While We’re on the Subject of…… Penguins

Jill’s comment yesterday about the penguins at Boulders Beach in South Africa sent me back to flicking through my albums of my round the world trip in 1997.

My first port of call was Cape Town at the beginning of July, which everyone told me was a very odd time to visit South Africa; but it was off season, I didn’t need to plan too much in advance and could roll up to places unannounced and get a bed for the night.  To my eye, the weather was lovely, even though locals told me it was cold.

Before I went, I had no idea about the penguins, so close to the town.  But I went, I watched them and then I stayed at a bed and breakfast right beside the beach, which embraced the pure penguinness of the place.

While I was travelling, in my pre-digital camera days, I would have the rolls of completed film developed whenever I reached a place I would stay for a couple of days or enough time for them to be precessed.  After I’d weeded out any real duffers, I posted the prints back to my parents in the UK both for safe keeping, and so they could see where I was and what I was doing (this was also before I knew how to send email, or even if it were possible).  I kept the negatives just in case.  So when I got back to the UK after 5 months away I spent several enjoyable days reviewing the photos and remembering the adventures I’d had.

So now I’m thinking that maybe 15 years on I might occasionally post a reminder to myself where I was each week, and reflect on  the miles travelled and the people met.

Interested?  If you know the places now, you could tell me how they’ve changed in the intervening years.

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  1. <>
    I was thinking myself, just about an hour ago, of how some things change for the better, because the world moves on and people learn new ways of doing things, and how some things change for the worse, because of stupidity or rotten luck or a million other reasons. I’m not sure one always wants to go back and see the changes. But then, of course, ‘for the better’ and ‘for the worse’ are subjective.
    Your penguins are still there, as far as I know, but there is a fee to go down to the beach now. I think I’ll drive down this weekend and remind myself of the place – and there is always the cosy pub at the Brass Bell in Kalk Bay to provide me with victuals on the way there and back.

    • Sometimes change happens so slowly that we don’t notice how much there’s been, too. My memory of things is a powerful source of inspiration for me, so I suppose I often think back to earlier times, and wonder how much the story I tell myself about it now departs from what actually happened. There’ll always be a gap between the two; and creatively I like the idea that it doesn’t matter, that I can improve the stories in the telling…..

      I’m disappointed to know that there’s now a toll to see the penguins – unless the money’s used to look after them, I suppose. I liked the seeming randomness of their presence on the beach when I saw them.


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