Tsitsikamma…..Where I Might One Day Nama-stay.

As I have repeatedly mentioned, unlike many……..many of my fellow citizens and ex-pats, I have always felt that I have lived in the best country in the world. I was never quite sure that I was living in the best part of it, but I haven’t really been around much, and where I have been, is not that much different to where I reside.

My condaments, Salt and Pepper and I have been fortunate and privileged enough to have recently had a holiday, which I can only describe as a Little Piece of Heaven….. right here……… in my country. I have heard about it, I have seen it, but I have never experienced it. I had found the yin to my yang….this is where I would ultimately nama – stay, I had thought.

I loved every minute of the Peaceful existence and the calm of our first stop in Tsitsikamma in the heavenly Western Cape. I have so often mentioned how I really only crave a simple and peaceful existence in a small Town. And here it was. The pace was literally something I had never experienced in my fast paced, anxiety ridden and angry City.

In my City, everyone is angry and intense. It is the place people need to be to have jobs and earn a living, but one gets so caught up in the day to day rat race, that one then needs to earn more to continue living the life of this City. Then of course there are those that have very little, need or want more, and take from others. So we live behind high walls, have vicious dogs as security and always need to keep one eye open. To top that off, we have litter, potholes, unattended infrastructures and just basically, as Pepper frequently points out lately, we live in a ”rat hole”.

Now, I have always defended our ”rat hole”, as it does have it’s own ”kinda special”. But this ”rat hole” is all I have ever known. 

Now, I had seen the calm we never experience. The two things that struck me initially, were seeing houses without high walls, if any at all. The second was, in addition to calm and content residents, there were calm and content dogs!! These are not dogs that live behind any or high walls. They are familiar with the outside existence. These are dogs that live with calm and content owners. People taking their dogs for a walk…..no leash…….no problem. The dogs just walked alongside their owners. If they saw another dog, nothing. If they saw another human….nothing. I mean, where I live, one does not take one’s dog for a walk without a leash. No Siree….here the dogs are not familiar with the world outside their four walls. They don’t even have the privilege of observing such life. So when the dogs do get out and about, they become like their owners….angry, intense and ready for a fight with any other dog (or human) that they might see. So I witnessed this anomaly of happy humans and happy dogs……wow…….who knew??? 

This clean, well maintained little Town had even more. Literally the most untouched and heavenly landscape that one could ever have the privilege of experiencing.
I reluctantly left Tsitsikamma after a few days to move on to Plettenberg Bay. Also renowned for its beauty, but I imagined a lot more holiday makers and a faster pace.

When we arrived, it was exactly as I had imagined, and I kind of went into anaphylactic shock. After the four days in heaven, I had developed a severe allergy to crowds, and a (only slightly) faster pace. But once I had recovered, and pulled myself towards myself, I realised, that if we stayed out of the tourist infested Town, we could continue to have our Heaven….and that is precisely what we had. Still low or no walls, happy and calm people and dogs, and a landscape that was not quite what we had come from, but good enough!!!

And guess what……even the weather on that side of the world is calm!!!! When my Town has rain….it is no longer rain as we knew it….angry outburst of thunder and lightning, causing damage and destruction. And that is before the rains even start. So where I live…..angry humans, angry dogs and angry weather….eeeeuch.

Of course contributing largely to my state of mind was the fact that I was continuously occupied, which is something that is a requirement for me to survive. I was accompanied by my two condaments, Salt and Pepper. Salt, being my earth child, took hikes with me, lapped up the scenery, had a desperate need to visit animal sanctuaries, took me out of my comfort zone with some adventures I might not have embarked on……all in all he occupied the earth of my personality. 

Pepper, being my fire child, the one who loves the ”high life” and rates himself as a bit of a high class somebody, would accompany me on dining out and some such….satisfying the smidge of fire in my personality.

It took me a minute to realize that when I was out and about with one, the other would be at the home base ”chilling”. To be fair it suited me fine, as owing to their pseudonyms, they are complete opposites. So generally there is much love between the two brothers, but when they get together there is invariably bickering and they just get on each others nerves. I was in my happy place, so this ”shift work” worked wonders for me. 

I say ”shift work”, as that is what they seemed to regard it as. This became apparent to me the one (early) morning when I ambushed Salt asking him what we were doing that day.

”Pepper, it’s your turn to look after mom today, I have been doing it for days”, the little bastard child irritatingly said to his brother. So the parent had become the child….who knew….who cared…….I was ZEN!!!!!

On one occasion we were going to spend the day out together, and when we got into the car in the morning, I did all my checks. 

”Do we all have our wallets and phones?” I asked. 

”I leave my phone in the room when we go out,” Pepper replied.

Wow, I thought. With his history of losing phones, breaking phones and having phones stolen, that was most adult of him to take the initiative to leave his phone in the room on our outings!! Alternatively, had he perhaps decided to carpe what promised to be the most unbelievably memorable day the diem, and decided to leave his phone in the car, so he wouldn’t have distractions?

How proud I felt in that moment……my job was done, I thought. The most irresponsible child in the world has moved into the responsible zone and I only had myself to thank.

Anyhoo, I turned around and saw that Pepper had no jersey, and the weather was not that warm. They had also predicted that it was going to get quite cold and rainy later that day. So not being the helicopter mom that I am….not….. I told Pepper to maybe get a jersey. So out of the car Pepper hopped and went to get this jersey. Tick bloody tock ……time was passing, of course Salt was getting hugely irritated, and I was just trying to remain in my happy place.

Shortly after my little pep talk with Salt, to explain that in order for that day to be special, we all needed to remain tolerant of one another, Pepper makes his appearance, gets back in the car, and lo and behold Salt and I turn around, look at each other in absolute shock and horror…. there is no jersey!!!! 

In unison we say to Pepper, ”Where’s  your jersey????”, and he says, ”oh yes my jersey”, hops out again and returned with his jersey. I could have left it there….but curiosity got the better of me, and I said to him that I simply could not understand how he had gone in to get a jersey, spent literally 5 minutes before coming back and still come back without a jersey. 

”I just thought I would check my phone which I left in the room and saw I had a message, so I answered it, and then forgot about the Jersey,” he said….as if this was normal human behaviour??

At that point Salt and I look at each other, both imagining us simultaneously climbing over the chairs to get to Pepper’s neck.

So here I find myself…..back in the ”rat hole”……..going from a complete speed wobble every time either one or both of my children mentioned that they would be moving out when the opportunity arose, to virtually fantasizing about packing their bags so I can go yonder……well let’s see how that lasts!!

The good news though, is that I now see I can have this life somewhere in a country which might one day become a reality.

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