The fine art of bridge walking

You might think that walking over a bridge is just the same as walking on a road, the only difference being that there’s usually some water involved. Having crossed my fair share of bridges over the past two years, I can definitely say that strange forces are at play when you cross a bridge with mindfulness and an open heart.

The first significant bridge I crossed in the recent past was the one that leads the pilgrim from the French town St Jean Pied de Port onto the Camino de Santiago, the Way of St James. I crossed that bridge in April 2015 and never looked back, so to speak. After spending five weeks on the road, walking almost 800 km, I can truly say that I am a different person from the one who gave those first cautious steps over the picturesque bridge in southern France.

More recently I have done frequent and spectacular bridge walking in Sydney, Australia. The one thing that struck me is that you leave things on this side of a bridge and find a totally different reality on the other side. Take the Anzac Bridge in Pyrmont, Sydney, for example. I walked the roughly 800 m of this spectacular bridge almost daily over the past months. You start close to the Sydney Fish Market where the bustling trade in fresh seafood never ceases to thrill. Wind your way up, up, up to the walkway of the bridge and do some heavy breathing on your way, as once you’re on the bridge the petrol and diesel fumes of the vehicles are not conducive to great gulps of fresh air. Down, down, down you go, past boat houses towards Blackwattle Bay. This is the most delightful walkway where you will experience Australians in all their poop-scooping, cycle bell-ringing, yoga-pants toting disciplined glory. No one puts a foot wrong as they walk their dogs and exercise their beautiful bodies within an inch of perfection.

Slightly crazier, but much more spectacular is walking over the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge. My favourite route over the bridge started at Luna Park in Milson’s Point. Approaching this place of pleasure and amusement via ferry was always rather adrenaline-charged. The huge, but eerily creepy clown fronting the park sets the scene for a manic dash over the harbour bridge. Again, up, up, up you go towards the bridge walkway. Now you dodge selfie-taking tourists, joggers and dog walkers over the more than one-kilometre bridge expanse. Sadly, the sides are fenced to way above your head and security guards patrol the way to keep people from throwing themselves off the bridge when the world as they know it has become just too much to bear. The bridge takes you to the most historic part of Sydney, The Rocks, where Victorian-styled buildings, quaint eateries and swarms of tourists offer a different perspective from the one you’ve just left behind.

And then you get bridges that aren’t grand or huge, but that are so beautiful that you catch your breath. This morning I crossed one of these on a lonely farm track on my brother’s farm, Verlorenkloof, in Mpumalanga. I crossed this bridge with joy in my heart about a beautiful grandchild I have just met and the clear knowledge that I am home in the country I love. I know that I will again cross bridges in other places of the world and I look forward to that, but for now, I am happy to be here on this bridge less crossed.

My secret life with boats

It’s time to come clean. I’ve never really liked boats, ships, yachts, dinghies, canoes, kayaks or any other seafaring vessel. I find this aversion peculiar, as I adore swimming, and the sea, and rivers, and dams – I just don’t like boats. My dislike could be a combination of not growing up with boats, or the immense trust I put in my feet to walk away when things are not good anymore – something that you cannot do when you’re on a boat. Continue reading

Barangaroo: My kind of girl

It all starts with the names. Taking the train from Sydney International Airport, station names like Allawa, Bullaburra, Turramurra and Wollongong sit comfortably side by side with Aberdeen, Kings Cross and Liverpool on sign boards.

Then you see a striking red, black and yellow flag often flown with the all-too-familiar Australian flag across the city. Next, a serious young man at the Sydney Opera House starts a show by saying: “Sydney Opera House is built upon Tubowgulle, Gadigal country, so I would like to acknowledge the Gadigal People, the traditional custodians of this land.”  For an outsider uncovering the history of the first people of Australia is like peeling an onion – layer by layer and sometimes shedding a little tear in the process.

