Posts Tagged ‘South Africa’

Nelson Mandela

Nelson Mandela

Tonight I saw MANDELA: Long Walk To Freedom.  It’s a wonderful movie, complex on many levels.  It’s a story of faith, fortitude, loyalty, commitment, frustration, love, anger, destruction.  It’s about power struggles, freedom, equality, politics, morality, loneliness, disappointment, ideology, apartheid, peace, war, fear and loathing.

The scenes shot in South Africa were breathtakingly beautiful and having been there myself I appreciated the landscape all the more.  The fine British actor Idris Elba embodies the character or Nelson Mandela, he walks like Mandela and he talks like Mandela.  He is the central figure, central to the point of reducing the other actors to near oblivion, with the exception of Naomi Harris’ portrayal of Winnie, Nelson’s second wife.  She is a strong figure throughout the movie.

This blog is not like other From My Point of View posts in that I’m not offering my opinion on much of the movie or its style.  This blog post is for me, I need to confess, to apologize;  While watching the movie unfold in chronological order, I was amazed and appalled at my lack of awareness at what was happening on the other side of the world.  I was too busy playing tennis at the Country Club, too busy watching my kids soccer games and swim meets.  I was too busy focusing so much of my life and energy on becoming a success in real estate and then too busy getting a divorce.  I guess I didn’t really read the newspapers or listen that carefully to the news.  

I felt like an idiot and remembered the summer Thierry spent with us.  Thierry was from France and a couple of years older than Joel but he seemed about 10 years older.  I remembered how he spent time at the dinner table discussing world politics with my then husband.  He was AWARE of the world around him;  True, he and his family did some traveling as many Europeans do to neighboring countries.  Their world is so encompassing and I realized tonight more than ever, just how small my world had been.  I say had, because since moving to New York City I have become more worldly, more cosmopolitan, more knowledgeable and more exposed to other cultures and races. 

At the end of the movie when Peter asked me how I liked it, all I could say with a lump in my throat was, “I was on an island, not Robben, and I’m so ashamed” .

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I thought my 5 hour walk down Table Mountain in South Africa was one of the greatest feats of my life.  Truly, it was an amazing experience fraught with anticipation, anxiety, fear, determination and adrenaline.  I’ve just had my second life-altering experience.

Let me just fill in a few back-story details because I do believe lack of sleep exacerbates every other emotion.  I woke up at 5:50am – God only knows why?  And then I couldn’t fall back to sleep…I knew I had to get up around 7am to make sure the girls got up, brushed their teeth and got dressed and fed.  Well sometime around 6:45am I heard screams!  I also heard heavy footsteps above me so I didn’t jump up.  Regardless, the idea of a 10 minute doze was out of the question.  Turns out Finley decided to lock Francesca in the room.  Of course, she screamed, poor thing!

I’m up and not in a good mood at all, tolerance level way below normal so any long-winded whiney discussion about hair bows or outfits was going to be cut short.  Finally with everyone fed and ready to roll, we left for school drop-offs and Belle came with me.  First bit of drama was that usually on Fridays, Finley wears her dress uniform and we see lots of girls going into school wearing dresses (and you know how much Finley likes to dress up) and Belle is saying “uh oh” because she thinks we made a mistake. NOT – Finley already had a dress-up day this week when she went to the museum.  Dropped Frankie off, no problem. 

Image representing Siri as depicted in CrunchBase

Image by None via CrunchBase

I’m off to Starbucks to get coffee for Chiara and me. God, do I need caffeine!  Note: Since I’ve been here I’ve had to up my intake – It’s no longer Grandé Americano with a light splash of steamed brevi – NO, it’ Venti now!  I turn to the GPS so Siri my new best friend can direct me to Starbucks but Siri is silent!  Yesterday Chiara turned off the voice prompts and I can’t figure out to get them back on.  Ok, so I’ll try to follow the map which might require taking glasses on and off which is never a good thing when you’re driving.  I look to punch in the Starbucks location which Tom had programmed for me and that’s gone too!  Yikes!  Belle assures (as best she can in a language I don’t understand) that there is  no problemo.  Really?  

