Then There Were Three

Mick as the braai master
Mick as the braai master

One of the reasons I am here in South Africa is for a family reunion of sorts. With my brother Michael, or Mick as he is known, living here in Pietermaritzburg and where I have stayed on past visits, it is the logical place to gather. Sister Rosemary, or Zoze (yes we all have nicknames!) came in from New Zealand so now there are three. The unfortunate thing is Christopher (Biff) is in the Western Cape now, so although Zoze and I are heading down in a couple of weeks, Mick and Debbie aren't able to come - so it is a fractured reunion.

The Familiar

It’s funny how quickly the old feelings of belonging here have come back. After just a few short days, it felt (almost) like I had never left! Driving on the other side of the road, getting places is familiar. The scent of the earth after a downpour is uniquely South African. The Zulu being bandied across expanses of pavement or road, very loudly! The very loud frogs that live in the pond that have me thinking I might need earplugs at night. And the incessant chattering of the weaver birds that are building their nests in the fever trees in the garden.

Even driving to the King Shaka Airport in Durban to pick up Zoze seemed familiar and normal. Big changes around there, though with enormous interchanges being built for a new “city,” but even that didn't change the familiarity of the shanty houses clinging to the hills, the vast expanses of sugar cane fields, stretching as far as the eye can see.

On the way back from the airport, because of a horrendous accident on the freeway (more on South Africa's crazy highways another time) we took a detour through our old neighborhood of Kloof, stopping at Memorial Park to check on Mum's Tree! Zoze had planted the tree when Mum died 20-odd years ago, and it has grown enormous! We said hello and went for coffee, before continuing our drive home, only to get stuck for for an hour in the miles-long traffic jam! Apparently, this is one of the busiest highway in Africa and has more of it's fair share of accidents!

Getting to Normal

When she had adjusted from jet lag, Zoze and I started to do some exploring and visiting old friends.

We took a drive up to Howick to visit our ex-sister-in-law Eve who has an amazing bed and breakfast there. Although she "retired," her long-time guests are still asking for rooms, so now she is just providing the bed, but no breakfast! I actually B&B-sat for her several years ago and despite having the help i.e. maids to help with all the scut-work, it is still a lot of work so I can understand why she has scaled back.

And I went to visit a craft brewery run by a young woman, a microbiologist, who has set up shop in an industrial park in Pietermaritzburg. What I love about all these young people getting into the craft industries - brewing and/or distilling - is that they are so passionate about it! They bring so much excitement to the industry and I am sure that the enthusiasm is powering the growth! She sent me home with six bottles of hers and her partner's brew. And even though I am not much of a beer drinker, I am enjoying them immensely.

So cheers 'til next time!

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