21:11, Nov. 6, 2012
Sodwana Bay, Kwazulu-Natal, South Africa
Today’s approximate proximities of the local wildlife to me:
2 swarms of African killer bees. (2 smoke fires later, we drove them away.)
2 Hippopatamuses charged us. (only bypassing us by 2 car lengths.)
1 scorpion. (1 foot from my foot, 1 step away from my chapel bush cottage.)
1 beautiful brown owl. (perched 1 meter away from the 4×4.)
20 centimeter millipede. (20 centimeters from my bed.)
As is my usual style to go on about pretty and extraordinary things, I feel it would be more fun tonight to write about spooky things.
I’m staying in a remarkable little cottage on the edge of the property here at the permaculture homestead I’m volunteering at. It’s a stand-alone, medium-sized room, built in the form of a little chapel, comprised exclusively of recycled plastic bottle ‘bricks’, and covered in a smooth concrete finish, painted all-white on the inside.
Next to me is an similarly sized, but differently-shaped dwelling, the ‘Green Haus’. Here, a Zulu couple is taking refuge from their own homestead, where ‘little men’ have overrun and deemed it unfit for their living. It’s round, inspired by the traditional Zulu mud and thatch-roofed huts, but made instead of quick and inexpensive green metal. Its inhabitants, Sibongile and Mfanseni are having some domestic issues: yesterday she chased him with a garden hoe clear across the neighborhood, to another homestead, or so he told my host, Ronell. We got a clarification later in the afternoon, directly ‘from the horses mouth’ so-to-speak, as she confessed to a neighbor she was trying to kill him.
I haven’t seen either of them since shortly after the incident, although eerily-enough, for the last two nights, the door of the Green Haus has been left ajar, lights-on, all night. It’s only 5 meters away, but I haven’t been bold enough to go pop my head in to see if everything’s alright. (Honestly, I don’t think I could handle it if it wasn’t.) Ronell found in both cases that nobody was home.
I’ve had mixed feelings about this room since I first stepped-foot inside. It looked a bit, shall we say: abandoned. Bedding and rugs heaped in piles, a lot of dirt and sand collected, a line of five red candles in holders alongside the bed (ritual?) News of Sibongile’s dwindling mental health had reached me long before I entered the space she occupied most recently and during the last episode, which spanned the month prior to my arrival. It _all resonated. I promptly dashed-open the curtains and windows, collected the linens to wash, swept the space tidy, and moved-in. It’s cozy and quite charming.
Except that the door handle is broken (falls off) and the lock can’t be engaged from the outside. So I can lock myself-in, but not out. And being so close to the edge of the land, [to the little men in my head] it doesn’t feel 100% safe. And I hear noises outside. Could be dogs? Tonight it sounded as if dirt was being thrown at my big bay window. Or could be bugs buzzing into the glass. (Very likely.) Swarms of bugs.
We really did have to fend off swarms of African killer bees yesterday, and today. But that’s another story.
Just after I locked myself in tonight, a buzzing at the door startled me. From beneath it a beetle buzzed and entered, (unsolicited, mind you.) The next moment, a giant millipede just trotted under behind him. And one more, something we can all relate to: inch-and-three-quarter roach (just big enough to be too-big) scurried from somewhere near my bed to the other side of the room, and I didn’t even get up from my typing to chase her. I suppose these _are the other native inhabitants. (Shiiit, I didn’t kill the scorpion I found outside my door this morning either.)
Really, I’m just the new guy here, and I’m getting used to all this new stuff. For every thing I’ve mentioned that one might find questionable, I’ve got three more I could wax lyrical about. But this was the spooky blog.
Speaking of spooky, I heard a big phantom swallowed-up Halloween this year?