Tuesday, April 27

It All Started With Bunny Chow

Sometimes the best days come out of a lack of planning. Take today, for instance: our sole objective was to try Bunny Chow, a local dish we had been told to check out. It was also a bank holiday and combining that with asking a few local friends who we hadn't really seen yet to hang out with us for the day resulted in a recipe for a brilliant eight hour doss that took us all over the Durban coast. And what's more, my purdah had finally been lifted and I had some serious catching up to do.

Our journey started with Bunny Chow and aloo paratha, a decent start to any day in my humble opinion. After finishing with the meal we decided to head off to the nearby stadium to check out the sky walk it had been offering us since seeing it from above on the flight in. By then the randomness of the day had been put in motion and the fact that the skycar was broken and the walking tours fully booked didn't seem to disappoint too much; all of a sudden I was confident that the momentum of the day would carry us through anyway.

After offering our zhur salaat in the shadow of the stadium (while using their fountains as a source of water for whudhu) we continued up the coast toward Umhlanga, stopping off at the very Indian Blue Lagoon on the way. A relic of apartheid, Blue Lagoon seemed to not have gotten over its classification as an Indian beach - and as we sipped on over-sugared drinks and forced ourselves to eat spiced pineapple I was suddenly reminded of my times in Clifton and its surroundings way across the Indian ocean in Karachi. I was promptly brought back down to earth after trying to converse with one of the many Pakistani immigrants selling fake DVDs at the time.

Umhlanga is supposed to have been the posh bit of Durban and for the most part it was. After a brief stroll along the beachside we ended up at the rather fancy Oyster Box hotel for coffee, doss and chat. Although I could have stayed there chilling for a few more hours, the sun and weather was failing us by that point and people needed to go home.

Being in the final few days of our time in Durban this was actually the first time we were saying goodbye to people we would probably not see again on this trip, something that served as a vivid reminder that we weren't in fact locals but people who are only here temporarily. I knew that I'd get this feeling - as if the carpet of good times had been pulled right from under my feet by flight schedules and real life - again and again during the remainder of this trip. I guess that's the price you pay for letting go and making yourself comfortable in what ends up being a home away from home.

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