I am currently in the Karoo, more specifically Beaufort West, for work. The Karoo consists of vast open plains interspersed with the occasional hill in the distance. Scattered along the main road is small towns that pretty much rely on the national road to stay alive. Driving to site the other day I was listening to Knocking on Heavens door on the radio and memories of our holidays when I was a kid came flooding back. My parents would use to squash all 5 of us kids into the back seat of and old Chevrolet and he would tackle the long 12 hour drive to Johannesburg. My dad would keep us in check by threatening to turn back home if we dont behave. We were all so excited by the trip that we would mostly keep quite. One day he actually kept to his promise and turned the car around after already being on the road for 10 hours after we complained about one thing or the other. Luckily my mother calmed him down and after about an hour he once again turned around and we continued our journey. My dad used to tell us that the world in the Karoo was so flat that you can see a week into the future. I never understood what he meant till years later. This was in the days before the garage convenience stores and you had to pack your own "padkos" (road food). I fondly remember my mom's road trip chicken and the boiled eggs eaten cold on the frequent stops along the way. After eating the eggs one window or the other in the car would be wound down quite frequently from then on. Just to "get some fresh air" you understand. I still occasionally ask my mom to make us some road trip chicken.
|Long straight roads and a view that lets you see what you will be doing in the future.|
We are removing some railway wagons from a train that derailed a while back. Most of the time it is just sitting around waiting for trucks to arrive from Cape Town. The area has seen the worst drought it had in 150 years over the last while with even the towns dam running completely dry. Knowing about the drought and thinking that I would only be here for a day or two I didn't bring any rods with. Fortunately I did bring my vice and some materials with so I have been keeping myself busy with tying some flies.
We are staying on a beautiful olive farm and apart from it being very cold in the morning is it has been quite fun. Coming from the city it is amazing to see all the stars at night and it got a bit getting used to the absolute silence at night. There is non of the usual background noise of a big city you get used to. Now that it is absent you notice it a whole lot more if that makes any sense at all.
Most evenings start with a bottle of wine around the braai (barbecue in American speak) fire and we then end up sitting in front of the heater watching television till late.
Occasionally we venture into town during the day but being a small town there isn't much to do. We found a Sushi place and even they have quite a spin on the "no water, no fish" idea. We got some sushi in true South African style. Smoked ostrich, cream cheese and Biltong (dried meat, sort of like beef jerky) Dipped in soya sauce and wasabi it was quite delicious. The wife opted for the more traditional Sushi though. Being meat country though it is quite a pleasure braaing a 5cm (2 inch) T-bone steak though and my diet currently mostly consist of beef and lamb.
Not sure how much longer we will be here as the transporters keeps on making promises that they dont keep, but for a change it is quite a pleasure getting away from the big city. The farm we are staying on has two dams that used to have bass and carp but due to the drought they had completely dried up a while back and even though there is now some water in them the fish obviously didn't survive.
|I suspect this little guy might be missing some feathers by the time we leave.|