Tag Archives: dawn

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…

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.

Take a look at my life… all black

I’d like to be able to tell you that after the debauchery of Friday night, that we were sensible last night, had one or two drinks and went home early. If I told you this, I would be liar.

Barb, Hilton and I started our evening at Jongleurs in Battersea for Colleen’s birthday. I haven’t seen any stand-up in ages so it was really fun. I used to go all the time back home and I didn’t realise how much I missed it. It was a mixed bag of comedians and the topics ranged from fighting off dingoes to being sexually assaulted by an albino posing as a snowman. Unfortunately we had to leave almost immediately after the show since it was already pushing midnight and we were due at another party.

When we arrived at Baraza for Robs’ 30th the bouncers refused to let us in. After much pleading and cajoling, we were finally allowed into the “all black” themed party. The guests were all in black to mourn the end of Robs’ 20’s and she was in a slinky red number so she could roar into her 30’s. Everyone was ever so slightly drunker than we were and the catch-up process and the chaos commenced.

After Baraza closed the crowd stumbled out into the rain and to Matt’s house. It took us forever to get there because people kept wandering off and Barb and I were attempting to herd Bobby who was pulling his customary bewildered, lost puppy act. The whole crew seemed to be in an exceptionally affectionate mood. There were endless declarations of undying love from every possible corner.

By about 4am, I think Matt had had enough of all of us drifting around his beautiful house. We had not had enough yet and headed back to the Playboy Mansion. The events are somewhat blurry but I do remember leaping around the lounge with Kelly, wailing to Sex On Fire before eventually passing at about 7.

I woke up this morning with gigantic hair, smeared make-up and a mean hangover. I wasn’t in as bad a state as Bobby, who had managed to lose his coat and his wallet and was, for some reason, wearing one full-length black sock and one white secret sock. There is very little movement in the mansion today. Both the permanent residents and their consorts are feeling more than a little worse for hair.

Next weekend we do it all again for Dawn’s birthday.

Today’s obsession is Emily the Strange.  Created by Rob Reger and his company Cosmic Debris Etc. Inc, this Goth cartoon icon is a very dark thirteen-year-old girl who only wears black, loves maths science and rock music and spends all her time with her four cats. Emily is busting with attitude and is something of an anti-hero, wanting people to follow themselves above anything else. She has a very weird and wonderful website that promotes her comic books, merch and a range of interesting little games and quizzes. I am very lucky to own a bag, notebook, keychain and a pair of rocking arm warmers from the Emily range that were a gift from the lovely Jen. And I even dressed as her for Don’s cartoons and super-heroes party last year. Check out the badlibs, they are ridiculously good fun.