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Chapter 3: South Africa

It’s 2AM when we leave the house for the airport. The roads are eerily quiet compared to the daily hustle and bustle. A handful of people are strolling down the streets and a dead dog lies on the road. It’s almost as if we’re driving in a completely different country. During the day it can take a few hours to get to the airport, but at night there’s no stopping for cars or people. When we arrive all the lights are off and there’s no life to be seen in the entire place. I’m sure we got the time and date right. We check the doors and luckily they open. As it turns out we are just very early and no one has opened up any counters or turned the lights on yet. A couple of homeless people are asleep on the benches inside and a TV shows us the French news.
After 2 hours of waiting more people are starting to arrive and the counters open. At 4AM we start lining up and an Argentinian man tells us about his holiday at the coast. In basic French and using hands and feet we communicate. I haven’t had any sleep and since I only just got out of hospital 2 days ago I am feeling extremely weak and exhausted. I mutter to Lance “I can’t wait for my wheelchair”. The lady next to us overhears me and laughs, not realizing that I’ve actually organized a wheel chair, because I don’t think I can handle walking and standing in line for hours at Jo’burg International.
I’m feeling shaky and miserable and sleep the entire 3 hours and 45 minutes it takes to fly to South Africa.

When we land I am told to wait in First Class while my wheelchair is on its way. It’s an odd feeling being wheeled around, while there is nothing wrong with my legs, but definitely worth it. Considering I felt close to fainting while waiting to board the plane I would have been miserable having to walk and wait around for hours. We get special treatment and are through customs within minutes. At the baggage carrousel I see the South African lady who laughed at my “wheelchair joke” while in line, back in Madagascar. The look on her face is priceless. We are in the arrivals hall within 15 minutes of leaving the plane. I highly recommend it!

Lance’s uncle is waiting for us and takes us out for breakfast before dropping us off at the house we will be staying at for the first week. I spend most of the time in bed, catching up on energy, editing and watching TV. We go out a couple times and Lance sorts out his stuff before heading off for another month in the bush. He searches for jobs, I cut his hair, we order pizza, go into town, lie in bed, have bubble baths and live like royalty in the enormous house we have to ourselves for the entire week.

On the 13th of May we get up at 5AM and head out to drop Lance off at a nearby B&B where he will be picked up from, to get to his course. Once the van arrives (and the extremely rude lady decides she is finished writing her novel and eating her breakfast) they leave for Makuleke (North of Kruger, close to the border). Lance’s uncle drives me to the airport where we grab something to eat and head over to the check-in counter. My suitcase is 5kg’s over, but luckily I don’t get charged excess.

At 9.30AM it’s time to board. The flight to Cape Town takes 2 hours and I get picked up by Lance’s other uncle. After an half hour drive we get to their house in Stellenbosch, which is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever been to. It is like being in one of those million dollar homes you see in magazines. I get shown to my room, where I stay for the first week and start unpacking and making myself at home for the next month to come.

View from my room.

One of 3 peacocks that live on the estate and visit regularly.

Upstairs TV room

Downstairs (1 of 3 living rooms!)

The neighbors and stream at the back of the garden.

Fanta, who has been keeping me company the entire month Lance was away.

One of the Saturdays I visited a town called Franschhoek with Lances aunt and a few of her friends who were attending a Literature Festival. I tagged along and while they listened to one of the speakers I went for a walk. While at a market a group of girls performed.

I only got to film a couple seconds but thought I’d share it anyway πŸ™‚

I’ve been reading Paulo Coelho’s books since I’ve been here and I’ve really fallen in love with them. I have been wanting to read his book “The Alchemist” for a while now, so while at the Literature Festival I decided to buy it.

Being by myself has made get a “little” stuck inside my head. I’ve spent so much time thinking that there were moments I was sure my brain was about to explode. Reading The Zahir taught me to evaluate my life constantly, making sure I am happy and not getting stuck in how we are “supposed” to live our lives according to the rules we all obey. It taught me to break those rules and ask myself “who says?” whenever I am doing or not doing something, saying or just thinking something. It reminded me of the movie “The Invention of Lying” in which people aren’t able to tell lies and speak their minds only. Why do we so often live the lives, speak the words, dress the way we dress, act the way we act and do the things we do, the way we are “expected” to? Who says this is the right way? Just be you!

After 2 weeks of sun it’s become clear Winter has really started. The Golf Estate I am staying at (De Zalze) is perfect for going for walks though, rain or no rain. It takes me an hour to walk halfway around.

Turns out they have porcupines here..

While on one of my walks I came across these concrete blocks with bent metal sticking out of it. It looked a little eery

Stellenbosch is known for its wine and the Estate I’m staying in is surrounded by vineyards.

Right next to the Estate is a landing strip. Lance’s families house is only a few hundred meters away from it and planes fly extremely low over the house a couple seconds before landing.

While I was working on an album the other day at the neighbors house, who I’ve got to know better over the last month, I looked around me and realized how lucky I am to be here, amidst all this beauty on the other side of the world. I’ve been traveling for over 3 months now and although I have the normal ups-and-downs I couldn’t be happier. I love being here and am so very excited to see what the future holds. Tomorrow morning we are off to Plett to visit Lances Oupa. Were not quite sure how long we’ll be staying for and what will happen next, but I guess that’s all part of the adventure, right? πŸ™‚ xx

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