Made it safely out of Hippo and Elephant land. And what an adventure it was. Well, actually the hippos didn’t charge and the elephants didn’t try to stomp on our heads and the chef (a cook from Old Bridge Backpackers—but it made us feel more like the big safari dudes to call him a chef) did produce a tasty tuna salad and some good wine out on the island where we and one or two/several/quite a few other visitors had our own isolated camping sites. And actually a small hippo did clump around and snort outside our flimsy tents in the middle of the night. I intend to write a proper travel piece about this with a few of my twelve hundred zebra and wart hog pictures in an accompanying photo album. Stay tuned. I’ll embellish if need be to make it a real ‘adventure’ piece. Or add an elderly but ever so dashing crocodile wrestler to make it a love story. Or exotic Delta herbs, a roasting springbok and unique swamp wine for a foodie tale—with recipes of course.

 Meanwhile it is 5AM in our Cape Town hotel and the rest of the gang just left to go shark-tank diving. I’m going to Durban later today to visit my friend Boyzie and will return tomorrow evening. After the ‘youngsters’ here are through hiking Table Mountain. More about Cape Town ‘California’ later. Or at least my favorite bookstore where I’ve already visited once.

This post is about age. I do keep coming back to that don’t I? There are five of us on this trip. Twenties, fifties, seventies. I said in an earlier post that I felt like this trip would take me into some undefined ‘next stage’ of life. One of physical vulnerability—something like that. And yes, that does seem to be the case.

It has been a bit rocky to be honest. Mental anguish. Physical blips, nothing serious. The initial sleeplessness which, in itself, was not a big deal. However the wondering if it would make me ill not to sleep, which never would have occurred to me before, was a bigger deal than I thought.

Then there was the emotional drama of being back in my memory’s dance-heavy Joburg where after a lunch and wine at Lucky Bean I was very short of breath for an hour or so. Psychosomatic?

And finally, some days later, after THREE HOURS of a four-hour trek in the burning sun I started feeling unwell. A short rest in the shade cured me of course. Three hours of continuous walking in 95° blazing sun, no shade in sight, is unpleasant and I probably was on the verge of sunstroke but probably not death! Probably not.

Altogether though enough to make my sons start treating me like a frail elder instead of simply their older mother. With the best of intentions of course. I know they love me and do not want me to drop dead in a foreign country—can you imagine the red tape—nevertheless it pissed me off. And made me sad. And, yes indeed, feel quite vulnerable. Of course I am a little cranky about all of this even though I so wisely wrote about it before the trip even began. What to do? Nothing. There’s no cure.

A big piece of it is what my granddaughter refers to as FOMO. Fear Of Missing Out. Which is most apt. I can only walk three hours in the effing sun. I think I should be able to do eight.  I cannot hike up Table Mountain with the rest. Which I would like to do. Or go shark-tank diving. Which I have no desire to do and actually seems a little silly. Or swimming in the pond just down from our campsite in the Okavango Delta. Which I could do but don’t like cold water so did not. Shrug off the tent-spiders. Which I would Never Ever have shrugged off in my whole life. Or stay up in the evening eating and drinking to the accompaniment of loud music. With which I am simply bored because only so much noise, alcohol and rich food can be enjoyed in one lifetime. Then—you’ll see—it’s just mind-numbing and stomach-disturbing. But damn it I want the choice of all of the above. Aging is all about side-lining, peripheralizing (new word?), fading out of the picture, disappearing, isn’t it? Deal with it.

There, out of my system. 6AM now. A little more sleep before preparation for Durban. I have Deon Meyer’s new book so I can enjoy the bloody side of Cape Town for a few escapist hours.

8:30AM. Time to post, shower, go find some sweet rolls. The hotel is undergoing construction on the first floor so they send guests around the corner for hearty breakfasts at an attractive little restaurant with an array of tantalizing pastries. I’m off to see Boyzie.





  1. For some reason I did not get your post of the 30th, perhaps it will show up later. And no posts for a week? Was that safari time? Don’t fret about the things you can’t do, do the things that you can. My train adventure sparked something in me. I approached the trip with a bit of trepidation, but soon found out this is easy, I can do this. Do what we can…and do what is possible…and never ever fret about what you used to be able to do. Memories are almost as good as the real thing..better to have memories than none at all…

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