Dude, where`s my passport?!
2007-07-30 to 2007-08-03
Personal Ad: Intrepid World Traveller seeks companion for fun, romance and adventure! Must be lightweight, compact, easily transportable and essential at border crossings. Must also respond to the name PASSPORT!
Ok, Ok I know, way to go idiot! I had left my passport, flight tickets, iPod and Memory Stick in the safe in JBay and without them, I was going nowhere! I got on to them and cutting a long story short, I arranged for a courier to reunite me with the respondent to my ad above!
So it meant a few more days in Durban, the highlight of which was the curry dinner that Johnny and Samantha cooked for Catherine and I in their hostel! He might not be able to play pool, but he can make a mean curry that Johnny! Catherine and I went out afterwards to see some of the main bars on Florida St and most of them were pretty dead. We went to Taco Zulu`s, Billy the Bums and ended up in the Bean Bag where a group of 6 local black Zulu girls remembered us from a bar earlier and invited us over! It was one of the girls birthdays and for reasons which I can`t fathom still, it meant that every time that she had a shot, I had to have one too?! Just because I was from Ireland?!
Catherine had to go home as she had work next day and I said I would `rough` it with my new friends but it was then that things got weird with the girls suggesting I go home with the 6 of them for a private party… Hmmm, I know what my male friends are thinking right now who are reading this and I can almost hear the curses and feel the collective smacking of hand to forehead when I tell them I ran for the hills! These girls were scary lads, seriously!
I was reunited with my passport next day and Catherine drove me to Ballito, a beach up the coast where I stayed at The Secret Spot (so secret in fact that the Information Centre gave us the wrong directions to it and it took us ages to find!) It was a family run business, making surf boards, conducting lessons and running the backpackers. Their daughter is currently on the Pro Tour and they had `adopted` two boys who worked with them there. Bongs, was formerly a lifesaver until he was knocked down by a hit and run drunk driver and he lost a leg. Instead of letting it get to him, he studied to become a surf competition judge and was now flying all over the world to judge them.
Next day, I set off for Swaziland as a gateway to get into Mozambique. It was a different world from the comparative first world conditions of S Africa. We stopped into our backpackers and went for a drink. Behind the bar were actual headlines ads from The National Paper. The English Tabloids have nothing on the sensationalism of this place!
`Unlucky Fisherman Catches Crocodile`
`Woman arrested for Rape`
`Lover Caught Panties Down`
`Catholic Church welcomes Gays, Lesbians`
`Man mauled by Hippo`
`Win a Cow, (=) School Fees`
`Get Pregnancy Permit or go – Army Commander`
and my favourite
`Naked Man bites Granmothers Lips`
Next morning, my new travelling companions (Tom, Amy and Becky) all set off for the capital and we took a local bus. Surprised is one word for the reaction of the locals as us four white turtles (with our huge bags) boarded and stood in the aisles. Their amazement soon and predictably turned to amusment as we laughed with them as they tried to avoid our eye contact! A sign on the bus said, “To Live like a King is to Work like a Slave”. I wish I could have spoken to the locals about that for their opinion on that…
We had to catch a local mini bus to Maputo in Mozambique and we were reliably informed by some guy that it would be hear `now now` which can mean anything from immediately to in our case, two hours! He had taken our passports to for the duration of our wait and we got that uneasy feeling of `what have we done` which wasn`t alleviated by spying the headline on a passerby`s paper, “Tourists raped, Locked in Car Boot”. Hmmm, right, where`s that guy with our passports?!
We eventually got them back and set off on the bus with another 15 locals for the 4 hour journey, the highlight being the drunk who reliably informed someone at the front of the bus that he had a knife and was going to stab him! That`s when you reach for your iPod and blissfully close your eyes….
But when I opened them again, I was kind of sorry I did….