Unusual is the least I can say about my day at the beach.
I drove into Camps Bay chewing on a delicious aubergine and salami pizza. Springtime was barely settling in but the sun was already cooking my forearms and capetonian girls had unveiled their smooth, ever sun-tanned thighs.
I parked right next to the police station and strolled across the sand looking for a nice, quiet spot. I recognized Charlie from a distance; his colourful tattoos had become familiar throughout the road trip we had together. He was filling up sheets of paper with what he said was his "coming-out" story for a gay-interest magazine back in Wisconsin. So we sat there and read our respective novels while African drums roared in the background. Sun was shining, Sea was quiet as a stone and children were playing random games all over. Graceful girls and pumped-up surfers were fooling around in what was ostensibly a "high-end" coastal suburb of the Cape. It was, at first sight, an ordinary day at the beach; until an atypical buzz hauled me out of my World War One narrative.
I looked around and noticed that people were either sitting straight or standing up, some were taking their cameras out hurryingly… Faces were gazing at the ocean with astounded expressions. I couldn't figure out what all the fuss was about until I heard an unequalled breathing noise which sounded like it came straight out of Godzilla's guts. In turn I looked towards the water and saw three or four absolutely gigantic creatures swimming and making low-pitched, breathy noises less than 50 meters away from the sand on which I stood open-mouthed. Camps Bay was minutes away from Town and its tall buildings; in other words nobody expected a whale, much less 4 of them to show up here. People usually did a three-hour drive to Hermanus in order to see whales with binoculars. I could barely believe it but there they were, slowly pulling their magnificent tales in and out of the water as a sinking aeroplane would. One could have swum to them. Chilling out in warm water maybe; or resting after a long journey? Nobody could tell why they did us such honour... They seemed like animated marine volcanoes pumping CO2 out of that famous hole situated on the roof of their massive bodies, and so close to the shore I wondered whether they had come merely to scratch their tummies. Who knows, they might have come only to see the overwhelmed faces of us tiny humans. I stood there in hypnosis, remembering an old quote: To what do I owe the extreme pleasure of this surprising visit??