The Jo’burg – Delhi Express
An adapted blog from 2010
The morning after our meet and greet with the Great Whites, tensions between Danny and I weren’t much better than the night before. Neither of us had done anything remarkable to cause any ill feeling, or nothing that I was aware of anyway. Yet when you spend such prolonged periods of time with certain people it’s natural for personality traits to irk on occasion. Danny and I were civil to one another, offering a brief “alright” upon awakening, but did our best to stay out of each other’s way for most of the day.
When the Baz Bus arrived later that evening Danny and Monica sat in the back, whereas Dean and I got in the front seats hoping a bit of time apart would see us all right.
The journey into the South African wine lands was glorious. It was a beautiful evening, and more than once the Baz Bus driver felt compelled to pull over so we could take photographs of the sun descending over a distant Cape Town.
I’d assumed it was just me Danny had issues with. During the brief camera stops Dean too had felt a definitive frostiness, making us both baffled as to what was actually wrong. If it had just been me then I could get it – I’d been quiet the night before and he could have interpreted that as if I was sulking again. Danny and Dean had spent the night together though, getting along great with the three young English birds in the hostel common room.
Unable to come up with a logical reason for the discord, Dean and I resigned to let it be. Everybody needs a little space now and then and we felt it best to give Danny just that.
Arriving into the small, student city of Stellenbosch a short, fat guy working reception checked us all into our new hostel with carefree haste, practically throwing the keys at us before burying his face in a Chinese banquet spread across the bar.
Grabbing a quick shower, it wasn’t long before Dean and I were back in the chow mien stinking bar area. Ordering a couple of beers we waited semi patiently for Monica to get ready.
Danny hadn’t fancied venturing out with us when asked. Dean’s recruitment endeavours proved more successful when he cajoled two Swedish girls into joining us however. One of the Swedes was the slurring, drunken mess we’d met in Hermanus after our warthog stew. Sober, the two of them came across as very pleasant lasses and quite capable of stringing two words together after all.
When all three women had ceased tarting themselves up we set out towards Stellenbosch’s city centre. A quick drink in one of the oldest and possibly dullest bars in town was followed by a few more in a newer, more thriving nightspot nearby.
The colourful bar and restaurant teemed with young, good looking South Africans. Everybody appeared to be having a great time, either lounging on the wide, comfortable sofas or sat eating delicious looking food in the more formal dining area.
Many of the beautiful females certainly weren’t stingy with their flirtatious glances. Either that or they thought we were a couple of oddballs. We choose to interpret their occasional stares in a positive light, giving both Dean and I a real confidence boost to start the night on.
After a couple of hours doing shots and puffing on apple flavoured shisha we moved to a place recommended by a chatty bouncer. Relatively cool house music spilled from the busy looking club. A plethora of young fillies tottered through the door so we thought we’d give it a go.
It turned out to be a club predominantly frequented by Afrikaners. Dean and I were probably the only two people with a British heritage in the place. Not a great ratio when the notoriously proud Afrikaners still held a grudge against the conquering Brits. But we were well on our way to being inebriated at this stage in the evening so the Anglo-Boer conflict was hardly our chief concern. All the scantily clad tarts bopping to Euro pop were what Dean and I preferred to focus on.
Inevitably, it wasn’t long before the two of us were overheard talking in the toilet and suddenly became very unpopular indeed. The large, multi-floored establishment was filled with arrogant young lads with big, block like heads and word that two English chaps were in the building spread like wildfire. Most people didn’t seem to give a shit where we were from. Yet a good number of boorish oafs weren’t happy with our presence, taking great pleasure in knocking into us whenever they could to provoke a reaction.
Trying to avoid any trouble, we left Monica and the two Swedes on the main dance floor and went to look for a less hostile space in the club to frequent.
The top two levels of the bar were similar to any tacky student club found the world over – cheap drink, short skirts, flashing lights and frustrated lads not knowing whether to fight or fuck. The basement of this Afrikaans club, however, was a rather different affair altogether.
Rows of boys and girls in their late teens and early twenties stood facing one another in the centre of the dark, wooden room. Grabbing a partner by the hand, the strange group of revellers proceeded to dance around in choreographed circles like something straight out of 17th century Rotterdam. It was bizarre to witness such fashionably dressed young people jigging around like morris dancers. The same people had been going bonkers with Dizzy Rascal five minutes earlier, now they were thigh slapping around a log cabin like room to Afrikaans versions of country and western ditties.
Dean and I were transfixed by the youthful oddities enjoying their primitive hoedown. We stood open mouthed, unsure as to whether we were dreaming or not, until the boys who had wanted to smack us in our chops earlier began hovering again.
The five of us only stayed a short while longer in the club. It was pretty obvious we weren’t welcome there and the chances of being chinned by a deer shagging yokel were growing by the minute. Dancing around on the smoky dance floor had been fun for a while. But coming up against a group of locals who looked like amateur wrestlers wasn’t the way we’d hoped the night would pan out.
All the excitement of the evening had been too much for Monica to handle. That or she was just completely plastered once again. Either way, she was unable to contain herself on the walk home and dropped her pants outside an all-night garage and proceeded to give what suspiciously looked like a tit wank to a lamp post.
What was going through Monica’s mind at that moment was impossible to determine. Yet this was why we’d grown to love the girl – you never knew what was going to happen next.
The next morning Dean, Monica and I awoke feeling remarkably fresh. Danny, who’d opted for an early night, had arisen in fine spirits and was off breakfasting with Kat, Amanda and Rio – the three American chicks we’d dined with in Hermanus. The girls had coincidently arrived at the same hostel the night before and bumped into Danny whilst we were out on the town.
It’s amazing what a few hours of reflection and a bit of peace and quiet can do to a person’s disposition. Danny was a pillar of geniality when we joined them at the posh little bistro. It felt as if the past twenty four hours had never happened. Everybody seemed hugely relieved there was no longer any tension and the three of us got along famously.
