Thursday, December 29, 2011

Road trip: Kroonstad

I'm sitting cross-legged with the false cold in the quietest part of the Steers on the side of the highway, just outside Kroonstad in the Free State.
203km into my road trip from Joburg to, indirectly, Cape Town.
I don't want to be distracted: not by people and the electric-sexual-nomadness of these crazy places that are so like border posts.
Transience and faces-from-other-places-that-I-don't-know has an inherent eroticness for me that I can explain, later.
Fuel. Coffee. Eat. Think.
I've had to be disciplined to sit down and write. I have two million excuses not to, the too-cold air conditioning is one of them.
I bathed deeply in preparation for this road trip. I always do. The anticipation of who knows what. Like, for example, I know that I want to be in Mossel Bay tomorrow morning sometime. But it's 1000km away. I will have to sleep; deliciously I wonder where.
In the bath I looked at my feet. I shaved my legs; every week I do that (it's a habit from my 'cycling' days).
I have packed light; this is a writer and photographer's trip, and the destination is irrelevant even though I have one.
I have a bag containing some clothes, some toiletries, a book, a gardening magazine and the last, but fat, Mail & Guardian for 2011. And, for old time's sake, an empty, brand new spiral bound A4 notebook with a charcoal cover. It's for my morning pages.
I also left my pc behind, and have only my cell phone, my iPad and my lean bag of camera equipment. Oh ja, and my fast-beating heart.
Leaving behind a dark, wet and moody Joburg, the sunny, bright and friendly Free State embraced me: mealies, grain silos, flat earth, sunflowers.
Large Afrikaans men sunburnt in their shorts, socks, paunches, mustaches, bald pates, ugly sunglasses and Mercedes Benz's.
I feel at home here. I was spent two years of my youth in the army here: Tempe, Bloemfontein.
I've read Denys Reitz's 'Commando', and anticipate volume two of his gripping Anglo Boer War trilogy. His true story. It's above the fireplace in my bedroom at home.
I also had an intense personal relationship (yes, my word choice gives it away) rooted in Senekal, a Free State village-town off the beaten track.
I love the flatness and the light, it's an unusual bright-pure-light that smacks of the surreal.
I've also read Zakes Mda's novel based on the Apartheid racial-barrier-blurring events that, unbelievably, took place in Excelsior, which I visited and explored during its drought in 2004. Fascination.
But now I must pay my bill, empty my bladder and head towards historical, practical Colesburg, across the Cape border. Then, where to sleep?
400km to that decision, and a fork in the road. Literally.

1 comment:

Chad de Bruyn said...

The lady wearing the white hat doesn't look too impressed with you. Haha. :-)