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Saturday, 26 August 2017

Sauntering down Garies main street

During my stay in Hondeklipbaai, I had made lots of new friends and soon found quite a few that I had lots in common with. I found the people to be open, accommodating and very friendly. I also found a large number of them to be learned and well traveled, making the flow of conversation easy and natural. When Elize, from the K9 Pottery Studio needed to go to Garies, she invited me along. Oddly enough, I have often traveled past Garies, but I had never taken the turn-off into the town. I readily agreed and sunrise found the two of us well on our way to Garies. We spent the greater part of the morning at the tourist market, waiting to meet up with someone. This in itself was a wonderful experience. Later, when Elize tended to her personal affairs, my camera and I casually strolled down the main street of Garies, where I was stopped by a number of locals who took the time to greet me, and strike up a little conversation, before carrying on with their daily task. In today's blog, I invite you to take a walk through Garies with me.

A rusty old wreck became a centerpiece in someone's garden in Garies

The sun is still considering coming out of hibernation when we were already on our way

The Toeriste Stal (Tourist Market) where we spent a wonderful morning in exhilarating conversation and tantalizing browsing, over steaming mugs of coffee.

I was very impressed with the murals outside the Toeriste Stal.

Some more murals that impressed me

I found a well stocked corner of books written by local authors, or with a local flavour. These included biographies, reference works, fiction, and a vast number of others.

The market was also well stocked with knickknacks which have a local feel to it, as well as items made by the locals, and the kind of much needed things you were likely to forget at home when you came on the trip.

Some of the locally produced jewellery

Hats are a much needed item in this windy and sun-drenched country

Some fascinating toys for the boys

I love craft items that are both pretty as well as functional

These recipe files caught and held my attention

One can get lost in the array of homemade preserves and jams, not to mention dried fruits, baked goods, etc. Be sure to try out the local Skuinskoek!

This painting with its uncommon theme also fascinated me

One of the locals make these traditional Nama Kappies and they prove to be very popular with tourists

You can also buy items of clothing to celebrate your making it all the way to Garies. Or perhaps you want to take a little of the splendour home with you in the form of a tree or plant?

The one thing that will always stand out in my mind when I think back on my trip to Garies, is the architecture. Almost all of the houses in the main street is still built along the traditional Namaqualand style.

It was evident that the inhabitants of Garies had a well developed sense of humour and could make the most of any discard. You may not see rolling lawns of greenery, but that does not mean the gardens aren't pretty! This owner proudly arranged a collection of items into appealing still life's.

More of the treasure garden above

And even more of the garden above

Another prime example of the architecture referred to earlier

The main street of Garies may not seem like much at first glance, but it is packed with interesting places to visit

Garies is a quiet little town nestled between the hills and mountains surrounding it. I caught it on an overcast day that promised rain but failed to deliver. It did guarantee beautiful photos!

The whole town is permeated with a sense of history, a fact which is underscored by this plaque against the wall of the local library

A typical modern Nama lady who kindly agreed that I could photograph her

I was asked to make a payment to a certain person in Garies, by someone in Hondeklipbaai. When I asked where I would be able to find him, the reply was that anyone would be able to tell me and that I merely needed to ask once I got to town. I did this and was instantly directed, and even escorted, to the man I was looking for.

At De Koper Ketel, I found that the owners had sold the property and was moving on. This did not stop me from quickly snapping a few pictures of the wonderful knitted items made by the wife.

I found the knitted items so adorable that I almost caved and bought some for my nieces back home. I remembered just in time that I was flying and that weight limits apply.

These flowers were too pretty not take snapshots of!

Elize and I met up again at the local supermarket to fill the orders of everyone back home. When she was paying, the man who packed the groceries collected her car keys from her to put the items in the boot for us! He returned the keys safe and sound moments later. This city girl is still recovering from the shock!

This local man insisted that I take his picture! I might actually draw him in time to come as well. What a lovely face, filled with character and humour.

I tried to capture something of the architecture and landscape in this photo.

The hotel was converted into a guest house. I simply had to take close-up photos of some of the decor items. It is absolutely beautiful, as well as being a little quirky.

The porch

The front door

The amazing tiles on the verandah

And then I noticed the back garden...

The braai area

The outside lamps!

On the way home, Elize still managed to find the time to pull over so she could point out some flowers to me along the roadside.

Apparently these are called Sambreeltjies (Umbrellas)

Then Elize noticed this flower, called the Namakwa Kool. She picked the flower jsut below the petals and gave it to me to eat. It is delicious! The taste lies somewhere between cabbage and asparagus. I am told that it is also used in stews, especially when making the traditional Vaalkos.

I arrived home in time to capture the sunset over the bay.

Once I was back home, I remained deeply touched by the severe drought that I encountered in Garies. It prompted me to write the following poem, titled Dry Bed (by Miekie).

Yesterday I went to Garies
where they seem to have no worries
where they seem to have no earthly care
where people are happy everywhere

But then they looked towards the sky
and kept their gazes fixed on high
for they had had no rain this year
and drought has gripped their hearts with fear

When you open the tap and water comes out
remember the source of this wet spout
and that the river that snakes across the land
has to make its way to this arid sand

So turn off the tap and don’t let it flow
it isn’t an endless stream, you know
Consider the people in the Karoo
and think twice about the things that you do

Marietjie Uys (Miekie) is a published author. You can buy my books here:
You can purchase Designs By Miekie 1 here.
Jy kan Kom Ons Teken en Verf Tuinstories hier koop.
Jy kan Kom Ons Kleur Tuinstories In hier koop.
Jy kan Tuinstories hier koop.
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