Pulling a few tables together we sat out on the front patio enjoying the sunshine. It was a perfect morning and the sun was already high and warm despite the early hour. Everybody was in good cheer and the Americans were far more sociable than they had been in Hermanus.
Unlike the charming setting and good company, the food served at the snobby little Stellenbosch bistro was very average indeed. Despite costing three times what I’d have liked to pay for breakfast, the portions were small and thrown together carelessly. My omelette was fine – as far as omelettes go – and a few other people were satisfied with their choice. Dean, however, was not a happy camper whatsoever.
“Where the friggin’ hell’s the rest of it Trisha?” he asked the waitress as his food was placed in front of him. “I ordered the Big Breakfast?”
“This is the Big Breakfast sir.”
“It’s not so bloody big is it me lass?” replied Dean with a grimace. “It’s a plate full of bloody tomatoes. And I don’t even like tomato unless it comes out of a Heinz bottle.”
The waitress only managed to comprehend about three words of what Dean had said. She simply smiled back at him and walked away. I was subsequently awarded Dean’s tomatoes and in return he helped himself to my dwindling omelette.
“How did you know she was called Trisha?” asked Monica baffled. “She didn’t have a name tag on or anything.”
“Do you not get Trisha on telly in America?”
“Canada,” corrected Monica. “No, who is she?”
“Trisha Goddard,” answered Dean. “She’s got some sort of chat show. That waitress looked just like her didn’t she Blair?”
Raising my eyebrows I gave them half a smile as if to say ‘I can neither confirm nor deny such comments’. She looked sod all like Trisha Goddard but I didn’t want to burst the boy’s bubble. Not after the whole tomato disappointment and all.
After eating, the Americans and Monica spent a good twenty minutes fussing over a bottle of HP Sauce. Failing to be inspired by condiment based conversations, Dean and I did our best to be excluded from their idle prattle – the two of us debating whether to order another coffee whilst waiting for their saucy talk to finish.
“Pass us that menu dude,” said Dean before having a quick perusal. “A glass of red wine is cheaper than a brew in this place.”
“Its 9:30am Dean,” quipped Monica, butting in.
“Keep your bloody nose out HP knickers. Get back to discussing the ins and outs of Big Ben on a fucking sauce bottle.”
“Shut up, idiot. You’re not going to drink wine at this time are you?”
“Well, we have been saying we need to start saving money. So we may as well start now if alcohol is the cheapest option?” replied Dean, all pleased with himself for being thrifty.
“And we are in the wine region Mon‘,” I added. “It would be silly not to have a little taste whilst we’re here.”
“Where’s Trisha at?” said Dean looking around for the waitress. “I’ll get us two large ones eh?”
The red wine enjoyed post breakfasting was delicious. It was probably a very average drop for all we knew, but as we were still a bit pissed from the night before it tasted like nectar. The three American girls didn’t know what to make of us drinking at such an hour. Judging by their reaction though you’d think early morning boozing was unpopular across the Atlantic.
The pile of cooked tomatoes Dean had stacked on my plate, combined with two large glasses of red wine, didn’t seem to agree with my belly all that well. And soon enough it was necessary I make a trip through the busy bistro to the little boys’ room.
Saying farewell to a solid piece of business I pulled up my pants following a hasty clean-up operation. It had been a two wiper – swift and efficient, the best kind. I was feeling especially content after unloading my gurgling burden. Right up until the moment I flushed and reached for the door knob that is.
Admittedly, I’ve been known to have a few issues in the past regarding what comes out of my rear end. The front end, however, I’ve had no issues with since I was perhaps five years old. I pride myself on the fact that I don’t piss myself very often. I don’t like to brag about it, but I know it’s a gift and I’m very grateful for it.
On this particular morn though, things in the willy department were slightly amiss. Whether it was the alcohol or just sheer excitement at being in South Africa’s lovely wine lands, I’m really not sure, but I ended up leaking a good half litre of urine down the inside of my right leg.
I simply couldn’t control it. My bladder had a mind of its own that instant – it and mine having two very opposing opinions on when apt to secrete a jet of piss. It all happened too fast to whip the old todger out and aim it at the pot. All I could do was stand there wondering what the hell was going on – my jeans filling with warm wee until eventually it seeped into my flip flop.
When the flow finally ceased I looked down at my bandy legs and shook my head in disbelief. The grey skinny jeans I had on were sodden. I couldn’t get my head around why my knob hadn’t fired when I’d given it licence to a few minutes earlier. Perhaps it was rebelling against the lack of action it had seen in recent months and this was its way of getting me back for not introducing him to more ladies. I was on his side though. My recent celibacy hadn’t been something I’d willingly entered into, I’d just been shit at chatting up of late. Turning against me in golden protest certainly wasn’t going to make me anymore desirable to the fairer sex, that was for sure.
Having considered taking my jeans off and holding them under the hand dryer I eventually decided the best way to avoid embarrassment was to not give a shit in front of our little breakfast club. If I acted like everything was perfectly normal then maybe they would feel like idiots for not soaking their legs in liquid waste.
With the aforesaid attitude I strode through the busy bistro with my head held high. Reaching our table I curtly announced what had just transpired in the toilet. Possibly a little too smugly in retrospect.
“You did what?” asked Monica, looking at me all weird.
“I pissed my pants.”
“And why did you piss your pants? You were in the toilet; why not aim for the hole.”
“It wasn’t that simple. I’d done my thing and tucked it all away nice and snug in these skinny jeans, and then all of a sudden it just poured out. I couldn’t stop it.”
“Is this normal?” asked one of the disgusted looking yanks in a tone which knocked my misguided confidence.
“No, it’s not. It was just an accident.”
“Then why look so happy about it?”
“I’m not happy. These clothes are now going to have to get washed. And laundry makes me far from happy when my mother’s not doing it. I just thought there is no point crying about it, I may as well embrace the fact I’m incontinent and have a laugh about it.”
