Weekly Head Voices #140: Koperkapel.

Hello there friends, welcome back!

Matters have started heating up around here with the final preparations for a pretty intense project that is expected to launch in about a week’s time. I would prefer saying more about it after the launch, because reasons.

I’m mentioning it here as explanation for the paucity of this post, and just in case a near-future post manages to be slightly late or even absent.

All will become clear in due time!

Sandal Running Progress Report #1

During the past week, I sneaked in three more runs(shorter-than-usual, because don’t want to spoil it) in the new Luna sandals, after their maiden voyage last Sunday. Today’s run, which included the panoramic view at the top of this post, was up and down the mountain in hot and sunny Paarl.

My calves and feet are still getting used to the additional work, but they seem to be recovering more quickly after each run.

My running form has necessarily improved quite a bit. If you don’t run correctly in sandals, your feet and your legs let you know immediately.

(When you do run correctly, the pleasure is considerable.)

At this point, I was hot and quite tired, but the view was great!

Scary snake #2

On Saturday, we had a pretty serious but fortunately bite-free encounter with a Cape Cobra.

This photo by By Bjoertvedt (Own work, CC BY-SA 3.0), click for original.

Four of our kids (GOU #2 and #3, and one of their cousins) were playing inside the house, front door open.

We were outside, enjoying the balmy late afternoon weather.

GOU#1, who was also outside, calmly informed us that a snake was making its way in through the front door.

As I was still internally remarking the fact that it was a significant specimen of snake, probably about 1 metre, my partner fortunately sprang into action and shut the front door with the snake halfway through, temporarily trapping it.

I say temporarily, because that thing is powerful and it was probably in panic, and was managing to worm itself inside, to where the youngest of the kids stood still, transfixed by the snake-like motions of its head.

After a run-around searching for suitable implements, finally assisted by cousin #2, I had a spade and was able to remove the snake from the vicinity of the humans.

Lessons learnt:

  1. A sufficiently large snake induces a visceral fear reaction. The way they move and propel themselves over the earth seems to play a large part in that.
  2. The Cape Cobra, or Naja nivea, is “one of the most dangerous species of cobra in all of Africa, by virtue of its potent venom and frequent occurrence around houses”.  (frequent occurrence around houses: CHECK!) Fatalities result due to the snake’s venom paralysing the respiratory system.
  3. In South Africa, hospitals will treat these bites with a locally developed polyvalent antivenom that is effective against puff adder, gaboon adder, rinkhals, green mamba, Jameson’s mamba, black mamba, cape cobra, forest cobra, snouted cobra and Mozambique spitting cobra. Pretty hardcore.

See you later alligator

Have fun kids! I’ll see you as soon as I can.

Weekly Head Voices #139: Luna.

Well hello there friends!

We have just returned from a ridiculously enjoyable holiday in The Drakensberg, or uKhahlamba in isiZulu.

More specifically, we started in Giant’s Castle, the place of no internet mentioned in the previous edition of the WHV, and also the subject of that post’s main image, but we spent the largest part of the week at Cathedral Peak.

Due to it having been holiday and all, the rest of this post will follow the trusty old bullet list form.

  • The mountainous surroundings are stunningly beautiful.
  • At Giant’s Peak we did the short hike to the main caves to see rock art by the San people. According to the guide the paintings we saw range in age between 100 and 3000 years. Here are two examples:
  • We did more hikes in the mountains. GOU#3, who just turned 2, was a trooper, relatively speaking. We will never again mention all of the kilometres that we had to carry her.
  • I squeezed in a number of trail runs. It’s a badly kept secret that I have absolutely no sense of direction. This, together with the routes finding themselves at 1400m altitude, made for challenging but awe-inspiring trips.
  • On the way back home, we stopped in Durban for the most amazing curries at The Oyster Box. Me = blown away.
  • At the airport, that thing I said would never happen to me, happened to me. At the security check, we discovered that I had forgotten my trusty Leatherman Wave multi-tool in my backpack, and my trusty Gerber Dime mini multi-tool in my trouser pocket. In a massively pleasant surprise turn of events, I was able to go back out through security, where the amazingly helpful British Airways check-in attendant calmly packaged up the offending tools in a spare box, labeled it, and sent it through with the checked baggage, and to return to my people all in the space of about 15 minutes.
  • We hit a thunderstorm, initially undetected by the weather radar, on our way back to Cape Town for some of the scariest turbulence I’ve ever experienced.
    • At one point, the plane dove so hard that the Kindle lying on my lap (I’m halfway through Mastery by George Leonard, thanks Leif for the recommendation!) flew up into the air, made a slow-motion arc and came crashing down on the floor.
    • It was at this point that a large number of passengers involuntarily panic-shouted, adding to the atmosphere.
    • I myself could not show any external signs of fear, primarily because I needed to comfort GOU#1, who sat next to me, and is now old enough to appreciate the potential risks of the situation we found ourselves in, but also because I had to fit in my behaviour with the narrative that YOU SIMPLY HAVE TO TRUST THE ENGINEERS.
  • During our time away, these puppies had finally made their way through customs ($115 in total for Luna Mono 2.0 sandals + tabi socks, $66 SA import duties ouch):

Yes friends, they are Huarache-style running sandals, in which you go running.

My friend Stéfan sent me a message on Signal shortly after WHV #134, but before I had even started reading Born to Run.

Besides sporting best-in-class encryption, his message was suavely convincing:

Charl, let me bring you a pair of the magical sandals that I run in.

I was not able to purge the thought of running free like that.

When I finally realised that it was only a question of time, I decided not to wait any longer than necessary, and ordered them directly.

This morning I started with a short run, just to see what it was like, and to start acclimatising.

It was exactly like I had been dreaming for the past two nights.

Time will have to tell, but at this very moment, I’m not sure if I’ll want to run in normal running shoes again.