Monday, June 6, 2011

Whinnying Weekend

Fall is in the air. For those of you above the equator it is hard to imagine the cool weather, changing leaves, jackets and shawls we are experiencing here on the other side. In fact it is probably hard for those of you not on the African continent that it gets cold enough in Africa to even put on a jacket. It does. And the longer you are here the more clothes you put on when it is a freezing 65◦F. It actually might get colder than this, but I don't have a thermometer nor do I look up the weather on line. There is no need. It is the cold season; it will be cold in the mornings and evenings and warmish during the day. Layer to prepare. In the hot season it is simply HOT. In the rainy season it is rainy and HOT. Wear clothes for the hot weather and bring a rain coat. Since we are in the cold season, layering is the best option for dressing. But I am not meaning to write about the weather, even though this is my favorite time of year. I am meaning to write about adventures, clothes and pumpkins.

I finally did it! I started my next big learning project. Horseback riding! I have mention before this desire but only in passing. It kind of seemed like an arbitrary thing to want to do. But I took the plunge and got on the back of horse on Saturday. Unfortunately I have no photographs of this funtivity so you will just have to take my word for it that it actually happened. Saturday morning I woke up early to replace the tire tube on my bike, clean the bike chain and lube it up for the trek I was about to make. I packed myself a picnic lunch of cheese and crackers. Dug up my salaula (second hand) jeans and cut up long sleeve t-shirt I stole from my brother. I headed to my friends' house on my bike, riding for the first time in 9 months, and met up with my new riding partner. I will spare you the details of all the delays, but we were an hour late starting off for our destination. Somewhere in the midst of the delays my bike went from a smooth ride to completely dead weight, giving me a harder workout in 1 km than what the other 15 km offered. My buddy figured out the problem, I only know how to change a tired on my bike, and we took off up Leopards Hill Road towards Eastern Province. Because we were running late hitching to the country side seemed like the right decision. A canter truck carrying flatware to the American International School picked us up and took us part way. From the American School we carried on biking to where the tar road ends and the dirt road begins. We were looking for the second gate on the left after the tar road ended. All said and done we were only 10 minutes late but arrived very dirty and a little tired.

Picture by Ryan Keating. Thanks for the contribution!
  Patrick met us with a smile and laughing at the thought of us having ridden some 15 km out into the country to go horseback riding. Patrick is himself an avid biker, but not so much anymore because he has horses now. Turns out it only takes him 30 minutes to bike the distance that we had just come (it took us an hour and ten minutes including the dragging tire riding, fixing the dragging tire and the hitch). We got changed into our horse riding gear, I once again donned my bike helmet and we met our horses. Jill was the pregnant mama horse that I would be riding for the day. I can't remember the last time I was on a horse. Maybe high school. Maybe my birthday party in middle school when we went on a trail ride and my brother got knocked off of his horse. The saddles looked different. The horses didn't seem as tall. But I was still a little nervous. Ok maybe a lot nervous. I clambered on to Jill and sat awkwardly in my English style saddle feeling like an idiot sitting precariously on top of a horse in my snazzy bike helmet just waiting for the moment I was going to fall off. With me holding on for dear life on top of Jill, Evans led us to our lesson. Patrick stood in the middle of the kraal while Evans led Jill and I in circles letting us get used to each other. She actually couldn't be bothered. She was more concerned about the other horses passing by, whinnying at them every chance she got. After a while I got more comfortable on her and we moved on from the kraal to a yard that had obstacles. We were not ready for the obstacles. However, we were learning up-down-up-down movements to ride the horse in a standing trot. My god, were my knees and thighs killing me after 15-20mins of this, and yes my butt too. To rest these very unused body parts we went for a leisurely walk through the woods. And then the lesson was over. It went really fast. It wasn't quite an hour. But we were late to begin with and I was tired by the end of the lesson. Buddy and I sat on the steps of the equestrian shop eating our picnic lunches. Buddy's girlfriend packed him a lovely lunch of a toasted sandwich, carrots, tortilla chips and walnuts. My cheese and crackers paled in comparison. It was beautiful out though and so nice to have a rest before heading back. The ride back only took 50 minutes, door-to-door. An afternoon nap was in order to rest up for people coming over for dinner and to meet up with the "British Chicks" for an evening of dancing, and no drinking for me.

On Sunday I was up early to get the house back in order and to do laundry before people were coming over to meet up with the tailor Winnie we have recently commissioned to realize our fashion dreams. Alex, Ruben and I had an impromptu and awkward fashion show for all the guests. (Sorry there are no pictures of us in the outfits, it was really uncomfortable having people stare at us that were not participating. At least I know now that I don't have the stomach, in more than one way, for modeling as my future career). But here are the clothes I had made: 2 skirts, a wrap top, and a long dress.

New additions to my wardrode: two skirts, a dress and sleevless blouse.
 Before everyone came over Ruben and I were busy making pumpkin pie, cinnamon rolls and pumpkin soup (I suppose this could be the other reason I don't have a stomach for modeling!). Geoff and Ruben had both bought pumpkins while up country, traveling for work. I boiled Geoff's pumpkin donation down the other day after making roasted pumpkin for dinner. Ruben's pumpkins were used for making the pies, mine was far too watery and stringy. Mine made a fantastic soup though. It was a day full of pumpkin. Pumpkin pie for lunch. Pumpkin soup for dinner.

My pumpkin pie

Pumpkin Soup
 It was a very successful and productive weekend. Hope the week is as good as the weekend was.

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