Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

Head full of cold, my cough not the best remedy for painful ribs.

I used Sariana’s photo of a field of daisies for my painting, Garden Pixie. I noticed a shadow in the one part of the picture that reminded me of a pixie. All the meds?

Solar powered traffic lights are being placed at the major intersections around Juba Town. Many of them are flashing yellow, while the few that are working are generally ignored by drivers, who are watched by the passive police standing at the side of the road. Their focus still on revenue generating truck drivers and the occasional minibus taxi.

Whilst news of a breakthrough in the peace talks are being reported and the fourth Governors Forum is underway, the first battles of the upcoming dry season are taking place for control of the oil fields.

The radio quiet, as was the PoC, after a tense night anticipating increased violence. Beaut sunrise with happy birds the only sound this early. Juba Town holding its breath???

I’m sure my email has developed its own form of virus. Every time I answer and email, it generates another multitude!

A tad surprised to receive a Liebster Award nomination from D Bandalan http://mydecadelongtravels.wordpress.com/ for my muttering and mumblings.

The Liebster Award has German origins. The word “liebster” has several definitions: dearest, sweetest, kindest, nicest, beloved, lovely, kind, pleasant…It aims to discover new bloggers and welcome them to the blogosphere. Bloggers award other bloggers.

IMG_1021.PNG

Advertisements
Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

My ribs still a tad painful from where my elbow went into them on my fall, so no jogging Also too lazy! I do have Japanese magic pads to ease the discomfort. My running magazine has suggested a core-muscle workout as an alternative to shaking the ground.

Sunday Papers, my painting of a man sitting in a sack of sorghum reading a news paper. There’s something timeless about reading a news paper, and it’s probably disappearing from our futures. The bag of sorghum is from the supplies handed out to the displaced people in the PoC sites, and that it’s in the market highlights how badly handouts distort local markets.

Weary after fighting with my painting. Not sure if it’s because I didn’t have a clear idea of where the painting was heading, or tried to do to many things with it. Perhaps it’s simply an indication of too little sleep with my painful ribs, or the coming to the end of my time in South Sudan, and my mind distracted by the unknown next steps??

Wine time.

A temper tantrum type storm. Night sky full of lightning. Wind, gathering its strength. Thundering, bellowing.

Craziness outside the PoC that has reviewing our security plans and contingencies in case things get out of control. Volatile it certainly is, despite the progress being made in Arusha.

VIP conveys turning the drive to the airport into a lottery. The checkin, a seething mass of people and luggage piled in any vacant spot to keep it dry with a storm breaking over Juba Town.

Messing About with Paint

Sunday Papers

Oil on Canvas 40cmx50cm

Weary after fighting with my painting. Not sure if it’s because I didn’t have a clear idea of where the painting was heading, or tried to do to many things with it. Perhaps it’s simply an indication of too little sleep with my painful ribs, or the coming to the end of my time in South Sudan, and my mind distracted by the unknown next steps??

A man sitting in a sack of sorghum reading a news paper. There’s something timeless about reading a news paper, and it’s probably disappearing from our futures. The bag of sorghum is from the supplies handed out to the displaced people in the PoC sites, and that it’s in the market highlights how badly handouts distort local markets.

Wine time.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

On the way back to UN House, we passed a couple of big white Land Cruisers decorated with purple and silver ribbons, carrying a bride. A surprise around every corner.

Renewed fighting up North which isn’t unexpected and soldiers back around the Presidents house. Fortunately we can take other routes to bypass where they are.

We celebrated Eddie’s Mum, daughter and brothers birthday with shortbread made by Mum. Special times amidst the craziness.

Butterflies are constantly around and with the bright summer flowers still splendid, I decided to bring them together in a painting, ‘Butterfly Windows’. The panels of butterfly wings reminded me of stained glass windows. I kept the flowers loose, a backdrop to the butterflies.

Eddie did his chilli-con-carne taking pity on my inability to digest the fiery chilly he prefers. Still strong enough to clean out my sinuses and I was grateful for the relief provided by the guacamole. The harsh Chilean red wine didn’t seem out of place.

After dinner Eddie did a bunch of card tricks that had us bamboozled. Impressive and certainly Magic School should be included in mandatory training before being posted to these crazy countries.

The siren screaming from the UN ambulance as it raced across Juba 3. A tad bizarre with no traffic, or anyone even out walking, to warn.

Long days, waking at silly hours, doing budgets, proposals, audits, smiling and trying to find money for the unexpected. Like walls falling down in the flood waters that surge through our compound caused by blocked drains. Or rather drains built so they end in a dead-end and fill with discarded trash.

Music blaring from the PoC, which somehow seems to merge with the still, heavy air.

A glass of wine watching the storm. Lightning across the mountain and thunder rumbling. A fun sort of storm. The rain gentle and even the thunder seems playful after a few loud crashes of bravado.

A tumble while out for my jog, my foot catching one of the deeper ruts after the rains. Bumps, bruises and scratches. Amazingly, little blood.