Following the initial repulsion, my piss filled pants did bring forth some joviality. The faux nonchalance had worked a treat. I would’ve taken endless glee in ridiculing the offending party if the shoe had been on another foot. How could they mock me though if I did it all before them? Instead then, my uncontrollable bodily actions made me the toast of the town. I exaggerate slightly, but I didn’t get any stick and they all soon forgot about it so I was happy about that.
Our newly formed gang returned to the hostel a lot closer than what we’d been a few days previously. Initially I’d thought the American girls to be snooty intellectuals who looked down on us a little. After the nice breakfast we shared I felt we’d all united a little more. They still probably looked down on us a bit, and who could blame them when Dean and I were pissed by ten in the morning and I behaved like I needed a nappy. But the girls had certainly warmed to us a touch it seemed.
Having picked up a few items at the hostel our gang of seven set out towards Stellenbosch’s tourist office. To visit South Africa’s famed wine region and not sample its produce would have been a terrible shame, so with this in mind we all went to sign up for a tour of the local vineyards.
The group unity created over breakfast was to be short lived. Dean and I refused to pay the ridiculous price of the bus tour, judging it to be expensive and pretentious sounding. Resisting some pretty intense peer pressure, we insisted the rest of them go and have a lovely time if they had money to burn. Instead, we set off into town having decided to hold our own Stellenbosch wine tasting event – except ours would be cheaper and much more supermarket based.
On our way to the shops Dean and I encountered a large grassy park I half remembered from the evening before. The area was quiet, save for a couple walking their dog and a small group of homeless people warming themselves in the sun.
In one of the far corners of the park was an enormous bronze rhinoceros which practically begged two inebriated idiots like us to play with it. Swinging from the beast’s horn for an amount of time that could be deemed excessive for two people who supposedly don’t have learning disabilities, we then decided to take things further and scale the monster’s back.
It was a bloody big statue, and a very long drop should we fall. I struggled to find an appropriate footing for my slippery flip flop initially. But was soon aided by a middle aged gentleman who I discovered by the smell of him to be a homeless drunk. Whether he’d been a Himalayan Sherpa before hitting the bottle or just a dab hand at mounting animal statues, I really don’t know. He was up there straddling the rhinoceros’s back as quick as a flash though, dragging me along with him as he went.
After a knee trembling photo with the toothless urchin I managed to climb down without breaking any bones. Generously rewarding my guide with the cash to buy himself enough methylated spirits to ward off the night’s chill, we then pressed on to the supermarket.
Every bottle of local wine procured for our day long tasting event had to match a strict set of guidelines: They must be red. They must have a pretty label. And most importantly, they mustn’t cost more than the equivalent of two English pounds.
With this austere criteria met, we sourced a selection of appetisers to bring out the unique flavours of our wines; namely two chicken and mushroom pies apiece and some potato croquettes.
On the way back to the hostel Dean suggested we transform ourselves into one of the modern day great travellers: The very brilliant Keith Lemon. Keith’s World Tour had recently been aired in the UK and was a great inspiration to us both – his sage, rousing thoughts being quoted regularly throughout the trip, mainly because we didn’t have an original sense of wit of our own.
On the whole Dean and I enjoy very different types of humour, so the one time we liked the same thing we decided to embrace it tenfold. The two of us bought a big animal tooth necklace apiece from a Rasta market similar to Keith’s, just much smaller and cheaper. And once back at the hostel we set about removing all of our facial hair, with the exception of our ginger hued moustaches.
Personally, I absolutely hate being clean shaven and avoid it at all costs. I look prepubescent without any growth. My furry facial covering is the only thing stopping me resembling a youthful Martina Navratilova, so taking it all off was a very big deal for me at the time.
A sink full of bum fluff later and we were ready to unveil our new Keith Lemon look on the world. And by world, I mean the two Swedish girls we’d gone out with the night before.
Admittedly, an animal tooth dangling around our necks and a wispy moustache hardly qualified us as masters of disguise, but the thought was certainly there. The Swedish philistines were unimpressed with our efforts however, principally because they hadn’t a clue who Keith Lemon was. They were much more interested in getting a tan on their enviable Scandinavian skin and we certainly didn’t hold it against them when they slipped into their bikinis.
After a lovely few hours of wine tasting Dean and I returned to the supermarket for more bottles to scrutinise. The others had returned to the hostel whilst we were gone. Staggering around the back garden like anaesthetised apes, Danny, Monica and the three Americans were that drunk they actually made us look sober.
The five of them were leathered; giggling like idiots and flopping all over one another beside the shimmering pool. It was despicable behaviour. How dare they look like they’ve had a better day than us? ‘We have moustaches!’ I wanted to shout at the dribbling buffoons. ‘We are far more fun than you lot!’
Reluctantly accepting that they were probably having a more agreeable time, Dean and I decided to join their party and did a bit of flopping around ourselves. An affectionate reuniting ensued, followed by a few more hours pouring local produce down our necks under the hot sun.
Wine tasting in Stellenbosch had proved to be a consistently enjoyable pursuit. And it was with great sadness that we called a temporary halt to our drunken frolics. The three of us lads and Monica had to catch our final Baz Bus to Cape Town that evening. The American girls were heading that way also though, and agreed to meet at our intended hostel to continue the festivities.
Hastily packing up their rental car, the yanks somehow managed to drive all the way to Cape Town. All of them had gone at the wine with the tenacity of a part time alcoholic and were well and truly under the influence. I don’t condone drink driving at all, although in South Africa where it can sometimes be safer driving home after a few drinks, I can certainly see the logic. Driving to Cape Town in the state these girls were in was a terrible decision though. I was too drunk myself to care at the time, but in retrospect they were incredibly lucky they didn’t hurt themselves, or anybody else for that matter. They should really have known better and caught up with us all in the morning. It just goes to show that being intelligent is not necessarily synonymous with having any common sense.
