Last lecture is finished! I just love my students. They clapped at the end. I'm 99% sure that they are required to do so at the end of the lecture series because I think I saw that in an English movie once. However, I think it's an excellent policy and recommend that it be instituted in the US right away.
Yesterday at lunch, I went with Bruce and two other staff members, Jon and Victor, to go see Nicci's work in the Botanical Art Show at Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens. I wish I had taken photographs because the work was incredible! The style was extraorinarily detailed plant portraits, some with parts labeled and dimensions as you would see in an old fashioned botany text book. Some included context but most were just on white background. All featured native Cape flora. Most were watercolor.
Nicci took a bronze this year, but I thought her work was among the best and would have given her a silver or a gold. But what do I know. She has already sold 2 of the 4 pieces. Her "risky" piece which may have lowered her medal was actually one of my favorite pieces in the whole show. Three pieces were of living plants like this one (which I borrowed from the show catalog) but the fourth was some dead and drying aloe leaves as they fell from the plant. They are quite beautiful and dry in bands like Liesgang banding. The colors were incredible and I thought the painting was a lot more interesting than most of the work in the show! But it seems the judges considered it "risky". The show catalog is here for download (2M pdf)
Of course there were lots of Birds of Paradise (Strelitzia reginae) and Proteas, being the trademark flowers of South Africa. The national cricket team is even named for the Protea flower, which seems appropriate for a sporting event with rooibos breaks. OK to be fair I am also taking rooibos breaks these days. Twice a day in fact. Outside the gardens there are street merchants selling these two blooms - both live in water and also wire versions in glittering glass beads.
I just signed up for Skype and called my parents. neither could hear me yelling into my laptop. ok, guess I need a mic. the good news is that I could hear them just fine. My Skype name is christierowe so add me to your list if you use skype.
Also - be warned - if you buy coffee and it COMPLETELY SUCKS and the next day you buy it again at the same place AND AGAIN IT'S TOO CRAPPY TO EVEN DRINK you might be buying chicory. Here, it turns out, if you ask for coffee they can give you CHICORY with out even blinking an eye. Espresso is safe. but then they might think you're RICH because a shot of expresso costs as much as a small sandwich. I'm not rich, ok, but COFFEE IS SOMETIMES MORE IMPORTANT THAN A SANDWICH. ok sorry, had to get that off my chest. Speaking of sandwiches, James Wiltshire (foram picker, glauconite) introduced me to the SOOPER sandwich shop, where I can get a grilled hummus and chukka sandwich. Chukka is like a curried tomato-onion mixture.
Tomorrow is SAILING DAY.
Too much grading to do