If you haven’t read My trip to South Africa – Part 1, I request you to read that first. This post is second in the series.
– – – Part Two Begins – – –
While unpacking, I switched on the TV and the first thing I noticed was four channels dedicated to adult movies. I was asked to enter my room number via my remote if I wanted to view the movies…and in return, they would add 140 Rands to my hotel bill for a 3 hour movie. Mental calculation & sheer logic told me that Rs 700 for a 3 hour adult movie wasn`t so great…especially if one had access to internet.
After putting on our best clothes (Thank God, I didn`t take my suit!), we went to the V&A WaterFront mall. Just in case you didn`t know…it has 80 places to eat (that`s the number of restaurants we have in the town I come from – Madurai!) and around 400 shops to spend your Rands.
You should plan a family trip to Cape Town, as long as the family doesn`t include your girlfriend or wife. I was happy my wife Rekha wasn`t beside me while I ogled at the gorgeous girls who came shopping. Every pretty girl in Cape Town had a boy friend, so it was easy to ogle at them. In India, every pretty girl has two boy friends, and two desperate wannabe boy friends trailing, which makes ogling difficult.
Robert Browning in his poem ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin` had described the rats that came out once the Pied Piper starting playing his pipe. (For full version of Robert Browning`s ‘The Pied Piper of Hamelin` Click Here.
When I was at the WaterFront mall in Cape Town, I was reminded of this paragraph from the poem:
And out of the houses the rats came tumbling.
Great rats, small rats, lean rats, brawny rats,
Brown rats, black rats, grey rats, tawny rats,
Grave old plodders, gay young friskers,
Fathers, mothers, uncles, cousins,
Cocking tails and pricking whiskers,
Families by tens and dozens,
Brothers, sisters, husbands, wives —
Followed the Piper for their lives.
How much I wished, the gorgeous girls – of all types & kinds – followed me for their lives!
We had our dinner at WaterFront, overlooking many parking slots – just that in these parking slots, the rich people parked their Yachts. Trust me when I say liquor & food is cheap in Cape Town. In India, you pay Rs 200 for a beer, and Rs 3000 for the chairs & tables you destroy after you get drunk. In Cape Town, the meat-built bodies of others in the pub is so huge and well-toned, that you never get a high…leave alone destroying chairs & tables.
I came back to the hotel, a dejected lot. Dejection is a dangerous thing…sometimes, it can make you spend 140 Rands for nothing. Thankfully, I held back my horses & didn`t enter my room number via the remote.
The next day morning, we went to Camps Bay, a beach here in Cape Town. Pity, we went a little early. Since I have lived seven years in Chennai, which hosts Asia`s biggest beach (Not sure if L&T has constructed a bigger one in some other Asian city), I thought I will be disappointed. But I was wrong. When thirsty, I walked into a departmental store…I think called ‘Pick Up` (to a casual Indian, this would have sounded like a Night Club) and realized that they have two kinds of water – Still Water & Sparkling Water.
“Shucks, back in India we only have one type….plain water.” I told the lady at the counter..
“Ohh you Indian? We have lots of them in Durban.”
My grandma, who is my travel guru for she traveled in bullock carts from village to village when she was young (mostly chasing handsome young men!), had advised me to learn as much as possible when in a foreign land. So, I insisted.
I repeated my question:
“Coming back to my watery question. What is Still Water, and what is Sparkling Water?”
After a lot of discussion, I came to know that Still Water was plain water and Sparkling Water is what we Indians call carbonated water (or soda).
We were back in our rooms by noon, for at 3 p.m. we were to assemble in the lobby for an introductory party at Oudekraal, Cape Town. The place was breathtaking – 99% for the ambience and 1% because of all the smoking all of us indulged in.
After getting to know each other (which was easy after a few drinks) I was literally put in the bus back to the hotel. The next day I was told that I created quite a commotion, NOT wanting to go back to the hotel…and when I couldn`t achieve that….I insisted on sitting next a particular ‘firang` girl, who had no idea about me.
I tried to get familiar. “Have you read ouchmytoe.com?”
“Have you heard of it, at least?”
“Are you saying that I am not popular in South Africa?”
“Who are you anyway?”
Suddenly, I felt giddy & wanted to puke. Before I could find out if it was the alcohol or the girl`s replies, we reached the hotel.