Sunday, April 10, 2011

The Landscape

Yesterday afternoon, we went to the local shopping centre to buy a few groceries (this endeavour will be the subject of a future complaint ... ) and I took my camera with me specifically for you.  I wanted to show a little of the environment so that you wouldn't think I was making it all up.

This is the outside of our compound.  I am not allowed to photograph the security entrance, complete with chicanes, iron gates, vehicle blockers, security cameras and guards.  In spite of this high presence of supervision, we have had problems with theft and burglary.

Note the veritable forest ...

I am not going to belabour the point. 

We try to time our journeys to avoid the traffic.  Partly because Marius does not like traffic, and partly because it is dangerous.  We have one of the highest road fatality rates in the world.  I took this picture through the front windscreen, on the way to the shops. It is not typical because there is no traffic and not much rubbish.  Note the brightly coloured houses (there is a law regulating colour choice to various shades of beige) and the beautiful front lawns.

I don't know how they got away with the red gate - it is probably undercoat.  The trees are hidden away behind walls, covered in dust.   The coloured shrub past the gate is bougainvillea, which is a hardy vine that seems to survive the heat.

When we moved in to our house the yard consisted of rough grass and a couple of spindly bush/tree things.  In order to compensate for the moon-like landscape outside, we dreamt of a hortus inclusus within.  Now I understand the Biblical focus of paradise as an enclosed garden.   We constructed a fountain (this is what happens with two engineers) to create a bubbling backdrop of sound, which is drowned out by the groan of air-conditioners, sadly; and planted bougainvilleas, jasmine, oleanders, hibiscus, ornamental grasses, papyrus and our arbus incognitus the 'tryffid tree'.

It is not quite Gardener's World, but it is a haven away from the rubble.  In the early morning, I sit at the table and write, drink tea and commune with the cats.   In another month or less, it will be too hot and too humid to sit outside at all.



susan t. landry said...

isabel, your garden is beautiful, a refuge. i'd love to sit there, sip tea with you, watch the cats...
the previous photographs are so ominous, though. i have to admit, i had the same feeling, looking at them, as i had on my one visit here in the USA, to the state of florida. i flew down to pay respects to a friend whose husband had died, after they had retired to florida. the area where she lived was among a series of gated communities, each walled off from the 'real' world, and each walled off from the other. i couldn't wait to leave.

Isabel Doyle said...

the kettle is always on ...

I find the barren landscape appalling, alien, harsh. If I have been at home for a few days, in the garden and in the compound and writing, when I go outside the gates I am always shocked at what I see. I can never quite believe it. The security stuff is a hassle and mostly a joke, but I suppose a comfort to some.

It is unlike anywhere I have ever been.

Willow said...

Oh my, not a place this fellow exile would care to be exiled. My exile isn't threatening, isn't barren in this sense of truly barren. I do live in Florida, where soon the humidity and air conditioners will drive me indoors too. We do have strict rules as to the colors of our homes. Many of our communities are walled in, as you say, Susan. We do have sand, but with grass growing on top. We do have crime. We do have security in government offices and airports. I love your effort at a garden sanctuary with tea. I look forward to more installments of life in exile.

Friko said...

O dear me, not my idea of a green and pleasant land. I'd rather have my exile than yours. Are the natives friendly, at least?

Actually, I see grass in your picture. Why grass, for heaven's sake?

Tim Jones said...

Well, I thinks that knocks my theory that you are part of a secret colonising mission to Lemuria, Mu and/or Atlantis out of the water - I should have known, all along, that it was Passaic, NJ.

rallentanda said...

Looks like Hurstville...except better:)
At least bananas are cheap where you are.
$16 per kilo here (SYDNEY) at the moment.