Archive for Durban

Durban was great!… Except the horror movie I found myself in on Saturday night

Posted in Random Randoms with tags , , , , , , , , , , , on January 5, 2009 by starstripe

It was my third-to-last night in Durban tonight, so two friends and I decided to go and see a movie (Madagascar 2 – a disappointment, considering the first Madagascar film was brilliant) and then off to Spiga D’oro (Shabir Shaik’s favourite hangout – an awesome place actually) for a bite to eat. The day was sunny, a first for the near two weeks I had spent in town already and the evening thunderstorm approaching from the horizon provided a great atmosphere for the perfect end to a hot and humid day. We sat at our table on the pavement outside the restaurant, watching the storm roll in.

Jennifer, Peter and I left town in very good spirits, just as the first of the rain began to appear. After a slow drive back to Westville in a torrential downpour, surrounded by a brilliant ligtning show, we sat in Jennifer’s flat and watched the film “Love Actually”. At about ten forty five, the storm had passed and Peter and I left, him giving me a lift back to Hillcrest where I was staying. But we didn’t even make it into the next road from Jennifer’s flat before the night got pretty creepy, and I lie in my bed writing this and feeling rather freaked out.

About a hundred meters after turning out of Jennifer’s road, we spotted a soggy, but well-fed-looking German Shepherd walking along the grass verge of the roadside. Peter slowed as we drove past and I could see the dog had a collar on. So we stopped and I hopped out and called the dog to me. The dog came straight away and I could see that this was no stray – it was well fed, obedient and collared, yet no tag was on the collar. After making calls to the people we knew in the area, we were left with no choice but to ring people’s doorbells, to see if they could give us any information as to whom this sweet but incredibly dirty dog belonged to. It stank and was drenched from the storm.

We considered taking it to the SPCA, but we would have had to put it in Peter’s mother’s car (he was also on holiday in Durban and had borrowed the car). Now I may have self esteem issues, but I value my life. Knowing Peter’s mother, we decided against putting the dog in the car.

It seems that the vibrant people living in Westville all go to bed before 11pm on a Saturday, so we were not having much luck with people answering their doorbells until one lady answered our frantic buzzing at her gate. We explained the situation and she said that the people living across the road owned a German Shepherd. We thanked her and made our way across the road. This was where we got a bit creeped out.

Across the road was the beginning of a driveway. Standing at the bottom of this driveway, all we could see was a thick overhang of bushes and nothing beyond that – it was pitch dark. And I mean PITCH black.

Peter had parked the car down the road where we had found the dog so we were on foot. He went to fetch the car so that we could shine the headlights up the driveway, seeing as most driveways in Durban suburbs are not enormously long. After he got the car, we shone the lights up the driveway, only to see more and more driveway. It was a long one. So Peter, the dog and I started walking up the sloping drive, slipping on the mossy, wet bricks paving the ground.

We made it to a pair of white gates that were open and from there could see that at the end of the driveway, swinging around to the left was a house. A dark house of which we could only make out the outline.

Again, Peter decided to go back to the car and drive it up the driveway so we could see what was there and if it looked inhabited. I stayed by the gates. But the immense panicked feeling, accompanied by the visions in my head of a pair of hand reaching out from the bushes to grab me and slit my throat made me whine like a little girl and plead “oh please don’t leave me here by myself!”

I walked half way back down with Peter and he got the car while the dog and I moved out of the way so he could pass. When he reached the top of the drive, we could see a house without any lights on, with a table outside the front door, a dingy caravan in front of the garage and a boat under a protective cover that looked as if it had been there since before we were born. A damn creepy sight. But everything was so dark.

“Great. This looks like something out of one of those horror movies with inbred Americans who kill tourists and eat them in casseroles” I thought, but chose to limit my scared appearance by saying “Dude, this looks fucking freaky. This is a seriously creepy house.” It was at this time that Peter realized if those white gates started closing, we were in a lot of trouble. Luckily he kept that to himself or I would have probably started hyperventilating.

We went up to the front of the house where there were two doors, one of which was open with a security gate in front of it, a board at the bottom and a CEILING FAN resting against it?! The table was covered in junk like another fan and pots and pans. The windows were open too. I was expecting someone to come out of the house and blow our brains into vapour for trespassing. It looked like we had stumbled upon an inbred colony. The house was dark with no sign of life, except two small dogs barking inside the open door, which we couldn’t see because of the board across the bottom.

We knocked on the door and called (yelled actually) out “hello” countless times with no answer. Eventually, the German Shepherd began to bark at the neighbour’s dogs on the adjacent property that were going ballistic from all the shouting. By this time we were so creeped out by this house that was a mixture of something out of the film “Psycho” and the teen horror flick “Wrong Turn”, that we decided to eave. The dog seemed to be walking around a lot, more than it had when we were out on the road which we took as a sign that it was familiar with this place. We got back in the car quickly and checked to see if the dog followed us. It didn’t.

