Tuesday, December 27, 2005

Rolling green fields and devil music

Originally uploaded by CharlesFred.

Our last long bas ride, hopefully. 24 hours from Cape Town to Durban.

Fred bravely managed to get the first row seats upstairs, the same seats as we had had down from Windhoek last week. We should have noticed something was wrong as it was much hotter there than anywhere lese on the bus. We thought it might cool down when the bus left and started blowing wind into the compartment, but no. It cooled down during the night but all day we have been baking, roasting and boiled!

Trouble as well when a family with a young child sat down behind us. A very strange family who made very strange noises, like belching, sniffling, coughing a bronchital kind of cough, eating very noisily.... and teh chiuld sounded more like a monster than a child every time he cried.. and he cried often.

Still, we are now at a fab place in Durban - the Hippo Hide - and have a had a cooling and relaxing dip in the pool, so can forget about the trauma of the journey.

Apart from that we went through soem spectacular as well as boring countryside. High and old mountains rearing up from the high plateau, green rolling fields, mostly empty but sometimes with horses and cattle (no sheep, goats or donkeys, for a change). The photo was taken yesterday evening whne the sky was filled with smoke, as farmers were burning the stubble in their fields (at least that was what we thought it was).

Fleetwood Mac came on the radio... surprising as they are seen in these parts to to play the devil's music. Too much white American/English pop music on the radio. Never enough African music, although we were entertained twice in Cape Town by black African singers, and as some of you might know I very much like African music. So joyous, uplifting, infectious.

Apart from that we entered Hobbiton jst before we descended from the hills to Pietermaritzberg. Exactly the same grassy hills, dotted with trees and just the right type of green to match the opening scenes of the film.
Apparently, there is a place called Hogsback, not too far away, which Tolkien actually visited and is said to have inspired Rivendell.. we will see!).

I spent most of my waking hours reading the first halfd of Nelson Mandela's Long Walk to Freedom. Fascinating to be travelling on the same roads and the same places as he did maybe 50-40 years ago. Apparently he stayed a few weeks in a house in Berea here in Durban, the very district we are in.. so it will be interesting to see if we can find that place tomorrow.

Piermaritzberg looked surprisingly like Basingstoke, only in bright sunshine and a lot smarter.

Durban on the coast is a big city, with a mixture of architectural styles. First impressions a (little) bit like Buenos Aires. There are beaches and mosques, hindu temples, colourful markets and some good places to eat, which is where we go now...

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