Hanging in the treetops at Teniqua

I’ve been quiet, I admit. This year started roughly. If the beginning of my year were one of those inspirational posters with twee pictures, it would say: ‘You have to have the dark days in order to see the light’, or some such wisdom. It had left me unable to get out and about, to explore, to write, to escape the claustrophobia that threatens to throttle me when I’ve been in the city too long. The light, however, as it always does, has slowly shone through the crevices and a new normal is establishing itself and, when the opportunity to escape the city limits arose and the forest invited us to stay, the answer was a resounding ‘yes’!

And so it was that we found ourselves in The Little Bluebird of Happiness (who shook out his tail feathers excitedly as we turned on the ignition and said those golden words, ‘road trip’), wending our way in the direction of the Garden Route. The fields of the Overberg were looking superb in their winter finery and the canola was just starting to bloom, creating a gold-and-green quilt.

A short stop for lunch-with-a-view in Mossel Bay revealed the most amazing thing. When you order sweet potato chips, they come sprinkled with sugar and mini marshmallows. No need to order pudding!

Onwards, towards Sedgefield, where I still get the same thrill seeing the horse-fence at the vets as I did when we used to drive through there while visiting my grandparents in Plett. Their latest reincarnation includes a fantastic skeleton one.

We turned onto the Karatara road, where evidence of the terrible fires of 2018 is still visible, but the regrowth between the heartbreaking, but stately, remnants of burnt trees makes your heart sing. The clouds gathered moodily above us as we turned in to Teniqua Treetops, who were hosting us for two nights. Before I start to wax lyrical, they score a bonus 10 points for being eco-friendly.

How to describe this magnificent spot? Basically, you’re a bird, living in a nest up in the treetops of the emerald forests of Knysna. That is, if you’re the kind of bird who likes its luxuries. The cabin/tents are a mixture of canvas and beautifully carved wood (if you go, be sure to look carefully at all the carving – there are old men and smiling profiles in the wood), set on stilts above the forest, on a hill that falls into a magnificent valley filled with indigenous trees and every bird imaginable, with a stoep on each side, to braai on and sit on and observe the splendour for hours on end.

The word ‘tent’ gives a bit of a false impression of the challenges of camping: trying to set them up and finding, always, that there’s a large root right under where you’ve lain your ridiculously-thin camping mattress. There’s none of that here. Far from it, in fact. The cabins are equipped with absolutely everything you could need, including crisp white linen and feather duvets on a superbly comfortable bed, a heater to ward away the winter chill and a fan for those hot summer days.

It also has a fully equipped kitchen, with a two-plate gas stove, microwave, fridge and all the pots, plates and utensils you need to keep fed and happy. Speaking of such, each morning a basket of breakfast goodies is delivered to the door by the fabulous staff (all of whom are lovely). Cold meats, cheese, yoghurt, fruit juice, fresh fruit and the most delicious mini chocolate croissants. It’s like manna from heaven.

The bathroom deserves a paragraph of it’s own. Located between the outside patio and the bedroom, it is in the open air with a massive bath which looks like it’s jumped out of a travel brochure and settled in its corner. Luxuriating in your bubble bath, you can see across the whole valley (and don’t worry, there is nothing in the whole valley that can see you). A composting toilet sits next to an open shower. Basically, it’s bathroom heaven.

Beside all the creature comforts, the main thing about Teniqua, is that you can totally unwind. There is nothing to do but lie on the bed with the tent flaps open overlooking the forest, or sit on the stoep//balcony with your book and read. I found myself, on occasion, ignoring my book and just marvelling at the busyness of the birds in the trees and the little creatures that call this place home. They are incredibly lucky to call it home. Two days felt like a week, but it was totally not long enough. We had to drag ourselves away from this paradise.


Wheelchair accessibility

I was somewhat dubious when I saw on the website that Teniqua had a wheelchair accessible cabin. I fully expected it to be right next to the main camp, with little privacy. I could not have been more wrong. Green Beard, in which we stayed, does indeed balance on the side of the hill, with unbelievably beautiful views of just forest, no neighbours, and it’s totally accessible.

A relatively steep ramp leads down from where you park the car, straight into the cabin, which is do-able alone, if you’re strong, or with some help, if not. There are no steps anywhere, once you’re in, and it is incredibly spacious, considering it’s a tent, with plenty of maneuverable floor space.

