Travel Itinerary, Cape Town Day One

It’s harder to write when I haven’t been writing. Folks will offer endless excuses for me if I don’t have one. It must be hard while you’re working full time, while you’re in transition, while you’re in a play, while you’re not living in x city, while you’re in Malawi…The one that feels true is: It’s hard if you haven’t been doing it. If I miss a day, it’s harder the next day. If I miss two, three days, a week, it takes a bigger push of activation energy to get rolling again. But it’s always possible.

How true are these things? It’s always possible to be inspired to write? The more you write the easier it is to keep writing? It maybe doesn’t matter to me right now. At times I’m interested in it as a philosophical question, I guess, but for now it’s just a useful belief for accomplishing my goals.

Kathryn and I made it to Cape Town. We’re in Observatory, but only recently arrived and haven’t roamed too far. Something about walking around together this morning makes me miss Brooklyn.

Malawi was always blue skies for us, sometimes with more clouds than on other days. A light breeze was the winter chill on every pleasantly sunny day. We’ve had real rain here and some real cold, with promises of bitter mountain cold in Lesotho. Malawi’s called the warm heart of Africa so I think I’m clever when I call Lesotho the cold heart of Africa. In reality I can sometimes be clever but much of what I find slightly funny is not at all funny.

We’ve been staying at a seldom friendly but quite colorful hostel. My judgement only from the first 12 hours. They have a two-nights-free-for-couchsurfers policy, and I’m certainly appreciative of that. Maybe there’s some unspoken strings we haven’t picked up on. Anyway, we aren’t holding onto it too tightly.

Table Mountain looms nearby, the mist tumbled down this afternoon. I wanted to just scramble up before lunch today, but we didn’t. Tomorrow we’ll hike up with Rachel, who went to school with Kathryn at Mcgill and is currently working on her dissertation on women who were working with the national liberation movement who had been in exile in other African countries. Rachel has been our sweet, warm, energetic, thoughtful guide since we arrived off our drowsy foggy flight into Cape Town.

Tonight she brought us to Omar Badsha’s for dinner, with him and a couple of his other documentary photography colleagues. We all had lots of wine, beer, whiskey, tea, pistachio shortbread, rice, mango achaar, and a dal-lamb (maybe accidentally pureed into a soup) curry, and we heard all about everything. South Africa politicks and history, art and cigarettes, North Carolina and Poland. That’s what I’m really working towards, I am attempting to subvert everything, he says, but I haven’t succeeded. You haven’t subverted all things? I don’t know, I haven’t subverted anything. He pours both of us some more scotch. Maybe just this dal. I’ve totally subverted this recipe this time. 

I’d been largely persisting with my drafting and delinquent with blogging in my last week in Lilongwe. It helped that the internet at the UNC guest house didn’t quite agree with wordpress. A couple times I almost posted, but couldn’t make quite enough momentum with the wireless to get off the ground. Wasn’t a big personal problem though. It just means I need to push through to combat the blank page again. Poems and quotes alone don’t count. With anything I write, with a few days off of it, I’ll have doubts that I’ll be able to do it again. This is a reminder that it’s nothing personal, that the resistance will come as readily for something as simple as a blog post as it might for some trickier textured dialogue.

In my worklogs, I’ve had moments where I want to voice my frustration that I’ve lost focus for a few hours or a few seconds, but I want to remind myself to keep going forward with my work. My shorthand for this, I’ll just write amnesty and keep going.

It’s some hours later and we’ve met more of the staff at the hostel. We’ve all warmed up a little to each other, and I’ve met a couple of folks who work here who are truly charming. I love to be won over.

I’d love to have a mountain in sight of my home every day, where I could trudge up by myself for hours at a time.


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