Thursday, November 26, 2015

Running in the neighborhood

I went for a morning jog around the neighbourhood.  Houses have tall walls topped with electrified wire, sharp metal spikes or stakes. Many larger homes have a guardhouse where a security guard sits.  Everyone has signs for armed response or Blue Security posted at regular intervals along the wall.  Driveways have 10 foot high, automatic gates.  When cars drive out they wait outside the gate until the gate is fully closed before driving off.

Outside the wall the streets have no sidewalks but are verged by green lawns and plantings with red earth paths walked into them.  Some have rockeries, bromeliads, ferns, wide-leafed grasses.  All the roads are lined with trees - the kind of trees that really make good shade.  The canopy is wide and well-leafed and many trees have someone sitting under them.

You don't see many white South African's walking.  The gardeners wearing blue overalls are raking leaves from the street, the driveways are leaf-free.  At some homes, a security guard sits on a plastic chair by the gate, while other workers load bricks from a pickup or polish the brass numbers on the wall.  Maids walk the dogs and others sit, chatting on the lawn while Common Indian Mynah birds hop and sing "keeky keeky keek churr churr kuk kuk kuk".  Occasional doves call from the dark trees.

The homes are large - with patios and deck chairs overlooking the distant sea.  Some have swimming pools and tennis courts.  All have big leafed plants and lawns of uneven green (weeds are common) studded with red-earth erupting mole-hills.  Jacarandas and Flame trees are common - big seed pods lie in the road along with purple jacaranda flowers (exam season) and red earth.  Outside the larger homes the red earth has been raked clear and you can see the lines of the raking in the sand by the street.

Ants make trails and crickets cheep.

I can see the hedge that will have martengulas later in the year, small avocados have fallen from some trees after recent winds.  Its hot and humid now - blue skies are being replaced by building clouds from inland and the sea flecks white.

This afternoon we say goodbye to Dad (who is flying to Cape Town for a weekend with the boys) and Wren and I will spend the night at Ammazulu in Kloof before flying home tomorrow.

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