The bed is a great height with plenty of space for transfers, the bathroom is outdoors but equally as spacious, with seating below a handheld shower and a bath which currently has no grab bars, but a revamping is planned. The toilet allows for front transfer and possibly a side transfer (see pictures) and grab rails will probably also be added there. The owners, Taryn and Anthony, are keen to make it completely universally accessible and are absolutely lovely.

What a gem of a place.

*We were kindly hosted by Teniqua Treetops for our two nights.

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Artsing at the Zeitz MOCAA

The Zeitz MOCAA (Museum of Contemporary African Art) is in the old silos at the Cape Town harbour and it has all the gorgeous curves to prove it. It’s a fabulous addition to the art scene in the Mother City.

The architecture of the building is a piece of art in itself. Standing in the main foyer and looking up, the Seussesque walls tower up to the roof, uneven and curved, the bones and innards of those hardworking silos exposed and beautiful. The entire structure is concrete but it is surprisingly warm, despite this… Perhaps its history of holding all those precious grains within its bosom has imbued the building with a natural warmth, like the smell of baking bread. Or, perhaps I’m just being fanciful.

Up on the roof, the views stretch over toward Table Mountain, and the hexagonally curved windows make you feel like a bee, gazing across the city with your compound eyes, looking for places to collect pollen.

Wednesday mornings are free for South African citizens. On that note if, like me, you have fallen in love with the place, it makes much sense to buy an annual membership. We had a friend visiting so we went on a Wednesday morning, expecting it to be very crowded. It was busy, but not overly so. I’ve always thought galleries and museums are made more interesting by the people you see while looking at the art. I’m intrinsically a people watcher (and unashamed eavesdropper).

The gallery is spread over a number of floors, some of them permanent exhibitions and the upper levels temporary exhibitions. The two exhibitions we saw: Five BhobhPainting at the end of an era, an exhibition of art by Zimbabwean artists and the fantastic (and fantastical) Still Here Tomorrow to High Five You Yesterday.

It’s impossible to pick favourites in exhibitions like this that showcase so many talented artists but, if I had to, it would be Cristina de Middel’s pieces on the Zambian moon programme. It’s the kind of thing that makes me proud to be an African. It’s quirkiness highlights our African innovation and tenacity and belief that we can do anything we put our hearts to. It’s just lovely.

 

I’m not in art critic, I’m just an art lover and, for this reason, I am so glad that the Zeitz MOCAA is there and I’ll keep going back, over and over (also, I have the concentration span of a flea, so need to do big galleries in bite-sized pieces).


Wheelchair accessibility

The  Zeitz could teach a few other buildings in Cape Town a lesson on wheelchair accessibility.

Admittedly it is newly renovated, unlike many of the older buildings in Cape Town. The building is entirely equipped for wheelchair users with smooth floors, lifts and great accessible bathrooms, with a fabulous red loo.

The galleries flow through with interleading swing doors, which close automatically and are heavy, so not ideal accessibility-wise but, in true South African style, there were plenty of willing people around who held doors open for me. Another thing I love about my country … the genuine friendliness and generous outpouring of care.

There are only two lifts so, if it’s busy, you sometimes have to wait a while to get space in one … perfect people-watching (and listening) time.

Zeitz, we’ll be back soon.

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Beautiful Babylonstoren

There is something really lovely about walking through the gardens in which your lunch was grown before tucking in to said lunch. That’s exactly what you can do at Babylonstoren. 

Our choice of day, perhaps, was not the wisest. It was 36°C, so ambling through the beautiful, manicured food gardens on the way to the Greenhouse Restaurant was a little hot. Luckily, seeing all of the happily growing plants and different types of fruits provides more than enough distraction, as does the thought of a delicious fresh lunch underneath the trees at the end of the walk

There is no booking at the restaurant, it’s first come, first served and there were lots of people but we got a table immediately. It was in the shade of a tree, with a resident bird who bestowed its ‘luck’ on two of our heads as it hopped around singing in the branches above us. Nothing like getting close to Nature. Glorious mist sprayers wound around various trees thankfully cooled the hot air down.

 

The menu is simple, the service quick and efficient and the food prettily presented. Two of us had sandwiches, the other the pork pie, perfectly paired with deliciously tart home-made lemonade. The menu claims that 80% of their ingredients are sourced within 20 km which is just fabulous.

Suitably re-energised, we ambled down a different path on our way back, marvelling at the succulent section and bumping into one of the resident tortoises. Well, we didn’t really bump into him, that would just be rude. We stopped and let him pass in sedate tortoise-style and then watched as he nibbled on some delicious looking bushes.

