Tuesday, December 11, 2007

In a perfect world penguins don't stink

“I don’t really like it there, it stinks,” says my friend Tim as I tell him about my day at Boulders Beach.

He’s just jealous, since Boulders is simply idyllic. The small beaches connected by shallow rock pools are what the Cape penguins call home. The penguins potter around, doing their thing, not really bothered with anyone on the beach or in the water.

Today was really hot though, and I arrived with a small group of friends over lunchtime. Even we sat in the shade under the trees – the penguins chose the coolness of the large rocks on this beach.

It’s only a R25 ($0.8) entry fee to use this small beach but that’s already enough to keep beggars and touts away so that both the penguins and the sun-seekers can have some peace and quiet.

Once again I am overwhelmed by the beauty of my home country. At times like these it is almost impossible to imagine that people get murdered, raped and robbed here all the time. It can happen in a beautiful place and on a beautiful day. Criminals do not discriminate.

The thought reminds me of when I was sitting on Jimbaran beach in Bali one year after the bombing there. I was drinking fresh coconut juice and watching a pink sunset over the sea. On the plastic table cloth in front of me was a seafood feast and underneath the table my feet was tucked into the sea sand. I tried to imagine the bombing that happened there and I couldn’t. It was much too peaceful and beautiful.

I guess nothing can be perfect. If my country was not riddled with crime and racism, it would be paradise. So Boulders beach would be if the penguins didn’t stink.

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