The short drive from Stellenbosch to Cape Town was a good one. I sat at the back of the Baz Bus with Danny and we drunkenly discussed the slight ill feelings we’d harboured towards one another over the past couple of days. It was all put down to a misunderstanding once again, and we hugged it out before becoming as thick as thieves for the remainder of the night.
Testing the patience of the exceedingly big African guy working on reception, we checked into Cape Town’s Ashanti Lodge with great effort. I could barely write my own name after drinking wine all day and the others weren’t much more capable.
Dumping our bags in the shared dormitory, we proceeded towards the hostel bar. Being one of Cape Town’s most popular backpacker accommodations, the bar at Ashanti Lodge was filled with travellers. Here, Dean bumped into Charlotta, one of the two Swedes he’d gotten along well with since the day of the bungee jump in Storm’s River. Not having taken to the Americans quite as well as the rest of us, Dean stayed with Charlotta and her pal for the evening whilst Danny, Monica and I went to visit the yanks in their room.
It just so happened to be thanksgiving, that famed public holiday hardly anybody out of North America knows anything about. I’ve read that it’s a day of giving thanks to God for the new harvest or something silly and biblical. In the case of these particular Americans it should have been offering thanks for not crashing on their recent drunken drive from the wine lands of Stellenbosch.
Between us all we ordered a take away chicken and a variety of sides from Nando’s to celebrate the festival. A tin of Ocean Spray cranberry sauce was rummaged from the bottom of a backpack – tinned, gelatinous fruits being an essential travel companion for all true Americans – and with the accompanying chips and coleslaw we had ourselves a lovely thanksgiving feast.
With the dinner finished, I amused myself for a while by fabricating the chicken carcass into a Frankenstein like creature, much to the bemusement of the females in the group. Drink driving was embraced, but show a bit of artistic flair and one is ostracised for their efforts.
Tidying away the bones and skin, we refocused on the alcohol consumption once again. Chatting gaily for an hour, it wasn’t long before we were well acquainted with the other dorm room occupants. A small posse had formed on the floor of that boisterous dormitory and everybody appeared to be enjoying each other’s company immensely. So much so, things then got a whole lot more interesting.
Never have I had the pleasure of attending an orgy, but they do look quite marvellous things. A bit unhygienic yes, fantastic fun though all the same. Or the ones in pornos do anyway, in reality I imagine they’re a bit more aged and depressing. However, what happened next in the American girls’ dorm was the closest I think I’ll ever get to finding out what an orgy is actually like.
I have no idea who initiated it, or their reasons for doing so, but all of a sudden people were touching and grabbing at one another’s body parts. A young Yorkshireman who’d joined us had his top off and was being massaged by a gigantic, pretty faced German girl on a bed at the back of the room. Danny was sensually rubbing Kat up, while Monica and Rio were both caressing each other’s feet.
For most of the night I’d been chatting to Amanda, the American girl I’d gotten along best with. Both of us were more than a little confused as to what the hell was happening when we became aware of the situation. One minute all had been normal, the next people were semi naked and the place had transformed itself into a big, greasy, massage party.
“What’s going on Monica?” I asked, taking in the scene.
“Were massaging, what does it look like?”
“I can see that, but why?”
“I don’t know. Rio just started rubbing my feet, and she’s hot so I started doing hers,” replied Monica with a drunken smile. “You guys should join in. It’s sweet! Pass me your foot.”
Acquiescing, I offered her my scabby hoof and realised she hadn’t been exaggerating. It most certainly was sweet. Grabbing the bottle of moisturiser that was doing the rounds I followed suit and took a hold of Amanda’s tootsies. Giving them a good rubbing, I then shoved my spare foot in her direction in order for her to return the favour.
Having your feet massaged by two different women feels a little bit like what I’d expect heaven to be like. It was that nice it almost made me want to believe in heaven and all the other nonsense that goes with it. Our horny little rubbing party was fantastic. And I’m pretty sure it would have continued long into the night had Amanda not suddenly decided she was going to throw her ring up.
Feeling a little guilty that my scabby feet may have induced her nausea, I went to assist Amanda in the toilets. She had been the only girl in the room I’d felt on a similar wavelength to, besides Monica but she didn’t count. Amanda was good fun, with a very dry sense of humour and didn’t take offence at some of the more risqué things I’d come out with that night. When I’d made a rape reference earlier an Australian girl had walked out in a huff, whereas Amanda thought it capital fun and took the joke in its intended sense.
Unable to drink anymore, Amanda and I decided to call it quits on the wine. We’d done our fair share of tasting and had come to the sound conclusion that South African vino was bloody good stuff. Many of the rubbing party had disappeared by the time we returned from the toilets or jumped onto one of the surrounding bunks. We followed suit and consequently shared a nice bit of smooching. Amanda had brushed her teeth before the encounter I hasten to add. She may have been both pretty and funny, but she wasn’t so enthralling that I wanted the taste of her sick in my gob.
England were set to play South Africa in an international cricket test the day after our foot rubbing debauchery. The three of us lads had been saying for a while that it would be great to attend the match, despite the fact we all believed cricket to be a monotonous pursuit.
Feeling absolutely awful, Danny, Dean, Monica and I all caught a taxi to the Newlands Stadium on the other side of Cape Town. The area was busying upon our arrival. Joyous sports fans mixed with various vendors in a relaxed and happy melee.
Searching for the ticket office, we were confronted by an overweight Shane Warne look-alike who offered us his services. Shane’s friendly patter and jovial nature convinced us to buy four tickets from him, claiming he couldn’t use them due to making prior engagements. They were half the price of normal tickets so our interest was naturally piqued. Having asked a steward if the tickets were legitimate, we handed over a wad of Rand and became rather smug at our prudent purchases. Idiotically, we then went and spent all the money we’d saved on ridiculous hats and flags in hopes of looking more ‘crickety’.
My throbbing hangover intensified as we awaited the stadium gates being opened. I found a cool little spot in the shade of a tree and curled up there feeling very sorry for myself while the others socialised with the excited South African fans.