The indigenous name that has really resonated with me is Barangaroo. It has a lovely ring to it and you can repeat it over and over again as your running shoes pound the pavements of Sydney. Barangaroo, Barangaroo …. And then I can also see the Barangaroo Reserve from the window of our flat in Sydney, way across the bay.

A visit to the Sydney Museum sheds some light on Barangaroo. When Governor Phillip arrived in Australia with his fleet of convict ships, he kidnapped a senior Wangal man, Woollarawarre Bennelong who lived on the banks of the Parramatta River with his community. Phillip cleaned him up nicely, gave him a suit and a tie to wear and taught him English. Bennelong later escaped and after some payback – spearing Phillip in the shoulder – he renewed ties with the governor. Good friends again, Benelong asked that the governor build him a hut on a rocky outcrop, jutting into the sea, right there where the Sydney Opera House stands today.

Benelong had a wife called Barangaroo who was not such a push-over. She declined to join her husband to live in Government House but visited him often. A write-up on her in the Sydney Museum says that she was not keen on wearing the Western clothes she was given to make her a respectable visitor. Because of her reluctance she was flogged by a soldier but promptly grabbed the stick and gave him a good thrashing. Barangaroo – my kind of girl.

But it was not all spunk and action. A more wretched account of her visit to Government House was relayed by Watkin Tench, a British marine officer in his book on the early settlers, titled A Complete Account of the Settlement at Port Jackson. He describes how Barangaroo visited her husband wearing a petticoat.  “But this was the prudery of the wilderness, which her husband (Bennelong) joined us to ridicule, and we soon laughed her out of it. The petticoat was dropped with hesitation, and Barangaroo stood ‘armed cap-a-pee in nakedness’.” Tench also recounts that Bennelong  requested that “we combed and cut her hair, and she seemed pleased with the operation”. It is hard to imagine what Barangaroo felt, but I would suspect bewilderment, embarrassment, shame and anger?

A year after the British arrived, around 80% of the first people living in and around what is now Sydney was wiped out due to disease, hunger and persecution. During my time here I have not seen many indigenous people, beside the sad little group in front of the Opera House playing digeridoos and selling CDs to tourists streaming from cruise ships. Documentaries on television show reduced lives of poverty, domestic violence and a massive tendency towards suicide amongst Aboriginal youths.

Bringing up the issues facing the first people while socialising with locals is often met with an embarrassed silence or a call to talk about more cheerful stuff. So, all in all, it’s quite difficult to know what Australians really feel about Aboriginal people. I suppose if I had more time to dig myself into this culture I would be able to peel more layers off the onion. But for now, all I can do is to sometimes whisper the name ‘Barangaroo’ as I walk the streets of Sydney.

Of red roosters and white rabbits: Notes from an outsider looking in

At this time of year red lanterns of all shapes and sizes dot the streets and malls of Sydney, Australia. There are large installations of roosters, dragons and the Chinese character Fú, meaning ‘fortune’ or ‘good luck’ is seen on posters and painted on shop fronts.  It’s Chinese New Year – a time to honour deities and ancestors, to wish each other well and for families to come together.

The Chinese New Year celebrations span roughly two weeks and will end on 12 February. This year is the Year of the Rooster, the only bird in the Chinese Zodiac, consisting of a 12-year cycle of animals. The new year celebrations in Sydney have been huge, with lion dancing, street food markets, Chinese opera, red roosters in shop windows and a much anticipated dragon boat race this coming weekend.

With almost 20 per cent of Sydney’s population of roughly five million people being of Asian descent means that Chinese New Year celebrations are not taken lightly and I have been lucky to be part of this spectacle.  In a world that is increasingly focussed on dividing people, rather than reconciling them, I find spending time in a culturally diverse hotpot like Sydney refreshing and intriguing. I should add that I can only comment on what I see from my vantage point as a semi-tourist. I call myself that because I will soon be returning to my home country, South Africa, after spending months in Australia as a very privileged voyeur of Australian life.

