What are you doing down there? Eastern Cape, South Africa.

2 Jan

December 13 – 18

My body is too old for this. I have to laugh because I keep thinking, “Man, I was in good shape when I was 12, 13, 14 and 15….” My inner thighs are looking at a lifetime of bruising.

Dad asked, what am I doing down here? Well, down here is only a few kilometers from the Indian Ocean. It is stunning. I’m sitting atop mountains. Mountains that are millions and millions of years old that have been carved into hills. All you do is gone green rolling hills. Indescribable.

I’m glad I’m here, even though the place needs to be pressure washed and disinfected. The first few days were abnormal. We had a hurricane like storm pass through here for 2 days — gale force winds and tremendous rain. It was cooooold and there’s no heat in the volunteer house. This meant, no showers for me.

Dad wanted to know what I’ve been doing? So, here’s a recap.

Day 1: Arrived. Greeted by the rich fumes of dog, horse, mold and manure. Welcome to a horse farm!

Day 2: Drove to East London – 45 mins from Kei Mouth – with the volunteers to Christmas shop. Saw a movie. Bought name brand toothpaste, Pantene shampoo and vitamins.  No shower b/c too cold.

Bed at 9:34 pm.

Day 3: Horse rolled on leg. Hurricane, gale force winds. Rain. Cold. No shower, too cold.

Bed at 8:12 pm.

Day 4: Rain gone. Sun out. SPF and bug lotion on.

Groomed 30 horses, checked for ticks, fed the horses, cleaned saddles.. Speaking of ticks, was in the tack room with Julie-Ann and Roz. Felt something crawling up my leg. Julie-Ann told me to pull down my pants. Right there. I did.

Damn, there was a crispy-critter, little black Tick crawling up my leg in route to the privates. I almost hyperventilated and fainted on sight. Not about the bug but about where the little thing was going.

Now, I feel like I have ticks all over me. Crawling in my hair. In my underwear. Down my back. I’m constantly heading to the bathroom, tearing off my clothes and applying more Pleasure Spray. That is what I call the flea, tick and mites spray. Pleasure Spray… It provides me much pleasure.

This afternoon, we galloped along the Indian Ocean (beach). Amazing! So much fun. I rode a Thoroughbred. He hauled ass. I just grabbed the mane and let him go. Loved it!

After riding, we headed to a local watering hole, called the Bush Pig. Very interesting characters. We played pool. And, some married men bought us shots. I dry heaved and threw it up on the floor for it had Jagger. I was wearing and smelling of horses, so being lady like never crossed my mind. Just a FYI, can’t do jagger. After beer and pool playing, we came back to the farm and unloaded the car. Trying carrying saddles and shit after drinking five or six beers…

Bed at 8:34 pm.

Day 5:  Today was charity ride.

Try 20 horses/people on a ride along the Indian ocean, across ravines, over hill tops, and around cliffs. We are raising $$ for a charity that works with the local tribe people to teach them how to take care of their horses.

The local people use barb wire as bits. And, punish horses by hammering their ears to the wall. The charity needs money to buy more saddles, bits and other materials for the local people.

The volunteers – Roz, Amanda, Alex and Tiny Tito (other Amanda) – were responsible for grooming, tacking all 20 horses. So, we’re up early and at the beach padlock even earlier.

First job was to catch the horses in the field. We’re talking about acres and acres and acres. Before catching them, we need to find them. Tiny Tito (other Amanda) and I set out to herd the horses.

We found them. Then, had to scream “yeeehawww!” to get them to move to the padlock. Try encouraging 20 horses to move in the direction you want. After a lot of “yeehaawws!” and a lot of cussing, we got them to the paddock.

I road another Thoroughbred who likes to run. Today I wore gloves because reigning in a horse of this caliber means extra, puffy blister on these porcelain hands. Can’t have that. Plus, I need extra help in the gripping game.

So, how’s my leg? About to give out. It’s my knee that kills. From the horse rolling, some random muscle from my ankle to my knee was whacked. So, I just turned my Advil into Tick Tacks for the day. No pain for me.

Many highlights of the day. One in particular, was hustling 20 horses onto a ferry boat/barge to motor across the mini-inter-coastal water way. Yep, we’re talking 20 animals weighing in at 600 kilos a piece and 20 large men & woman weighing in a little less. The ferry looked like it would sink. The ferry operator looked like he was going to shit. The horses looked the same. They were jammed like sardines. Some of us, Roz in particular, were waiting for one of the horses to kick, bite or shake. Inevitable, it would displease another horse, and mayhem would ensue. Guess what? Not one horse acted improper. A few took major dumps, but everyone, even us humans, were cordial. This called for major drinks!

Another highlight was prego girl and broken back girl. Prego girl has had complications and, yet believed it was wise to ride a horse for six to seven hours. Broken back girl recently fell off a horse, had back surgery, been in physical therapy and yet, felt it was wise to ride six to seven hours. I guess there are always two winners in a group of 20. After lunch, we placed their butts in the back of a pick-up truck. And, their two horses rode solo. I had forgotten horses are pack animals and hate being alone. So, these two horses just ran, walked and pooped along side of the herd. Cool to watch..

We ate lunch at a place called Seagulls, where Hillary Swank stayed when filming Amelia Earhart. Yep, they filmed part of the movie in Kei Mouth, South Africa. The place truly looks like Northern California in some parts. Pristine. Natural. Bankrupt. And, dangerous. The motel and restaurant has gone to pot since then…Just in case you’re thinking of booking a room there.

After the ride. And, after the Advil wore off, my body screamed “no more.” I screamed back, “too bad.” And, decided it was time to take a shower, check for ticks and shave my legs with my Gillette razor.

Bed at 9:01 pm.

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