Saturday, January 1, 2011

New Year’s Day on the beach: People-watching on Fish Hoek Bay

protected pool

rocky point, high shark alert area, kelp beds, mountain range: Hottentot's Holland in background

I woke on New Year’s Day to a steady rain. I was hoping the rain would allow a leisurely morning with plenty of good coffee and then clear later so I could walk down to the beach to engage in one of my favorite hobbies: people watching. It did and I did!

And perhaps I should wish more for rain: after the rain cleared, there was no wind and not a white cap on Fish Hoek Bay: it was absolutely the calmest I’ve seen the sea. And even now, when I’m home and settling in for the evening, there is no wind breaking down the doors and I can still see the calm bay—not a white cap in sight!

A friend recently noted that she doesn’t approve of my hobby—people watching--because she doesn’t like to be stared at. In my defense, I people-watch in a loving, affirmative way, not a mean-spirited, cruel way. People-watching brings me great joy. I love to watch people, well, almost anywhere really, but I especially like to watch them at happy places: like parties, or wedding receptions, in malls, in airports, or at the beach! And Bardstown Road in Louisville is an especially good people-watching spot!

I’ve been especially watching for happy families—probably because I so keenly miss mine. And Cape Town has its lion’s share of happy families, I’m pleased to report!

On Christmas Day, while Raquel and I were sitting on the beach, I was watching a huge, HUGE family having a wonderful meal on the beach. There were many grandfathers bouncing babies, many grandmothers fussing with food, and many children running in and out of the surf. I delighted in their interaction: everyone seemed so happy! The next thing I know, a grandmother approaches us, plates in hand ready to dole out some lunch for us. We politely declined, as we had just eaten, but I was moved by her friendly generosity.

There is also a large, family group staying at the Sunbird Center, having a family reunion for New Year’s. They too, have included me as part of their family! They’ve just delivered my share of their New Year’s Day braii: much meat (chicken and sausage), not the usual 5 pounds of pap—but plenty, and a nice serving of veggies. I’m a lucky girl!

Today, I was treated to families, many families having New Year’s Day fun on the beach. And I treat the world “family” very broadly, and even a single person on the beach, like me, qualifies! The older I get, the more I appreciate the beauty of children. I remember being a kid, being mean about so and so being so ugly! Now I can’t find an ugly child anywhere! Each and every child I see seems so perfect! So beautifully perfect and full of joy! I love watching the little ones play in sea. They’re precious.

I too, enjoy seeing the different body shapes. We are really unique and beautiful, no matter our body size or shape—no matter what the media tries to tell us! I love too, how unselfconscious everyone seems. Everyone seems perfectly happy with their bodies and very comfortable, and that makes me happy to see!

But the plum prize, for whenever and wherever I’m people watching, is to find an elderly couple being openly affectionate with one another. I love seeing an elderly couple holding hands or having their arms about one another, and it gladdens my heart to see long-lasting love! I got my plum prize today when I saw a man and a woman, sitting at the point, him with his arm around her! I almost cried!

It was also super-dooper nice to see people of all colors playing on the beach together! South Africa as truly the rainbow nation! At least in Fish Hoek Bay, on New Year’s Day!

Happy New Year everyone!


kelp beds

protected pool with stairway down to


  1. Dearest Karen, I love your posts, but this may be the best one yet!! I love your remarks about "people-watching in a nice way," observing all the ways people are created in the world and the manifold beauty of human manifestation, and how lovely it is to see folks being tender--especially the older ones. I've come to this exact place in my feelings and observations...I had such a good time last time I was outside Slugger Field watching people of all ages come up holding hands or carrying toddlers wearing Bats hats and shirts, and I adore riding the bus drinking in the rich crazy dialogue and even joining in now and then.
    That braii sounds YUMMY!! Happy New Year, Karen!!

  2. Happy New Year, Karen. This wish almost seems redundant in view of your post, but it is sincerely meant. B