It was at this point that we stumbled on some vegetable gardens that were being sprayed with huge sprayers. It was here that we spent quite a long time huddled as close to the baby veggies that were frolicking around in the spray and enjoying it as much as them. I am here to tell you that the childhood joy of running through a sprayer does not subside.

Heading out we stopped in the shade of the huge trees at the entrance and admired the donkeys. They really are the best creatures on Earth. Babylonstoren, we’ll be back (especially as I see they have a tea ceremony – how lovely)!


Wheelchair accessibility

The paths through the gardens are dust or scattered with gravel/peach pips and intermittent water furrows, so not ideal for wheelchairs. In saying that, I went with two friends who took it in turns to push me and it was fine. Had I planned better I would’ve taken my Freewheel with me which would’ve made it completely doable.

Also, if you have the help, it is totally worthwhile pushing through it to see the gorgeous gardens and have a meal.

There is a great accessible bathroom with ramp, lots of turning space, a high enough basin, and grab bars.

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Constitution Hill: Brutal and beautiful

South Africa has a dark and brutal history. As with any history, it lingers like a bad odour, the stench of it hitting one full in the face from damp alleys and around corners. 1994 brought with it freedom from those dark days but the scars are deep and, like scars, stories remain. These are scars that will stick for generations. Apartheid and its systematic cruelty and inhumanity cannot (and should not) be forgotten. It should remain at the forefront of our thoughts, a reminder and a warning.

Constitution Hill is a stark and beautifully curated reminder of that brutal history. Perched with its feet in the bustling centre of Johannesburg, this hill has seen and done plenty in its over 100 years of  history.

In 1893, as rogues and entrepreneurs fought over the gold sitting quietly glimmering deep down in the bowels of the city, Paul Kruger commissioned the building of a prison on the hill. First it was a ‘whites only’ prison. In 1899, the fort surrounding it was built as protection against the British, used by the military during the South African War.

In 1904, Number Four opened to accommodate black prisoners and the Women’s Jail was opened in 1910 (also with separate sections for black and white prisoners). There was terrible overcrowding; good people incarcerated purely for being caught without a Pass Book or being political activists were thrown into cells with hardened criminals; gangs formed and conditions were appalling. In 1983, the prison closed and the site was left to decay until 1996, when it was decided that Constitution Hill would be the site of the newly democratic South Africa’s Constitutional Court.

It is possible to visit all sections of the prison on guided tours – we were taken around by the fantastic and incredibly knowledgeable Nolubalalo. Within these walls, scores of anti-Apartheid leaders, including Nelson Mandela, Fatima Meer and Oliver Tambo spent time. The site is incredibly well-curated with boards explaining the cruel circumstances under which the black prisoners were held, including the horrifying rations of food that they were given and the horrifying conditions.

To stand within the walls of one of the cells, blankets rolled up to look like prisoners giving an idea of the hierarchy, is chilling. The walls feel damp and foreboding, the air is still and heavy, and the noise of the living city outside is swallowed up by the still-present sense of foreboding and fear.

The courtyard is open to the sky, a huge blue expanse above concrete growing hot under the midday sun, bars and windowless cells encircling it. The city noise seems to be unable to penetrate even this air and the clang of an iron door closing sends shivers down my spine. It’s loud but, at the same time, it’s eerily silent. Nolubulalo tells us about the conditions, the inmates, the terror and the inhumanity.

We head up to the courtyard in front of the magnificent Constitutional Court, a reminder of now. The air here is clear, the trees throwing dappled shade onto the bricks as preparations for a year-end function happen behind us. There’s music and two of the men putting up the marquee chat and laugh. On the wall, the words ‘Constitutional Court’ watch over this all, written in all eleven official languages.

Inside, the architecture mimics a meeting place under a tree to symbolise where we come from. Elders sitting in a circle beneath a tree have been the major decision-makers and law-keepers throughout African history. The building is scattered with incredible works of art and, something I didn’t realise, the Constitutional Court is open to the public so you can go and watch law as it happens.

Heading out and further up the hill we explored the Fort with its enormous creaking door and the views from the top over Johannesburg. The Women’s Jail is a pretty Victorian building. In design it looks innocuous with lots of light and air, but its looks are deceptive, they hide a history of more cruelty and brutality. It’s difficult to breathe in the solitary cells that were inhabited by incredible, strong women who were incarcerated for months and years purely for fighting for justice.

As you leave out of the back of the Women’s Jail, you are met with an enormous sculpture of a young girl dancing in the sunshine, the huge blue sky above her, Hillbrow Tower peaking over her head. She’s the picture of joy and freedom.

