So after too long living in unforgiving humidity, I have forgotten how beautiful dry, hot summers are… it’s like being back in Cape Town… these crystal clear blazingly hot days followed by the relief of a night cooling… and here is what I have managed to do… have my hair blow-waved straight and without the havoc of high humidity I remained Morticia-like until I washed my hair… I am also not sweating like a man… and rather feel quite feminine sipping my iced coffee… About to experience the forbidding heat of the East Coast so suspect that masculine sweating gene might kick in…
I spent the weekend in Petaluma with friends… a beautiful historical town just north of San Francisco… Perfectly tended houses, groovy little coffee spaces, a farmers market, an enormous refurbished old bank that is now a GMO-free seed bank… a relaxed little estuary that we had dinner beside… All was well and safe in this land of the free and the brave… on waking the horror of what happened in Orlando breaks brutally into this idyll … here are the words of American poet, Brian Bilston’s entitled America is a Gun.
England is a cup of tea.
France, a wheel of ripened brie.
Greece, a short, squat olive tree.
America is a gun.
Brazil is a football on the sand.
Argentina, Maradona’s hand.
Germany, an oompah band.
America is a gun.
Holland is a wooden shoe.
Hungary, a goulash stew.
Australia, a kangaroo.
America is a gun.
Japan is a thermal spring.
Scotland is a highland fling.
Oh, better to be anything
than America as a gun.
So I spent a fabulous Memorial Day long weekend with my sister and family in beautiful, hip, extraordinarily quiet Portland… actually sometimes I think I may be the noisiest person in too-cool-for-school-you-can-never-have-enough-tats-nor-shades-of-blue-in-your-hair city of Roses (and “feel the Bern”)… It’s a fabulously, infinitely liveable place.. of course my fam is there so I am biased … but it’s beautiful and easy to get around, yummy food (and delicious boutique beer), cute little neighbourhoods, best coffee in the US, and more hipsters per square beard… I even snuck into have my hair coloured by a 50s motorbike-enthusiast with skulls peppered up his neck (just a smidge different to my perfectly coiffed hairdresser at home, just a smidge)…
Don’t really know where to start… firstly cannot quite believe it’s already one month and it’s gone in a blink of an eye and also feels strangely like I have been here for ages… so what’s fab and what’s not… the terror of the commute – wrong side of the road, driving a tiny Fiat 500, Teslas roaring up behind and almost on top of me.. thankfully now in a compact SUV (yes I am in a 4-wheel drive) taking on those bloody Teslas…; I have managed to get lost a lot (yes I do have a GPS) and have also remarkably traversed the I101 – a parking lot of a freeway … north, south and north again in under 5 minutes… but mostly it has been fab… delicious weather – hot and dry and then a magical coolness in the evenings… the joy of my quiet retreat far away from the valley (or the pit as it is known) in the forest (a little like Deliverance) and going to sleep with the sound of a stream just outside my window… the huge fat cat that I am looking after, Cleo, that lies on the ground and spoons the food into her mouth and needs three little wooden steps to walk up to the sofa (and also managed to attack me in week one and dug a fang into my palm)…hanging out with my beautiful, generous friend and her family in the mountains…strawberries that are the yummiest things I have ever eaten… whole foods (more like whole pay check)… trader joe… the best barre class in town…getting to see the “woman card” Hillary Clinton in downtown San Jose and being interviewed for community radio… and of course being close to my sis and her fam and chattering every day on my way home…oh and work… what a shock to the system – a 5-day week… but also interesting and provoking and living the ambiguous dream…