Peter reversed as quickly as he could down the driveway to get the hell out of there but when we reached the bottom, we decided to check with the neighbours about the dog, thinking that maybe we had the wrong house. As I got out of the car I could hear a man yelling: “Sid! Come here! Come inside!”

There were lights on the top of the hill that were not there before, presumably from the creepy house. We began calling “Hello!?” up the hill as there was no way we were going up there again and we hoped the man calling the dog to come inside would come down and confirm that the dog was his. The man called the dog again, and we heard a door close. And that was that.

The bastard ignored us, even thought it was now twenty five past eleven and we had been running around with this poor dog for well over half an hour. I told peter to put his headlights on full to shine up the driveway, and when he did, we could see the dog was gone. Relieved but pissed off, and pitying the poor dog that has such an asshole of an owner, we set off on our way. WHo the hell leaves their dog outside in a storm, with their gates open? And when people bring him back you ignore them? What a freak.

Both utterly freaked out, I kept checking the back of the car to make sure no axe murderer had gotten inside the car while we were at the front door and Peter asked if we were being followed. I said I was just checking for a psycho in the back and he thought I was joking – I wasn’t.

I got home so late, and my parents were a bit worried as my phone had died. I was so glad to be home, but even our house looked a little creepy at this stage After telling my mum the story and giving my hands a really good scrubbing, my mum explained why our house was so dark – lighting had blown half the lights’ fuses in the house during the storm. Meaning my room would be pitch-black when I went to sleep. “Greaaaaat” I thought, especially as my cat used to sleep under my balcony. My dead cat now. And the day we had her put down last week, I heard a few “mews” coming from outside…

Durban has some creepy shit going on. Fun in the sun – creepy shit at night.

OMG!!! It's a bloke who doesn't give a crap about his pet dog!

OMG!!! It's a bloke who doesn't give a crap about his pet dog! But wait... the inbreds are eating the bloke! Good inbreds... Gooood inbreds...

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Music FAIL

Posted in Random Randoms with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 24, 2008 by starstripe

Sometimes I take a moment to think about the fact that I am 25 years old. It’s weird, in the past year I have begun to notice that I am no longer in the ‘drunken, live out of a bag, student’ category of society. I fall into the ‘single, working, woman’ category. ‘Woman’. Ugh. I have been a ‘girl’ my whole life, but now, alas, am past that stage…even though I don’t feel it. Other times I really do.

I was at a braai last week and someone put on the album “Kid A’ by Radiohead. I started listening to that album when I had barely turned 19 and was indeed a ‘young, trendy, party animal’ type. Then someone at the braai turned the music off and put on Max Normal. When I last listened to Max Normal, I was 18. Since then the band broke up, but a new album of theirs was playing. I had no idea they had even gotten back together, let alone had a female join the group. Then I looked at the people at the braai who I was sitting with: An 18 year old and a 20 year old.

I swallowed hard.

“Why turn off Radiohead, man?” I asked the guy who was organizing the music.
“Oh God, that stuff is as suicidal as… Coldplay,” said another girl, this one 21 years old, whilst imitating hanging herself.

I swallowed harder.

“Er… jeesh, actually, Coldplay is one of my favourite bands” I retorted, standing up for my taste in music. “I would kill to see Radiohead, Muse, Coldplay and Moby live!”

I was going to say something after that, but was drowned out by their laughter due to their amusement at my social feaux pas. And then it hit me. When I was 19 and listening to these bands as a hip, alternative and psychedelic kinda girl, these people who were having such a laugh at my embarrassing taste in music were in junior school and had probably only just started wearing a bra. Not cool.

But, there is some music of recent that I have started to quite like. One of the great things about being in recovery from drugs and alcohol and working a programme is that you begin to accept yourself, including your likes and dislikes.

When I was growing up in Durban, my dad used to take me to what seemed like the dodgiest restaurants on the planet so we could eat hot Durban curries. Now curries in Durban ain’t no ordinary curries. They are like a belch from Satan’s belly.

My dad, bless him, is quite the fan of curries that are so hot, they border on illegal. I used to win kudos and praise for managing to wolf down a plate of extra hot prawn curry and walk out of those restaurants with a functioning intestine. However, one of the first moments in my recovery process where I really made a breakthrough in self discovery was realizing that I didn’t like hot food, and that that was ok. The realization came like a ton of bricks and since then I have had no problem saying ‘no thank you’ to fiery cuisine and have been a happy member of the ‘mild please’ assortment of people.