May we never forget and thank you, Con Hill, for keeping that terrible history alive, for telling those important stories and for reminding us of the darkness and terribleness from whence we came.


Wheelchair Accessibility

Con Hill is a hop, skip and a jump from Once in Joburg, where we stayed. The hop,skip and jump requires transport though: it’s steep and bumpy, so we took a quick Uber. Be sure to get dropped at the Visitor Centre, so that you’re on a flat section (or outside the Women’s Jail, if you choose to just do that).

Constitution Hill is on a hill – surprise! – and it’s not a gently sloped, tiny hill: it takes its hill status seriously. However, the whole precinct is incredibly wheelchair accessible, with ramps everywhere and wheelchair lifts where needed. Some of the ramps are steep so you need to be superfit/have a fit person (in takkies, not stilettos or slip slops) to help to push.

If you’re wanting to visit but would prefer not to have to go up/down steep ramps, the Constitutional Court is on a level part, so could easily be navigated. Alternatively, get dropped outside the Women’s Jail and just visit that – it’s relatively flat.

There are accessible bathrooms throughout. And, as at so many wonderful South African sites, the people are wonderful and helpful! Check out their accessibility page.

If you’d like further info, feel free to mail me. I’m happy to answer questions.

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Once (upon a time) in Joburg

Once upon a time, a long, long time ago, there lived a 17-year old maiden. She was tall and a little gawky and awkward but was filled with the joy that can only come with finishing school, taking off ones’ tatty old school shoes for the last time and walking out of the school gates, never to look back. Freedom.

But what does that have to do with Joburg I hear you ask, knowing that I went to school in ‘n verkrampte small town in North West? Hold your horses, I’m getting there. This leads us into the last time I stayed in Braamfontein. Somebody’s boyfriend’s brother’s cousin (or somesuch) was a student at WITS and let a bunch of us stay in his tiny flat in one of the maze of city streets, so we could go clubbing and celebrate our new-found freedom after finishing matric.

That was 25 years ago. Since then I’ve watched from afar – having transplanted from Gauteng to the blissful Eastern Cape to Cape Town in those 25 years – as stories of rampant crime, degradation and sadness in Jozi’s once vibrant city streets filtered through. In the past few years, though, there have been happier stories, regeneration like only South Africa can do.

I’ve been longing to check it out, and to recapture that sense of freedom I had as a 17-year old (without having to go back to boarding school, heaven forbid). There’s nothing like city streets to do that, so when Once in Joburg invited us over, the answer was an immediate yes. And boy was it worth it.

Just landing in Joburg and catching the Gautrain (an easy way from O.R. Tambo to Once in Joburg, with one change of train and a quick taxi ride from Park Station) gives me city butterflies – there’s something delightedly delicious about the busy-ness and rush of a real city. And Joburg is filled-to-overflowing with the cool kids. Cool kids that aren’t just cool, they’re friendly too.

Once in Joburg is on De Korte Street, slap-bang in the middle of Joburg and humming with vibe. It’s the poster-child for ‘poshtels’. Yip, I said poshtel. It’s a thing. According to Wiktionary:

poshtel (plural poshtels)

  1. (informal) An upscale or luxury hostel.

I, too, when I thought of a hostel, was filled with visions of bunk beds a-jumping with bedbugs and unwashed 20-something year olds ‘discovering themselves in Africa’. Once in Joburg is the polar opposite – it’s a really clean, well-serviced and expertly run establishment which, while it does offer ‘dorm-type’ accommodation, also offers en-suite double rooms and family rooms.

The clientele, far from being unwashed and 20, range from (clean and fun) youngsters to families to 40-ahem year olds.We had a double room which was spacious and spotless, with en-suite bathroom, crisp white sheets and all the makings for tea and coffee. It certainly put the ‘posh’ in poshtel.

The hotel has everything a backpacker (and the rest of us!) would need – a board covered in activities, both offered in-house and out, and on the first floor, a communal area which includes facilities for cooking and storing food and for much socialising, like the regular weekly braai.

There’s also The Immigrant where, in the mornings, breakfast is served (go for the Shakshuka, it’s fabulous) and, throughout the day, snacks, meals and drinks, with an open balcony with twinkly fairy lights. If you’re needing a night in, here’s the spot. We joined lovely Sophie for a drink and to hear the story of ‘Once’ and how they’re making great strides in bringing business back into the CBD and encouraging all sorts of incredible small business ideas.

