South Africa celebrated Women’s Day last week and I thought I would celebrate by visiting one of my favorite South Africans, former Delhi housemate, MS. By taking full advantage of the long weekend, I imagined three carefree days running around on Durban beaches.
Snow came instead and ruined my intentions. The main road between the two cities closed and traffic seemed inevitable. I planned on postponement. Then, SS (a friend from work) offered me a lift on Thursday morning and said he would pick me up in thirty minutes. I hadn’t unpacked from the day before and I took it as a sign. I was naive.
SS’s own mind was made up after a friend texted that the roads were fine. There was a catch however–this friend had not made it to Durban but had texted from the midway point at Harrismith. And we made it to Harrismith no problem. Even with the snow. And there was tons of snow. And tons of Africans pulled to the side of the road, going crazy in the snow. But after Harrismith, we hit traffic. Hours and hours of it.
And to add insult to injury, we got a popped tyre just as we were to get back on the main road after a four hour diversion. Fortunately (or ridiculously), there were more than eight cars stopped with us that had fallen prey to the same pothole (more of a cayon if you ask me). The spare squashed our top speed to 80km/hr (55mph) even as traffic let up and we closed into Durbs.
The meant to be six hour trip turned into ELEVEN hours. Eish.
Still, at the end of it all, I got to do so much: see my dear friend MS, picnic in the Botanical Gardens, walk the beach with ice cream in hand, eat yummy veg food as the dark gobbled up the day, hit MS’s favorite local bar for a beer and live music, and then wake up early for breakfast at an art gallery.
A few words about the photos below: the landscape is the space between Joburg and Durban, alternating between stunning and empty arid plains. The ducks and piglets were part of the roadside attractions at rest stops.
Durban’s botanical gardens featured lots of birds including “weavers” who weave together tightly bound nests on bits of branches. North Beach offered a well loved boardwalk to promenade on, there were surfers in the water and kids on the beach. Lastly, me & MS and me & SS. And lots of traffic too.
SS and I took off early on Saturday, prudently wary of the Sunday traffic rush back to Joburg. The ride back was six hours like clockwork.
It was a short time in Durban but a splendid time.