Bloem 2018 – part 2
Writing from photos – always a good option when you can’t remember what happened when.
So, I offered to cook dinner one evening for my host family. I made my chinese chicken fried rice and it turned out totally fine and actually quite yummy. We ate outside, with two oil lamps lighting the night.
I went back to my old home and had coffee with Oom Tommie, after that I climbed the tree out front. I sat on a branch I had sat on of years, I had spent time up there, with my scraped legs and the ands and the leaves the breeze the dark green cocoon. It was brilliant even through I scraped off the skin on my calf on my way up.
I moved on from Me Before You, excellent book, to After You. I went to Mimosa Mall again, I collected my stuff from HDL and finally my street market London ring fit my hand easily without it being frozen outside. I also bumped into some old church friends. Me and the daughter just stared at each other at first, our smiles growing broader until everybody looked up and did the now familiar double take before jumping and hugging me. I sat with them while waiting for my taxi, it was wonderful to see them again.
That evening I was back at the pizza place. The weather was delicious and I introduced my friend to Italian Spritz, we ordered a pizza with spinach (another pizza I am unable to find outside SA) and a bottle of red wine. We sat there for hours, talking, eating, drinking, laughing. The light faded and the pizza finished, the bottle emptied slowly, but surely. We talked about anything and everything. It was a good evening.
Later that night we went dancing. We drove to a club called Route 66 and we didn’t care what we looked like we jumped around dancing and when it was “sokkie dans” she, a regular at the club, found me a partner for two dances. After this she and I danced to the beat, laughing more than I have in a while.
The next day I woke up and headed to the Waterfront I needed to buy the third book, Still Me, I was almost done with the second and I needed something for the rest of my time there and for the plane home. After purchasing the book from Exclusive books, I wanted to sit outside and experience being in that wonderful weather. I sat down at a coffee shop and ordered a South African treat, Malva pudding, which came with a desert wine. I sat there savoring it. I read the last parts of the second book (After You) and ate a pudding I had known since I was a little girl and sipped a wine which suited it perfectly. It melted in my mouth with the custard. The blue sky and the white clouds over head the water glittering and the green trees slightly swaying in the breeze which I also felt on my face.
From the Waterfront I walked down 2nd Avenue to the pizza place yet again – I just wasnn’t ready to head home. I ordered an appatizer and waited for my best friend to join me. After some time had passed I ordered a bottle of red wine, I had a glass. Sipping it slowly, while reading and enjoying being outside. Suddenly, my friend sat down, it was lovely, but she burst my solo travelling bubble. She came, with conversation and pizza was added to the table, she poured a glass of wine and I was forced to abandon my fictional world for the beauty of the real world. We had another spinach pizza and a different type of red wine. and it was a good day.
Thsi was also the day I had snails for the first time. Firstly, let me say that after each of us eating almost half a pizza Havana oh-na-na started playing and despite feeling overly full we started dancing, slowly and it was good. After this I wanted to try snails, she liked them, so if I hated it she could enjoy the whole plate. I didn’t hate it, I didn’t love it, I ate something fishy in a garlic butter sauce, but it wasn’t as gross as I had expected.
That night, my host family and I sat around the wooden kitchen table and chatted. It was fun, me and the man had a beer each, discussing our scars and enjoying each others stories.
The next morning I misread a text, I arrived at the waterfront coffee house at 11h to meet a friend. It was Friday, her text had said Saturday. I finished my sparkeling water and walked down 2nd Avenue. I went into the liquor store the waitress at teh pizza place had mentioned as the place selling the wine I loved.
There is a drought in SA, the wine I want couldn’t be purchased due to the drought. I stared around for a moment I didn’t know what to do with my day. My appointment was for the next day and I had finished everything on my “to-do-list”. I headed to the pizza place, out of habbit.
As I sat down I thought it was as though I had applied a part of my Rome rhythm here in Bloem. I nibbled a salad with blue cheese dressing and finished After You. I went home and had a nap, I walked to Spar, passing my primary school, Bloemies. At Spar I found the Simba cheese chips which I had ate continuously as my matric exams approached. I bought a bag in nostalgia and it, despite all the other changes in the city, these chips tasted the same.
One evening my friend picked me up and we went to buy pizza at Mystic Boer. I had heard of their pizzas 5 years ago and apparently the legendary pizzas still existed. We sat there watching the strangest assortment of people while waiting for our food. After this we headed to her place and had a chilling out girls night with pizza and a movie.
Saturday morning I woke up feeling weird. I had eaten more pizza in the last two weeks than in a long time. I read somewhere about the chemicals used on SA grain, I hadn’t felt like this in Italy, maybe it wasn’t the wheat, maybe it was something else. I chilled out and later on I walked to Spar.
I loved my walks, and on my way back I smelled smoke and saw a man putting sosaties on the fire. I strolled around Spar a few times. It would me the last time I walked down streets I had walked down growing up. Passed the fire department, over the fire ants, passed the “veldjie”… then I bought some sosaties. It was delicious.
I felt sick, but happy in a way. It was my last day and I sat at home reading the first half off Still Me while drinking 5 Roses Tea, which I haven’t found here. It was great to be able to zone out. I had done everything on my to do list, seen almost all the people I wanted to and the places I had missed. If I wanted to spend time in a fictional world I could. That afternoon I saw oom Tommie for the last time and said goodbye to that particular walk.
After landing on JBH airport I called Jade, an old friend whom I was unable to see while in SA, with the last airtime on my phone. We talked for 45min straight and then I boarded for Dubai.
I devoured Still Me on the plane, being unable to sleep as there were three busy toddlers in my vicinity. and it was a good trip.
I can’t remember exactly when, but I also spent a day at the ministry of education trying to locate my high school certificate. Finally, I was helped by the nicest black man who gave me everything I needed to apply.
Rooikat taxis was my mode of transportation when I wasn’t walking. It felt sooo South African having the man who answers the phone inquiring how I was and why I was on the other side of the city; nice though…