Friday, December 31, 2004

New Years Eve

me and Beefy

Quite a leisurely day (recovering from the excesses of the test match!)

I went with the Scottish lot to some nearby markets. It was everyone's last day today and so nobody really wanted to venture that far.

The markets were actually pretty interesting mostly selling wooden African nik nak stuff, brass or spices. We wandered around for a couple of hours. The scots bartering everything in site (even things costing about 10p!)

In the afternoon I went down to the beach front for a final time. The beach at Durban was really bustling with people getting ready for New Years Eve. Despite the constant police prescence (they patrol about every 3 minutes) you never feel absolutely at ease!

We ate Nandos (very easy - and I guess as it's a South African company we can sort of say we tasted the local cuisine!!)

Kevin came to pick up everyone about 4pm. I had arranged to meet up with a guy Paul who was a merchant banker. He'd seemed a nice guy. I called him a couple of times but to no avail.

Kevin recommended a good place for New Year called Some Place Else - and yes the taxi driver WAS confused when I got in and said I wanted to go "Some Place Else!"

I got there about 9.30 and the place was chokka. It wasn't a very big bar, and to be honest I'm not sure if it was entirely worth the effort of getting there (it was in the extreme North of Durban).

Anyway, I befriended this dodgy couple of blokes, Anil (from Leicester) and Darren a skinny Irish guy. They were setting up a recycling business in Durban (apparently they'd spotted a gap in the market and were going to make it BIG!) They told me about how they'd been struggling with a machine that crushed all the plastic (they had 45 tonnes of the stuff) Once compacted they were going to flog it back to Hong Kong....seemed an unusual plan!

Anil introduced me to Gold Tequilla (a bit of a mistake considering my flight out was 9.20am) and Darren was soon dancing on the table (I kid you not). It all made for an amusing New Year. There was a small dance floor and everyone danced to very ropey 80's music and the floor was soon awash with...well actually I'm not really sure what it was awash with - it was very wet though!

It turned out to be a nightmare getting home. Because I'd gone so far North no cabbie would go out there on New Years Eve. I began to worry about my flight!

In the end I cadged a lift to a place called "Gateway" a modern place with bars, clubs etc which was similarly packed with people. There I hopped in a cab and made it back!

Happy New Year! A strange way to bring in 2005 with a skinny Irish guy and an Indian from Leicester but never mind!

Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Third Day of the Test

England pile on the runs

(I had written an entry entitled First day but I've managed to overwrite it!!)

South Africa had posted a really good total (338) which gave them a lead of 200 against England. Fortunately our openers Trescothic and Strauss were up to the job and they put on a record score for the first wicket.

We had met a bunch of four South Africans who sat behind us (and shared jugs of beer). In total only one wicket fell in the day and so it was a great day for the English.

Me and Andy agreed to join up with the South Africans that evening and they took us to a bar in the North of the city (and treated us to a pizza!)

We got home pretty late and tired - days filled with cricket, sun and beer at one pound a pint are taking their toll!!

lunchtime at Kingsmead cricket ground

Monday, December 27, 2004

Second Day of the Test

Another really sunny day, and another 10 minute walk to the ground.

Kallis continued to occupy the crease and chalked up a ton - things weren't looking great for England, and we contemplated what we were going to do for the last two days if the match ended in three!

To compensate for the disaster on the field I did meet David Gower. He was a really nice chap and posed patiently for the picture we had together. He looks old though now - no longer the fresh faced English youngster!

In the evening I met up Richard and Colleen Moulton. They are the parents of Wendy (who works for me) and they arrived at the hotel at 6pm.

They were really nice people and Richard gave me a whistlestop tour of the city. We went through a few dodgy areas where Richard said I would be unwise to wander alone!

We ended up in Pirates a bar overlooking the harbour where I was treated to beer and fish and chips (yum). There was a spectacular storm in the harbour with huge sheets of lighting cracking over the city - we watched from the comfort of the (dry) bar.

me with David Gower

Saturday, December 25, 2004

Arrive in Durban

I arrived in Durban at around 11am, after what was a pretty un-eventful flight. Watched the obligitory movies en route - Anchorman (poor but funny in places) and Shark Tale (ok). We were met in Durban by Kevin. Not exactly a "tour leader" more a taxi service to take us from a to b during our stay here.

We were dropped at the City Lodge. very close to the cricket ground and with all the normal amenities of a business style hotel.

I've made friends with 3 Scottish people. Andy (who actually lives in York) and Andy (another one) and Liz (who is the York Andy's sister). They're a friendly bunch.

Dropped bags and wandered down to the beach. It's a really nice stretch of very fine sand. Populated on Christmas day by a mass of locals. We had a bite to eat and then I wandered off and walked up the pier.

It was a strange (but I guess good) way to spend Christmas day. I went back to the hotel about 4.30ish and fell asleep.

We went out for a posh meal Christmas night (a seafood place) and then played my quiz. Rounded off the night with some drinks around the pool (it was about 10.30 but still outside)