Travel

A Valley Existing for it’s Own Sake ~ Piketberg, West Coast, Western Cape

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SEEN ON THE DRIVE BETWEEN LAMBERT’S BAY AND PIKETBERG.

Coming through the Piekenierskloof Pass on the N7 tonight, at around 6:25pm, from Lambert’s Bay, the sun was setting on the Piketberg valley below. Awash with golden light, the grasses and farms shone in shades of yellow, brown and gold, with touches of red. The warmth of the light created a glow, seeming to suggest that the valley existed purely for its own pleasure and not for the farmers who had created the fields. There was a kind of vibration of peacefulness and perfection, as if nothing painful could touch such beauty, in that moment unsurpassed. The rounded forms of sheep, grey and moving, walking with direction and pure purpose, created eddies of dust, stirred by their feet, in the otherwise undisturbed and silent valley, interrupted only by the occasional windmill. A moment of breathtaking beauty, so sweet.

I attach the eerie sound of the windmill half forgotten from childhood holidays, spent on karoo sheep farms. City girl, listening, with eyes wide open, to the singing metal whine, in the cold and pitch dark:

“A recording of a metal windmill. You can hear the resonant sounds of a metal pole slowly going up and down, lightly rubbing on a metallic disc, changing in tempo, pitch and volume with the slight breeze that was powering the windmill.”

Here is a Vimeo video with the sound and the wind:

Listen to the windmill here from Freesound.org just as I remember it.


Image from Pinterest Kansas by Mary Sue Sander 

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Gratefulness for Kindness Shown to me in Thailand and Laos

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In this video, originally an insurance ad called “Unsung Hero”, it shows acts of kindness set in what looks like it might be Bangkok, Thailand. It brought back memories of kindnesses I too experienced. Thank you for smiles, for flower offerings at the ferry bus stop on the river, for prayers, for hospital visits, (from the staff of Sri-Ayuttaya Guest House), for cool rooms and billowing mosquito nets in Laos, for all the small acts that soothed me, that helped me.

Here is a link to Sri-Ayuttaya from TripAdvisor. I would rate them highly and will never forget their kindness. Where: Sri-Ayudthaya Soi 14, Behind National Library Dusit,10300, Bangkok Thailand.

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See video here:

Interior photos from TripAdvisor.

Like “Sea Glass” One Recent Cold Morning

Reminds me of Heather Nova’s use of like “sea glass”, on a cold rainy morning, over the sea, vast, still, desolate. Here is the music to go with it – the wave came all the way from Africa “and all the things that I forgot that I could feel …all I want is to live as clear as sea glass”:

Photos of False Bay by Carol Knox one recent morning in April, 2015. View from my veranda.

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If Spanish be the Food of Love Speak On!

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Today I happened to be speaking with a native Spanish speaker and he was saying how Spanish is a very direct language, whereas English is a language more suitable for poetry. So Spanish speakers are as the crow flies and English speakers meander descriptively, with words having many possible meanings. Interestingly, I then happened on two articles which spoke about the finding that people in Spain talk more about love and use more positive language than other countries studied. The Spanish used more words like “love” and “laughter” than other places. So maybe we all need more of this kind of positivity. In a play on Shakespeare: If Spanish be the Food of Love Speak On:

“If music be the food of love, play on,
Give me excess of it; that surfeiting,
The appetite may sicken, and so die.”

William Shakespeare, Twelfth Night

See the MailOnline: Spain’s the Place to Live (I so agree if this is the case)

BigThink: Spanish is the Language of Love

Image: Los Gigantes, Tenerife, Spain from Wikimedia Commons

Fevered Mutterings | Mike Sowden and Story Telling Everything

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I came across this guide from Mike Sowden on Fevered Mutterings about Story Telling Everything. I really enjoyed it and thought others might find it useful. Mike’s free guide is here

His humour is great, with just the right mix of vulnerability and self-disclosure. Let’s hope he is not suffering from too much hillside exposure right now. His storytelling resources are great, find them at this page.

My own travel image, a street that I used to know, in Durban, South Africa.

