Tag Archives: Morning

Field Notes | Walking to Strand Campus

Time: (morning rush)

8:30am – 9:30am (typical London workday is 9-5 or 10-6);shops generally open between 10 and 11am; larger chain restaurants open between 7 and 9am, smaller cafes and restaurants may not open until 10 or later)

People and Activities: (varied by area)

St Katherine’s Docks – sparsely populated, mostly men and women on their way to the Tower Hill Tube Station (business professionals) wearing suits or business-appropriate attire, assumed middle class, many taking personal calls on mobile phones, most walking alone, occasional solo runners, little interaction with others, restaurant staff setting up chairs & table settings for the day, short queue at the pop-up coffee vendor’s stall

Tower of London – largely tourists standing at rails to photograph the tower and each other; some professionals entering/leaving Tower Hill subway to access tube/train stations; generally benign, but occasionally brusque, interactions between the two as tourists stroll or stop and professionals attempt to hurry; tourists are primarily individuals, couples, or small family groups (no large, guided tours, no students); conversation primarily around the poppies for the WWI display in the Tower moat

Financial District – almost entirely business professionals streaming out of the tube station and toward their offices on the streets opposite; 2 charity canvassers attempt (rather unsuccessfully) to stop and chat with passers-by (myself included, though I too ignore them). Two men stand amidst the crowd handing out newspapers and another distributes fliers, presumably for a special taking place at the restaurant in which he works (he’s wearing a white apron); mostly white, middle class, English-speakers (those who speak at all) traveling alone or in pairs as they seem to have met up with a colleague along the way

St. Paul’s Cathedral – at this time in the morning, St. Paul’s is still rather quiet; business professionals walk by. Similar situation to St. Katherine’s Docks re:professionals and occasional runners; a few more family groups of tourists but again no large groups as it is still early

Fleet Street/Temple – greater number of young people around (whom I assume to be students) and more casually dressed business professionals; shops are beginning to open up, and tourists stand in small huddles on street corners consulting maps

General – Driving traffic is moderate, we are a bit past the morning rush by the time I enter the city; mainly cabs, buses, and personal vehicles but occasional construction trucks pass by; about two dozen cyclists pass along the way (from experience, this number would have been much greater earlier in the morning) and these seem to be young professionals, and predominantly white men (equal parts wearing jeans or cycling gear and suits; all carrying bags)


Morning Hike: the Game Park edition

Kruger National Park has so much to offer a tourist. Not only will visitors enjoy a ‘real safari’ (whatever that is), but they have half a dozen options for how best to make that happen. Whether as part of a guided tour or independently, driving through the park is quite the experience and rare game sightings are frequent and likely, if not entirely guaranteed. But there is a wholly different way to approach Kruger as well – walking through the park with two trained guides.


We left at five in the morning, bleary-eyed and under-caffeinated, but stoked on our next adventure. Having already spotted an impressive three of ‘The Big Five’ the night before, this morning walk was dedicated to the lion and the critically endangered black rhinoceros. Truth be told, we were prepared to be happy for any rhinoceros. Technicalities be damned.

We began our day, therefore, with a lion devouring a hippo mid-river:


A rather disgruntled hyena:P1020858

A charging elephant:P1020863

And yes, rhinos. White ones:IMG_6442

Our guides dropped their knowledge on us regarding the local flora and fauna; touted their rifles like Rambos; cracked jokes in four languages; and made sure we each got to see the buffalos and kudu ranging through the brush.


One wants to be buried in beautiful Kruger Park.
Talk about commitment.

Morning at Sani Lodge


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Senqu River

Every morning I hike along the Senqu River. I refuse to get over it.

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My morning hike.

Red Dirt

I am startled from my reading by the persistent scratch, scratch, scratch of the reed brush along the concrete. My neighbor is bent over, her toddler at her heels, brushing the walkway in front of our houses. The morning light drifts through the trees to make dappled patterns on her blue print skirt; beads of sweat gather on her neck from the effort.

The ground is littered with goat droppings and food remnants. It is coated by a fine, pale blanket of dirt, ever the red dirt. The red dirt that finds its way into the uppermost shelves in my closet, that clings to the walls of every building, that burrows deep into my flesh. I smell like Africa. I am the red dirt.

And still she sweeps, as though the walkway must be cleared to begin her day. The scratch, scratch, scratch continues.

When I return home from work this evening, my red dirt shoes will cover her hard work. My red dirt clothes will shake as I walk, and my red dirt hand will open the door. The scratch, scratch, scratch will start again tomorrow, but the red dirt can never leave. The red dirt is home.