My first dance instructor was the gorgeous, graceful and remarkably talented Christopher Kindo. There are so many things I could say about the man who arguably changed my life in one afternoon, but for the purposes of this, I reflect on the way he moved, for I have never seen anyone move the way he does. Yes, it was grace, but it was also a superb control over every muscle, a mastery over his body, a surety of skin and form that remains unmatched by any to this day.
The changeover at Hamad International was a uniquely stressful experience. By the time we stepped off the plane after eleven the other night, I had already been flying for nine hours — undisputedly the longest period of time I had ever spent in the air. And none of it had prepared me for the dash from arrivals to transfer security and the completely chaotic queuing system there, which seemed to involve everyone just doing what they want, and to hell with what I had come to understand as globally recognised queue etiquette (poor Stu had a nice older man stop and ask if he could step in front, which Stu interpreted as wanting to move through instead). Given that we only had an hour to move from one plane to the next, I spent most of the time five to tears, trying to understand how an experience like this happened at a world class airport. Which is a bit rich of me since didn’t a group of homies make off with millions of rands from OR Tambo International? Yes. Let me be silent then.
So what happened was: I watched COSMOS and everything changed. Throughout my life, I had been peripherally interested in astronomy, insofar as I was a massive science-fiction nerd and fully believed that one day, giant ships would descend out of the sky and our horizons would be broadened by lightyears. (I still believe that, by the way.) COSMOS took all of that and morphed it into a full blown addiction. It opened my eyes to a world that I had seldom explored further than its incredible mythology and, somehow, by the end of it all, left me moved rather closer to tears than I ever expected or anticipated science could, or would. And even though I slept through the ending of one or two of them (I’m that kind of awful person that falls asleep on the couch more or less every evening), I still felt like my world had been dramatically altered. Of course, once it was finished, more was absolutely required.
Not long ago, my husband did a quick calculation and announced that we had only 56 days left in South Africa.
I haven’t counted how many days have passed since then.
My travel history, here at the ripe old age of twenty-nine, is not extensive, though the trips I have been on are memorable (up to and including that one time years ago, when my family drove to Johannesburg and I dabbled before climbing in the back of a bakkie with my grandmother), laughable (cooking whole rolls of boerewors on a dirt road in Botswana, with only a tiny pot, a mini gas stove and a fork for tools) and just plain enjoyable (camping around a lamp in a small dorpie in the middle of the Karoo very much like the one that characterises Lantern Waste in Narnia). The one and only safari I have ever taken was spent with my nose buried between the pages of a book — a move I do not regret to this day, since every word of THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET’S NEST makes ploughing through the previous two novels absolutely worth it.