September 18th, 1990

September 18th, 1990

Flight from JNB – NBO

Hotel InterContinental, Nairobi, Kenya

Landing in Kenya this morning, I couldn’t help but think of the composer, John Barry, who wrote the music to, “Out of Africa,” one of my favourite films.

I imagined Mr. Barry looking down at Nairobi for the first time, mesmerized by the sight of the expanse of land that reaches all the way to the Ngong Hills. I have no idea if inspiration came to him in this way or if he created the music in a basement studio somewhere in London. Regardless, the score captured the landscape perfectly.

Sitting by myself at the front of the crew bus as it bounced its way over the dusty, makeshift roads, I closed my eyes and played snippets of my favourite parts in the film, all the while wishing I had a cassette of the theme music to complete the picture.

I opened my eyes just as we pulled up to the hotel and caught the infectious smile of the doorman.

“Jambo,” he said, in greeting as I stepped off the crew bus.

“Jambo, how are you?”

“Very good miss, very good. Welcome back.”

“Thank you,” I said, feeling myself smile, after what felt like the first time in ages.

In my room, I drew open the heavy curtains and opened the balcony door, then I took a shower and gave myself a pep talk. By the time I got out of the shower, I felt lighter, which, after a long night flight and far too many heavy emotional days (and nights) felt more than welcome.

Instead of gorging on room service (like I did in Jo’Burg) I munched on an apple and started writing a short story, inspired by a quote from Karen Blixen, the Danish writer the film is about.

“The cure for anything is salt water – sweat, tears or the sea.”

Karen Blixen, 1885 – 1962.

I didn’t stop writing ‘til the sun went down.


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