Food features prominently in New Year celebrations. Traditionally, this is a time to eat dumplings and steamed buns, symbolising the birth of a new year. Few things make me happier than ordering a bamboo basket of dim sum at the Dainty Dumpling in China Town. These lovelies arrive at the table steaming and from this point on, timing is everything. Fill a little dipping pot with vinegar and a few drops of chilli oil. Wait until the right moment to pick up a dumpling with your chopsticks, dip it in the vinegar and pop it in your mouth. You are rewarded with a soupy treat and a small knob of filling, be it pork, prawn or vegetarian. Time is of the essence – pop the dim sum in your mouth too soon, and burn the skin off your mouth and tongue. Wait too long and the little dumplings turn rubbery and flaccid. Needless to say, I have tried my fair share of dumplings to celebrate New Year in Chinese style.

Another exposure to Chinese life in Sydney has been visiting the White Rabbit Gallery of Contemporary Chinese Art in Chippendale in Sydney’s CBD. Started by one of Australia’s wealthiest women and patron of the arts, Judith Neilson, this gallery has been an eye-opener and a delight. Judith was born in Zimbabwe, studied at the Natal Technikon and has been living in Australia with her property tycoon husband for several decades. She spends more than a month every year in China, sourcing work for her gallery and shows contemporary Chinese art that is rarely seen by outsiders. The show that has just ended, Vile Bodies, had me enthralled with installations, 3-D printing and multimedia displays. It is truly amazing what is happening on the art scene in China at the moment.

I am privileged to have be exposed to people from so many different cultures here in Sydney. And, it seems that everyone is getting along swimmingly. It might be that the lack of racial tension apparent to me, as semi-tourist in this cosmopolitan city, is only due to the fact that I have not burrowed deeply enough into the Australian psyche or that the Australian abhorrence of making a scene has added to my perception of racial harmony. Whatever it may be, it’s a relief to observe people of so many nationalities living and working together in seemingly perfect harmony.

I am, however, deeply aware that Australian life did not start in 1788 when Governor Phillips arrived here with his convict ships in tow. The spectres of the First People of Australia move silently through the streets of Sydney, and if you don’t look closely, you will not see their shadows over this urban sprawl. But more about them when I write again.

 

Terugste: die storie is uit

Is die onverklaarbare ligkol op die foto dalk ‘n engel of ‘n spook?

Toe ek die blog oor my pelgrimstog ‘Wegste’ genoem het, was dit sommer n silly naam wat ek uitgedink het omdat al die ander soos ‘Op weg’ en ‘Lang pad’ reeds geneem was. Terugskouend is ‘Wegste’ n baie goeie naam – dit is die teenoorgestelde van ‘Terugste’, die plek waar ek nou is.

Om terug te wees na n  tog van 800 km te voet hou besliste uitdagings in. Die grootste hiervan is dat die herinnerings vervaag en die lesse wat geleer is, onder elke dag se probleme verlore raak.

Tog is daar n paar lesse wat ek hier gaan opteken sodat ek hulle weer en weer kan besoek.

  • Doen soms die onwaarskynlike. Vir n effens onfikse en redelike bang voorstedelike vrou om alleen 800 km in n land te stap waar sy nie die taal kan praat nie, is onwaarskynlik, maar nie onmoontlik nie.
  • Effort, of sy mooi Afrikaanse vriendjie ‘moeite’ moenie in n mens se pad staan om iets epies te doen nie. Dit was n reuse-effort om hierdie reis te onderneem, maar die kompensasie was soveel groter as die moeite.
  • Sit lig in die saal. Dis n frase wat ek dikwels vir my kinders sê, maar self nie te mooi onthou nie. Moenie te veel swaar weer oor goed maak nie. More, oormore is die insident vergete, maar die swaar weer bly sit in jou binneste.
  • Onthou (dis baie maklik om te vergeet) dat jy sterker is as wat jy dink.
  • En op n ligter noot, n mens kan nie groot stukke wit brood met botter en mermelada op n daaglikse basis eet as jy nie 20 km gaan stap nie.

