Stranger…

RIMG0011As I wandered along the beach this morning, I looked out at the ocean and thought how isolating the ocean can look when you are in a foreign land. Don’t get me wrong here. It was a beautiful morning here and the beach is very much like a beach in New Zealand. However the horizon seemed impossibly far away and so broad with no sight except for the blue sea. It seemed to stretch endlessly out to nowhere – far over the horizon. the weather has become progressively more unpleasant during the day with the ubiquitous strong wind and quite a lot of cloud cover.

RIMG0004 I picked up a Sea Egg  – very tiny, but in almost perfect condition. the thought crossed my mind that it could serve as my memento of PE – and yes I am niggardly enough that it could yet be! I also asked about the Game Reserve price that I saw at the hotel here. At a special price of 695 Rand (about NZ$125), I was quite prepared to go there next weekend. However that apparently does not include the journey there – which is likely to cost about the same price again. Am I prepared to spend that much money just on myself?…well no! Especially not when I will be much closer to the game reserve at Grahamstown, which should make it significantly cheaper. There is also the very real possibility that I can travel through Addo Park on my way to Grahamstown in two weeks time.

RIMG0009 So this weekend was pretty quiet for me. I was glad for that as I have had a pretty busy time and felt it would be good to catch up with myself. No gym at this hotel, so in desperation I went for a run along the waterfront area early on Saturday morning. I have not run on the road for some years, because of the impact that I think is not great for joints – hence my elliptical trainer which reduces that impact to almost nothing. It does its job well, as I was happily able to run for about 30 minutes – feeling pretty good, however afterwards I had some new and very painful leg muscles – obviously the trainer does not use the same muscles as straight running. I spent much of the rest of the day recovering enough to do the same thing on Sunday – lighter and slightly shorter run this time, but much the same effect!

 RIMG0012 I have had a couple of people suggest to me that I should ensure that I eat well – knowing that I am mostly eating in my room with no real cooking facilities. Here is a photo of my Saturday night feast – a chicken salad with all sorts of goodies (Paper plates = no dishes!). Notice also the very nice bottle of Pinotage wine sitting in behind the meal. the one I am currently drinking is even nicer – each cost about NZ$7 – 9!! Add to that a little chocolate and it became a very enjoyable meal indeed. Another good thing about being here in the weekend is that I was able to wash and dry three loads of hand washing! – I am cleansed again  🙂    !

RIMG0002 So in the afternoon on Sunday I walked down to the PE Museum – snakes, dolphins etc. It was a very worthwhile trip, taking up much of the afternoon by the time I had perused the multifarious exhibits. I took a picture of an ammonite fossil there – not because it was particularly significant, but because it reminded me of a happy afternoon many years ago when we found a fairly good ammonite fossil (or so I was told at the time by my sister Kathryn!) over at Te Maika – by the heads at Kawhia. There were many other displays at the museum, which could have equally warranted a photo – a corner of “odds and sods” springs to mind with examples of healthy and diseased human body parts. Also many exhibits of Khoisan, Xhosa and other African tribal RIMG0006weapons and ornaments. I also had to take this photo of the skeleton of a Python – well over twice as long as I am short!  🙂

Most of Monday was spent with Afrikaans candidates– English is not the first language there. One of the lady accompanists tried to take over the whole exam – inform me of the order of performance etc and insisted on answering my questions about this which had been directed to the young candidate, so I eventually had to let her know as courteously as possible that I was talking to the candidate. When I was telling the lady who looks after the door etc during examinations, she merely answered that “they do like to take control”…this is not the first time this has happened in the last few days. My internet connection has not been working for over 12 hours now. I have been down (nicely of course!) to the front desk to suggest to the lady there that they reboot their router or their server. She told me it could be the wind making it play up and to try again later at some indeterminate – probably South African – time! …later that the technician was there now and it would be repaired within the next hour…..all in all it has been a very interesting time in the last few days and has served to remind me strongly that I am indeed a stranger in a strange land…

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About David Adlam

I am a conductor, composer, clarinettist and examiner for Trinity Guildhall working in Auckland, New Zealand and overseas
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