Friday, June 5, 2009

Drakensberg wrap-up

So! Here I am, sitting in balmy ol' Durban for the first time since I've started this here blog. But wait, what's happened to our intrepid hero since we last heard from him?

The Drakensberg, in summary:

It's frikkin' freezing, Mr Bigglesworth.

Heh, naww, just kidding. The 'berg was great. The sun was shining, the weather was glorious and aside from those typical 5am-wake-up-in-your-tent-because-your-beanie-has-fallen-off-and-your-ears-are-cold moments, I dare say that I generally felt warmer than most of my friends around the country.

That's right, folks: I was in the freakin' mountains and was still shivering far less than you poor sods. In fact, I often took my shirt off to sunbathe while tapping away on my laptop. Hell yeah.

Being on a rather strict budget (Ironically, I later discovered that I'd spent about R100 less than I originally thought), I didn't go on any more of the major tours, but instead spent my days relaxing, being on holiday and creating really freaky games (more on that later). I did, however, decide to talk one or two walks in the land surrounding the lodge.

Hiking instructions: (1) Start walking in any direction. (2) Keep going.

The area that I strolled in is apparently known as the “Little Drakensberg” because of all the itty bitty foothills that dot the area. Something that the brochures don't mention, however, is the ominous presence of dead animals and the poops of something really, really big (and probably vicious) that litter the hiking path. Seriously: moving away from base camp, I progressively caught sight of:

a dead insect

a dead mouse

a dead duck

bones from some larger creature (which, I assume, was dead as well)

All accompanied by ominous poops, indicating that large animals were roaming about. I trekked on, nonetheless: after all, an adventure is always enhanced by that mild sense of danger and that general “what the hell killed all those things” vibe. Good walks, overall.

I must say, though, that none of the experiences I had in the 'berg presented quite as frightening a challenge as the camper's shower:


I mentioned earlier that there was a rather unfortunate crack in the shower doors. That was back when I was still planning on staying in the dorm. Since camping, I've had to contend with another beast entirely: a shower which not only has a similar ever-exposing crack in the door, but also happens to be possessed by demons.

That's correct. Demons. Demons who hate hot water, and who hate me. Most of us have had to deal with uncooperative and finicky showers from time to time, but this one must take the cake. After switching on the water flow, one gets about 7.5 seconds of hot water before it turns to something quite frigid. There's a sign just outside the shower that says “Hot water doesn't just 'run out', so don't worry!” Rubbish. Hot water runs for precisely 7.5 seconds, then disappears for 30 seconds, then comes back for another 7.5 seconds before tormenting you once again. I've calculated this carefully between alternating sessions of being frozen and scalded because I've had to keep the hot tap fully opened to get any hope of warmth.

This has brought about a bold new technique of 'burst showering': the idea that you quickly soak up some warm water, hop out of the shower THE VERY MOMENT it gets cold again, then apply soap, shampoo or whatever weird stuff you use while counting out half a minute in your head. Then it's time to spring back into the shower, grit your teeth and use those precious 7.5 seconds to rinse everything off before you're cast into an icy purgatory again. By the end of my stay, I was getting pretty good at it.

Right. So. Geeky stuff and Durban tales when I next blog. Cheerio, Drakensberg.

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