Monday, May 18, 2009

Would you like a glass of Bonheur ?

The Alphen, country house hotel, Cape Town

It is weird to be looking at job offers from the other side of the world. Learning just recently that my bank account was being closed, I decided to write my CV. But what CV for what job? Since I left, I have found some friends. Karelle, whom I had met at university approximately 15 years ago, helped me giving a few phone calls. She also wanted to fill my overdraft. Firstly I was surprised: “Oh! Are you serious?” She said something like: “I have some savings. Sometimes they are meant to help friends who are in need.” And then I thought. “Oh no! You can’t do that. My creditors will throw themselves onto it like starving predators. In a way it is helpful. But it won’t pay the metro tickets I’ll be needing when I’m in Paris or the groceries I’ll buy to cook myself a few meals.” So she sent me cash via Western Union. Money I got instantly. “Drink a glass of that wonderful chardonnay they have!” she said. Across the road, at Manhattan Café in Sea Point, they just serve sauvignon blanc by the glass, I thought I would buy a bottle of chardonnay at Pick’n’Pay. They got me with a very clever marketing name. I bought a wine called “Le Bonheur” – meaning Happiness. I drank a toast to Karelle, and to all the people who have helped me to live through this long journey. To the ones that made it special.

I was sipping a glass of Bonheur in the bath when Paul called me. He was early. Well… I would shave the day after. He and Paloma (his dog) were waiting for me in the car. We were meeting for the first time. On our way to Constantia, a lovely wine area just outside Cape Town where he was taking us for lunch, we talked. I answered the hundred questions he had in mind. He had read somewhere that when you are a survivor you are able to just take a plane and fly to the end of the world. I have to agree. Because that is exactly what I did two months ago. You see… that is how I meet people. They read my blog. Some are intrigued. They want to know more. It seems I wrote about everything I could on my disappearance but in fact I didn’t. And I am not the only one who has a story to tell. Oh, no! (sorry, but I will keep Paul’s story for myself; I don’t know if he’s willing to talk about his disappearance that easily; I write a blog, he doesn’t). Anyway. We were having the most delicious lunch, sitting on the terrace under the hundred-year-old oaks in The Alphen domaine when it started raining. We had drunk a bottle of chardonnay – Paul is also a chardonnay lover. We went inside the Boer ‘n Brit pub and enjoyed another glass of another chardonnay wine, by the log fire. “What do you want to see of South-Africa? Where do you want to go?” Paul asked. I knew that he would find a way to take me there. As a matter of fact, before driving me home, he took me to see the breathtaking view from Signal Hill - on the other side of Table Mountain stands Signal Hill where one can admire the city spreading its roads and buildings along the shores of the Atlantic ocean.

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