Die foto van die kerkie wat saam met hierdie blog gaan het spesifieke betekenis. Daar is n wit ligkol op wat nie verklaar kan word nie. Dalk n engel of n spook van n pelgrim van weleer? Ek het hulle deurgaans om my gevoel. Die punt is nou om aan te hou voel hoe dit was om beskerm te wees, al looi die wind en al val die reën in vlae.

Die een ding wat ek weet is dat ek weer ‘wegste’ wil wees en verkieslik my voete en getroue Spaanse stapstewels wil gebruik om by die wegste punt uit te kom. Die heuwels om Oxford, Nederland van noord na suid? Patagonië met sy gletsers en verlatenheid? Die tyd sal leer – but watch this spot. Dankie vir almal se ondersteuning. Die kommentaar op my blog het elke dag my voete fermer op hulle pad gerig.

Soos n perd wat stal geruik het

 

Vroegoggend op my laaste stapdag.

 

 

Die koring staan hoog na amper ses weke op die pad.

My geliefde padslakkies.

En so kom ek in Santiago de Compostella aan.

Syaansig van die katedraal. Die voorkant word gerestoureer.

So hier sit ek nou net na 12 in die middag in n kafee in Santiago de Compostella en drink n glas rooiwyn op my aankoms in die heilige stad. Die katedraal toring bo my uit, maar ek sal more my laaste mis daar bywoon. Klimaks … antiklimaks? Wel, nie een van die twee nie, want ek het geen verwagtings van n epiese aankoms gehad nie. Die feit dat ek 765 km gereis het – omtrent 700 daarvan te voet, is oorgenoeg vir my.

Na twee dae se naderkoms slaap ons gisteraand in Pedrouzo, so 19 km van Santiago af. Ek en Linda van Holland is nou geswore reisgenote, behalwe wat die stap betref. Ons eet saam en bly saam, maar verkies om alleen te stap.

Gisteraand eet ons saam met Gunnar (my gunsteling peregrino). Hy bekla sy lot oor sy reisgenote: Mary (die een vir wie spiritualteit haar gunsteling tydverdryf is) en haar man (Andy, Randy, Sandy?). Gunnar het erge kritiek van hulle af gekry oor allerlei, soos byvoorbeeld dat hy die vroue-toilet by stopplekke gebruik in plaas daarvan om vir die manstoilet te wag. Arme Gunnar is oor en oor daarvoor gekastei. Weer eens dank ek my sterre dat ek alleen stap. Ek dink nie kritiek van n reisgenoot sou vir my gewerk het nie.

So kuier, kuier kom die Camino tot sy einde, maar vanoggend was ek soos n perd wat stal geruik het. Ek sluip kort voor sewe by die alberge in Pedrouzo uit. Die son kom op toe ek reeds buite die stad is. Voor my loop n paar mense, maar meestal is ek alleen. Ek het tyd om te besin oor die lang pad en watter lesse ek huistoe sal vat.

More gaan ek en Linda n klein Fiat huur en vir vyf dae in n cabana op die kus bly. Sy werk aan n boek oor slaapterapie en ek gaan nog so twee dae langs die kus stap. Ek sal ook dan my gedagtes orden en my laaste blog skryf. Maar vir nou is dit toeris-toeris in Santiago, lekker eet, vir oulaas nuwe vriende vaarwel sê …. Ja, doen wat n pelgrim doen as sy aan die einde van haar reis gekom het.

Glory days soos die tyd aanstap

Ek en Linda drink bier in die Spaanse namiddagson.

Gunnar, my gunsteling-peregrino.

Die 100 km-merker.

