Yeah, Rocking the Daisies was pretty crazy. So was Walking the Daisies. But the week prior was also crazy in its own small way, and it sure doesn’t seem to be getting any easier from here on out.
Without going into too much detail, it should be relatively obvious that I spend my days spread out amongst a huge number of things. That’s part of the reason I don’t go into too much detail: explaining what I’m doing without the context of why is challenging. But last week I did something I generally never do which is to say that I pretty much worked on one thing and one thing only (not entirely true: Wednesday I spent about 2 hours going over plans for deliverables for the next week with our crop of interns). It was good, in a way, to be able to say no to anyone who wanted anything because I needed to focus on one thing. It was also incredibly difficult and mentally draining to do hardcore cerebral work multiple hours a day (Tuesday was a 10-hour day) with very little break or interruption. By Pecha Kucha Tuesday evening I very nearly fell asleep.
For better or worse, it was also a rest week. Probably for the better because the way my mind was tired there was no way on earth I would have been able to train effectively and I was already suffering from some mental and physical burnout, as doubly evidenced by waking up with a cold Friday morning. But I’m getting ahead of myself.
Rocking the Daisies is a big music festival held in the middle of bloody nowhere north of Cape Town. It was actually a giant dustball. But you can’t very well call your concert Dustball, or Rocking the Dust, so Rocking the Daisies was picked even though there wasn’t a single daisy that I saw at the festival. Luckily I saw plenty on the way there, as you can see from the pictures.
Figured better a photo essay than an actual essay. Suffice to say that 100 of us plus a hardy band of organisers met bright and early on a Thursday morning, packed our bags into a transport vehicle, and proceeded to hoof it 20km the first day along the beach to a camp site, and 30km the next day walking from the beach inland to the festival. This was done, now for the fourth year running, to raise awareness about lowering our carbon footprint. It would be interesting to have an environmental assessment done on the actual event, and I was talking with one of the people who helped organise about how it would actually be much more hardcore if you had to pack EVERYTHING you would need rather than arrive at a camp site where tents were already pitched, dinner was going to be cooked for you, etc.
Having said all that, it was quite an experience. You can watch a video of our craziness here, set, of course, because Cape Town is just that small, to a Jeremy Loops classic. This video even contains a shot of me about to drink something very much not paleo. Fun time, great experience, but I don’t think I’d do it again: my feet took a pounding and I was so tired on Friday night that I listened to Two Minute Puzzle and went to bed. Also, walking is way harder than running. I would so much rather have run 30km from the beach inland than walked. But I met some very interesting people and didn’t get any blisters or major injuries. OR sunburn, for that matter. I was bummed to wake up Friday morning with a sore throat, though, but then again this frequently happens when I get very stressed out and then relax: the body takes its turn to get ill. I’m actually still sick, believe it or not. I blame the dust.
At the actual event, everyone camped. I stayed in a multi-person tent with some of the other walkers, and their friends who had the ingenious idea of hanging a sign to indicate where we were. Legend. It was actually a great spot: about 5 minutes walk from water and maybe 3 minutes walk from the Daisy Den which was a tent put up by Brutal Fruit that allowed in women only and had clean toilets, soap, running water, and, most importantly, hot showers. I cannot tell you what a fan of Brutal Fruit I was Friday night.
Saturday morning I discovered that I am not so much of a princess that I’m willing to wait in a line of 50 people for a shower, so I just went to the dam where everyone was sunbathing and swimming, and did the same. Worked for me. It was hot: I think maybe 36 C which is, apparently, about 100 F. Yeah that explains why I was so damn hot. I was literally getting in the water every 20 minutes or so. I finally had the bright idea that if I got in the water with my clothes on, they would stay wet for longer than my skin and thereby keep me cool. Yeah, I’m not from a hot climate obviously.
The music for me started when Jeremy played at 2pm. That was cool. Of course.
There are two Jeremy moments I am sure I will never forget: when I first met him (because it was funny), and when I first heard him play (because it was amazing). Maybe this one will be up there too, when I first realised the dude was properly famous.
Afterwards, I saw a whole bunch of cool shit. aKING (rock) was fantastic, Nomadic Orchestra (difficult to define) played amazingly, I experienced some authentic kwaito from Joburg, Killer Robot (?? Geez not even sure … electronic but not sure how to categorize) was something to behold, Lark was hauntingly beautiful with matching music videos.
