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  • Writer's pictureTim and Lindsey

It’s Saturday and, at last, 1st December - Day 381

It’s Saturday and, at last, 1st December, which is very important. Do you know why?

Saturday morning which means it must be Parkrun! Our third. The nearest was just 15 minutes’ drive away towards Yzerfontein. It was raining, however when we arrived at Windhoek Farm, luckily the rain had ceased, but not the wind.

At the start, a small crowd cheered for the two international guests, (that's us) and the spokeswoman warned us that this was the toughest course in South Africa with the first 3km being uphill. Off we went, Tim zoomed off at a pace, and I marched. Crikey, yes it’s steep. Head down, I pushed on and just kept going, using those glutes, using my lungs. I was pleased with my determination and level of fitness, not stopping once, even with the wind against me.

Just after the 2km marker I reached the top of the hill and pleased to see that the ground had levelled off. Not for long though, another incline appeared. The terrain had changed, for the worst, it was very sandy, making the journey more difficult. Phew, this is tough. The runners had all gone way ahead, so I didn’t have that competitive motivation to get past someone, just my own incentive.

The scenery quite eerie with a low mist and four tall wind turbines towered through with a soft hum. A brief stop to take a photo at the precipice, then onto a long, straight downhill slope. I surprised myself and started jogging. Gravity pushed me down, and I could sense that my brakes were on hard. As a child I would have flown down here, free as a bird. What age did I start applying the brakes? I tried to take them off, gradually beginning to run faster. There was still a hesitation. Eventually, I was leaping rather than trotting, sprinting faster. Going down this hill was like a metaphor of life, I wondered where else in life I have the brakes on.

I walked and trotted the last 2 km, hoping that my time was good but knowing it would be hard to beat last weeks; the course was so much harder, what with hills, wind and sand. Tim was there to greet me, and he too found the course tough. He tried to run all the way up the hill but had to walk part way and found the sand a challenge to run in too. Later in the morning, our Parkrun times came online. As expected we were both a bit slower than last week; however, Tim came first in his age category, fabulous.

Before we left, we had a lovely chat with Reinette visiting from Jo’burg, or was it Superwoman? She was here with her husband and two young sons; Parkrun is their regular Saturday morning habit. How great is that? We chatted about the beautiful places we have visited around South Africa, and she shared a few more places for us to see. South Africa is full of so many incredible places. If you haven’t been, we highly recommend coming.

Returning back to our Airbnb, as it was 1st December and no longer Movember, the tache needed to come off. It was a slow process, with a photo at each stage. Sorry folks, these are just for the family to see. Voila, Tim was back, the Tim who I married, with his fresh boyish looks… Hurrah! He looks about 20 years younger. Funny enough the face recognition on Tim’s phone is working now!

Sitting out on the verandah, our hosts Janet and Charles came and joined us. We had such a lovely chat, about travel, flying, South Africa and our wine tour. Charles went and got some Brandy that he has made and explained to Tim another way to smell it by sliding your nose up the side of the glass. He is quite a wine nerd, describing the technicalities of Brandy making, what grapes are used and how the Brandy here is just as good at Cognac in France.

We suddenly realised the time and needed to rush for our San experience at !Khwa ttu. We clicked the direction from their website, arriving at the West Coast National Park, we realised that satnav had taken us to the wrong place. Argh! Finally arriving late, we were ushered into a room, made our apologies and sat with six other people to listen to three men, one from South Africa, Botswana and Namibia, all originating from the San tribe and all looking somewhat different to one another. They explained the three main San groups from the Southern African continent, Ju from the north, Khoe from central and !Ul-Taa from the south, and gave a demonstration of five click sounds made in their language, which is believed to be the first language of mankind. I liked the last one – it was a kiss.

We followed the guys out, down a pathway and sat on some logs while they explained about the culture and how the San tribes lived. They showed us arrows used for hunting including one with a round knob. We had to guess what this was used for. And the answer – a toy arrow for kids to play with, so avoiding fatalities. There were skirts made from Eland for the females and males would use Springbok hides, in a style of a diaper. The most fascinating information was the ritual of finding a wife. The young man’s uncle would present him with a miniature bow and 10 arrows, just like Cupid or Eros from the Romans and Greeks! The young man would go to the nearest village and find a maiden he liked the look of. He would fire the arrow into her bum, bouncing off the skirt. If she picked up the shaft, looked him in the eye and held it against her heart; that was good news. If she left the arrow, he might try again, but if she broke the arrow and threw it at him, that was a definite thumbs down.

Positive news, the uncle would go and meet the family to check them out. All good, the young man would make a home, like a tent made from sticks, and a fire outside. The girl’s uncle would come and lean on the house to make sure it was solid, check the fire and may challenge him to hunt for a particular animal. If he succeeded in these tasks, the marriage would take place. The San tribe would have one wife, unlike other tribes. However, if a brother dies, then his wife had a choice to join one of his brothers or go back to her family.

Later we had a ride around the area in a trailer pulled by a John Deere tractor. We used to read a book about a John Deere tractor to our sons when they were little. They loved that book, happy memories.

On our short trip we saw Zebra, Springbok, Bontebok, Wildebeest and a large mole snake! We were glad to be high in the trailer! A Cape Eagle was being attacked in the sky by a couple of much smaller birds, no doubt protecting their eggs. We returned to the room to watch a film that we missed at the start, informing us more about the San tribe.

Unfortunately, after a short time, the power went off. Oh dear, this seems like a bit of a regular occurrence in and around Darling.

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