14 September 2014 Sunday

The Drakensberg is beautiful. I woke up this morning with a serious hangover, made myself some tea and then walked up to the top of the hill to enjoy the view. Here you can hear the sounds of tiny birds’ wings flapping. The sky is clear and the mountain range stands proud against it, I can see a little town down the valley and a white bakkie racing through the dirt streets. It is peaceful and I wish this is what I woke up to every day.
A friend of a friend invited me to a weekend of fun in the Drakensberg- I had never been and so I obliged, also I like to steal moments of being spontaneous and I am glad I am here. How we got here was an adventure. I got picked up yesterday in her car which had three other friends and we drove from Johanneburg thinking our trip would take maximum of three hours. We typed in the address of the lodge in our advanced technological devices and listened carefully to the automated voice of a female tell us where to go; turns out she did not know exactly where we were going, she directed us to a lodge in a small dusty town centre and to add to that frustration the car broke down- it would not go. Our efforts to help the car start up again and go made it clear to the locals that we were not from there and that we were most probably lost- this agitated me but somehow the car started again and we decided to go buy food and liquor. We hurriedly got out of the small dusty town, typed in the address again and joy elevated when we were confident that the automated voice would not get us lost again. Our joy was short lived; the car broke down again but this time in a more precarious location; on a busy road with close to no space to park the car on the side. After examining the car we realised that it was overheating and so we had to wait for it to cool down. After a few minutes we started the car again but now it would not go into gear but we forced our way to the lodge which was about fifteen minutes away. Five kilometres were left when the car broke down again and we knew this was last time, we called the owner of the lodge to come help us and he came in the bakkie to tow us up to the destination. In the back of the bakkie I rolled around as the driver drove up the rocky road very fast but I was excited because the mountain range was just so magnificent.
After thanking our lucky stars that we had made it we went into the lodge which had a rustic style, I felt like I could be in my grandmother’s house and I loved it. There is warmth that I cannot explain; it is a feeling of having arrived at home. Just as we were settling down I saw a man in blue overalls walking with six horses, turns out we had a horse riding session. Now I’ve never been on a horse and I was both scared and excited. I was given a sixty second lesson on how to ride the horse, like how to control it and how to sit and afterwards I was riding. It was exhilarating- I think I could be addicted. I think I want horse. Riding on a horse across the Drakensberg at sunset is a memory I hope never to forget. My horse was obedient at first but then it decided to go all Black Beauty on me- it started galloping at a speed at which I could not control and then I fell off it, it was a gentle fall, luckily the dry savaanah grass cushioned my fall. I asked the man in the blue overalls if I could exchange horses and we did. I now finally understand the saying that if you fall off a horse you get back up on it.
There is a fire on the mountain, the dancing flames travel across the plain like a slithery snake against the black backdrop. It is now night. I have eaten too much curry and rice. We had supper on the table on the porch facing the mountains and we watched the fire whilst enjoying crisp white wine. It is our last night here at Drakensberg and the night is sombre and calm. Beautiful variants of moths fly above our heads and the night air is clear and warm- a sense of longing is brewing and I wonder how it will feel to get back to the city. Today we went zip lining in the forest, I was scared most of the time and only loosened up after a few rides. Only birds take freely to being above the forest and river at a height of more than sixty five metres and better yet birds are buoyant- I’m not. I’m tired now and I’m drinking tea before I go to sleep. It has been a good weekend and I wish for many more like this. My tummy is now more than four times its size but isn’t that what life is about- overindulgence.

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