Adieu 2010...Welcome 2011

A long, sometimes difficult year is approaching its end, only a few hours left of this 2010 so full of hopes and dreams, but that turned out to be rather different from what I could have expected.

Worse or better? It's hard to say. It has definitely been an intense learning experience that I feel started even before, back in 2009 when I flew home to South Africa after spending the summer in Europe, came to its climax around March and April 2010, and got dramatically ripe in May when I decided to leave Cape Town and set on this Cape to Cairo journey of mine.

I'm now in Kenya, spending New Year's Eve in the peace of Kakamega Forest Reserve: not many people around, simple food, great hikes, and the opportunity for some good one-to-one time with myself, taking stock everything that happened in my life this year. Ups, downs, pain, loss and new light and purpose too.

Kakamega rainforest at sunrise, by Melanie Szirony

The end of year is traditionally a time of reflection, so here are a few thoughts I will mull over tonight and that I'd like to share:
  1. I've just purchased my air ticket from Nairobi to Addis Ababa, my gateway to Ethiopia, the next country along the road...but am a little bit disappointed that I'm not traveling overland, the first time (and hopefully last) on this trip.
  2. Said that, I've also extended my Kenyan visa, so I should have time to travel north to Lake Turkana anyway... just need to find a lift on a truck after Maralal I reckon, no public transport up there.
  3. On a different note, it comes to mind now that last year I was watching the first sunrise of 2010 in Cape Town, on Muizenberg beach sharing a bottle of champagne with Claire...many things have changed since then, but am still here, a whole lot of inspiring extra experiences in the bag, and looking forward to another year worth living to the fullest.
  4. Yes, it's been a roller-coaster ride this 2010: many ups and downs, thrills and chills, but in the end one of the most dramatic, life-changing, and min-opening I've had in a long while. For some time after leaving Cape Town in tatters I thought it was going to be my classic annus horribilis, but I have a feeling that I'm going to remember it as an annus mirabilis instead.

"All energy flows according to the whims of the Great Magnet.
What a fool I was to defy Him.
Never cross the Great Magnet. I understood this now..."
-Hunter S. Thompson

To all my friends and readers, old and new, near and far, I wish you a very happy beginning of a prosperous new year. Stay Tuned, I will see you on the other side.

An African Christmas

Well, it's Christmas today, even if where I am it doesn't really feel like it...30°C as a daily mean temperature, deep into the Kenyan countryside straddling the Equator somewhere around Mt Kenya.

An African Christmas on its way to Italy

The last few days have witnessed another shift in perspective, yet another lesson I've learned from the road and the way I'm going about this journey of mine. Something clicked on Wednesday, December 22, the day after the last full moon, which happened to coincide with winter/summer often does that actually happen? Probably rarer than blue moons I reckon. Oh, and there was a total lunar eclipse too. But I'm not an authority on the subject, so I'll leave at that.

More importantly, I realised that I haven't been enjoying my time in Kenya as much as I could have so far. Since I've arrived on December 9, I've been rushing around between As and Bs, seeking the destination rather than enjoying the traveling in between...beside trying to sort out my visa for Ethiopia as I was talking about in my last blog post.

But on Wednesday, after my umpteenth email to the Ethiopian embassy in Pretoria was bounced, I tossed a coin: flying was the verdict, and I'll go with it. Suddenly the clouds in my head cleared up, and I saw myself jumping around getting ready for the road ahead. Even if that first stretch will be a runway rather than the sand tracks of northern Kenya.

Merry Christmas y'all ... Ethiopia here I come.

In Nairobi...thinking of Cape Town

And so I've just spent yet another month on the road, today it's been seven (7) months since I left Cape Town and started my journey across much of Southern and Eastern Africa: May 12 to December 12.

I'm in Nairobi at the moment, trying to sort out my Ethiopian visa before the Christmas case you don't know my predicament, which I share with oh-so many overland travellers I've met: Ethiopian embassies in Kampala and Nairobi are not issuing visas for onward northbound travel these days, so since I want to stick to the road and avoid flying, I need to
  1. courier my passport to Italy, 
  2. have the visa issued by the Ethiopian embassy there, 
  3. then have the passport sent back to me...
 hectic? yes...but this is also Africa, and very much part of the journey.     

Muizenberg Village Street Fest Today!

On a different note, as the title of this post suggests, I am thinking of Cape Town today.
As we speak the peeps at Communitree are organising the latest of their renown Street Festivals in Muizenberg, the new, up-and-coming, arts centre down the Southern Peninsula.   

The event's menu looks inviting, with scores of live music and painting, interactive activities, exhibitions, theatre and what not, so if you happen to be around town looking for something cool to do on your Sunday, look no further.

And once again, thumbs up to the creative minds of Cape Town.

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