Dark nights

My last night in Kimberley – this town actually is so amazing. There really is so much in this town and it is so enjoyable. Then again, my company was superb beyond measure. Also, the girls of Kimberley are probably the hottest in the country. No seriously – I heard that guys from Jozi come to party in Kimberley just because of this. The agenda for this last night was to see the flamingos of Kimberley. The flamingo thing never did happen. I found myself being left outside some mall in the middle of town. The town has quite a few of these mall things. The one thing I have noticed about towns is that malls are like these standardised models placed all over the country. In an attempt to make your town more Jozi-like, insert a mall with the usual chain stores. It is great for marketers as setting trends and controlling consumer habits can be done countrywide whereas before, if a town didn’t have an Edgars, penetrating that market with your merchandise was pretty difficult. It can be seen as a good thing but I don’t know, I love the quirkiness that towns without chain-stores have. Maybe I’m just a romantic.

My purpose for visiting aforementioned mall was to meet an old friend of mine. Meeting my friend was really awesome. It’s quite amazing how people have ended up in corners of the country that you never would believe. Kimberley ain’t too bad – my cousin was in Ermelo for a year which is not the epicentre of “happeniningness.” Yet it does allow one to see the country and experience what you never would normally experience. In some cases, the quite country life might end up as something you want. Or instead of sticking to the metropolises of Jozi, Cape Town or Durban, you find the quiet hustle and bustle of Port Elizabeth, East London, Bloemfontein or Kimberley more appealing. Anyway, here’s to the next meeting. 🙂

As I waited outside said mall (without a name), a Corsa Diesel speeds through the parking lot with A-Team music blurting out the windows. Two masked men jump out, bundle me up and throw me into the car. In an instant, they have left the parking lot, speeding away to an undisclosed destination. Well, that’s what was supposed to happen. They got the A-Team music right and I was handed a dop. I think that makes it alright.

The destination was an undisclosed though – a spot south of Kimberley on the desolate N12. Drive twenty kilometres out of town and you experience vast openness with pure nothingness all around. The lack of industry means a clear as glass sky. Tonight was cloudless. Tonight we saw every bit of the Milky Way and then some.

Armed with a lot of brandy and some KFC (I ate chips – I found out that they actually make a MOERSE sized chips if you ask. Sweet!), we crowded around a rather empty bin at the rest stop. We lacked fire. The bin looked perfect. We started a fire out of the KFC packaging. After a while, we realised that this was not going to be a sustainable fire without wood. Using my MOERSE flashlight which can be used to signal to aliens if required, we looked around and found a lot of twigs and dead branches on the floor. We chucked these in. These, however, weren’t working. We ventured further. We found bigger branches. Not satisfied, we jumped over the fence in search of wood. We found a dead tree. And then we found another two. A friend phoned us. We told him where we were and instructed him to bring wood. He brought these several tree stumps 30cm in diameter. Man, that fire was great. It got so hot that the metal was glowing red. The paint on the outside of the bin melted away. The bottom of the bin actually threatened to break away because of the intense heat!

The night was darkened by an event which actually taught me something about myself. I’ve always thought of myself as open-minded and open to experiences of the alternate kind. After all, how would I be going around South Africa by road if I wasn’t? Two of the guys took the car back to town leaving three of us, as I saw it, stranded on the N12. I freaked out completely. To me, this is a national road and your only safety net is gone. If anything happens out here in the wilderness, there is nothing you can do. That’s how I saw it. I lost my nut and took off with the guys worse than I have ever done in my entire life. Their argument was that this is Kimberley and they have done this for the last ten years – incident free. The thing is, as I saw it, I can fully understand that aspect but…It’s the, “but,” that stands out – anything can happen at anytime no matter where you are hence the constant vigilance.

What is right? I still don’t know. I can’t fully accept that my losing my marbles was the right thing to do. Neither can I say I was wrong to go that berserk. Small town life in South Africa is a completely different ballgame to big city life with all the issues that come along with it though. Which “life” you choose to lead is up to you. It did show me that I am that city boy with the city boy mentality. That mentality does mean you are intrinsically safe in all situations because you make sure you are, but it also means the tranquillity of the small town life eludes me. It’s something I need to correct before I get back to Jozi.

Meanwhile, in the distance, the jackals keep barking…

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Starry, starry night

It’s late in the day – so late that in human terms, the day will soon become a new one. In cosmic terms, this passing of the time is insignificant. Looking up, this cosmos speaks to me in its ancient language of energy, light and awe. Standing alone in the Karoo, I look around seeing darkness in its purest form. Our lone fire dots the ground a few hundred metres away. I tread the N12 walking over the extinct cat-eyes. They provide guidance to those travelling this road but in this darkness, they’re just like the fossils that scatter this arid landscape. It seems that every star is out tonight. Never have I seen the Milky Way shown of with all this splendour. I look away and then stare again at this glittering sky. When you look up again, more stars appear out of the nothingness. Silence is broken by the cry of the Jackal. In ancient times, the diamonds that are scattered across the world were thought to be products of the stars. At least fifty million carats of diamonds have been unearthed from Kimberley alone in the last hundred or so years yet the sky’s still painted with so many of these glittering dots. It shows us how insignificant we are as individuals in this universe of ours yet we’ve rape, pillaged and killed so many just to show someone else that one man is better than the other. But tonight, I look at the stars and only the stars.