So one of the things that I have grown to enjoy is… Justin Timberlake. Fine, judge me if you like, but that is me, and if you don’t like it, you can fuck off. I don’t like all of his songs but I must say, there are a few tracks I listen to quite often and really enjoy. I think he is incredibly talented and has the caliber to pull off being such a huge star in a major way.

At the office, I tend to put music on my computer and listen to that through headphones because I don’t really like listening to 5fm; I find 5fm tends to drive me up the wall. And that is ok too. I don’t like 5fm! Another major breakthrough in my journey of self discovery!

My work computer was broken, hence I was using my home laptop. Now, this laptop is OLD. It was built for windows 2000 for god’s sake. I don’t think you can even get anything compatible with Windows 2000 nowadays, so I have Windows XP loaded on there too. The headphone jack on the laptop is quite loose; the headphones can pop out quite easily with a small tug, but the laptop does have fantastic sound. I usually play my music to the level of deafening on the headphones, but if you just listen to music straight out of the laptop’s built in speakers, it is pretty damn good.

On this particularly uneventful day, I had a large playlist of music loaded and just happened to have Justin Timberlake playing. The exact song was “What Goes Around.” I had already listened to “My Love” and was quite enjoying the song as I tapped away at my laptop.

As I was typing away, I needed to signal to my colleague sitting at the next desk adjacent to me. I turned quickly to my left, bringing my left arm up in a snap to wave at him so that he could take his earphones off. Forgetting that my headphone cord was next to my arm, the unspeakable happened when my arm shot away from my body and pulled the headphone jack clean out of the laptop.

The chorus of What Goes Around was then broadcast across three offices, including my own, at top volume.

At first everyone froze. No one did anything. Then papers went flying. Pens stopped writing. The cleaning lady dropped the tray full of crockery. Printers stopped printing. Faxes stopped faxing. Obama lost the presidency. Ok all that didn’t happen but everyone was pretty mortified: a lot of blank faces looked up suddenly from their work stations and gazed at me, not quite sure what the Hollioaks Omnibus was going on.

“I am NOT listening to Justin Timberlake!!! I am… er… just… FUKKIIIIIT!!!!” I exclaimed in a pitiful attempt at covering up Justin Trouwsersnake’s voice. But because my computer is a brick, pressing stop on Window’s Media Player takes about two minutes for the command to register, so I quickly muted the speakers.

Silence followed.

Then, a female colleague sitting behind me said in a disgusted tone: “Where you listening to… Justin Timberlake?”

“Um… yeah… I think one or two of his songs are ok!” I responded, trying my best to pick up the shrapnel of my self esteem lying on the floor beneath me.

“Ooooh I am sooooo embarrassed for youuuuu!!!” another colleague sitting next to me laughed. I looked, hopeful at some kind of sympathy, at my colleague who sits opposite me. But all I got was a, “Dude…” and shaking of his head. He was unable to look at me in the eye.

I haven’t listened to JT since then. My headphones came out again after that incident, but thank God I was listening to the Killers. Imagine it was Dire Straights. Or Brian Ferry.

The one on the left... really is JT.

The one on the left... really is JT.

Cockroaches and Gym

Posted in Random Randoms with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , on November 4, 2008 by starstripe

I really am a danger to myself.

After getting home from chairing an NA meeting, I was pretty much buggered, but with a healthy eating plan being a part of my life and trying to shift my post rehab weight (not like Nicole Richie thanks), I endeavored to make some veggies and tuna to munch on whilst I got down to doing some writing. Having put some butternut and other veg on the stove, I retreated to my room to write. After spending an hour playing Mob Wars on Facebook, I realized a smell of burnt butternut was seeping into my room from my kitchen. I dashed to the stove and found the veggies in a state of charcoaling at the bottom of the pot. Scraping out what wasn’t burnt to eat for dinner, I remembered my mother’s clever advice for burnt pot cleaning – add some Handy Andy in hot water in the pot and boil it on a low setting for a little while. So I made my cleaning fluid concoction and put the burnt pot on the stove to boil slowly and went back to my room to do attempt some writing again.

After playing another hour of Mob Wars, once again, I was alerted by a burning smell as before. But this burning smell was worse than vegetables. It was burnt Handy Andy. The pot was even more black, but this time, it stank. If you have ever burnt soap, you will know what this smells like but unless you are either a soap maker or as stupid as I am, you will not have experienced this pungent aroma. Like bad soap. Evil soap. Disgusting soap. The fumes were so strong I had to open all the doors in my house leading outside to try and get rid of the smell, hoping the toxic vapour would not kill me or make me high. It took a while, and a lot of toilet spray before I could breathe again without wanting to bring up my burnt dinner.

The pot is still sitting on my stove, I am hoping that if I ignore it, it will clean itself and put itself away in the cupboard without bothering anyone like a good pot.