When the gates were eventually unlocked we entered the stadium with little fuss. Trundling behind, I followed the others in search of the stand written on our tickets. Unsuccessful, we then asked a steward to direct us to our seats.
Ushered into a glass lift, we were led by the stern faced steward towards the executive suites. This is brilliant, we thought, fat Shane Warne has played a blinder. He’d sold us tickets to an executive box for a pittance.
While Danny went to find somebody with the keys to our own personal suite, Monica convinced a cleaning lady to let us through a well catered box so we could wait in the stands.
The Newlands Stadium has to be one of the most beautiful sporting venues in the world. Table Mountain towered majestically over the bright, airy stadium – the manicured field contrasting brilliantly with a sky so clear and blue that it couldn’t have looked any more stunning.
Choosing the best seats in our lofty segment was easy considering we were the only people in there. The four of us sat patiently awaiting kick off – or whatever it’s called in cricket – soaking up the amazing scene in front of us. Fans from both sides were rapidly amassing, singing and dancing in their droves.
As much as we loved our executive setting, it was a little disconcerting that all the other boxes around us had catering staff flitting in and out, whereas ours was still locked up and gloomy within. Danny had been unsuccessful in getting anybody to open up our suite, so we decided to just wait and see what happened.
Monica continued to walk nonchalantly through the other boxes – much to the annoyance of punters and staff members alike – heading to the toilet or bar every ten minutes. Eventually she irritated one woman sufficiently with her coming and goings that the lady said enough was enough. If we couldn’t open up our personal suite then we would have to leave the stand.
With none of us deft in the art of breaking and entering we made the pained decision to depart with little fuss. Our prime positions had been snatched away just as effortlessly as they had come. Dejected, we headed back down to the plebeians below.
It was gutting to have been conned by a ticket scammer. Not because of pride or anything like that, but because we then had to traipse around the whole of the lower sections of Newlands Stadium trying to sneak past stewards in order to find unoccupied seats. And for someone who was suffering from the worst hangover of his adult life, this was a far from pleasant experience. My head felt as if it was on the verge of exploding.
The whole point of going to the cricket had been to get drunk with the other fans and enjoy the carnival like atmosphere. I couldn’t touch a drop of alcohol in my fragile state however, so despite the incredible setting, being there seemed completely pointless.
Staying for the toss, which is apparently a coin throw to decide who bats first and not a metaphor for the game of cricket as a whole, I then attempted to convince Monica that this was as exciting as it was going to get and that we should head back to the hostel directly. It was so unbelievably hot that day, and having to move from one empty seat to the next every five minutes was far from my idea of fun. Thankfully Monica was feeling pretty ropey herself and didn’t need much persuading.
Dean and Danny stayed to watch the match for a while. Although they soon grew bored of the mundane sport and drinking the stadium’s crappy, warm beer. Instead, they took a taxi into the city dressed in their cricket fan gear – Dean in a St George’s flag coloured Mohawk wig and Danny sporting a giant false moustache a colonial pith hat. Whilst browsing the shops in Cape Town’s heart they inadvertently got a guided tour by two fourteen year old girls. Unable to shake off their young admirers, and fearing a police caution for socialising with minors, they soon returned to the hostel and continued on the beer beside the pool.
On the whole the cricket had been a disaster, which was a shame as it could have been quite a novel experience. If I hadn’t have felt terrible, and we’d acquired genuine tickets for the grass embankments with all the fun loving supporters, it would’ve no doubt been great. Sadly, it just wasn’t meant to be.
After a good night’s sleep my hangover had all but gone. Unfortunately though, my kidneys had now started giving me angst. I was a far cry from 100%, yet felt well enough to attempt scaling Cape Town’s iconic landmark: the very impressive Table Mountain.
Dean had been out again the evening before. He’d drunk late into the night with the two Swedish girls and was feeling a touch delicate to say the least. Danny and I had been sensible on the other hand (only because I’d convinced myself I was having kidney failure) and gone to bed relatively early.
None of us had quite anticipated how challenging the climb up Table Mountain was going to be. It doesn’t even have a top half, I’d thought, how hard can it possibly be?
Dean and I were knackered before we’d even got off the tarmac road at the foot of the famed mount. Dean’s head was pounding and my kidney pain was back with a vengeance. To make matters worse, neither of us had considered bringing along any water for the gruelling two hour trek under the scorching African sun. Thankfully Danny had brought some and kindly rationed it with us two unprepared retards.
To say coursing my way to the top of Table Mountain was an enjoyable experience would be an out and out lie. It genuinely wasn’t. It was rubbish in fact and I felt like death for the entire ascent. Yet reaching the flat, bush scattered summit and being afforded sublime vistas of Cape Town and the surrounding coastline was hugely rewarding. The city looked incredible from up here and well worth all of the suffering.
Despite the pride of reaching the top of Table Mountain there was no way we were going to walk back down. Danny wouldn’t have minded the descent, but Dean and I outvoted him. So after a couple of cans of sugar laden drinks we took the cable car to the bottom and a taxi back to Ashanti Lodge.
That evening was to be our last with Monica, our wonderful Canadian mascot. Since picking her up three weeks ago in Swaziland we’d grown increasingly close to the girl. It genuinely felt like she was an established member of the group. Monica had been an amazing travel companion for us all in different ways. She was a fun little enigma we’d all loved having around. Very switched on in so many ways, yet utterly clueless in others, her bizarre conduct made for great entertainment. If Napoleon Dynamite had a sister, she would be just like Monica.
To say farewell, and celebrate three great weeks with our Canadian barrel of fun, we took a taxi to a restaurant of Monica’s choice on Long Street. Joining us at the fancy burger joint were the two Swedish girls Dean was pally with and a Swiss friend of theirs called Rosie.
Long Street is the supposed party place of Cape Town. It teemed with bars and cool eateries, although I wasn’t particularly impressed. The area had a real sinister feel. In its popularity Long Street had become a magnet for local thugs who preyed on isolated revellers. It certainly wasn’t a terrible place, it just wasn’t all it was cracked up to be and the genuine essence of danger was more than a little disconcerting.