Cross Country Ramblings II

Leaving Bloemfontein in the Free State, the little green Suzuki Alto drove into what seemed a desertification. After the glittering fields of the day before, the endless vistas ahead were bleak, bleached, literally blanched. It seemed as if the whole area, including the Northern Cape, had suffered from a combination of geological and human evisceration, an emptying out. Homesteads ghostly, crumbling and deserted, seemed to stare out at the passing cars, vacant with loss, poignant with history, nothing left but the whisper of buildings, a pointing to what once was. The living creatures seemed sad, gathering in small groups, thin and hungry looking. I felt so moved and sad as we drove on, an overpowering sense of yawing fatigue took over me. We almost missed Graaff-Reinet, since Google Maps pointed to a way which would have added on hours to the journey. It was a kind of time warp space, what should have taken 4 hours took 6.

Finally we arrived by way of a major detour, at Heather’s Guest House. There we met Heather and Barry, a most delightful couple. Their motto: “Arrive as a stranger, leave as a friend, return as a regular” certainly rings very true. Warm and inviting, not only as people, but also their home and the Fig Tree Cottage where we stayed. As I stepped through the front door of their home, I was transported to another time, another place. To the Karoo farms I visited as a child, the homey feel of the place, the lamps, the “voorkamer”, (I could almost hear the milk machine “ting tinging” in the dark). The “voorkamer” even had the ladies sitting, doing their needlework, amidst crochet blankets, beautiful old porcelain dolls, patchwork, doilies and all manner of goodies from yesteryear. Barry whispered conspiratorially later, that they were all gossiping. What a lovely but brief stay this was. I would recommend Heather’s to anyone wanting to visit Graaff-Reinet a lovely, very pretty little town, with so much to see and do. Below is an image of Fig Tree Cottage and the other is the church in the centre of town, opposite where we ate that evening.

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Top image from Gratisphotogrpahy

Photos taken by Carol Knox.

Cross Country Ramblings 1

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The tiny Suzuki Alto is crammed with clothing, birds in a cage and a rabbit in a pet carrier. K had been freaking out because she felt it couldn’t be done. The journey is about to begin. We get a late start. Climbing the hill towards Hilton’s verdant green, I begin to feel the relief of leaving Durban behind. Something seems to fall from my shoulders like a veil slipping from my face. I can see more clearly, feel more intensely, dream more bigly, and hope more fervently. I am leaving behind KwaZulu-Natal and going forward and toward the Western Cape, literally and figuratively. As we progress towards the Free State, the skies become more blue and seem to occupy the windshield space with a hugeness not known in KZN. This big sky blue and white take my breath away. There are fields that have been planted and harvested both left and right of my vision. They glitter gold in the late afternoon sun. The golden glitter of the fields of the Free State I will not easily not remember. As I walked on the beach in the Cape Southern Peninsula, I thought of this and felt the need to write down some parts of the journey that have brought me to this destination, by the sea, with the view, with the loveliness of pink late setting suns, of whipping winds and cold sea air.

Images Carol Knox. The beach I walk on, approach five minutes from where I live, the sand fine like talcum powder, large strands of kelp almost the size of an arm strewn across the beach, white, windy, a wildness not quite tamed.

An earlier post: The Felt Weight where the relief from the weight can be likened to the slipping of the veil.

“She had not known the weight until she felt the freedom.”

― Nathaniel Hawthorne, The Scarlet Letter

Edge of the Frame – Morning Chai Tea and Unexpected Offerings

Edge of the Frame – Morning Chai Tea and Unexpected Offerings

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We often capture strangers in photos we take in public. Open your photo library, and stop at the first picture that features a person you don’t know. Now tell the story of that person.

This is me on a very cold morning in

Bodh Gaya India

I am holding flowers for offerings and a bag of fruit in a packet over my arm, which I also intended to offer. The people walking behind me are simply looking for their cup of Chai Tea, to stave off the early morning cold. I am on my way to teachings and I can’t wait for that hot cup myself. Out of the frame is the band of street children who were to come up behind me, as I walked towards the tent, grabbing and tearing the bag of fruit and running off, chasing the contents and picking them up as they rolled on the ground. I guess the fruit was offered, but in a way that I had not foreseen.

Sudden Downpour – Exotic Things, Eye-Contact, Peace and Protection

Sudden Downpour – Exotic Things, Eye-Contact, Peace and Protection

It was sunny when you left home, so you didn’t take an umbrella. An hour later, you’re caught in a torrential downpour. You run into the first store you can find — it happens to be a dark, slightly shabby antique store, full of old artifacts, books, and dust. The shop’s ancient proprietor walks out of the back room to greet you. Tell us what happens next!

