Posts Tagged ‘paranoia’

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.

Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 11.16.05 AM

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.

1000_joburg1

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.

1000_joburgsign

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.