The food at the highly recommended burger restaurant was lovely, as was the banter flying around the table. So much so, on several occasions we were given dirty looks by the staff for being too rowdy. To avoid disturbing anymore customers they soon began making subtle efforts to hurry us on our way.
“Whoa, whoa, whoa…..where are you going with that Adebayor?” quizzed Dean in annoyance to a dreadlocked girl who tried to take his plate away, “I’m not finished with that yet lass. There’s a few chips left on there.”
I had to look at my own plate in hopes of not laughing and making the girl anymore uncomfortable. The poor lass didn’t know what to do. Like most people in Africa I doubt she understood what the hell Dean had said, but it made her embarrassed all the same.
This wasn’t the first occasion Dean had cracked me up in a local woman’s face. He had a knack of waiting until a girl was about two feet away before mentioning the name of a long haired footballer she bore a vague resemblance to. I was positive Didier Drogba was going to knock my teeth out down the veg aisle of a supermarket in Johannesburg one time.
The Dubliner appeared to be somewhat of a Long Street institution. It was to be the first and last bar we frequented on our so called pub crawl for Monica’s departure. Nobody seemed to mind however; the place was full of life so most people were content enough to stay for the duration.
My internal organs were still giving me pain. All I wanted after dinner was to go to bed and rest. As pathetic as it sounds, I was genuinely concerned that my kidneys were failing. However, trying not to look a complete misery on Monica’s last night, I stood with a bottle of cider in hand drinking my way through the agony. This wasn’t exactly the medically recommended cure for organ malfunction, but I really didn’t want to be there any longer and assumed getting pissed may make the evening more tolerable.
The Keith Lemon moustache that had seemed like such a good idea when drunk in Stellenbosch wasn’t quite so fun anymore either. I’m not particularly a poser, yet I am quite self-conscious as to how I look when I’m out on the town. On occasion these insecurities can become rather excessive, and if I think I look like a tit I can’t seem to let myself go. Tonight was one on these nights.
It really wasn’t a good time for me to be ill at ease with myself. The Iranian girl Pariah, whose company I had enjoyed in Knysna, was on Long Street that evening and had sent a text saying she would be in The Dubliner shortly.
My confidence was at rock bottom and I felt like shit. Not the greatest cocktail for a spot of potential Anglo-Persian fornication. To combat these frustrating issues I upped my alcohol intake and hoped to inebriate myself into a happy go lucky attitude. The more I drank though, the more my insides began to pound, which in turn made me unable to relax.
It was nice to see Pariah again when she eventually turned up. The last time we’d met I had really enjoyed her company. Unfortunately, this time around my agitated state got the better of me. I came across awkward and nervous when we reunited in the busy bar. I couldn’t get my words out and must have looked a complete tool.
Sticking to my idiotic theory regarding drinking more to feel better about myself, I told Pariah I was nipping to the bar and I’d catch up with her a bit later on.
Ascending the stairs to a less raucous part of The Dubliner I sat with Dean’s two Swedish friends and began a punishing assault on the alcohol. The beers failed to have the desired effect and I didn’t feel the slightest bit better. Even a free double vodka and orange bought by two sweet English girls from the hostel couldn’t perk me up.
Eventually my melancholic state bored everybody into buggering off to the dance floor, leaving me to feel sorry for myself alone at the top bar.
“Right,” I said to myself. “If you don’t shape up you’re gonna put Pariah off and make everybody else think you’re a miserable cock. Now get your finger out of your arse and have some fun.”
Finishing my drink I then sauntered downstairs. Wiggling into the middle of the dance floor with a big false smile and an awkward spring in my step, I came face to face with a scene I really hadn’t expected to find: Pariah with her tongue down another guy’s throat.
I was gutted. The tiny threads of confidence I’d manage to salvage were ripped to shreds in front of my very eyes. All I could do was stare at the kissing couple until Danny grabbed my shoulders and dragged me over to where they were dancing.
I knew I hadn’t made a great effort to talk to Pariah that evening, but it hadn’t been through not wanting to. It was because I’d been incredibly down on myself and hadn’t believed she could possibly want to spend time with me in such a state.
Even though she wasn’t to know how I was feeling inside I felt Pariah was taking the piss. Especially after all the email and SMS contact we’d had since we met a week or so earlier. Granted, I’d kissed Amanda a few days earlier. But I hadn’t known Pariah and I were actually going to reunite. Getting off with a guy right in front of my face was totally out of order and I was furious.
There was nothing I could do about the situation. I couldn’t exactly go and smack the guy. Pariah wasn’t my girlfriend. She owed me the respect to not try and hurt me, nothing more. She hadn’t given me that however, and this really upset me, even if deep down I knew I’d caused the situation by being a miserable introvert.
Trying my best to forget about Pariah I stayed at the opposite end of the dance floor. Witnessing Monica get her face sucked off by an Erroll from Hot Chocolate look-alike certainly cheered me up a bit. It was great to see Monica having a good time on her last night, yet after a while I started to become suspicious of the guy’s motives. There was something in the way his hands were all over Monica’s body, and two other local women watching on with keen interest struck a negative chord also.
My doubt was confirmed when I found the burly African trying to lure an inebriated Monica into the men’s toilets, most likely to have a diddle and rob her at the same time. It could have all been innocent, but the cold, insistent way he acted led me to believe it wasn’t just her spam purse Erroll was after, the leather one was about to have some sticky fingers in it also. Dragging Monica away to the bar I gave the tall black guy as dirty a look as I dared – which wasn’t all that filthy considering he was twice the size of me.
Back on the dance floor I made one last attempt at having fun. It really wasn’t working for me that evening though. Everybody else was having a great time, especially Dean, who at this point had taken his top off and replaced it with a girl’s tiny cardigan. Even his button busting shenanigans failed to raise much mirth in me as I could still see Pariah and her friend Denise dancing close by. Unable to control myself any longer, I stormed over and made a complete arse of myself.
