So I left yesterday at around 5:30 pm - it was a beautiful day, I wanted to take some extra samples, and I figured that I'd rather skip[p the traffic and come home in the dark than drive into the sun the whole way home. I also had the chance to catch up with one of the neighbours, an awesome guy called Johan, who usually checks up on me every now and then and sends people to clean the house before I arrive.
Driving west at that time was really nice because I basically followed the sunset, and so I got to look at it for a good hour and a half or so (the farm is also in a valley, so the sun sets at about 4 there, so every time I went over a hill I got a whole new sunset!). I got fuel and a bunch of imported junk food from Nelspruit (people give me shopping lists because it has things like Cherry Coke, Kool Aid jelly, Curly-Wurlies (my favourite) Root Beer and Poptarts) and was on my way.
The drive was ok, except for a few trucks who tried to race me, which is just annoying. I took the Schoemanskloof route again - it's totally better than the Watervalboven route! It has fewer trucks, more passing lanes, less traffic in general and I think you skip going past the paper mill which smells so horrible, although I could be wrong, it was dark. the only problem is that going from the lowveld to the highveld means that you're going uphill a lot, and the poor vehicle was battling, being fully loaded with me, a bunch of equipment and a full petrol tank. There were hills where I was going up in third gear and battling to stay at 80km/h, and the only way I got up some was to floor it on the way down the previous hill.
I was almost at Middelburg (about an hour and a half from home) when I noticed a pretty glow on the horizon. I was pretty sure the sunset had long since outpaced me, and I figured it was the lights of the town. As is, I'm so used to not having lights around me, the whole world was looking vaguely orange. A little bit later I realsied that the glow was from firebreaks or something that had burned out of control and so I had a very pretty view of fire for the next 40-odd kms. At one stage it looked like they'd been writing out letters in fire. It was really pretty! Do they have synchronised fire-setting as a sport? I bet I'd be good at it!
Anyway, I had to stop and unpack a lot of clothes (it's really cold here compared to the lowveld, and by the time I got home I was wearing about five layers) and I got a cup of horrible Steers coffee from the petrol station in Middelburg (Steers is a restaurant chain, makes really good chips covered in MSG-laden salt.) and went home.
Right now I've been home for 19 hours and counting, I have girlified myself by taking a very long bath, cataloguing tick-bites (left leg: 68, right leg:62 left arm: 5, right arm: 8, neck:1 back:7, hair: 4) wearing decent clothes and makeup for the first time in almost a month, catching up with a few people, getting the vehicle cleaned and returned, having fights with security guards, and catching up with the people at work.
It's good to be back! I'm exhausted and I have a headache from the noise and pollution, and I've been talking like a maniac and it's generally just plain awesome!
And I got the rest of Green Wing! I'm so excited to start watching it! Excuse the grammar. Re-entering society-related exhaustive disorder (RESRED, it's real! I promise!)
I'm going to stop right there, I'm afraid a side-effect of RESRED is that I get so used to being isolated that I reflex-rebound a bit and don't shut up when I get back!