Sunday, May 18, 2008

On the road again...

So I'm back in the field. And it's weird. It's not like I haven't been here recently, I came here on a field trip with a bunch of students for a week in late March. It was weird then, but a different weird. I was freaked out by seeping in a different bed, by going to 'my' outcrops with other people, by seeing people do things differently or use things differently to what I'm used to.

But this time it was back to normal. And exactly how normal it feels is what is weird. It was nice driving down. As the unversity managed to lose my vehicle for a bit (apparently it is entirely possible to lose a giant doeble-cab 4x4) I ended up staying home for an extra night, which was good as our maid (I really love Gertrude, I just don't always understand her) had unpacked my bags and washed all my clean clothes again. It was nice because I didn't have to arrive in the dark, and I got to see my dad when he got home from living overseas for 6 weeks. It was nice to take my time, to not have to freak out about roadblocks, to decide when to take a break, and if it was really appropriate to stop for lunch at 11:30 am (yes, it was).

When I got to Nelspruit (the nearest inhabited area, it's not a town, but not quite a city either), I was stunned by how automatically I drove to the shops that I always went to - you have to take an un-signposted slipway - parked in the same area as always, talked to the same carguard (Vincent is a total legend!) and walked through the Spar buying almost exactly what I always used to buy. I nearly had a breakdown when I realised that it might no be gemsquash season, and I might have to change my lunch routine, and I was ridiculously happy when I found the offending vegetables.

Getting to the farmhouse felt like coming home. It was really strange. I unpacked everything into the same places, set up on my old bed and felt like I'd never left. It helped that the place is really clean, there have been a lot of visitors lately, plus the next-door neighbour (he lives about 15 km away) has organised for his son to live here as a care-taker whenever the nature-conservation anti-poaching people aren't camping in the front garden. I settled down outside on the verandah on the same chair I always sit on with a drink (blue cream soda. If you know me you'll know why I picked that one! And for the record, in theory it's a great idea. In practice it tastes revolting) and watched the duikers running around the garden.

In the morning I rushed off to catch lizards t find out that they were nowhere to be seen. After hiking all over one of the biggest outcrops on the farm and only catching one out of a potential 3 lizards I came back for lunch and went to sleep. I can't trap in the afternoons anyway, but I wouldn't have had much success anyway, it was getting cold from quite early on.

Right now I've set up my computer somewhere different to usual - only by about 2m from usual, but I felt the need to shake things up a bit! I've made enough dinner to live off the leftovers for quite a while, and I'm about to settle down, watch a DVD, wash up, and go to bed.

Like always.


ADDhole said...

Wow! Tell me more! I want details. You know the area you're writing about but to me it's exotic and mysterious. Although it's fun to try to imagine it I'd love to see it through the way you're experiencing it.

Luke said...

Oh dear! What are you going to do if you have crap trapping success? You can't stay out there all winter!