“What are you doing?” I asked angrily.
“Why here? Just fuck off over there will you. These aren’t your friends.” I said, pointing at the group of travellers from Ashanti Lodge. “Stop taking the piss out of me and fucking fuck off!”
My rant at Pariah worked temporarily. She and Denise disappeared, and for a while I actually began to relax somewhat. That is until I got a tap on the shoulder.
“Jordan, can I have a word?” she asked.
“I want to talk to you. Can we go outside?”
“You didn’t want to do much talking an hour ago did you?” I snarled sarcastically.
“And you did?” replied Pariah, sounding annoyed. “You were sat upstairs talking to every girl in here apart from me. All I got was a little wave.”
“I was sat talking to a girl who really likes Dean.”
“And the other two girls at the bar? What about them?” She had me there. I wouldn’t have minded a little roll around with one of them but I wasn’t going to give her that so easily.
“They’re friends from the hostel. There was nothing going on.”
“How am I supposed to know that when you’ve ignored me all night? Please, let’s go outside and talk. It’s too noisy in here.”
Yielding to the persuasive Iranian, the two of us ventured outside. It was a warm night on Long Street. The area teemed with people, many of them incredibly dodgy looking. Sitting on a kerb in safe view of the pub’s hard looking bouncers Pariah began trying to justify her actions.
She said over and over how sorry she was, and how she’d thought I wasn’t keen at all. I then began trying to explain how I’d gone to get more drinks in order to feel confident enough to talk to her, yet neither of us would fully accept the others’ excuses and continued going round in circles for over half an hour.
Eventually, we almost accepted each other’s way of thinking. I was still hurt, and my pride would take more than a kerbside chat to offer it solace. As I helped Pariah stand, however, I knew she wasn’t completely to blame. I shouldn’t have avoided her. I should have manned up and let her know how I felt instead of feeling sorry for myself and relying on alcohol once again.
The two of us said goodnight, sharing an awkward hug Pariah initialised, before I crossed the road and met the others outside a dirty kebab shop to share a taxi home.
The next morning I awoke to the sound of Monica noisily packing her bags. Of all Monica’s many qualities, subtlety was not one of them. When she’d finished cramming all her Tina Turner T-shirts into her backpack, Danny, Dean and I wearily forced ourselves out of bed. Slipping on sufficient clothing to adequately cover our morning erections, we then helped carry Monica’s gear towards the hostel gates.
When her taxi pulled up outside Ashanti Lodge the realisation Monica was leaving us truly hit home. It was genuinely very sad to see our new friend go. Monica had experienced pretty much everything with us up to this point. To know she wasn’t going to be around calling us retarded, farting on our legs, talking utter crap or being a wrestling buddy for Dean anymore was pretty hard to take.
We said our goodbyes, had a long group hug and stood waving at Monica’s airport bound taxi until it was out of sight. Shuffling back to bed, my ipod speakers were subsequently plugged in and Mariah Carey’s greatest hits played throughout the room. The three of us lay on our bottom bunks, transfixed with melancholia, hoping the sorrowful wailing of Mariah would send us back to sleep.
“Drink anyone?” said Dean after half an hour.
“I’m in too.”
Making our way back to The Dubliner, we holed ourselves up with a beer in order to watch the Liverpool and Arsenal games live on TV.
Pariah had known there was a good chance I’d be in The Dubliner that day from an email I’d sent her a few hours before our little bust up. She’d come into the pub to see if I had still made it for the football with the hope of us reconciling our differences.
Appreciating the effort Pariah had made, I was pleased to see her but didn’t let her know this straight away. My pride was determined not to let her off the hook so easily. She was looking incredibly fit however, so eventually I invited her to a little soiree we’d considered having in our dorm room later that evening. She said she hoped to make it, before leaving us alone to watch the hugely disappointing games of soccer.
We returned early hoping to catch the second half of the Arsenal game in the hostel bar. It was already occupied by people watching cricket, so instead we had a few peaceful drinks sat around the pool.
The harmony by the swimming pool was soon ruined by an annoying brigade of Dutch girls who were either on crack or had intense personality disorders. So, leaving the riotous Dutch to their bombing and squealing, we then headed back to bed for a short siesta before getting our dorm party started.
A pleasant British guy called Nick had shared our room in Ashanti Lodge. Nick had paid for a single night, yet ended up staying for another six in the dorm as nobody was any the wiser he was still there. I’d enjoyed talking to Nick. He was a good hearted, clever guy with some pretty entertaining terms regarding his wooing of the ladies. One particular favourite was the word he adopted for making love. Although when I heard him actually ‘ruining’ a girl during his free stay I wasn’t such a fan. During this awkward period Nick was doing his level best to make the phrase literal rather than metaphorical. I don’t know what came off more ruined mind, the Danish girl in question’s fanny or the bed springs. My sanity didn’t cope too well from the late night dorm romp either.
Nick had flown back to England a day earlier and left us all some wine he couldn’t be bothered carrying back with him. Buying whatever red wine they had at the hostel bar to add to Nick’s parting gift, we amassed our wares for what we hoped would be one of the wildest parties in Cape Town that night.
In all honesty, our shindig didn’t really hit the heady heights we’d aimed for. Dean’s Swedish friends arrived with a loaf of Banana bread rather than the vat of KY jelly and loose morals he’d craved. And their friend Rosie brought along a bag full of various cheeses, so it wasn’t exactly the free love orgy we had envisaged. The goat’s cheese of Rosie’s was delicious however, so every cloud does have a silver lining I suppose.
Pariah arrived at our massively dull party with her friend Denise, staying just long enough for me to offend her greatly. I’d joked that she was virtually Pakistani due to Iran and Pakistan’s close proximity – not that there is anything wrong with being from Pakistan, I just said it because I knew it would wind her up, like calling a Scot an Englishman. Knocking her down a peg certainly made me feel a lot better after the previous evening’s escapades. Although the elbow I got to the guts in response didn’t make me feel overly special.
