The South African trip… part deux

La Famiglia

After the reunion, I flew to East London to meet my mom and my aunt René. For the non-South Africans, East London is actually a South African city… in fact it’s where I was born. Why they decided to name it after EAST London… I do not know. If I was going to name my city after anywhere in London it would probably be Camden. Apparently there is a Camden in Sydney. Every now and then the Aussies do have a good idea.

Anyway… East London is the closest place to where my family lives that has an airport. By chance my cousin, Thys, was also in East London for the night. He’s the lead guitarist in a band called Southern Gypsy Queen and they are permanently on tour. I haven’t seen Thys in a good couple of years so it was awesome to catch up with him. As with any gathering of my mom’s side of the family… we talked music.

My mom and aunt help my other two cousins, Brend and Roy run their Bed & Breakfast, The Black Swan, which is in Queenstown (about 2 hours from East London). Brend is the drummer for about three local bands and Roy is a magician. We’re a creative bunch. We decided that, although there was plenty of space, my mom, René and I should share a room. We’re like kids when the three of us get together and there was much giggling and sharing of cosmetic products and photos of anything and everything.

Being in Queenstown is very much like going back in time. It is still de rigueur for “gentlemen” to wear rugby shorts and hiking boots… even to dinner at the á la carte restaurant that is part of the Black Swan empire. Also it appears that a well-cultivated beer belly is the height of sexiness. Given my taste for skinny, tattooed, indie boys with long hair in tight jeans, I would probably be even unluckier in love than I am in London if I were to relocate.

It felt like way too much of a drive-by visit. I felt like I didn’t see nearly enough of Brend and Roy or their lovely partners Lindy and Anneke. I would particularly have liked to see more of Anneke since she officially becomes family in December when she and Roy get married. Unfortunately I do not have the leave or the money to be at their wedding but I did leave behind a canvas print of my favourite Banksy for them to put in their house and hopefully remember me by. I already miss everyone.

Mes Amis

There really is no rest for the wicked and I went straight from the airport to a dinner arranged by the lovely Bronwyn, who is practically my social secretary. The girl deserves a medal for everything she does! We went to Primi Piatti, where there were an alarming number of birthdays going on around us. They like birthdays at Primi and there were borderline riots going on at each table. It was particularly nice to see my awesome friend, Russell, who has filled out alarmingly since I saw him last year. He has most definitely blossomed. You go, girlfriend *giggles* Bronwyn’s boy, Dave officially gets the “shot monster” award for enticing us into sampling quite a number of different alcoholic concoctions. Beert, La G’s boy gets the lightweight award though… I have no idea how he managed to be that much more sozzled than the rest of us.

Thursday was an even bigger whirlwind. I started out by having coffee with Donna, who is my oldest friend. We lived on the same block from when we were four until we were 23. Don is expecting her second bundle of joy in a month’s time so it was awesome to catch-up and find out all the details about the little girl who is about to enhance her happy family.

From there I went shopping with La G and then had a few vinos with Imogen. Imo and I were chatting like we had never been apart and of course there was much giggling, ranting and smoking. I am glad to report that Imo is as bubbly and full of life as ever.

My final stop was the end of dinner with La G’s diving friends who get the second shot monster award. I am impressed with how much partying was going on for a Thursday night. They were all so much fun but I couldn’t keep up. I take my hat off to La. The two of us reconnected with our teens and shared a room, giggling until 3am. I got to sleep until 9 but she was in the gym at 6.30. Dude, you are DEDICATED!

Dawn arrived on Friday morning and we popped past Kirsty’s house to see her wedding dress and the bridesmaid’s dresses before retiring to Dawn’s house to crash out spectacularly. A special thanks to Colleen, Dawn’s mom, who put on a delicious dinner for the two of us and momming us back into childhood. Sometimes that is exactly what you need.

Stay tuned for the wedding and the return journey tomorrow.

1 Comment

  1. Listen to all that. I’d need a holiday coming back. But then I guess it always works that way.

    Camden is in the middle of nowhere dude. And I don’t know if its really a good idea so much as a lack of creativity, its just a bunch of stolen names around here. Much like NZ for example, which has a Queenstown – south island just shy of Christchurch and considered the adventure capital of the world I believe.

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