So this evening, my new housemate came to visit. After many cups of coffee, cigarettes and talk about our messed up parents, I went to my computer to show him my prized and illegal copy of the Muse live at Wembley DVD. Now I love Muse. I love Matthew Bellamy and want to marry him. But then I found out he married some Italian wench called Gaia POLLONY, and it made me quite upset. Pollony?!!! Bitch. She ruined the song Starlight for me. She told English Cosmo it belongs to her and Matt. Seriously, she can have it. I had dreams of him dedicating it to me from a packed stage in London. Not any more, thanks to that ungrateful skank.

So I was busy gushing over how talented he is and monitoring his incredible piano playing talent (Matthew Bellamy, not house mate, I don’t know if he can play piano) with my back to my bedroom wall.

“Oh look a cockroach” my new housemate alerted me.

Turning around I observed what is the one thing in the world that terrifies me though most – a roach. Ever since a bad experience in Durban with a nonexistent pendant on a necklace and a three inch cockroach, I have not been a fan. At all.

And this particular roach was about the length of my index finger and FAT. And whirring its feelers. On my wall.

In a panic, I lurched backwards, away from the wall but could not get far as my desk was in the way. Treading on my poor new housemate’s foot, I fled the room, taking a few speakers with me who’s cables were caught around my other foot.

Anyway, I doomed the roach, stood on it and doomed it again. And then stood on it again. Apologising profusely to my new roomie, I felt about as big as that roach. Well, maybe smaller. He said it was fine, but I don’t think his foot agreed.

I have to go to bed now, gym in the morning.

Ah I love the gym. And detest it at the same time. It amazes me how some ladies can pull off full make up and a workout without breaking a sweat. Thing is, the men at the gym are hardly “modest”. The ones that are modest are modest for a reason. If I was to think of anywhere worse to pick a man up than a gym, it would have to be Cmax prison. But the gym is pretty bad.

A while ago, what must have been an ex rugby star who got thrown out of the sport for steroids was next to me on a treadmill. Literally this guy put the damn machine on so fast he couldn’t keep up with it. Seeing a man with a 100kg frame running at 15km/hr is quite something. And not something that lasts. After about ten seconds and almost coming off the back, he stopped the machine, did a kind of “yeah”-self affirmation-type-effort and hopped off.

Later I was on a rowing machine and he got onto the one next to me. I was beginning to get a complex – was he going on the same machines as me to make himself look better? Maybe it was in my head, but when he started pulling the rowing cord so hard that he could have powered New York with for a month from the machine (but only for about ten seconds), I began to wonder. And then… the girlfriend turned up.

Not particularly pretty, but one of the ‘in girls’ slaving to status came up. I wondered if it was his sister but no, definately his girlfriend. Now if this guy had been a gentle and nice person, I could have seen reason behind the couple. But this guy was far from it and a complete egotist. Who had been thrown out of rugby for steroids, remember?

Then I realized the mutual benefit of the Christina Storm/James small relationship –  the rugby man, model woman relationship strategy. She wants money and fame status, he wants prettier-lady-than-his-neighbour-status. Well they definitely had that. And not much else, maybe two brain cells between them. I see them at the gym often, him pushing weights far too heavy for him which he drops on occasion and she doing alluring stretches in front of the mirror. I wish them the best; it seems a mutually beneficial relationship. Maybe with their two brain cells added together they have a fighting chance of finding the car in the parking lot after their workout. I have names for them – steroid banned rugby man and pretty but brainless cling on.

There are other names for the regulars I see there: anorexic alcoholic woman, extremely hairy KGB man, ultra muscly coloured lady, fitness junkie grandma, insane Indian groaning man and crazy naked stretching woman (don’t ask – if you have been inside a gym changing room, you know what I am talking about)¸amongst others.

The changing rooms in the gym scare me. My first month at the gym I would leave the ladies room feeling rather violated and like crying. I don’t know if it is just me, but I pretty much shower in a towel. I don’t have a great figure but I think if I did, I would not take part in the naked acrobatics that those women seem to love.  When I was in high school, I had the art of getting my gym kit on under my school uniform before removing uniform technique down to a tee. But these ladies must have gone to a French school or something.

The things I have seen in that locker room… cannot be unseen. Really, I have come close to vomiting. Not from bad hygiene, just from attention seeking displays of ladies private parts that I really, really, really, really could do without seeing. Actually one incident was bad hygiene. A rather large lady in the steam room was not using a towel and had her, erm, nether regions spread across the tiles. When she got up, she made the most massive squelching sound from her private parts suctioning on the tiles that I nearly vomited on the spot. Apart from that, the general naked bitchiness is just a little too much to handle, but I am a little more used to it by now.

When it comes to the machines, I am the bitch, I always look at what everyone else is doing on their screens and if I am going at a harder rate than them, I feel like a better person. Fuck the lot of them 