Our mini party proved to be an embarrassing failure. Whether due to fatigue or us all missing Monica, the small gathering was a very morose one indeed. We tried to salvage the night by frequenting the hostel bar for a bit, but no one was in the mood to drink it seemed and eventually everybody dwindled off to bed.
Dean had managed to coax Charlotta into coming back to his bunk with him, an act which she had staunchly resisted since their first encounter in Storms River. As it was her last night she’d thrown caution to the wind and entered his bed for a cuddle.
Danny was soon fast asleep in the bunk below me. I was drifting in and out of consciousness myself, but kept being awoken every ten minutes by a new text message from Pariah who was back on Long Street. She was keen for us to meet up again later that night. As was I, despite her making a complete twat out of me less than twenty four hours earlier. A semi erect penis and a full sack works wonders at erasing self-respect it would seem.
I was in no mood to go out into the city, no matter how horny and forgiving I was feeling, so I invited Pariah up to our hostel again instead. She accepted the offer, on the frustrating proviso I pick her up from Long Street, giving me some none too pleasant rape statistics concerning taxi drivers to play on my guilt.
Reluctantly I agreed. All the juicy kissing noises emanating from Dean’s bed were making me jealous and I was determined to get a little bit of loving myself. Slipping on some jeans and a T-shirt I asked the others if they fancied escorting me into town. Receiving only a snore from Danny, a grunt from Dean and a whimper from Charlotta I took their responses as a collective no.
Long Street was crawling with the usual hordes of drunks and scumbags when I arrived. I found Pariah in The Dubliner and said I’d wait in the taxi while she said goodbye to Denise. Walking out of the bar I hopped into the back seat. Seeing me alone, a burly African guy proceeded to stick his head into the passenger side window and give me all manner of intimidating abuse. I had no idea what he was saying, but it was scary all the same. One thing sounded like he was complementing me on a ‘nice wig’ so I thanked him kindly and he eventually buggered off. I was a relieved boy when Pariah finally joined me in the cab and we sped out of the area and back to the safety of the hostel.
The two of us sat talking on a sofa atop a grand staircase for what seemed like an eternity. The chatter was nice for a while, but I was exhausted and Pariah’s constant, excitable patter began to grate on me a little. Chancing my luck, I asked if she fancied retiring to the boudoir. Receiving an affirmative I breathed a sigh of relief and led her by the hand to the ground floor dorm.
Sneaking into the darkened room, we used the slobbering kisses oozing from Dean’s bunk as a guide to find my own little love nest in the corner.
Pariah and I proceeded to fumble around in my squeaky little bunk. With my loins charged I soon forgot about all the miscommunication the eve before.
Unsure how she wanted to play things, I was coy in my approach. Yet I was soon asked that wonderful whispered question which affirms to a gentleman that his luck is very much in.
“Do you have a condom?” Pariah quizzed, looking longingly into my eyes.
Do I have a condom? I had a frigging backpack full thanks to the Swaziland health authorities. My bag literally spilled over with semen receptacles due to the amount of free condoms I took from the border crossing a few weeks back. Although on the exceptionally rare occasion I needed a jonny I couldn’t find a single one. Searching in the dark for a libido quelling five minutes I finally admitted defeat.
“God knows where they’ve all gone.” I said, annoyed with myself.
“Can’t you ask Dean for one?”
“I think he’s a bit preoccupied at the moment. Hang on, I’ve had a brainwave.” I whispered, wriggling into my jeans. “I’ll be back in a second.”
I’d just remembered a Baz Bus condom dispenser situated a few metres from our door. So, like a navy seal, I stealthily made my assault on its wares. Little did I know the hostel’s huge, black security guard was doing his rounds at this time and I practically ran into him – the purple headed mushroom peeking over the top of my jeans almost grazing his hefty thigh. Smiling as innocently as possible, I bid him a goodnight before grabbing a handful of condoms. I think he was in too much shock to challenge why I was running around semi naked and hastily left the scene.
Back in bed, awkward prophylactic acquisition achieved, things quickly turned lovely and heated once again. It was all very nice I must admit. Possibly too nice even, and I thought it best to highlight such. It’s always good to lower a girl’s expectations – it reduces the levels of inevitable disappointment.
“Erm, we might have to go a bit slow.” I urged into the darkness.
“Why? Because of the noise?”
“Well, the noise yeah. And, erm, I’m not a million miles away from…. you know.”
“Coming? But we haven’t even begun having sex yet?”
“I know. But it’s been a while, and we’ve been playing around for ages.”
“Exactly!” I replied, relieved she understood my plight. “So just go slowly ok?”
“Ok.” answered Pariah, grabbing my stiffy and lowering herself onto it. “How’s that?”
“Ohh, hmm, that’s very nice.” I answered, trying desperately to think unattractive thoughts. “Slow down a bit thoughhh……Jesus, shit, bollocks!”
“Are you ok? Have you come already?” quizzed Pariah, wriggling free of the knee trembling bear hug I’d just given her.
“Nope.” I lied.
“Are you sure?”
“So you have?”
“I may have done a little bit.” I said, slightly embarrassed. “Sorry about that.”
“It’s ok,” she replied with a little giggle. “I’m tired anyway. Goodnight Jordan.”
If only the political representatives of our two nations could resolve little spats as easily as my Iranian friend and I. Tensions in the Middle East would be far less explosive. Forget pride, it only brings a person loss. The UN should incorporate a spot of dorm room coitus in the peace process every now and then.
‘You want nukes Mr Armedinajad? How about I gently jiggle your bollocks for five minutes instead?’
‘Annihilate Israel you say? Surely a nice spot of rumpy-pumpy would be a far more agreeable idea?’
Simple. Although they may need to last a little longer than the measly thirteen seconds I clocked in at.