Travel – A day out in Bloem and the long ride home

2014-11-10 23:00

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We asked our readers to tell us about their trips across SA. This week, we feature two finalists of the Sho’t Left travel writing competition. Elizabeth Kgothatsi Pupunyane tells us about a visit to Bloemfontein Zoo with her beau

They say absence makes the heart grow fonder, but what they also should have mentioned is that it makes one go on surprise visits. So there I was – nails, hair and mind made up to hit the Bloemfontein Zoo.

Bloemfontein is 90 minutes away from Welkom, so getting there was a creamy piece of cake. I arrived in the City of Roses bright and early in the morning. I made my way through high buildings, flashing robots, whistling perverts and dedicated hawkers.

My partner was delighted to hear I was in town, even though his morning “start at the gym” routine was cut short. A typical Monday morning would soon become extraordinary.

We only see each other every few months, and I still get butterflies when I see him. As soon as we met up, we headed straight to the zoo, which is right next to Loch Logan Waterfront Mall.

It was a lazy hot day for the animals, but my excitement was enough for all of them. There were many monkeys, heavy hippos, hissing snakes and vicious vultures – we saw everything. During our last hour, we had an amazing picnic under a tree close to singing birds and humming bees.

Being in the well-built arms of a loved one left me worry-free and wishing I had more hours to spend with him.

A dry brick

If going to Bloemfontein was a creamy piece of cake, then returning home was a dry brick. None of the SUVs, bakkies or even bikes were headed to Welkom. The only way home was by minibus, which would take hours as the driver waited to fill up with passengers.

I was stressed – I needed to be home before sunset. With all the romance

that filled half my day, I could not end it with trouble. The vehicle needed 13 passengers in order to take off – I was the ninth. Every minute felt like one complete day.

I eventually took my watch off because every glimpse at it made my palms sweat.

It was 5pm and my mind told me to relax. What was the point of such a lovely day if I was focusing only on the cons? Lu and I were able to forget about the rest of the world and slide into our own little bubble.

He told me how he was so pleased I surprised him like that. We had an awesome day together and sealed it by sharing a soft kiss through the window. By the time I opened my eyes, the minibus was full.

“If I do get into trouble, I will remember this moment and it will be worth it,” I whispered to him before I left. He watched the vehicle drive off until it disappeared.

I arrived home safely, even though it was already dark. To my surprise, my parents still had not returned from work, so I was safe. I ran myself a hot bath, let the music play, and went over the new memories in my head.

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