Day five - Durban,
7th October 2007

Well unfortunately you won't be seeing any images of leaving Klip Kop because at 3.10am I had  panic attack because the power had still not come on after the storm from the night before. Today I was flying to Durban!

I got up and made a right goose of myself trying to find anything, candles, matches etc.... that would give me some light in a night I can only describe as epitomising eternal blindness! In fact, while trying to find my way around this unfamiliar house I early knocked myself senseless when I walked straight into a brick wall!

Image right: Today's Sunday Tribune article on my book

Fortunately I found my notebook computer and with its improvised light I uncovered half a dozen matches and a candle that showed promise. Well its amazing how quickly a good plan came become unstuck... the wick of the large candle was wanting so I was relegated back to the computer's light... but of course it was running on battery! That ominous low battery beep signalled within seconds of the candle failing... there was nothing left now but to find the car keys and go and confront the owners of the cottage - luckily they live just 100 metres up the road. So at about 3.30am I drove up to their now locked gate and shone my car's lights into their garden and parped my horn like there was no tomorrow.

Within minutes I saw a small torch light in the distance so I clambered out desperately and without contemplating the reaction as I stood identifying myself in front of the car's headlights like a startled hare - trusting that the farmer was not trigger happy and would recognise me. Luckily he did and as the gates opened his massive St Bernard cross something dogs expressed their appreciation of a night made memorable with anything but delicate bounds at my chest while I explained to my host my predicament.

Len was up to the task and followed me back to the cottage - within minutes showing this "city boy" the obvious places where candles (that worked) and gas lamps lay waiting for such an eventuality!

It was after 4am that he left me with a range of candles, torches and lamps to finish my packing... just one pair of reading glasses alluded me when I left at about 5 - taking the road back to the airport.

After dropping off my rental car I got my boarding pass and waited for the order to go to the gate. Eventually this was given just before 7am and within minutes I was sitting in a small two propeller plane ready for take off. Apparently the new Mango airlines is a better option than my S A Airways plane at ZAR860 - Mango is about half that price or about US$70! Like most prices in S Africa the value is amazing! Just stay away from the overpriced Sun hotels group...

I did get to meet S Africa's equivalent of Australia's Thorpe at Durban airport... young Shaun Diaz (Portuguese like Bartholomew) had just won the S African open water championship and was on his way home. He will be competing in an Australian triathalon in Sydney soon and is Africa's best chance for gold at Beijing. (Pic right Shane with trophy). Shane is a life guard for Durban Central beach.

Durban's Sunday Tribune ran a fabulous article on my book and its background. Thanks Jani Meyer!

The images below were taken on the flight to Durban and show the beauty of Natal - a district that I spent much of my post-school youth... my pilot happily obliged in helping me to get great pics of Durban.

More story and images below these....

You see these warnings
everywhere!

Jan Smuts Domestic
now OR Tambo

A JHBG suburb from
the air

SAA Breakfast

Classic geomorphology

The Drakensberg

northern Natal

Wagon Hill (Ladysmith)
from the air

Looking back at the
Drakensberg

Upper Tugela River

What looks like a crater

More Tugela

More

Tugela

Valley of a 1000 Hills

Valley of a 1000 Hills

Valley of a 1000 Hills

Umzinto River valley

The beaches

of Kwazulu Natal

Durban's northern suburbs

Rugby stadium in Durban

Hotel strip

Durban's CBD

The Durban Club

Coming in to land

at Durban airport

Tastic Rice

The Greyville race track

Highway south

After settling into the Durban Club I went for a bit of a drive down memory lane - taking in the sights like the old Playhouse Theatre in Smith St where I, as a fifteen year old, sneaked into a 4-16 film from the Carry on Series - "Carry on Henry". The restricted rating was a direct result of a cheeky old king (Syd James) standing with his eyes closed holding a couple of large water melons in the greenhouse. They had been put there by the woman of his desires. He had his eyes closed and thought they were her boobs - so groaned appropriately!.Two of my mates of similar age chickened out while we stood in the queue... so I had fun watching the film while they walked the streets of Durban for two hours! The beautiful tudor-styled Playhouse Theatre building is still there but no longer in operation. Then there was the beachside Blue Waters Hotel where I used to hang out with hormones raging in my late teens!

Back in the 1970s you could not find parking on the popular Marine Parade strip - today there is buckets of it. Then the beach was off limits to "non-whites" in the Apartheid era now it is only natives who enjoy the famous Durban surf. Then there was the amusement arcade tody there are dozens of street side shops selling mostly bright clothing.

The only white people I saw in the CBD now are tramps.... the old fella with the grey beard I spoke to outside the Internet kiosk (see pic below) told me how he was being continually beaten up by the Africans. He lives in a little alley next to where I found him sitting passing the time of day with his only possessions a small pile of tattered clothes lying in a pile next to him.

Sun Coast, on the other hand,  is lavish new and the hundreds of pokie machines had long queues!

 

Durban airport

Trouble at the airport

Deneys Reitz -
like the Boer commando

On the road to Durban

On the road

to Durban

The historic

Durban Club

The Esplanade

Durban CBD

African stalls in the streets

Historic Edgars building

The old and

the new

Durban's famed

Dick King

My four poster bed

Victoria Esplanade

I just love this old

furniture at the Durban Club!

Durban today

The beachside hotels

Durban's main

beach today

Durban's main

beach today

Valuable property going to ruin

Historic Church

Another white tramp

The old film theatre

Old Durban post office

Smith Street with University
of Natal on the hill

Durban Manor

Zulu heritage

Poor old fella

Beachside shoppimg

Police on the beach beat

More beachside hotels

Sun Hotels money spinner

Memories of the Blue Waters

Chatted to Milner Snell on the phone and set up this page before setting off to bed at about 11pm.

Return to Scott Balson's 2007 book tour