But the standout event of the evening was this Israeli band called Boom Pam. Oh my goodness. I listen to a lot of music. But THIS may have been the best musical performance I have ever heard in my entire life. And I was so significantly overstimulated at that point and my feet hurt and I was sick that I remember thinking how much more awesome it would have been if it had been the only thing on that evening. Seriously, guys, if they are ever in your town or anywhere near, check them out. Oh, and the drummer was pretty seriously hot. I remember also joking to Keith that the problem with most musicians is that they are often overweight and even the ones who aren’t seriously are lacking in muscle tone (yes, CrossFit has spoiled me for life). Well, not the lead of this band.
Anyway I was feeling so beat at this point that I did not want to spend another night in a tent and wake up to extreme heat and crowds of people. So I grabbed my stuff and carpooled home with Keith. My bed never looked so appealing. I slept most of Sunday. Which is less impressive when you realise I went to bed at 3:26am.
The Springboks lost their quarterfinal match to Australia in the rugby World Cup which was a major bummer. My day got better though because I went to a dinner party down in Constantia, on an Octoberfest theme. The food was great, there were three different kinds of mustard and two different kinds of Riesling, and the company was also fab.
Those of you not in South Africa may not know any of this but there was a whole hubbub about how the South African government “didn’t manage” to get the Dalai Lama a visa in time for him to visit here (geez you should have heard the official media statements I tell you what ….). The Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu are apparently old friends, so since politics prohibited the two from meeting in person they met online for Tutu’s80th birthday via Google+ Hangout. Quite cool.
I think it may also have been my first al fresco dining experience in recent memory. It’s nice that you can now eat outside and can leave the gym at 8pm without having to put on additional layers. But it does feel very strange for it to be spring in October, I tell you what. I was waxing lyrical about the New England fall and spring to a girl I met on the walk. So if my current career doesn’t work out I may try again as a poet. Because goodness knows that pays well.
Speaking of pay (well, not really), I was having a discussion about happiness. A lot of people seem to strive towards something and think they will be happy if only they achieve X, or date Y, or drive car Z, or make some amount of money. Or win the CrossFit Games. Or whatever. But obviously those goal posts often shift. I find the whole “it’s not having what you want it’s wanting what you’ve got” a bit trite to be honest because sometimes what you have might really suck and it’s not actually ok to be complacent about that. And then there’s the whole school of thought about whether or not we “deserve” to be “happy.” Which I think is also garbage.
So to me, happiness is about being on a path you are comfortable with and feeling that things are moving in a positive direction rather than a negative one. Because nature abhors a vaccum of course, so things are unlikely ever to be completely stagnant although it might sometimes feel that way. To positive progress, then. I guess most aspects of my life are moving in a positive direction although of course others are stuck a bit in the mud. But that’s all right too I guess. Acceptance.
Super busy at work this week because I essentially took a week off from my normal job to work on the document I had to write and then the two days actual vacation to walk. Lots of new people, new projects, and new energy in the office. It feels really really good. The CrossFit world is also heating up with some intense team strategy sessions and practice workouts in advance of the competition at the end of the month. Because our team is super competitive, which is cool. Monday night, despite the cold, I did the baseline for our current challenge. I was feeling not too particularly hot about my performance physically although, to be fair, the mind was 100% focused which was very very good. Then I compared my scores to some of the top boys in the gym and started feeling a bit better about myself. Until Andrew Martin came along and cleaned all of our clocks. I’m getting more and more excited for next year’s CrossFit Games all the time.
Oh! And lest I forget, Kerry and I discovered that there is a good Mexican restaurant in Cape Town. Menu’s a bit limited but for what they have, it’s the real deal. Completely not paleo but good for a treat every once in a blue moon. Now all I need is to find some good Sichuan cooking and I’ll be all set. Because are there any problems that can’t be solved by Jin Gu fish fillets?
· “I don’t know if you know how much we appreciate you. But we do.” – Mandy
· “The thing with emerging markets is that it’s impossible to get away from practice.” – Joh
· “If you won’t eat your own dogfood, how do you expect anyone else to?” – Ellie
· “It’s very worrying when *you* start a message that way, I must say.” – Keith
· “How am I supposed to write this document without alcohol? It’s not going to be possible.” – Ellie
· “Parasites just find environments that they can suck off of and then they go on their way.” – Peter
· “When you ask someone to bring a salad to your place for a braai, some people will go out of their way to make a really good salad. And some people will just go to Woolworths and buy something for 32 bucks that is floppy.” – Peter
· “We didn’t want to break the internet.” – visiting Googler
· “I don’t have a car because you can’t copy & paste it.” – George
· “More stupid than strange.” – Khululwa
· “What I want doesn’t exist.” – Ellie (acceptance….)
· “No you haven’t won yet but there’s also no pressure on you guys. … Because you need to win.” – Jobst (wins the award for non-sensical comment of the week)