The morning sun shines through the palm leaf. The palm tree next to the pool stands proud like a natural sculpture, representing tropical getaways.
Makiwa, in his beautiful red tropical shirt, offers me a cappuccino, or should I call it a flat white. Coffee has come leaps and bounds. Coffee used to be black with a pinch of sugar or salt and a drop of milk. Our coffee culture has become fancy with hipster terms describing every variation.
My breakfast arrives, a colorful plate of eggs benedict with a splash of tabasco, lemon juice, and black pepper. The winter of the north feels distant, the morning warm breeze blows over the ocean, into the house. Against the wall hangs four photographs, Barracuda and Dorado prints. The fish was caught a few miles off the North Coast, photographed and cooked honored into mortality. The thrill of having a big fighting fish on the line. Fresh fish on the braai in the firepit. The North Star Hotel caterers for all of it.
I decide to go for a walk before my 1 pm meeting. The beach is empty apart from a few scattered fishermen hoping the sardine run will lure a big catch. I stop to talk to one of the locals, apart from small shad, there has been no big fish brought in through the waves. I walk on looking towards the iconic Umhlanga lighthouse, covered in scaffolding. With the pandemic, it is the ideal time to renovate and repaint. The sand is warm, but the ocean water warmer. I step onto the rocks. Many small mussels lie exposed in the low tide. I see many ocean creatures living between the rock pools, overfishing, and climate change are affecting this coastline. Mornings on the beach are meditative, taking the time to appreciate the walk towards the Umhlanga Whalebone pier. At night the pier is lit up with blue reflecting blue shimmer onto the water surface.
At the North Star Hotel, I sit down on the corner of the veranda for a business meeting. It is private and quiet. We discuss contracts and terms. The music is soft, and the ocean rumbles in the distance. It’s a positive day to sign a new contract. COVID has changed life for all of us, but work and life have to go on, and it has to happen fast. I feel relaxed working through intricate details. There are few things more annoying than conducting a business meeting with noise and constant interruptions. The Hotel is respectful and respects the requested privacy of meetings. With an ocean view in front of me and a colorful rock shandy in my hand, I feel excited to take on the workload ahead.
The sun fades behind the Hotel. I get ready to go for a ride on an e-bike.
It is immense amounts of fun requiring less work than a traditional bicycle. I guess you can call it a bit of cheating. The mist and humidity roll in as I cycle through the beachfront roads greeting runners and cyclists out and about enjoying the sunset hour. Coastal life is bliss. There is something to be said for designing your life around morning training, beach walks, productive workdays, and kicking back at sunset time listening to the ocean soothing the day away.