Tom's guest entry
26/7/03

From: Tom
Date: Sat, 26 Jul 2003 18:11:22 EDT
Subject: flying visit
To: Carl
Hey man, sorry about the delay getting in touch, I've been on a bit of a bender.
In fact i've beaten my previous personal best by at least three hours when i got pissed by 8:30am the other day. I figure everyone needs at least
one period of rampant alcoholism in their lives.
Anyway, thanks for a good holiday, and thanks for putting me up/putting up with me- I know i wasn't always on top form. Good to see you again, must do it again some time. I hear Cape Towns good, it's 10 to 1 down there...
Find below my contribution to your diary, please feel free to edit as you see fit. In fact please do correct my spelling and grammar, I'm crap at it at the best of times, and once again as I write i find my self at the wrong end of a
pint of beer and a bottle of wine. Also find attached some photos.
Cool, thanks again man, and give my best to everyone out there,
Tom x
----

Do you remember that Play Station 1 game, 'Driver'? Well that's what my visit
to Carl reminded me of most. Somehow motor vehicles loomed large in my mind
throughout. It all started off, a few hours after my arrival at JNB International and having had no sleep for 36 hours, with hurtling around the deserted streets of downtown Johannesburg late at night [This is a lie, I was being very sensible, in a borrowed Golf - Ed.] - where apparantly traffic lights become purely advisory after 9pm - in search of The Horror Cafe. I
guess the fact that of the twelve or so days I spent in southern Africa the car spent two
days in the garage with suspected complete suspension/steering collapse, and
one day [Another lie, it took about ten minutes to fix - Ed.]as a steaming wreck in the driveway at Pine Valley, served only to
compound this first impression. The fifteen minute drive into town suddenly becomes a two hour cross-country treck when smoke starts pouring out from under the bonnet. [!!! I don't remember a two-hour trek anywhere! Or did I miss something, you slandering bugger? - Ed.]And the slight problems with the red-tape of having a South African registered car in Swaziland takes on a much more pressing importance in the mind when you're at some remote border-post on your way to the airport and
the cops have taken an unusual interest in finding the engine serial number of your
car. And of course who can forget the monumental occasion when the milometer clicked round to 400,000kms, a moment we felt had to be preserved for prosterity - see the photos section - much to the confusion of the swazi hitchers in the
back.
Whilst the car may have provided a continual background impression, there are of course several more lasting memories I'll take away with me. These include a very memorable - well more memorable if less vodka had been involved
perhaps - evening or two spent at the farm with Andy, Des and several kilos of steak. An enchanting evening out in Durban that began with the best curry I've ever eaten by a long shot, and ended, some six or seven hours and countless
drinks later, with the best swim in the sea I've had in a while. By 'swim' you understand I mean drunken paddle followed by being knocked over by a sodding great wave and nearly drowning. The Roma revolving restaurant, straight out of the 1970s, is probably best not experienced the next day, as being in a room whose revolution is only just perceptable to the eye combined with a horrible hangover can lead to some unpleasant side-effects. Eating rost Impala for lunch
whilst watching its cousins frolick about you is another fine experience I shan't forget. As is an evening spent at Swaziland's premier night-spot, the Why Not?, where life is worth living and the cabaret act something that will linger with you for the rest of your days - quite literally in some unfortunate cases. [I'd love to deny knowing what he's on about but I have to admit there's an element of truth there - (r)Ed(-faced).]
If anyone needs to put off reality for a while I can heartily recommend a trip to Swaziland. It is by turns charming, surprising, beautiful and
exciting. And the booze is damn cheap. I reckon you only need to drink about 200 pints of beer over there before you've saved enough on what you'd spend on the same in England to cover your airfair. Didn't quite manage that, but there's
always next time ...

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