In South Africa, you can go anywhere in bare feet. The earth connects with the pads of your feet, the texture of the stone pathways is like a natural massage, and the asphalt that basks in the South African sun warms your soles. Yesterday I decided to walk only in bare feet, and it was nice. You can’t do this back home. I walked on roads and sidewalks, rode on the shuttle bus, and walked through the library, barefoot. It’s a nice feeling, some kind of freedom about not wearing shoes. As a child I liked walking barefoot in the grass the most (though I didn’t like scrubbing off the grass stains in the bathtub afterward). There’s hardly any grass here, but the sensation is equally pleasant.
Perhaps this feeling of freedom is what those topless ladies on the beach were feeling. About a month ago several students and I went to the beach for the day. With no restrooms in sight, we were puzzled as to how we were going to change into our swimsuits. Perhaps we could go behind those huge rocks and change while the other girl students kept a look out for intruders. Or maybe we could hold towels up as a curtain while each of us took turns changing right there on the beach. And then, we saw a topless lady. And then, another. And still another. Then we laughed at how silly we must look to the others as we stand there on the beach trying to decide how best to maintain our modesty.
There were about 1,000 steps leading from the road down to the beach, and I don’t think 1,000 is an unreasonable exaggeration. We ended up changing on the steps, which were mostly hidden by trees and other foliage. We changed quickly and hoped that no strangers came while we were in the process. No one saw us, but they most definitely would have been more puzzled as to why three of us were changing on the steps than as to why there were topless ladies on the beach.
7 years ago