The area in which it is situated is vibey, noisy and happening. Through a path around the back you’ll find yourself in The Grove, a square that is filled with those cool kids I mentioned above, hanging out at the tables on the square of a couple of restaurants, music pumping. It’s fantastic.

We sat there for hours, me doing what I love best: people-watching and being filled with pride and hope for this country watching the youth that are coming up (sheesh, I sound old). It made me certain there’s definitely a happily ever after to this.


Wheelchair accessibility

Once in Joburg has an accessible room. The bathroom is tiny (see pic above), with a shower with a lip so it’s a bit of a squeeze but, if you can walk a little, it’s fine. The bedroom (carpeted) is spacious, with plenty of transfer room and a good height bed. There are lifts, both small, so check measurements if you have a big wheelchair. Most importantly, everyone there is incredibly helpful, so just ask.

The area around Once in Joburg is fabulously accessible – the path to The Grove is ramped and the area is flat, so you can spend some time exploring without needing to get in a car. Do remember, though, this is a city like any other city in the world – don’t go wandering around at night or flash your valuables around. Even better, leave them in the safe.

Feel free to contact me if you want more info.

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Dusty back roads and stylin’ Steytlerville

Duimpie de Beer, an unlikely hero, lives in Aberdeen and drives (or used to) the little blue bakkie that has, since I first met that one, given me a soft spot for little blue bakkies. You see, a few years ago, on one of our trips to Nieu Bethesda, we found ourselves stranded, having run out of petrol (what a rookie mistake!) on the seemingly-never ending stretch of tar between Beaufort West and Aberdeen.

It was a Friday, at lunchtime, but the kind woman at the Tourism Bureau in Aberdeen assured us when we phoned her, that she’d call Duimpie at home, where he was having lunch. Sure enough, half an hour later, his little blue bakkie appeared in the mirage on the tar road. Back to the present though.

Aberdeen in November is dry and dusty, but around every corner are magnificent blooming bougainvillea of every hue, clambering over fences and hugging old tin houses. The N9 slithers around Aberdeen. If you turn in, toward the towering steeple of the church, you get to the main drag – unsurprisingly called Voortrekker Street. It comes out the other side and joins back onto the N9. It’s easy to feel like those are the only openings into this tiny, friendly town. 

With a little exploring, though, you’ll find the dust road out of town that heads South-East toward Klipplaat. For 44 km you will travel on an entirely straight road through perfectly arid Karoo landscape overhung by an enormous sky. Then the road will bend to the right, once, and from there, it’s pretty much straight again for the 30 km to Klipplaat. 

An old railway line chugs along next to the road and at the abandoned Aberdeen Road Station we stopped, turned the car off and listened to the sweltering silence of the Karoo. It was interrupted only by an occasional horror filmesque squeak of a sign, rusted and forlorn. 

The station building still stands, a room filled with old files, meeting notes and who knows what other bits of paper. Peoples’ stories whispering to each other as gusts of Karoo wind blew through the broken panels of the windows. 

Further down the road, Klipplaat sat heavily in the heat, the village shop providing highly-needed ice-cold Creme Soda as a couple of local kids watched us curiously. I don’t think many people stop in Klipplaat. 

The road between Klipplaat and Steytlerville is completely different as you head toward the hills of the Baviaans. It’s full of bends and curves as it snakes through the aloe-dotted koppies. 

As you round the bend quite close to the Steytlerville road,  Draaikaans appears: the most magnificent example of Cape Fold rocks which look very much like a fossilised Prehistoric tiramisu. I’m sure dinosaurs loved tiramisu. 

Once you’re on the tar road to Steytlerville, the cliffs to the left become covered in painted flags. I’m not a huge fan of any kind of graffiti in nature (I love it in the city) but when you’ve spent some time in Steytlerville, the quirkiness makes sense. They’re all flags that connect to South Africa’s history. 

Entering Steytlerville on the broad, double-laned Main Street, I was surprised to see family crests adorning the streetlights. They’re of the families who reside in the area and, for those who didn’t have a family crest, one was made to depict that family’s history. I think that’s lovely. 

It’s loveliness is repeated all through Steytlerville: a small, neat town with the Royal Hotel slap-bang in the middle and beautifully-restored Karoo cottages intermingling with equally gorgeous, slightly delapidated versions of said Karoo cottages. I have a thing for delapidation. 

These days, Steytlerville has become a bit of a hot spot. Well, a hot spot in Karoo terms. The Karroo Theatrical Hotel, just outside town, with its Saturday night cabaret, brings an influx of visitors each weekend. Next time we’re there, we’ll check that out.