Belle is directing me where to turn and when to go straight and I mention to her that this is not the way Tom and I went to Starbucks.  Again, no problemo.  She says in English, “Atlantic Avenue”.  OH NO! I know Atlantic Avenue in Delray Beach.  It is the main commercial thoroughfare.  Yes there is a Starbucks there BUT where do you think I can park the car?  Again, no problemo.  I look at Belle and with hand gestures and some Spanglish I inform her that of course it’s no problem for Belle, Belle is NOT driving!  Sure enough we get there and she points to a parking space and I shudder no.  I head for a parking lot that I know is down the street and I don’t mind walking and remember that Chiara parked there once.  However, I see the sign as I pull in that clearly states this a RESERVED ONLY parking lot and ALL OTHERS WILL BE TOWED.   Naturally, being half-German,  I turn around and leave, I’m not parking there.

We are now headed back to the Starbucks we passed and sure enough, there is a parking spot just near the store.  It’s a PARALLEL PARKING spot!  “Si, si, ”  Belle points to the spot.  Are you f________g kidding me?  I’m not going to park there!!!! Apparently I am 😦  – I have no choice but to bite the bullet so to speak.  This is a horror;  there is a car in front of and behind the spot.  17 ‘ long 7’ wide and sitting up a mile high on the opposite side of the car from the curb.  I try to back in and end up parallel but about 4′ from the curb.  I see in the rear view mirror that the car behind me is going to pull out.  I just sit there.  He just sits there.  He is waiting for me to pull out, I’m waiting for him to pull out.  I look in my rear-view mirror and he’s staring at me. Finally, he pulls out and stops alongside to give me a dirty look.  I don’t care, I’m so happy he moved;  Now I gingerly move the car backwards trying to trust the electronic back-up guide and not my instinct which is to look over my shoulder.  Actually you have to both but the latter is so hard to do considering the car has 3 rows of seats!  I’m pretty sure I’ve backed in close enough to the curb and not hit the tree so I pull forward and stop.  BREATHE, I’m exhausted and literally a bit shaky.  Starbucks here I come, I need the caffeine to calm me down, the parking was enough of an adrenaline boost!

I don’t think it was my imagination but there were a couple of men sitting at table outside of Starbucks and they all looked at me when I walked past them and into the store.  No, NOT that kind of look;  more like why is this lady driving a car she can’t park and why is someone this old driving a Tahoe??

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My friend Barbara just returned from a lovely long trip to South Africa.  I had been there with her many years ago and loved every minute of my adventure and experience.  I went back to South Africa a few years ago, this time with my husband and my sister and brother in-law.  We had a great time and I was able to relive and revisit some of the best of my former trip.  On my second trip we went to Kruger National Park and on safari.  There is NOTHING like seeing one of great beasts of Africa close up and free.  Giraffes towered over the truck, a pride of lions walked alongside our vehicle before dawn one day.

Africa is ginormous and different!  Not just different from here, lol, Manhattan but different looking countryside is everywhere.  I can’t say that I have traveled extensively through my own country so I don’t know if the mountains in Colorado resemble the mountains in Africa or if the forests of the Northwest are anything like the amazing forest we saw along the Panoramic Route.

Barbara left South Africa to go on a road trip that took them northeast to Namibia and she went on safari there.  Unfortunately she didn’t send me a lot of photos – but I did get to see them last night.  I was flabbergasted by the totally different terrain there.  Gone were the lush green forests and waterfalls of South Africa and in their place, dessert.  Deserts filled with Quiver trees and brush.  Huge almost barren landscapes next to virgin beaches with the whitest of sand.  And there were also fields of flowers in every color imaginable.  When I was in South Africa I fell in love with Proteas, that beautiful big fat blossom of a flower, but Barbara had photos of flowers I never knew existed.

PROTEAS photo by blogs.scientificamerican.com

photo by blogs.scientificamerican.com

Best of all, best of any trip to Africa are the wildlife.   I have one photo she sent to me while she was there.  It speaks for itself.

Magnificent Beasts photo by Barbara

Magnificent Beasts
photo by Barbara

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My friend Barbara is in South Africa and oh do I wish I was there!  She and I went to South Africa several years ago and the memories of that experience reside in the forefront of my memory bank.  I can remember everything we did and all that we saw.  It was an amazing experience for me and I would love to go back again.  Truth be known, I did go back after that first trip and did re-visit many of the wonderful places I had shared with Chris and Barbara.  

I think they are going further north and perhaps into Botswana to go on safari and I really wish I was going with them.  She just sent me a photo of one of our favorite South Africa must-see places.  If you love penguins and I certainly do then Boulders Beach is for you.

These adorable little penguins scurry around and all over the beach area.  You can see their nests, the babies and best of all frolicking penguins in the ocean.

Boulders Beach  Cape Town, South Africa

Boulders Beach
Cape Town, South Africa


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