Afrique du Sud… finale

Wedded bliss

On Saturday, the event we were all psyching ourselves up for finally came about… Kirsty and Ian’s wedding. Man, was it a non-stop day. I met up with Kirsten in the morning to go to the hairdresser and be beautified. Oddly enough it turned out the wedding party was at the same hairdresser so it turned into a big bonding session with Dawn and I doing our best to harass the bride. We’re not evil at all us two…

I think Kirsten and I set a land speed record getting all the admin that we needed to get done in the morning. It took us only 45 minutes to buy shoes, a wedding gift, party feet, a stick on bra and a card as well as having sushi for lunch. This is possibly because I was the shopping Nazi and kept barking orders at poor Kirst and forcing her to make a series of snap decisions.

From there we met up with Natalie and Tamarin at the lodge they were staying in so we could get dressed. Considering that Kirst and I had already had our hair done, you would think that almost two hours would be plenty of time for us all to get ready. Ha! We were hopelessly late and skidded into the Vaal Rivera with moments to spare. It being Gauteng in summer the sky smiled at us and disgorged a torrent of rain that would have made the Old Testament floods look tame. Kirsty and the bridesmaids had to walk into the church under gold umbrellas. Of course the deluge took nothing away from the charming ceremony or how incredibly beautiful Kirsty looked.

After the wedding we hung around in the bar (where the Currie Cup final was showing) and waited for the bridal couple to return from the photos. This was where we first encountered “Nice Rack Man” (NRM), so named for reasons that will become clear a little later. NRM was chatting to a “friend” of his and congratulating her on her pregnancy (may I point out that we were not eavesdropping, he was very loud). The problem was that the friend was not actually with child and no matter how much she tried to make this clear, he was insistent that this was what he had heard and therefore it must be true. We took one look at his beige suit and thought… twat.

Arriving at our table for dinner and speeches, etc, we discovered that we were the Hawaiian Barbie table. While most of the rest of the guests were dressed in sedate colours, our table included two purple dresses, one cerise pink, one turquoise and Dawn’s yellow bridesmaid’s dress. Sadly it was also the wardrobe malfunction table. I will not go into detail but we were all struggling to stay in our dresses.

The wedding proceedings were lovely. All of the speeches were very touching as well as the first dances. Ian’s look of concentration while he waltzed his way around the room will become the stuff of legend. From there it just turned into a wild party. While I was milling around in the bar NRM cornered me and told me I had “a nice rack”. I was less than encouraging but he followed me around for the rest of the night restating his appreciation for my “rack” and eventually offering to “motorboat” me. I was disinclined to acquiesce to his request.

Finally the stragglers ended up in the bar for a couple of drinks before Dawn and I decided it was time to retire to our hotel room. Except when we did retire, we decided we were hungry and we missed Barb. So we actually ordered toasted sandwiches from room service and called Barb in London. Felt a bit like being in a film.

It really was a beautiful wedding and I am sure Kirsty and Ian are going to have an amazing future together. They are currently on honeymoon in Mauritius. I would rather not know what they are up to.

The return

I was hoping my return flight would be quietly uneventful. In the lingo of Russell Brand (whose autobiography was on my holiday reading list)… T’were a vain hope. The chaos started at OR Tambo International (formerly Johannesburg International) airport. I was briefly offered a direct flight to London on SAA since my flight was overbooked. I rejoiced. It would have meant freedom from the horror that is Iberia and no connection. However this dream was snatched from me since they had already found enough willing participants and I was condemned back to my original fate.

The plane was jam-packed. Fortunately my lack of sleep caught up with me and I managed to doze off for a lot longer than I usually do. This was pretty fortunate since the completely crap movie screens had failed. The Iberia air stewards and stewardesses are pretty interesting. There was one woman whose job it appeared to be to yell at people and another guy who just meandered up and down the aisles drawling. “caaaaaawffee” in a way that made it sound like a sexual proposition.

When I eventually arrived at Madrid airport (which has bathrooms that are more revolting than the Covent Garden public conveniences), I could not find my flight on the departures board. Then commenced a lot of running around like a headless chicken while a series of hopelessly unfriendly Spanish “information” representatives gave me conflicting information, sent me to incorrect desks, joked about me missing my flight and laughed at me. I am not sure customer service is at the forefront of the Spanish mind… but maybe that’s just my experience. I suppose the most bizarre experience was checking through security with about 20 American nuns and priests in head scarves and fedoras… I wonder where on earth they were going.

I finally did make the flight and on the 10 minute bus ride to the actual aeroplane, chatted to another South African girl (in Afrikaans) who had had exactly the same experience of the customer service. Hmph! Once on the plane I realised I was dying of thirst and ravenous… only to discover that they were CHARGING for refreshments. Please note that this was not a SleazyJet flight… it was fricking Iberia. Oh the cheek. I didn’t have any Euros and the principle infuriated me. So I sat there with a dry mouth, muttering under my breath.

When I did eventually get back to my lair, I felt like I had returned to heaven. After 10 days of living out of a suitcase, sleeping in one’s own bed is the height of luxury!

Thank-you to all my friends and family for your wonderful hospitality and for taking the time to hang out/get into trouble with and entertain me. Until next year…

1 Comment

  1. Clearly I am never flying Iberia…

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