This time, though, we were hosted by the fabulous people at The Royal Hotel, with its beautiful courtyard around which it’s spacious, neat and comfortable rooms are set, each building with the poster-child Karoo stoep, on which to watch the birds flitting in the trees. 

The main hotel, with its elegant dining room and suitably lively pub (the Springboks were playing) which opens onto a stoep on the main road, exudes Karoo hospitality, as do the pub’s patrons. To the point that we were invited to an after party by some locals at their house down the road. 

I’m not a huge rugby fan, so while GM worked herself into a stress ball about the Springboks latest antics, I did what one must in the Karoo: sat on the stoep watching the world go by attempting to study for my Postgrad exams, making friends with a lovely family from PE and keeping up with the feeding schedule of the swallow family who live in the eaves. 

Shane and Francois were fantastic hosts and we ate like royalty. Speaking of royalty, the silent couple in the corner of the pub add a fantastically regal – if somewhat ghostly, this is the Karoo, ghosts are de rigeur – atmosphere. 

As the sun set, the sky turned that heart-squelching blue and the stars started twinkling as the sweltering heat of the day let up a bit. We decided against the after party and GM went nightswimming (who doesn’t have an ear worm now?) before turning in and sleeping the sleep that only comes in the quiet of the Karoo.

Waking to the sound of thunder and fat, heavy drops on the tin roof was the best morning present The Weatherman could give and we threw open the door to let the smell of rain on dust in. Bliss. 

A bite to eat and it was time to head off down the concrete single-track road to Willowmore.

It was way too soon, I could’ve stayed a month. 


Wheelchair accessibility 

Steytlerville, being a Karoo dorpie, is fabulously flat and, with its broad roads, there’s lots of space for ambling along admiring the town’s architecture, crests and enormous church. 

The Royal Hotel were fantastically welcoming and helpful. While not set up to be universally accessible, the room we were in was huge, with plenty of space to transfer onto the bed. The bathroom, too, doesn’t have bars or anything and only has a bath but is spacious enough to transfer to the toilet from the front. There are a couple of small steps up to the rooms and into the main hotel areas but everyone was incredibly helpful and I’d go back in a heartbeat!

Please feel free to contact me if you would like more accessibility details on any of the places that we visited.

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Counting my lucky stars: Eddie Vedder incoming

On the 30th of November 1996, I lay with my cheek on a rather ugly brown carpet and cried my eyes out. It was the carpet of my bedroom in my final year digs. I was crying because it was the end of the phase of my life that I had loved the most so far. I was 21 and had just finished my degree at Rhodes University and we were leaving early the next morning to drive home one last time. 

As I lay there and smelt the damp carpet, I was listening to Pearl Jam’s Off He Goes, Eddie Vedder’s voice the perfect soundtrack to my heartbreak at the ending of  a life I’d loved, friends I’d loved more. I sobbed for the leaving behind. 

Little did I know at the time that just 12 hours later – on the 1st of December 1996 – my life would change in a way that I could never have imagined. Under a bright blue Karoo sky we crashed and I broke my neck, leaving me quadriplegic in a wheelchair. While I’d known my life was about to change, nothing had prepared me for quite such a big change. 

Fast forward 21 years – and some serious adapting to being okay and productive and busy and happy – and I got to see Eddie Vedder live, travelling from Cape Town to London to Sicily in June last year. There, under a hot Italian night sky with Mount Etna smoking in the distance and the Mediterranean sparkling below us, we watched Eddie Vedder in an ancient Greek amphitheatre. On night one he came into the audience and stood not 30 cm away from me while he sang Jeremy. I was too startstruck to even put my hand out to shake his. 

It was the stuff of dreams. 

I wrote a blog about it the next day and wished he would sing Off He Goes. That night, he did, and I felt like I could die right there and then, and be happy. I thought nothing could beat it. 

Fast forward another 18 months and I have tickets in my bag to the Global Citizen concert next week Sunday in Johannesburg. Eddie Vedder will be performing, in my beloved home country. Every year on the 1st of December, I celebrate being alive. This year, on the 2nd of December, 2018, exactly 22 years and a day after that fateful day, I’ll celebrate again, listening to Eddie Vedder. Live.

Maybe I’ll be lucky and he’ll sing Off He Goes again, on my home soil. 

Whatever he sings, though, I’m a lucky fish to see him twice in two years. So, very lucky.

See you next week Jozi (and Eddie). 

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