Archive for December, 2013

Nieu and old and new Bethesda

December 29, 2013

Being on holiday in South Africa is a chance to open your eyes, open your mind, and sometimes escape your worst fears. Of course, not everybody gets that.

It's hard to tell what century it is from here.

It’s in the middle of somewhere beautiful.

It’s hard to tell what year it is in Nieu Bethesda, at night. It’s starlight – bright bright stars like you haven’t seen for years. But in the day it’s differently populated, by latter-day hippies. The township and the town intersect much more than in most small towns because it’s all so close, and the houses are close to the same size. Easy to see why lefties love it there. There’s a gentleness to it. You can sleep with your doors open and mean it.

Or – you can if you leave your fears behind you.

I’d come freshly inspired by an amazing experience in Cape Town – read the column on News24.

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This is where my bag went missing. Each of those little white dots is a minibus taxi that arrived / left full of strangers.

My mom and I took long walks around the small town, looking at things, talking about the year gone by, sliding around in the mud from the afternoon rainstorms. And we saw two sides of the town.

Honesty shop - you go take what you want, and put your cash in a tin by the door.

Honesty shop – you go take what you want, and put your cash in a tin by the door.

The shop is guarded only by this terrifying dog.

The shop is guarded only by this terrifying dog.

And then there was this ugly-ass house. Even from a distance, you could tell the people who built it didn’t understand where they were.

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Why did they make a double story – ruining the next door neighbors’ view – when there’s so much space to build?

We went in for a closer look.

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KKK overtones. Ugly. And as another resident says: “So unnecessary.” Not surprisingly, this brick box full of fear belongs to people from Joburg who, to the locals’ relief, only come to town for a few weeks a year.

 

For every sad story, there's a happy one like this.

For every sad story, there’s a happy one like this.

For every extremist with a gun, there's a tannie with ostrich feather dusters who appeals to your better nature.

For every extremist with a gun, there’s a tannie with ostrich feather dusters who appeals to your better nature. A photo from a coffee stop in the Karoo… Translation – “God says: You may not steal and that is that! So eat and drink, look and dig around and pay and drive safely on with a clean conscience. Amen! Amen!”

South Africa has been good to me. I know not everybody has it so lucky. But I wanted to put it out there, over the chorus of whining from homesick, paranoid expats all over the world. I’m in my happiest place on earth.

I’ll be back, Koreatown

December 21, 2013

For the first time while back visiting in South Africa, I miss my bed – my bed in Koreatown, Los Angeles.

It’s not that I’m not happy to be home, and or loving the time off, and the break from the backstabbing, excitement, joy and alienation that is film school… I am so, so grateful. It’s not that I didn’t hope I’d be allowed to go back to the USA every time.

It’s just that moving to Hollywood (of which Koreatown forms a part) was like finding a new home – something that’s been missing from my life for a few years now. I felt the same feeling of sudden belonging when I moved from Vredehoek to Sea Point; like I’d discovered a place where I could be myself, find myself, make myself what I was meant to be. I never much liked Orange. Ah screw that. I really can’t bear Orange. It’s not a bad place. It’s just not for me. Living there is like being smothered with lawn grass – looks great. Makes me want to scratch my face off.

And I left for SA 10 days after I moved into my little bachelor on the corner of two messy streets – half my stuff is still in boxes. It’s weird to think that the bus still stops outside my window every 10 minutes, that my next door neighbor still snores holes in the walls all night, and that life’s going on without me.

So just to touch base and to let the copious roaches know I’m coming to throw them out of their nests real soon, I’m posting these photos I took while getting to know my new neighborhood on foot one rainy day.

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At night, you’d never know you were in the USA, except for how wide the roads are.

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I can’t get into these sweets. Too chewy. But every morning, there’s a new batch at the Bakery.

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I need to buy these sometime. But I am scared to cook them. I will need an accomplice.

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Breakfast. In a Thai place. Don’t ask why – it’s just what happened.

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There are lots of dog grooming places, called things like this, or my personal favourite: “Puppy Time!”

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Boba Time. There are queues outside this joint every Sunday. I use it as my icafe – their internet is fast. The Boba is pretty fine, too.

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Papa Cristo Deli. Amazing food – always busy. Closed by 8pm.

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I don’t think I’ve ever seen anyone reading in a restaurant in Orange – not unless it was the Bible or the Newspaper.

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The Latin Quarter borders. Actually the sign on the wall has a giant angel picture. And it says “We are all angels with one wing. We only fly holding each other.”

24 Hr Laundry with Massage Chair, and Running Machine, and Wifi.

24 Hr Laundry with Massage Chair, and Running Machine, and Wifi. But I’m not 24hr. I am human.

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My bed.

The I10 South - soon to be a regular run for me as I commute to college.

Approaching Freeway Entrance on the left… soon to be a regular run for me as I commute to college.

These Christmas Lights will be gone by the time I am back.

These Christmas Lights will be gone by the time I am back.