Sunday, December 27, 2009

PE and the perfect wave

So I think PE is starting to grow on me, i'm starting to quite enjoy the little holidays we have here. They're quiet, i don't think PE will ever be a party town but it's rather relaxing and restful. Sometimes that's all you really need.

I've been here a week this time .. it's generally the normal length we stay - dad owns a flat right on the beach, close enough that i can throw stones into the water and so it's rather idyllic. I wasn't at all enamoured of the place the first time we came (pre the flat), stayed in the holiday inn; was windy and rainy and the city looked like a dump to be frank. Then dad got a job here, bought the flat and really did a good job on decorating the place.

So PE started growing on me then, for almost a year; but then just as I was about to decide I liked the place, I suffered a freak accident on the beach. Now, my family is nuts about the beach - when we come to the coast that's all we really want to do - is swim. In Durban, in the middle of winter, my family will swim. In December when everyone is staying in Umhlanga we still stay in Durban, because the beach is so much better there.

So last April (2008) we were preparing for lunch, and I seeing the waves rolling in, decided to go for a quick swim before we sat down to eat. Less than 5 minutes later I was on the phone to my folks begging them to come quick! Trying to dive under a wave before it could break, i'd dived half a second late. The wave had broken onto me, squarely onto my outstretched arm, and pop; my bum shoulder had been dislocated once again! When I eventually made it out the water (no thanks to the lifeguards) I was taken to hospital to have my shoulder reset for the umpteenth time.

The week following this incident might have been one of the worst of my entire life. Relationship issues combined with my utter helplessness due to the shoulder made me incredibly depressed, reading Fisk's the Great War for Civilization probably didn't help either. The incident and the week gave me even more respect for my quadriplegic friend (she was in a car accident) and almost put me off PE for good.

I was back in PE last December, driving the Garden Route with the folks, I managed to get back in the water, overcoming my fears, but I couldn't quite sum up the courage to face the beach directly in front of the flat where my accident had happened.

Which brings me full circle back to today and this week. A week of utter tranquility and rest. It had a few moments of tension; natural when 5 people who don't normally live together are together pretty much 24/7. But the week was fantastic, morning's started reasonably late, with a swim around 9 or 10. We'd come back and have brunch with eggs, sausages and fruit. The rest of the day would be spent lazing around swopping between Fifa 10, the beach, scrabble, 30 seconds and thunie (an indian card game). And you know what, I loved it; all year i've been on the move all the time, working flat out and partying even harder so this week was fantastic. Even better I was able, with a little teasing and prompting from my brothers to face my fears and swim Pollock beach.

This finally brings me to today, and the perfect wave. We got a superb sessions in after brunch today, the water had finally warmed up (all week had been slightly chilly) and the waves kept rolling in. My brother took a breather at some point saying riding so many waves was tiring him out, whilst my dad commented on how it was almost too easy to ride these waves.

And then it came, the perfect wave, quite possibly the single best wave I have ever had the pleasure and privilege to ride. It reared up, nice and high with a beautiful little head of foam. I hesitated for a moment at the height and then decided to go for it. I caught it just right, head up, arms and face in front of the wave, feeling the incredible rush as the wave carried me forward. Then this beaut that I was riding overtook a smaller wave infront, instead of halting our progress the smaller wave was also seemingly borne along. Instead of being dumped at the end of the ride, the small wave gently cushioned my descent. A fantastic ride, a great way to end an awesome week in PE

Wednesday, December 23, 2009

Invictus - the unconquerable

So i'm going to say this upfront, I absolutely loved this movie, I have and will continue to recommend it to anyone and everyone I meet - for me was absolutely fantastic.

The one cool thing about writing about this movie, is that I don't have to worry about a Spoiler Alert; we all know the story, we know it has a happy ending .. some of us might even remember most of the twists and turns - and yet without a doubt the best movie i've seen all year.

I remember the 95 world cup, remember sitting with my dad in the house in Newlands, watching the Boks take on Australia, the roar from the stadium could be heard through the open windows. These are some of my earliest memories (it's actually odd - I don't remember much from my childhood, the first thing I remember is being at the rally in Cape Town after Mandela was released) and so for me, watching this brought all those memories flooding back.

The reason then, that I loved this movie so much, is perhaps not its cinematic brilliance, but rather the way it tugged at my heartstrings, made me remember why I'm a fiercely patriotic Saffer. That my country and it's people, went through hell and back and emerged on the other side as a viable nation. It's difficult to explain in a few written words why I scorn those who emigrate, why I truly believe this is one of the best places on earth to live; but try I must.

That we as a nation have moved from this terrorist Mandela, to Tata Madiba - the father of the nation. From an all white Springbok team, to Bryan Habana as the darling of the Loftus faithful. Where Makhaya Ntini's 100th test match is greeted with acclaim by all - this journey of self-discovery shows me why our nation will succeed.

And that for me is the message of this movie, the key takeaway for every South African; that as Mandela famously said "Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond all measure"; that's what I took away a stirring message for us all.

Apart from the relentless positivity the movie inspired in me ( I hope and pray that Bafana take some inspiration from it as well) I was pleasantly surprised to find that Mandela is a fan of Invictus. It's been my favourite poem ever since Timothy Mcveigh (the Oklahoma City bomber), used it as his last statement. It's one of only 2 poems I ever memorised (sonnet 114 - "Shall I compare thee to a summer's day" being the other) and thus the poem being sung was pretty awesome as well.

Apologies for the disjointed thought flows; I blame rustiness and summer vacations. So go out, watch the movie and be inspired. And let me know what you think!

PS: I forgot to mention, that Invictus made me tear up! It's been a while, the last one was Veer-Zara