I find myself standing in an antique store inspired by the orient. The light is dim, so I am squinting. Light comes in through the dusty windows in soft smudges, filled with dust motes. There are thankas of all descriptions, exquisitely painted, depicting various scenes. There is dark furniture from Bali, Tibetan and Thai artifacts, parchment scrolls containing almost lost secrets, only there by the grace of care. I detect the scent of wood and polish, Tibetan incense burning and smoking from a small bowl, woody, slightly sweet, blessed in the making. I am transported to Chiang Mai, where I visited a similar shop, filled with exotic objects. I go forward smiling at the proprietor, extending my hand to his, soft as tissue in the shaking. A water droplet rolls off my nose and onto his hand, he looks into my eyes and smiles. Suddenly I feel less ordinary, less solid, less certain somehow. I remember Songkran, water strewn streets and sodden clothes, happy faces everywhere, the hope of a new beginning.

Songkran, Thailand, Thai New Year

I notice a beautiful hill tribe embroidered jacket and ask if I can try it on. It fits, immediately I buy it. The colour and the embroidery is just beautiful, on a black velvet background. I also buy the delicate and vintage Green Tara Thanka, beautifully painted. I know there will be times when I ask for her protection. I thank the proprietor as he hands me a scented paper bag. I wish him well. He looks at me, deep into my eyes in a lingering moment and seems to transmit a sense of peace. Today I think back to this moment and think of the jacket, now packed into a box, sitting in a storage unit. I look forward to it once more hanging on a wall and decorating my back. Here’s to the promise of new beginnings and the beauty of exotic things.

hilltribe jacketSee some jackets here on Eatsy

 

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Image Green Tara Rubin Museum of Fine Art and at this Wikimedia Link

Songkran image Wikimedia Commons Share Alike

Road Tripping – Durban to Cape Town Across Country 1 578 kms

 

Road Tripping  – Durban to Cape Town Across Country 1 578 kms

Tis the season for road trips — if time and money were out of the equation, what car-based adventure would you go on? (If you don’t or can’t drive, any land-based journey counts.)

Bonus (optional): show us your itinerary by embedding a Google Map into your post!

I have a short term plan to move to Cape Town from Durban and engage in a three-year study period. None of this is final yet and I am still in the early stages of planning a radical life-shift. I am hoping that I will be able to add to the body of knowledge in South Africa around the lived experience of people who have known trauma and how they can benefit from coaching in mindfulness and making meaning or unfolding meaning. The study would take three years. I have not yet been accepted to the universities I have applied to, so right now there is a wait. I would also need funding and that is also up in the air. So in many real senses I am in a corridor phase of my life. Looking for a way to actualise my own purpose and meaning, by helping others.

In order to get there with money being no object, I would go on the thirteen day Durban to Cape Town trip via Lesotho. The map below shows the direct route so that you can get an idea of the distance. However, the tour would follow a rather different route. This tour would be through African Budget Safaris.  An overview of the journey is included below and you could visit African Safaris at the link above to get an idea of the trip details.

 

Day 1/2 Durban to Ukhahlamba Drakensberg Park

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Maluti Mountains a Unesco World Heritage Site

Day 3/4 Lesotho – Malealea

Day 5/6 South Africa – Cintsa

Day 7 Addo Elephant National Park

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See image here

Day 8/9 Tsitsikamma National Park – Garden Route

Day 10 Garden Route – Knysna / Plettenberg Bay

Knysna Waterfront

Knysna Waterfront

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Day 11 Oudtshoorn & Cango Caves

Cango Caves

Cango Caves

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Day 12 Stellenbosch Wine Route

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Day 13 Cape Town – South Africa

Cape Town Montage

Cape Town Montage

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An Ounce of Home Mini Buddhist Altar Travel Kit

An Ounce of Home Buddhist Travel Altar Kit

You’re embarking on a yearlong round-the-world adventure, and can take only one small object with you to remind you of home. What do you bring along for the trip?

travel altarWithout hesitation this is what I would take with me. The mini-altar kit contains:

a simple Khata blessing scarf,

aromatic herbal Buddha (2h),

herbal mala, votive candle (like a rosary for mantras and prayers),

spicy Nag Champa incense,

and clay incense burner.

All featured inside a gilded Bodhi leaf box made of precious Himalayan hand-made lokta paper. (4 1/2”w x 4 3/4H).

Image from and item can be purchased from Cool Cribs Lifestyles