In lieu of a far more interesting post on travels in the Karoo, which will shortly (but not for a few days yet) be undertaken, I thought I would share some of the background excitement of the voyage. Since last week Thursday, I have been hanging out in Grahamstown, picturesque gem of the Eastern Cape and deliciously hot and hell-freezing-overly cold in equal, if unpredictable measure. Ostensibly, this was to attend Katherine’s (my by-far-better half) graduation and subsequent socials. I will only be back in Johannesburg from May though, with the remaining days being spent predominantly in Grahamstown and surrounds, until an ending in Stellenbosch involving competitive debating and catching up with friends not seen in a despicably long time.
For the days immediately ahead, however, this trip will serve as a test of whether the nomadic work-from the-road thing really is a practical, workable lifestyle, or whether it exists mostly in the heads of people who write books about working on the road. In the case of Undiscovered Country, my current creative and travel outlet, this should not be very hard. In fact, the more of the fascinating surroundings and people around these parts I can get to see, the richer the whole project will be for it. In the case of Red Ferret, being a company grounded in websites and online development magic makes for something which can be worked on from pretty much anywhere. And which I am hoping will be nominally flexible and accommodating of the next few weeks, provided that the deadlines are met. Of particular interest in the immeditate future will be a trip to the Owl House in Nieu Bethesda via the town of Prince Albert this weekend – a route which will see myself and four other weekend explorers travering a particularly scenic part of the Karoo.
For those international readers who have never heard of the Karoo before, it is a quirky, magical, occasionally awe-filled area in South Africa (and a large one at that) from which a disproportionate volume of the most entertaining characters and literature in our recent past has come. The best I could come to trying to capture it would be to say that it is to South Africa’s makeup what a place like New Orleans (the odd, magical version of it) might represent to the American psyche. Just a lot dustier, desertified and full of the full sprectrum of the human condition across its many tiny towns and history-filled backwaters. It also makes for stunning photography and fascinating bar conversation – both of which I fully intend to take advantage of.
The coming days will also offer a trip to Bedford to see my father, whose passion for small (and often freezing) towns is exceeded only by his talents at starting successful bars and restaurants within their precincts. Since I am in the area, a journey to visit another good friend who I had the excellent fortune of travelling through Mozambique with, is a must as well. And then finally, as if this is not enough, a final-days roadtrip to Stellenbosch, the capital of South African winemakeing will be on the cards as well. So indeed, there should be much to write about in the coming days. Enough, I hope to make a decent apology for the sparseness of recent posts. And to refresh the stock of interesting travel stories, both on this blog and in my own internal tall-tales repository – none of which, please god, will resemble the start of my last road trip.