post by Andy Zaltzman deserves some credit for getting me going. The Champions League (t20) is underway, and as I write this Deccan Chargers has become the third of three Indian teams in the tournament to lose their opening match. Anyway, this post isn't about the cricket so I won't display my flair for cricketing guru-ism. Unlike Ravi Shastri and his bunch of overused cliches.
It's been a couple of months since I returned from South Africa, having lived in the wilderness, surviving off wild berries and the occasional wildebeest. Well, almost. I did learn many things from the trip. Like how even after an 8 hour flight with a decent amount of turbulence, people still go "ooh" on a bus when it hits a bump. The driver who picked us up was a friendly local white man named But (with the two dots over the 'u'). Over the course of the two and a half hour drive he spoke of many things, some of which was interesting, while repeatedly informing us that he grew up on a multicultural farm and knew nothing about racism, politics, or political racism. Full of good humour, he cracked jollies such as "impalas are the McDonald's for lions around here", all while driving at 160 kmph on an 80 kmph road, and looking back at us to tell us to watch out for animals on the road. Tad garrulous, that man, though I suspect that's the nature of his job. As we entered an area known to have Black mambas, we asked him if they are as dangerous as is supposed. He morbidly explained that if bitten, we wouldn't suffer much as we'd only have "three minutes left to live." I think he was being funny.
The next day we visited the Palace hotel, the biggest in those parts. In its backyard was a little forest, which featured the widest tree trunk in South Africa. Or atleast, according to our guide. So, after drinks at the pool bar (I hadn't finished my juice so I carried it), we made our way into the forest. As I trekked up the tree-filled area, I feared encountering a baboon. And that it would laugh at the sight of me, fruit cocktail in hand.
Several highlights come to mind when I look at my hastily scribbled notes (can you scribble on a cellphone?), such as the world's politest argument between one of our African (Afrikaan?) drivers and an Indian security guy.
ISG: Sir, will you please remove your van? You can't park there.
AD: I park here everytime.
ISG: Well, you can't now. Please remove it.
AD: You can't make me, sir.
ISG: Sir you have to remove it or I'll call your supervisor.
AD: I'll remove it but this is not cool.
ISG: Ok sir. I'm going to report you.
AD: Ok, fine.
ISG: Haaaah! Owned! Gimme some!
(The last line may have been fiction)
I also got to see Cape Point, the Southernmost point of South Africa. The tip of the continent of Africa, too. It was the one point in my life I knew exactly where I was standing if I looked at a map. Grand feeling, that. I even remember looking at the seaweed coming out of the ocean and thinking, "Hah! That's what fish smoke! Hahahaha!" Have I been lamer?
Another fascinating bit of my trip was my initiation to alcohol. Nothing like the dullness of going to a club and downing a few shots; it was at a wine and cheese tasting. I remember sipping several different wines and feeling the same disgust upon tasting each, and I remember the brilliance of the cheese, segmented into 3, 6, 9 and 12-month old quarters. Never have I liked crackers so much. Apparently I didn't have enough alcohol to get even slightly high. Hmmmm...
So those were the standout parts of my trip, apart from the brilliant food I got to eat wherever I went. Seriously, the class of every coffee shop/cafe and restaurant is awesome. On another note, I never did get to see the 'millions' of Indians that Russell Peters promised were in South Africa. Though I did see famously infamous Bollywood actor Shakti Kapoor, who nonchalantly waved at us while shouting at someone on the phone.
Since I've been back, I've been really busy. Had my ankle sprained and repaired, college has begun (to get boring), and I'm now on the cricket team. Was even briefly in the sports section of the local newspaper, which I count as an achievement, despite the fact that my name is misspelled. TV season has started too, which is another post altogether. All in all, I've had better stuff to do than write for an audience that is very small or non-existent.
Right, I'm out of stuff to say.