Day 22: More pics

At the Hobbit Boutique hotel

Day 22 here and while I’ve been thinking a lot about possible posts, the reality of camp life here is such that it’s actually very difficult to blog. One of my colleagues is watching Spartacus about two metres away and so you may get a whiff of blood and sand in this post instead of anything else that I want to say.

The pic above is the hotel where L and I stayed two weekends ago. It was a lovely (albeit short) weekend. The hotel is named in honour of one of Bloemfontein’s most well-known sons, JRR Tolkien. Well, not named after him exactly but you know what I mean. We stayed in Legolas the elf’s room and the decorators managed to make the room feel old and light at the same time. A hobbit or an elf would have felt right at home (and I’ll leave you to decide which of L and I would be the hobbit and which the elf).

Even the mess looks pretty good in the right light. You’ll have to imagine gristly meat and the occasional rat pack with some stodgy porridge thrown in for good measure.

Some old crocs near the base

Dad, mom and three of the seven chicks

I don’t think the ostriches would have taken too kindly to Grad’s suggestion to scramble their young ones for an omelette! This was as close as I could get.

I’ll leave it there for this week. Thanks for reading and think of me on Wednesday when I fly out to Sudan on the first flight. Hopefully I’ll be able to check in from that side and I won’t have my ears assaulted with so many violent movies, hours of gospel music on a Sunday (eh, eh, Jesu, hallelujah) and all the other boarding school horrors of sharing a tent with eight other men. I think I did well to survive this far without any violence whatsoever. I’ve managed to pick up a chronic sore throat in the process (don’t even mention antibiotics – I don’t think modern medicine has reached these parts yet) but maybe that’s all part of the process, right?

And sorry I haven’t been round to read the usual blogs (and any unusual ones too). I’ll make it up when I get back.


6 Responses to Day 22: More pics

  1. Grad says:

    The ostrich babies are adorable – I’m happy they were never turned into a quiche! And I loved your story about the Hobbit Hotel (both here and in your letter). Stay safe!

  2. Harriet says:

    Have a safe trip Pete! I’m thinking about you often. I met a guy from South Africa on the running trail and he is trying to get me to go out with him. Is that assertiveness a cultural thing, or is it just him?

  3. litlove says:

    You’ve done fantastically well. I cannot imagine the horrors of the proximity to other men (who are not friends), the food, the boredom, the strangeness of it all. I will be thinking of you on Wednesday and at least part of my thought will be – so that’s one ordeal down, and one more to go. Time is passing.

  4. You are in my thoughts regularly Pete! Keep taking care of yourself and just think, you are already closer to L., your little one and modern medicine than you were when you started.

  5. doctordi says:

    Today is Wednesday… thinking of you flying to the Sudan. Stay safe, Pete. I love the endearing quaintness of the Hobbit Hotel, it looks lovely. And yes, you are doing incredibly well in such trying circumstances! Keep snapping those photos, they’re great!

  6. Pete says:

    Grad – Am glad you liked it. Our flight has been delayed and so we sit for another day. Thanks for the good wishes.

    Harriet – That’s so funny re the South African asking you out on a date. I think South Africans are generally quite assertive (sometimes too much in my opinion) so perhaps that is cultural. A compliment to you certainly but I hope he’s not being annoying. As a nation we’re not really known for our sensitivity.

    Litlove – Thanks so much for the support and encouragement! I think my CBT has helped here (convincing myself that I’m resilient for example) but a lot of getting by here is just about being able to contain difficult things. Am glad to see that psychology helps but of course I can’t help berating myself for allowing this situation to happen in the first place.

    Courtney – Thanks! Am looking forward to comparing stories in a few months’ time. Eight to ten weeks (to the date when I’ll possibly be back) doesn’t seem so far now.

    DoctorDi – Thanks! But of course there’s been a delay so we’re only flying tomorrow (probably). Photos have definitely been a good coping strategy here. And mindfulness meditation. This is an exercise in living in the moment!

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