Hoe het dit gekom dat ek op n Dinsdag-middag in Mei sit en nonsens praat en bier drink in die son in Spanje? Al stap ek nou al meer as n maand, kan ek partykeer steeds nie glo dat ek die Camino stap en al die goed ervaar wat elke dag oor my pad kom nie. Glory days, soos Bruce Springsteen sing.

Ek en Linda deel eergister n kamer in n Alberge wat n heerlike landelike gevoel het. Die son skyn en ons sit en gesels met Gunnar, een van my gunsteling peregrinos. Gunner is 81 en seker een van die laaste ware hippies wat oor is. Hy is n Noorweër van geboorte, maar het sy hele grootmens-lewe in Kalifornië gebly waar hy by cutting-edge tegnologie soos laser vir oogchirurgie in Silicon Valley betrokke was. Dan was hy ook sewe jaar in n ashram in Indië en het n guru wie hy help om n tempel te bou.

Gunnar hou van goeie stories. Ek vertel hom dat mopanie-bome in die bosveld mekaar waarsku as die koedoes kom. Hy is mal oor dié storie en ek moet dit weer en weer vertel. So sit ons en kuier na n salige dag se stap in die mooiste omgewing denkbaar.

En dan net so lekker soos die een dag, so verander dit die volgende. Gister se stap is bedompig en warm. Die weer is aan die verander en die wind waai keer op keer my hoed van my kop af. Maar erger as dit, steek ek die 100 km merk na Santiago toe oor net na die stad Sarria. Skielik is die Camino gepak met newbies wat net die laaste 100 km stap om n compostela (sertifikaat) te kry wat sê hulle het die Camino voltooi. Daar is groepe Asiërs met die ongelooflikste kit – hoede, nette, maskers, handskoene. Daar is groepe kwetterende Italiaanse meisies wat videos neem soos hulle gaan. Die Amerikaners analiseer luidkeels hoe die rigtinsmerkers werk, en elkeen het n eier te lê. Almal beur en praat en my hart breek as ek keer op keer die slakke wat elke dag oor my paadjie kom, platgetrap onder duisende voete sien.

Ek glo dis ook weer n les – die lewe kan nie net altyd wees soos jy dit wil hê nie. Laatmiddag stap ek en Linda deur n klein dorpie en daar wapper n Suid-Afrikaanse vlag. Ons gaan in en daar is twee beddens oor in n alberge wat bedryf word deur Gordon Bell van Kaapstad. Hy het die huis gekoop en bly sewe maande van die jaar daar saam met Annemarie, sy Deense partner. Ons praat heerlik Suid-Afrika en weer besef ek dat my mense my eindeloos opbeur.

Vandag was die stap makliker, al het dit gereën. Ek kry dit reg om al die hordes uit te sny en draai my kop weg as ek die platgetrapte slakke sien. Pas die 70 km merk oorgesteek. So, as ek die Camino omgekeerd in Suid-Afrika sou loop, van Richmond in die Karoo na Pretoria, is ek nou in Jo’burg. Die pad was lank en swaar, maar die mense wag al daar en die koffie is al klaar, sing ek in my kop soos ek stap.

Klim, klim, klim tot by ‘n punt

 

 

Vroegoggend op die Camino.

 

Die lente maak haar merk op die berghange.

 

n Pelgrim van weleer.

 

Oppad na O’Cebreiro.

 

Na n dag se loop langs die Rio Pereje waar n mens sommer die forel in die helder rivierwater kan sien swem, begin ek gister weer berg-op loop. Die opdraend is swaar, maar die uitsig van hierdie laaste hoogtepunt op die Camino is onbeskryflik. Van hier af is dit (min of meer) afdraend tot in Santiago.

Ek beplan om verder as O’Cebreiro, n pragtige klein klipdorpie op die kruin van die berg, te stap, maar na twee alleendae sien ek vir Linda van Holland en besluit net daar om oor te bly.

Dis Sondag en blykbaar geniet die Spanjaarde n uitstappie na hierdie dorpie as deel van hulle ‘day at leisure’.

