Did I ever leave?

I see I have taken a hiatus on writing about my travels – this always happens to me, the doing is more fun for me than the recapping. I am not a very interesting traveller. Most of the people we met in Central America were in their early 20s and were partying up a storm. The BFG and I were like the travelling pensioners, and I admit many nights I chilled in the hostel reading while everyone else was drinking, taking drugs and being young.

Now who wants to read the pensioner diaries?

We have been back in Cape Town just over a month now, and in some ways it is like I never left, which is very disorienting actually. Except that now I feel like a tourist again and everything is new and beautiful and I want to take pictures all the time. I hope that phase of wonder lasts.

I still have to translate everything into pounds to work out if things are expensive or not. Everything seems so expensive here now. Let’s not even mention the price of internet. Yeekes. But I am glad to see that potatoes are insanely cheap in this country, so if I never manage to find a job I can survive on potato with my savings for quite a while!

I realised yesterday that almost my entire adult life has been spent in two environments – universities (for study and work) and climbing gyms. We went to the Cape Town climbing gym last night, which I went to 9 years ago just before I left South Africa.

I swear they were playing the exact same music as they were 9 years ago. I’m talking RHCP Californication, Three Doors Down and Saron Gas before they became Seether. This did not help in my “Did I ever leave?” disorientation. Did anything change while I was gone? What do the younger climbers make of this time warp?

We also saw friends from years ago, and then the changes did hit me. People are looking old now, grey hair and wrinkles and flaccid skin and kids, everywhere. The music stays the same, but the people are a changing.

I have been in so many climbing gyms and so many universities,not to mention the university climbing gyms, that I get these images of people in my head, and I’m like ok, was he a climber? Which country, which gym? Or was he in one of my lectures and not a climbing gym at all??

I think my brain has fused the last 14 years of my life into one huge university climbing gym. Everyone is in there, I just have no idea where exactly anyone fits in any more.

If I know you but you were not at my universities and you did not climb, my apologies but in my head you are wearing a climbing harness and are covered in chalk. It’s the only way things can make any sense.

It’s the senility you see, of this pensioner traveller.


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