First, let me assure you I am fine. But, I tell you, the “vibes” in this place are terrifying. And I am in the nice part of town. Maybe that is the problem, but don’t worry, I am not about to find out!
So they had a mower going and I really didn’t want a migraine, as I am in the midst of having to actually *think* in Marble Springs. So I packed up and went for a walk around the block. The blocks here are HUGE–maybe 20 “estates” on one block. There is no one around. Then there is a guy with a pit bull. Each house is an armed enclave of barbed wire, brick walls, etc. (Denver’s zoning code preventing fences from over 4 feet tall would NEVER EVER work here. 14 feet, maybe. But not 4.)
I remember hitching a ride with the yakuza in a small town in Japan–with a couple of blonde gaijin. I was scared then–especially since it wasn’t until AFTER we got the ride that I noticed the guy’s pinkie finger was missing.
I remember getting attacked and dumped in a rural road in Thailand when I took the wrong type of taxi and landed up hurt.
I remember waking up in jail in Thailand (after getting slipped a mickey and then being charged for drugs).
I remember being attacked when I taught in a tiny town in Japan that no other gaijin had ever gone to. (And I was the one facing charges… because rape is not a crime there). And I went back the next week.
I remember the big burly West and East German cops grabbing me by the arms when I was taking pictures (that one ended well–they gave my camera to a passerby who then took our picture, handed me back the camera, and we all went on our merry ways).
Gotta tell you, I was never as scared then as I was today. Part of it is that everything is scary when you can not walk far. But most of it was… the barbed wire. The alarm systems. The knee-cap scoopers. The conversation I’d had with the B&B owner–their “Make My Day” laws are a bit weirder than ours–and you just basically have to make sure the “intruder” is dead before you call the cops. Yes, South Africa is a gun-toting nation.
But I kept going. Then I saw this incredible maroon-magenta bougainvilla that actually made it all the way to the telephone pole. So I went over to take a picture. The people there were outside, in the midst of taking down an enormous fica tree (yes, ficas grow over 60 feeet tall here–and I have been SO very proud of the fica in my office that reached 2 feet tall). So they invited me in, I admired their garden, and chatted with them. Very nice. Very friendly.
This is a very strange place.