My gewone benoudheid dat ek nie gaan slaapplek kry nie, dryf my na die munisipale alberge. Ek kry bed nommer 24 in dormitory A – plaas dat dit as vingerwysing sou dien om liewer die pad te vat!  n Verdere vingerwysing moes wees dat daar nie stortdeure is nie (gelukkig is die mans- en vrouebadkamers geskei) maar ek het mos n manier om te dink alles is eintlik oukei.

Ek en Linda hang lekker in die son rond, drink bier en gaan vir n vroeë aandete voor mis in die klein kerkie.

As avontuurlustige eter bestel ek die spesialiteit van die Galencia-streek. Die Spaanse naam is pulpo (seekat). Die prentjies op die spyskaart lyk heerlik. My pulpo kom en ek begin dapper eet. Die seekat kom met suiers en al en is opgekook met bietjie aartappel. Die eindresultaat is beslis chewy, maar met n glibberige buitekant. Elke stukkie wat ek sluk dreig om terug te spring. Ek gee die stryd gewonne en die kelnerin krul haar lip vir hierdie ongesofistikeerde peregrino.

Na die mis hang ons nog n bietjie rond en gaan toe terug na ons slaapplek.

Ek slaap op n boonste bunk bo n ouerige, Italiaanse, oorgewig man. My moed sak in my skoene: ‘I have seen this romance before and it has a horrible ending.’ En so was dit.

Skaars is die lig af, of Oom begin snork. Ek sit oorpluisies in (geen effek), ek draai om dat my kop anderkant toe kyk (slegte feng shui), later sit ek my baadjie oor my kop en druk die moue oor my ore. Niks help nie. Die hele nag lê ek en luister na die gesnork wat net harder en harder word. Die hele kamer bewe en teen half sewe is almal daaruit, behalwe die Oom.

Gelukkig help die vars lug en na n halfuur se stap, voel ek beter. Maar die voorneme is geneem: nie weer slaap ek in n Alberge nie. Ek is te oud, of te bederf, of te beskaafd, of te pieperig, maar ek kan nie.

My laaste agt dae van die Camino gaan ek lekker in hostals bly waar ek alleen my eie klein snorkies van lekkerkry gaan snork, my eie badkamerdeur oop- of toemaak en waar niks sal maak dat ek nie elke dag se stap waardeer en geniet nie.

Vier weke te voet

 

Op Cruz de Ferro waar derduisende pelgrims al klippies neergesit het.

 

 

 

Windmeulenns en sneeu op die bergtoppe.

 

Madre nostre.

 

Kan nie genoeg van die blomme op die pad kry nie.

 

 

More is ek reeds vier weke te voet op pad na Santiago. Ek kan nie glo dat ek dit actually tot hier toe gemaak het nie. As alles goed verloop behoort ek oor tien dae in Santiago aan te kom. Ek het baie geleer in dié tyd. Hier is n paar lessies – ligsinnig en diepsinnig deurmekaar.

Moet nooit iets in n selofaanverpakking vir ontbyt eet nie (croissant, brood of muffin). Jy sal die verskriklikste sooibrand tot ten minste 11 uur hê.

Bewaar wat waardevol is ten alle koste en laat die res gaan. Die sakkie met my paspoort en kredietkaart gaan selfs stort toe saam met my. Die rosary wat Corneli vir my gemaak het, die buen camino skulpie van sussie Liz en die olifanthaar-armband van Liesbeth en Jomarie bewaar ek met my lewe. Ander goed het ek laat gaan, soos handskoene, dettol, n reën poncho en so aan.

My ondersteuningnetwerk hou my aan die gang. Elke dag se praat met Duan, William wat my besigheid aan die gang hou en almal wat na my pa omsien, is goud werd.

As jy uitkyk vir die tekens langs die pad sal jy nooit verdwaal nie. Dit geld vir die geel pyle op die Camino, maar sommer ook vir die lewe in die algemeen.

n Mens is sterker as wat jy dink.

