I know, I know, I promised to keep blogging… (I’m hanging my head sheepishly, just in case you were wondering). And it’s not even like I’ve been swamped here, I’ve been busy, but no more than usual!
Anyway, I drove down on Saturday, and it was the weirdest thing: About halfway to Nelspruit and I got this weird feeling of going-homeness. I suddenly noticed the amazing beauty around me and the weird people driving around me (my personal favourite being the car with the “it’s not PMS, I’m just a bitch” bumper sticker – driven by an ancient man who might have been smoking a pipe – the huge sky, the open fields.
I also had a weird flashback to childhood – my dad used to like annoying me (still does), in my family teasing is the common way to show affection for some reason, and one thing he’d do was to call animals by the wrong names. Maybe it was just the zoologist in me getting started early but it drove me NUTS! Once I got used to it I decided it was ok, as long as we were consistent – so giraffe were always raffe-gee, Kudu were called lions, and so on. And of course whenever we drove past a cow field (which you do a lot in South Africa) we’d have to yell “Elephants!” So when I drove past the Oilfants river and saw a field of cows… it totally made my day!
Randomness aside, I kept driving, through several torrential downpours, and ended up doing some grocery shopping in town on my way through. I knew I was back when I got stuck behind two men in their two-tone khaki and kortbroek (no crocs, apparently rainy days call for veldskoen) having a discussion on ruck-bee in the middle of the canned-food aisle.
I made it to the farmhouse by just after 5 to find that despite the rain, the student and her team who had gone down a day before were nowhere to be seen. They emerged about an hour later triumphantly carrying about 6 lizards – it seems that it had cleared for about half an hour and they were admirably tenacious about catching the lizards that they saw. Two of them were my lizards so I got a nice headstart!
It was weird being there with people when I hadn’t adjusted to being there, and I kind of flitted between wanting to get rid of them and asking them to stay an extra night. Wither way when we woke up the next morning it was raining and so they left and I took a nap. Which lasted for about 6 hours. What can I say, it’s like I’m sleeping in my own bed at last! The insomnia is still there, but it’s down to a ‘it’s 3am, why am I awake? I must sleep… this is so annoying, I need my sle-' and then I’m out until morning stage.
Yesterday was lovely and sunny but not too hot, and I got back into the swing of things until a freak rainstorm chased me off the rocks at lunchtime. I was greeted by a huge eagle on the outcrop when I arrived (it was so close to me!) as well as a black mamba which I think may have been as scared as me. It decided to go under a rock AS I removed my traps, meaning that I looked to see what ‘that weird noise’ was to see it slithering past (about 10 cm from me). I had no idea my heart rate could shoot up so fast! I’ve been a bit jumpy since then, but at least everything is ok.
And today was hot. blisteringly like-being-in-an-oven hot! The worst part is that I know it’s going to get MUCH hotter soon! It was a beautiful day, the sky was that amazing blue that you don’t find anywhere else (other countries have blue skies, but not like ours, kind of like how our oceans are pretty, but in Jersey the sea really sparkled), I saw zebra and kudu on my way to the site, ran into a friendly farmer who (get this) spoke English! and had a pretty successful trapping day.
I got to relearn my climbing a little bit, which was fun! I’m enjoying the new flexibility that I think comes from tai chi and stretching although my endurance is lousy as always. I found a bunch of lizards in an area where I’ve never seen more than one or two, so I’m quite excited – maybe the rains have been as good for the lizards as I’d hoped! There are certainly enough insects around – I’m starting to get a bit offended by the dungbeetles flying into my head! So I’m just hoping that the weather holds out, that the lizards are plentiful (and stupid) and that I stay in the (strange) wonderfully happy mood I’ve been in for the last few days!
Oh and the title refers to my sunburnedness. SPF40 has worked like a charm, but there are a few crispy-fried bits that are going to tan permanently (because they always do!), like my lower back, a small patch on my left wrist my upper lip and tip of nose, a patch just below my right ear and so on.