

Places had moved and closed, but it was essentially the same collection of shops. DVD stores still exist here, but Steer chips have changed.

Monday morning I went to my old house as planned. I attacked the boxes I had packed years ago. I seemed to have purged the house very decently yeas ago the things remaining in the boxes were mostly stuff I wanted to keep. I did throw out 2 trash bags, stuff that had seemed important years ago and now contained no more value.

I located some old treasures, half a trash bag full of them, and they are now packed safely into my suitcase which arrived almost empty here with the sole purpose of providing space to take things home to Dubai.

My bag wasn’t truly empty when I came, it was filled with lamps. Souvenirs for those people I was going to be seeing. These Arabic lamps were a much greater success than I could have imagined. They were real, not silly little things, but something that people actually enjoyed.

Monday afternoon I returned home to nap, but it was impossible. I called a taxi and went to Preller, sat down at my “regular” table at my old favourite restaurant, Coobah. I walked over the once familiar square, but due to construction I couldn’t place myself. Too much of the place was obscured and I felt dislocated. I crossed the road to the tattoo parlour to ask for a piercing, the place seems to be doing very well, since they now work only with appointments.

I walked over to the hardware store for some necessities and ran into an old friend. At the end of the day I was dropped off by a taxi.

Tuesday morning I went to Mimosa Mall, it had changed due to time and construction. Almost everything I wanted to do took less time than I imagined. I was still sleeping badly.

I met up with and old girlfriend for cocktails. While at the airport waiting for my flight I had ordered my first ever vodka martini and enjoyed it enough to order it again tonight. We had a good time together, it was as though we were meeting up for our old regular cocktail evenings.

Wednesday was pizza gorgeous glorious pizza, I had always ordered the avocado pizza in Bloem and never thought that I wouldn’t find it anywhere else in the world. Literally, from New York to Prague I haven’t found avocado and bacon on a pizza. I ordered it here and it was just as good as I had remembered. Here finally was something that hadn’t changed or diminished or been altered by time.

Thursday I spent time in Kloppers and the Waterfront mall, deciding that I should spend less time n shops. I got what I needed though, but malls are malls. Unless you really need something there’s no true point in wondering among shops, even if you do recognize the names.

I called a taxi, over the control I heard the guy say “gaan laai daai meisiekind op”. Later that afternoon I returned to Preller, to Coobah, I decided to walk home. It was a lovely 40min walk.

Later my friend picked me up and we went out for sushi which to my surprise was really good. Decent sushi has arrived in Bloem.

Most days I walk to Spar and back, not because I need anything, just because I enjoy walking. Trying to fit all my favourite haunts into the time I’m here without hurting my body.

Friday evening I went for dinner at some old friends. The boys I had known had turned into teenagers, but it was good to see them all again.

Saturday morning a taxi took me to the Boeremark. It was nice being surrounded by South African creativity again. The type of things SA people enjoy making. I had pannekoek and a sosatie. I walked around buying almost nothing in the end.

The weather was gorgeous and so I had the taxi drop me off at the hardware store and I walked back home. It would have been a 40min walk, but I walked slowly, then paused at Baysvillage, bought a  “boerewors rol”, passing by the park with the little train on my way home.

The times I spent at home I was reading Me Before You, taking short breaks from reality and enjoying myself.

This evening I went for pizza at Bella Casa, an old favourite. I was surprised to see Italian Spritz on the drinks menu. I ordered it and momentarily I could taste Rome. The pizza was good, but as south African’s would have it, there was a lot of cheese on top.

Sunday morning was the first time I set an alarm. I wanted to be sure I got to church on time. I only had one full non-jetlagged Sunday in the city. I got a lot of people who did a double-take when they saw me and even more so at the church. It was good to see them all again. I did a lot of growing up at that church.

I was finally sleeping better, and then it was Monday morning, today and other than having pizza for lunch I had no concrete plans for the day.