Unless You Go.
June 23, 2015, 10:13 pm
Filed under: voyageur | Tags:

The index on the side tells me this has been around for more than six years.  I flip back through to my own thoughts six years ago.  I can trace the outlines of that summer.

I started around Durban, I’m not sure why.  Maybe because Durban was the first place where I decided that I would absolutely travel alone, maybe because the weather was warm, maybe because it was far enough away from where I knew I was going that I would have time to remember who I had been by the time I got there.  I really don’t know and would be making it up to say, probably making the story better than it is.  In Durban, I hung around with a Francophone and stumbled into worlds that I understood only a bit later, for whatever reason I was always meeting French people in Durban (and charming them? with my nouveau lexical arrangements).

At some point, I headed south, through the Transkei – which literally translates to “the area beyond the river Kei.”  I don’t think I had been there before.  I remember feeling frustrated, like I was having trouble getting back into a place where I thought I should be, disconnected.  This is the biggest risk in revisiting parts of the world that you have strong memories from, that you can’t just pick up where everything good left off.  There was one night though, where I met some people, and then some more, and I ended up at a professionally trained private djembe show with some musicians who were passing through.

The world had changed.  From late 2007, when I had left, to mid-2009 when I returned, the global financial crisis had hit.  This changed who was traveling where.  Inflation had crept into the basics – beer and bus fare.

I walking into the place where I had been the happiest.  No one knew I was coming.  Like the first time I had arrived, my ride from the bus stop failed, and this time I hitched with a stranger.  There were familiar faces.  I was home.  I don’t remember when I made it there, how long it took, what that bus trip was like.

On June 23rd, six year ago, I organized a party that would end in my meeting LG.  It was a theme party on a rainy Winter day, it was huge, it carried on into a night with serious momentum.  In my mind, I had been in the country for awhile before I met him, but I realize now it was probably about three weeks.  The day after I met him, he asked me to take a trip with his friends, and I left with them for two or three nights, because that was how life was then – pack and go.  We headed down the coast and drank cool white wine around a fire.  Micheal Jackson died, according to the radio.  We stopped and had open faced hamburgers, he ate his with a knife and fork.  A few weeks later, I told him that we had to plan to meet up somewhere, someday, maybe years from then.  Years, he said, would be far too long.


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