Sunday, 24 April 2011

Sheba's Breast

So we went on the hike on Saturday as mentioned in the last blog post. My knees were stiff that morning and I was cursing her boob for much of the ascent. There were a few Gollum scrambles, a Total Wipeout log crossing, and a couple of cartoon style slip-ups. Most notable of which was on the way down, rate by Lizzie as 10/10 for comedy factor and salvage. Chris, who works at Legends Backpackers, said his record was 37 minutes to the top. Not that he would recommend it. It took us 2hrs to the top, magnificent views that made me forgive Sheba somewhat, and then 1hr to come down. Well, technically Lizzie and I didn't get to the post at the very top, but sat a couple of meters below on the second highest boulder, as there was an actual chasm leap across to the other side. Alice 'Mountain Goat' lived to tell the tale, though she said she saw her life flash across her eyes when she tried to leap back across. 

My nickname on this trip is a bit less impressive, 'Jelly Legs', courtesy of Paul from Nelspruit Backpackers. It goes back to when we had a day at the Blyde River Canyon and swam at the top of Lisbon falls. I got a bit swept away by the current trying to cross the second of the pools. I was laughing all the time, and he thought I was doing alright, until he realised I wasn't even trying to hold on. He had to grab onto me but my legs were all over the place, and I never stopped laughing.  

'Well, at least if she died, I could tell her mum that she died having the time of her life!'

Anyhow, that was slightly off topic. I wish I could put down in words how I felt on those magical two days we had with Paul as our guide. All those animals on the safari drive, swimming in a salty pool before the night drive, a hearty braai under a sky full of stars, camping in Kruger, the panoramic views of the canyon, the Potholes, the waterfalls, the swimming and generally the fun we had. I don't think I have words to express how I felt. 

We went to House on Fire in the evening for live music by Polochar, the place was so funky. Took a while to get started and so after browsing the gallery and taking photos, we grabbed a cider and headed for a balcony table. Polochar's music varied from mellow to trance, upbeat and sunny to power ballads. There was one particular fan who was at the front, dancing right by the stage the whole night. There was slow-motion running, kneeling on the floor with hands to heaven, manic hopping, and facial expressions that Orlando Bloom can only dream of having. He made it to the stage, and suddenly his shirt made sense - 'Zero to Hero' is one of Polochar's songs. The dancer certainly entertained the audience, whilst a man next to him was trying to outdo him by strumming his beer belly. We made our way down to the dance floor to show them, white people style. My legs definitely got a work out that day.

It's funny how time works in Africa, getting up early and going to sleep early. We left at 12:15 in the morning, got stopped twice by police, looking to catch people drinking and driving, and asking if we thought Polochar was handsome. The Belgium girls are so lovely, Charlotte and Evelien,cousins. Charlotte is working at an orphanage in Drakensburg after her Psychology degree, she helped to build it a few years ago. Evelien is doing a masters in Accountancy and Auditing, and currently visiting Charlotte. I decided not to go White Water Rafting on Sunday, and basically spent the whole day with the Belgium girls. 

Lizzie and Alice had a great day too, though I still don't regret not going. Just didn't think I could afford both caving and rafting, at R650 and R850 respectively (R11 to pound). That and my old GP lost his son White Water Rafting on his gap year before uni, that was always at the back of my mind. 

So I spent Easter Sunday in the company of very pleasant people, walked to the Swazi culture village, had a tour and then watched the dancing. The women and men sit in separate huts in the day, and the women kneel to give their husbands' food. Polygamy is the norm, and women were not allowed to eat heads, tongues or feet. Heads because eating brains will make them intelligent, tongues that will make them talkative, and feet that will help them run away. What a life. 

The dancing and singing was so good though. I even joined in, they basically picked the white girls sitting in the audience.There were some disgusting tourists at the back, looked American but their accent was strange. Disgusting as in they turned up to the same tour as we did, but wanted the guide to run off and find them beers before we start. Didn't have the beer they wanted in stock and the guide ran back, because we were running late already, he told the guide to get them some other beers and to hurry. I felt so ashamed of being a tourist myself. They were all overweight, and the men couldn't even fit into the huts, didn't seem interested in anything. They had more beers whilst waiting for the dance, urgh.

After a long walk trying to find the waterfall with an alternative route that lead us steeply uphill, we gave up and doubled back to the sign. Had a nice sit down at the site before walking back to the hostel to have a quick lunch. We meant to go to the glass-blowing place, but it was 3pm and it shuts at 4pm, taking 30-45minutes to drive there. In the end, we decided to visit House on Fire again, as the craft shops were closed the night before. This turned out to be a good choice, there were places we had missed in the dark, and details we hadn't taken in. I asked if I could take a photo of some painted chairs they had in a craft store, and the woman said I could, the man asked if he could take a photo of me. At least he asked, there was another man blatantly pointing a video camera at us whilst we wanted for the cultural village tour. We finished with a drink in the outdoor garden of the pub before returning to Legends. 

All five of us went out for a traditional meal in the evening, had a lovely time. I am still full, four of us went for the taster menu for R150 each, so much food. Beef with mushrooms, shredded peppers, five different types of carbs, fried banana, peanut chicken, sweet pork ribs, homemade chilli.. the food just kept on coming. The waiter was so cute. Cute as in looking bewildered at being asked his opinion, and being really shy. I had to ask at one point if that was the last dish, he thought I was joking at first. We sent our compliments to the chief and had an excellent dinner, sharing a nice bottle of red wine between four (Charlotte was driving). Stories during dinner emerged, most notably of the one where Alice lost her trousers and the ferry left without her. Then the waiter brought out chocolate cake with ice cream on the house. Before I could stop myself, I found myself saying:

'But you said that was the last dish! You lied!'

Think he got a few laughs too.

I woke up at 3am and couldn't go back to sleep and so sat outside by the braai, where we had our Earth Day celebrations, and watched the stars. Even wished on a shooting star. Lizzie has just emerged in her pyjamas, and then disappeared to nurse her 'fried, crispy skin'. I'm going to take a look at the craft stores nearby whilst Alice and Lizzie go to the cultural village. Caving at 4pm, then hotsprings and pizza. Planning on mountain biking tomorrow before returning to Tim and Anna's on Wednesday.

I also seem to have an extra elbow, got bitten and now it is really swollen. Caving on hands and knees might prove interesting. 

1 comment:

  1. Hopefully the cool cavern walls will actually be soothing to the bite, and you'll be actively pressing your elbows against rock. Yes, please do tell me when you're at risk of plunging into a watery abyss. Feed uninterested and rute tourists to the lions, but only if they won't be missed.

    "facial expressions that Orlando Bloom can only dream of having"... yep, more than two that is :-)