When i left cape town in 2002 people were aghast that i could even consider exchanging the mountain for the minedumps.
Trying to cheer me up, a friend's husband said - "they say its not that bad." (in joburg, he meant).
"There's, um.. there's a lot of benefits. Like... the absence of the south easter."
For a long time after i left cape town i would get spatial memories that would revisit randomly. I often get these. in the morning sitting meditation - a sudden rush, i'm beamed to a certain section of street in mowbray. why that particular street corner, i can't tell. Or a moment outside the baxter theatre, stepping on acorns. always sudden and mundane memories, never the splendour of the mountain, the magnificent talking rocks of Llandudno (they do talk, they ooooze, those rocks, you must just listen carefully. they have a lot to say). just the memory of a gaaitjie's call outside chippies in obz. or a wet stink near the station, those steps up on the civic centre side as you go towards the taxi rank. Being blown down strand street with my sister, where we literally had to hold on to the poles coz the south easter was blowing so hard we couldn't be upright.
Ok some of those memories are more dramatic. The particularly inclement august of 2002, i was driving the red hilux while B was in Joburg as a migrant labourer and I faced down two magnificent storms all on my own. One, i drove right into after a late shift at the fancy restaurant - 2 am and bone ache weary but i had to get home. As i hit the M5 the sky was whipping itself up into histrionics. Even in the hilux which usually felt like a tank, i was vulnerable and scared as vasco da bloody gama in his wooden ship. Bushes on the roadside churning, and i didn't know whether to pull off and wait or drive on through it.
Another night - I was spoiling for a fight with the elements and deliberately drove out into a monster storm. the rain on the road swirling like mosquito nets caught in a demon ceiling fan. I love the way something in you responds to the sky on a night like that. Come and get it!! Whatcha lookin at mr raincloud? and oh how you are humbled. seconds into driving up boyes drive my windscreen got such a thrashing i couldn't see a damn thing and the one thing i really couldn't do was turn around. without hurtling down a precipice.
From the relative tranquillity of a highveld winter, even though its bone breaking frosty some mornings, its easy to long for a cape storm. and from the warmth of my cousins's gorgeous bed right now i'm loving the sound of that pummeling wind. aaah, bring it on.
All my ranting and raving about hospitality the last weeks, i realise I'm better at giving it than receiving it. I loathe asking for lifts and being reliant on people. but everyone has been so kind, feeding and lifting me. and wine really does taste better in cape town, i can safely say i've done enough tests to establish a broad range of results. oh, except the control tests. umm.
People come here for the wine, the mountain, the penguins, robben island, clifton, oh there's so much to do. Me, i like the weather. And maybe as the global climate brews its menopausal changes, we can consider weather tourism as the next big thing. Cyclones in cypress, brow blisters in botswana, wild winds in the western seas. Bring your own titanium umbrella, your teflon anorak. Don't forget your snorkle.
Well its late and tomorrow its mine dumps instead of this sculpted bit of rock exerting its magic pull (which i've discovered is much improved if you just rehydrate and keep drinking water!).
thank you so much my cape town hosts. when the wind blows you north, you are most welcome.