As artists, lucky we are, to be able to enjoy the inspiration of small moments.

Messing About with Paint

Butterfly Windows

Oil on Canvas 40cmx50cm

Butterflies constantly fly around the place and with the bright summer flowers still splendid, I decided to bring them together in a painting.

The panels of butterfly wings reminded me of stained glass windows.

I kept the flowers loose, a backdrop to the butterflies.

Diary of an Adventure

Juba Adventures

After a fiery sunset, a beautiful evening in Juba Town with a huge moon and a tower of clouds flickering with lightning. Magical.

Lots of noise from the PoC, with generators thumping the still air.

On arrival in Juba, I went through the Ebola screening area, with the stamps in my passport checked and my temperature taken. Did wonder how the heat of Juba Town would affect it! The stop for screening has served to make the immigration process much less frenetic.

The house at Juba 3 after a crazy ride through from the airport. Military vehicles hurtling down the middle of the road, soldiers somehow staying in the back, bristling with weapons. Along one section of the road, power lines poles have fallen into the street with their cable forming a fence through which people scramble. Fortunately there is minimum chance of the cables being live. Towards National Intelligence they have put up street lights in the poles. Ambitious!

The alarm was strident, my legs complained bitterly and my short jogging route impossibly far on my post holiday jog. They have cut back a lot of the summer bush growth next to the road so it doesn’t quite feel like you are jogging through jungle.

Fighting down South near one of our project sites. As its an isolated community related fight there is little risk of it escalating, however, as a precaution Force Protection have deployed to check on my staff.

I was asleep long before me body reached my bed and woke a bit after five. Far too lazy to head out for my jog and rather sat watching the sunrise with a Nespresso.

Driving through Juba Town, one of my new staff remarked that the South Sudanese drive like they walk.

Notification that my post in South Sudan will be merged with the one in Nairobi. No surprise and my last day in Juba now defined. No idea what lies ahead.

Diary of an Adventure

Vineyard Adventures

Birds out chasing the day to wake up. New Francolin chicks adding their high pitch whistles to the bickering.

Fields of white flowers in vlei areas around the vineyards celebrate. In the cottage garden, perfumed by the Brunfelsia, the purple sage is blooming above the blue riot. Joining the lavender, with Shasta daisies and agapanthus spears starting to make an appearance.

All sorts of insects are also enjoying the arrival of summer, seemingly enjoying feasting off me. Must be all the wine they are after?? Dealing with a bunch of bumps and itchy bits.

Rust en Vrede for dinner at their superb restaurant in the old wine cellar. There is something mysterious about walking along the pathway to the restaurant. Even with construction of the new tasting room going on, it feels as though you are being transported into a different world. Perhaps the personal welcome, before the double glass doors are opened and you are escorted to your table???

The one wall of the cellar is painted brick red, a perfect backdrop to the large white tables, set with Reidel glassware that dances in anticipation. The service throughout was superb. The food complex, with subtle flavours woven through it that have you concentrating to remember what was included in the menu description.

While there is a wealth of expertise available to assist on wine selection (there is a pairing option), it’s worth going ahead to page through the wine list, of biblical proportions, so you have some idea of what is possible. The 06 Radfordale Chardonnay perfect with the scallops, and held its own (I had their very good Shiraz) with the blesbok fillet with roast chestnuts, shin sausage, shiitake mushrooms, celeriac and apple matchsticks. Scrumptious isn’t even a place to start.

My highlight being the pre-desert dish, of strawberry soup, with fennel meringue, a vanilla ice cream with a pineapple flower. It looked stunning and although only a single mouthful was perfectly balanced. Not there was anything wrong with the sweetcorn soufflé with caramel popcorn and baby sweetcorn chunks I had for desert.

I would have been so much happier if they had changed my glass between each course, which they do if you have different wines. By the end of the evening my glass looked abused. Revived only when I had a new glass for the last drop of Chardonnay Terry shared.

Kirsten’s saying “tomorrow better watch out as it needs to be envious of being better than today’

Brenda’s observation that the branches over the clivia’s at Babylonstoren looked like a basket, was the inspiration for my painting, ‘Clivia Basket’. The large canvas (150cmx120cm), is exhausting and creates its own brand of mess as I try and get to the extremes. Tough not to get drawn into detail, and concentrating on tone, form and energy. Creating calm within the brilliance of the flowers, a pathway of energy.

Shopping centre bustling with end-of-month shoppers. Family groups trying to stay in touch as they each move in the direction of their favourite shop. A women stopping to pickup a dropped child’s dummy and then darting through the centre looking for the baby who dropped it. The mothers relief like a starburst of gratitude for a simple consideration.

Art at the Heap, an exhibition of beautiful fabric art and interesting painting and prints. The Rhino poaching installation particularly good. Buitenverwachting with Brian and Janet for an after exhibition bottle of bubbles and excellent lunch.

Stitches out, and the wound healed to the point that I don’t even qualify for a Disney plaster.