My trip to Grahamstown was fun; meeting the other panelists was great, and I think I did okay at the discussion. I didn't drop the microphone, and I didn't say anything too dumb. Not sure if I said anything intelligent, but as I was mainly concerned with not shaking visibly, that was really outside the scope of what I expected to do.
Being back in a landscape that's as familiar as your own handwriting is exhilarating! I didn't dare take any photos of the landscape, I don't think I could do it justice. It begs to be drawn or painted - the textures are those of etching or charcoal scribbles, to me at least. You can see a smidge of the sparseness at the end of this road:
Instead of hills and aloes I took photos of some of the houses I've lived in. That was where I lived when I was a toddler, and this is where I lived when I shaved my head and wore steeltoed Docs:
No satellite dish or security gates when I lived there. I remember sitting in my room and seeing a hand come through the door to grab some clothes off the clothes rail. I was too surprised even to chase after the thief.
Very odd to see a gothy-looking person step out of this door just as I was about to take a picture. Some digs are just meant to be that way, right?
This house was an experience. We had rubber slip-slops to stand on for washing the dishes; otherwise, if you put your hands in the water, you'd get a small shock. When it rained, we used umbrellas to get from the living room to the kitchen. And the floor in one corner of my room dipped by about 10 cm if you were silly enough to stand there. But it was so close to the art school that I didn't mind walking home alone at 3am.
My school. I tried to find the Aspect Most Evil, and this view of the hockey field does cause a chill of despair to run down my spine.
Other things of interest to people who also went to university there: Bambi's, Naran's, Avalon's and Wellies are all gone. I can't imagine where the kids buy sweets when they're coming down on a Saturday afternoon now; standing in a cafe giggling tiredly was such a perfect end to a good Friday night. And the Vic is now a steakhouse, not a bad one, but the toilet floors are still sticky. They'll probably be that way forever.
You can only get bottled water if you eat at this steakhouse. Grahamstown bottled water. It tastes just like the stuff that comes out of the taps. For some reason, we thought this was hilarious.