Dis beter om na ander mense se stories te luister as om jou eie te vertel. Mense sê baie snaakse goed. Mary, n greenie van Kalifornië sê gister vir my: ‘My two favorite things are spirituality and hiking. And here I have both!’ Mooi so, Mary.

Pasop vir vasklouers. Hier op die Camino is daar baie wat glo dat hulle heil van ander afhanklik is.

Daar is niks soos n cerveza grande (groot bier) en n pakkie chips aan die einde van n lang stap nie.

Moenie n tog soos hierdie op n te klein begroting aanpak nie. n Mens het nou en dan bietjie geld nodig vir n nag in n hotel of n lekker ete.

Moenie oorreageer nie … behalwe soms. Dis nie nodig om jou reënjas uit te ruk en aan te trek as die eerste druppels val nie. Al wat gebeur is dat jy n kilometer later natgesweet weer alles moet terugpak. Oorreageer as iets in jou skoen jou pla. Sit op jou bas op die pad, trek jou skoen uit, sny n harde stukkie uit die binnesool met jou Swiss Army mes, verstel jou sokkie. Doen jy dit nie, het jy dae se pyn en lyding.

En einde ten laaste: doen iets wat groter as jyself is. Jy sal verstom wees as jy dit wel regkry.

Foeitog, wat is hulle naampies?

 

 

Ooievaars maak nes op die kerktorings.

 

Heideveld.

 

 

My pa het altyd die storie vertel van die dokter wat sewe skape gekoop het om op sy belastingplasie buite Pretoria aan te hou. Hy besluit om hulle te laat skeer en reageer op n skaapskeerder se advertensie in die Landbouweekblad. ‘Hoeveel skape het Meneer?’ vra die skeerder. ‘Sewe,’ sê hy. Daar is n oomblik stilte: ‘Foeitog, wat is hulle naampies?’ vra die skeerder.

Nou dis net soos ek oor my aardse besittings op hierdie stadium voel. Vir die afgelope maand pas die somtotaal van my besittings in n 10 kg rugsak.

Daar is Stok en Stok-se-maat, my stapstokke. My twee t-shirts se name het met hulle kleur te doen, maar eggo ook my huisdiere se name: Pienkas en Blouki (Pienkas, die violis herhinnerr aan my hond Yoyo (die tjellis) en Blouki is verwant aan Loki, my kat.)

Dan is daar die twee stapbroeke, Stywer en Losser. Aan die begin was Losser loshande die gunsteling, maar soos die kilo’s begin verdwyn het Stywer hom verby gesteek.

My Croc-plakkies is so lelik dat hulle nie n naam het nie, maar soos sekere meisies wat ons ken, het hulle die mooiste persoonlikheid as ek hulle na 20 km se stap en n warm stort aantrek.

Dan is daar my blom serp (wat snags as kussingsloop dien) en my blom sonhoedjie. Hulle heet onderskeidelik Hippie en Ousie. Ousie (die hoed) het ek kort voor my vertrek by n stalletjie in Hatfield gekoop en herhinner baie sterk aan my buurvrou se huishulp Katie se keuse van hooftooisel.

Hippie (die serp) het ek jare gelede in Andringastraat in Stellenbosch gekoop toe ek nog aspirasies gehad het om eerder n hippie as n antie te wees.

En dan my stapskoene: hulle het nie n naam nie, want na die eerste paar drie dae in my stap in gesteel is, het ek besef dat n mens nie oormatig geheg aan aardse besittings moet wees  nie.

Ek is nou goed verby die twee-derdes merk na Santiago op 230 km van my bestemming af. Die dae word min voordat ek weer n oneindige hoeveelheid aardse besittings sal hê. Ek is nie seker of ek daarna uitsien nie. As jy meer eerder as minder het, gee n mens beslis nie vir hulle naampies nie.