It was Summer. It was nice, and then came the rain. For two solid weeks it did, and when it stopped, Summer was gone, it was Autumn. We lost a large chunk of our glorious African Summer in fourteen days.
He, my moron traveling companion, said it is like life. You live, you party, you mind your own business and suddenly one day you find yourself in the grey-hair autumn of your life, and you have no idea of how you got there, or what to do about it.
That is one thing I have noticed; my moron is beginning to think like a preacher, a godless preacher his mother would have called him if she somehow managed to live to the ripe old age of 100 years, which she did not (for which I know he will be eternally thankful to the gods. He is, you see, of the conviction that everybody over the age of sixty five should be shot because they are, for the most part, according to him, a disgrace to the human race.)
And, looking at him, I couldn’t agree more. Sound the bugles, I say, and let the hunting season begin. There are more than seven billion of his kind out there. I think Mother Earth will rejoice if we can get rid of half of them.
Anyhow, the rain stopped, the Sun wrestled its way out from behind the clouds and the people abandoned their homes and headed for the parks and the forests and the shopping malls with dogs and children in tow. And so did we. We went to Zoo Lake. It was more than ten years since their last visit to the lake. (That is about 9 BRCE … which translates as “Before the Great Red Cap Era” of course).
The place has been transformed. The old restaurant replaced by a new, well, according to my standards, not grand but passable facility with beautiful gardens and gurgling fountains. Good enough for my moron to be excited about. There were fountains, and sculptures of steel (with me on top) and sculptures cut from wood (with me on top) and more fountains (with me as the main attraction of course). And Autumn, beautiful Autumn in the trees.
Tea and muffins were had. We were sung at by a typical impromptu African group of singers with African drums (no lion skin cladded men or bare breasted women thank God), much clapping of hands and shuffling of feet. The banal sort of thing American tourists to Africa are so fond of. (Exhibit one for your enjoyment sir, madam. You are in primitive, wildest Africa now.)
We went for a stroll around the lake and were sung at again, but this time by an authentic, blind black man with a guitar in his hands and a plastic cup for alms at his feet. He sang “Amazing Grace” in a beautiful gruff voice. I loved it. I loved this honest, graceful old man. I could sit at his feet and listen to him sing all day long.
In the park opposite the lake the Indian community hosted a sporting day for small (Indian) children. They were having fun running races, shouting encouragement en celebrating their proud heritage in this strange land full of strange, angry people.
It was a lovely, quiet day in the sun. I do not think I will want to go there again ever.