Old and new friends January 2021

Having lived in Port Elizabeth for more than 20 years, it’s easier and closer to find shops than in Johannesburg so, when the kids had gone back to Jamaica, we decided to stick around in P.E. a little while longer for some Trokkie adjustments and other stuff.

Planning to be here for another week or two was a good time for catching up with old friends and making some new ones.

One of our oldest friends, Johan and Blanche, invited us to park Trokkie on their front lawn, offered in-house shower, sleep and laundry services (our first sleepover in a proper house in 4 months!) and spent time catching up on life over a good old fashioned braai and breakfast the next morning. It’s difficult to imagine for ‘normal’ people that we drive everywhere with Trokkie. And realising that it’s a bit more cumbersome and heavy on diesel than a normal bakkie or SUV, Johan offered his vehicle for us to use for a few more errands we needed to run that afternoon. Thanks Johan!

We caught up with Mel and Zodwa and enjoyed en evening of (blind) wine tasting combined with some traditional African food. As we’ve discovered on other wine tastings before: a real blind tasting usually ends up with surprising results regarding the discerning of grape, quality and price. The amazing thing: in many cases the cheapie wine came out tops and the most expensive bottle (maybe around R300) didn’t make anybody go “wow”!

Hailing from Zimbabwe, Zodwa made some traditional African food. One more thing to take off the bucket list: we’ve now eaten Mopane worms and Kapenta (tiny fish). We parked and slept in front of their house and Zodwa put the neighbours minds at easy via whatsapp: this was our house and this is where we sleep.

As said, we try to ‘free-camp’ a lot and during our time in Port Elizabeth we alternated between parking lots at beaches and shopping centers. On one of our sleep overs on a shopping center’s parking lot we got a knock on the door and got worried when we saw uniformed police. We expected the worst. We sighed a huge sigh of relief when we realised that the one captain was an avid camper herself and when she saw our truck, she just couldn’t resist inviting herself in! She vowed that one day she would want to do the same!

Jaco and Talitha were also curious to have a look inside Trokkie when they saw us on the parking lot and, after a look inside “our home” and understanding the free camping concept, extended an invitation, there and then, to come camp on their farm at Elandsrivier. And we thought: why not! Better than a parking lot and we can do some laundry and fill up water tanks. So two days later we set off towards Elandsrivier and ended up on a secluded spot right next to their dam, with amazing views over the Groendal Wilderness area. We spent a glorious two days spring cleaning Trokkie, filling up with water, sharing meals with the family and driving around the farm (in their car that they also kindly offered for our use) to see the Lucerne fields, the goats playing hide and seek in the bush and to take a dip in the icy cold waterhole. Stefaan did – not me!

I’m fascinated with small things in nature that are difficult to photograph because they’re always moving so I was pretty chuffed that I could take some pics of the dragonflies and spiders at the waterhole and was amazed by the unreal colours and patterns of the green milkweed locust. My daughter and grand daughter would love it: it’s their favourite colour: lime green! It seems to be toxic so photo’s- yes, trying to touch or having it jump on me- not so much. Looking at this creature however (and the spiders too for that matter) makes you wonder where sci-fi movie makers get their inspiration from!

One is never too old to learn so when we were waxing lyrically about the abundance of cute white butterflies flitting around in the bush, Jaco educated us quickly: it’s more a moth species than a butterfly and their larvae destroy the Lucerne. What’s cute for us was a problem for him! After our two days of R&R we said our farewells with the promise to look them up next time when we’re back in Port Elizabeth.

We also caught up with foster child Arlette and neighbours Alex, Carol and son Ben and enjoyed a braai with way too much food. In the following few days we stuck around at Arlette’s to sort out a few things for the building works and work on Trokkie and were spoiled with voluminous home cooked meals. We also threw some more ideas around for her business – Arlette Redgard Designs. If you’re ever in need for cute little (or big) gifts, she’s very creative.

Eventually we had to leave for Johannesburg for doctor’s appointments and (more) truck stuff.

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