Picture the middle of nowhere. Then move away from it, slightly. Turn around and face sideways. Look behind you. Blink. Look again. You’re there. It’s Prince Albert, Karoo. South Africa.
A lonely main street lined with a few miserable shops and some restaurants. Tall trees recently chopped down to the size of tall cacti. An unforgettably dry golf course frying under an unforgiving sun.
You look for an internet cafe and are directed to this strange multipurpose store that serves bad coffee and supposedly good pies, sells souvenirs, is staffed by an exiled Peruvian and hosts the only public internet-equipped computer station in town, perched on the upper level of a large room where the warmest air is guaranteed to collect.
But then you find the Dennehof Guest House, hidden on a dirt road on the periphery of this odd oasis. You check in. Mimosas. Cypress trees. Prickly pears. It could be Provence. Your room is charming, occupying an small free-standing house that might have been a mill. It looks old and rustic. The outside walls are bleached. Inside, everything is warmly decorated and welcoming. You sit on the terrace and have a drink. You think, this is great. We have arrived. Two nights and two days of doing nothing, in the best company. You could get used to it.
Of course, doing nothing is not in your character. So the next day you decide to go on a 120 km dirt-road trip. And at 5:00 am you catch yourself swearing at a rooster. Still, what peace and quiet.