Saturday, December 31, 2005

Mud bath

Finally. Everybody left. It was so nice to see them all here. My family, here in South Africa, for Christmas. My mom and dad, who came to Africa for the first (and I’m thinking, now, last) time. My sister, the dearest closest love of my whole entire life. And my four kids were here too (the boys from universities in the States, Aphrodite from England.) And of course Miss T, to her eternal sorrow was here already. So, the whole family reunited, together, in Johannesburg.

Christmas in Africa. What’s it like? Nice, lekker, nice.

We went off to a game park near Botswana before Christmas. Saw every kind of animal (save buffalo and wild dog, for the game-counters amongst us), even a leopard on the hunt -- very exciting. The fresh air was invigorating, the sunsets breathtaking, as they always are here in Africa. And the night-time ride through a lightning and hail storm in an open Land Rover was thrillingly indescribable.

Aphrodite said it was like being in the movie “Twister” and it was. Lightning cracking all around, left, right, behind, to the left again, and then again! Closer even! Chasing us! And again! Crack!!! Again over there. CRACKKKK!!!!

We were racing toward the lodge. Rain pelting down. Sliding on slippery mud roads at 80 kph, the fastest you could go. Gobs of mud flying up from the wheel wells, landing everywhere, and hail pellets smacking your eyes and lips and cheeks. I spent a bit of time thinking about that physics thing, where the car shields you from lightning, because it makes a shell around you, and the lightning goes around and to ground. I'm wondering how that works on a Land Rover, with no top. Ah fokkal, not to worry. Life’s short, hey? Live it up!

The kids were screaming with laughter, singing songs, yelling, ponchos flapping in the crazy wind, shouting into the storm. What an adrenaline rush! But “Nana” was uber-pissed off -- drenched and wet and recovering from bronchitis. She thought it was a bit too much. And we all knew it was too much for her, because we’d seen her, curled into a tiny ball in the front seat of the Landie, cowering. As one would do, IF one were sensible. “Nooo, me thinks it’s been too much fer yer gran, hey yeah!”

She had brekkers in bed, next day, and by later on in the afternoon, no problemo. We tried to tell her it was a kind of spa health treatment but she wasn’t buying our line of kak.

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