Goldilocks and the 3 Turbulent Episodes
So there I was, driving all by my lonesome, down the weather beaten road to Potchefstroom. The bumps in the road were reminiscent of the turbulence we experienced on the flight to Durban before we embarked on our little sea adventure. Ironically, we experienced a similar turbulent episode while making our way through rough seas on the way back to Port.
It had never occurred to me that Potchefstroom is in an entire different province, 120km’s away, and I found myself driving 100km/h for like an hour. I was miffed when I found out that I had to go there; it’s never been on my list of priorities. I saw things one should never see during the week; miles of rolling hills, rivers and dams, sunflower and corn fields, ostrich and cattle farms and even an army base. I drove past places one should never have to pass when not on holiday…places like Kabalasfontein and Fochville.
I went through all that, just so that I could write a test to establish that I was eligible to enroll in the MBA program. The University itself is pretty cool though, the atmosphere is very relaxed even though the architecture is emblematic of Apartheid South Africa. The main building looks like a 17th century Dutch house. Potchefstroom is a quaint little town in the middle of nowhere, big enough to have their own amenities and retail stores, and yet small enough to drive through in 10 minutes. It’s the kind of town where people leave their Mercedes Benz running with their 2 year kid strapped in the back while they pop into a local store or library, and nothing happens.
If anyone ever wondered where all the Afrikaaners (Dutch-speaking white people) went after the 1994 elections, I’m happy to report that most of them are alive and well in Potchefstroom. I hear that there are others in Klerksdorp, but that’s just a rumor until someone can verify it for me. And they have manners. I stood motion-less, waiting to cross the pathway to the Library while ± 500 boys, “Freshmen” first-years waiting to become men, marched army-style from one block to another, each of them bestowing their salutations and acknowledging my presence with a curt Móre Dame (Good Morning Lady). I must have nodded and said Móre (Good Morning) at least 250 times, one for every two I received.
And then I had to answer questions like “If Johnny’s life expectancy at the age of 2 years is 71.5 years, what is the average life expectancy of the bees that built the hive in the gutter near his bedroom window?”…I’m kidding, it was difficult though, but not impossible. I hate Calculus by the way. I was quite relieved to find out that I would not have to commute to the quaint town on a regular basis.
Snow White and the Seven Bitches
So there I was, minding my own business, when someone commented on my little summer “tan”. Now I could care less what people think or say about me and I actually like my darker skin tone; but I just cannot seem to comprehend why people, especially Indians, are so obsessed with fair skin. They are the only ones who will notice or comment on stupid things like Sun-burn. By some strange twist of fate, both Dad and Mother have the dichotomy of fair and dark skin tones within their families, with half of each respective family being quite fair in complexion and the other half slightly darker. I remember when we were little rugrats and use to go swimming at the public pool in Mayfair. It was a time when very few had invested in their own aquatic recreational facilities and Virgin Active was still a foetus in the womb of Richard Branson’s mind.
There was one particular day, when we all went home looking much darker then usual, thanks to 9 hours of unprotected exposure to the sun, and my Aunt exclaimed “Oh my word, look at how black you all are”. Ignorant Aunt is quite fair in complexion, so to make derogatory remarks means nothing to her. I have two particular cousins on Mothers side of the family who are sisters; the one is very fair with blue eyes and blonde-ish hair and the other is much darker, with black glossy hair and brown eyes. Society’s bigotry and prejudice ideals become evident and are displayed when one witnesses how differently people treat these two girls. I guess it doesn’t occur to some people that everyone’s corpse looks the same.
Beauty and the Feast
So there we were, four sisters on the quest for the perfect cupcake…the stuff fairytales are made of; which turned out to be more like the long walk to freedom. It was all Tweets fault actually. She watches too much Top Billing and then wants to try out everything they feature on a weekly basis. It was on one such evening that she got the idea of trying out the gourmet cupcakes at a Patisserie called Moemas in Parktown North. So off we went that blistering Saturday morning; first stop, to pick up little 5 year old Peanut, the fourth edition to my Father’s quartet of girls. Now we should have known that the day was going to be a disaster from the moment we left, especially since we were over an hour past our pre-determined departure time (because hair and make-up takes that long) and Dad had to call twice to see if we were coming to fetch Peanut. She was so excited when she climbed into the car, as she usually is at our monthly “Sisters day” and enthusiastically waved goodbye to her mommy. I promised Dad we’d drive safely and off we went.
We got to Parktown in no time and set out to find the Patisserie, but no such luck. We drove up and down several streets, followed the directions in the map-book, stopped twice to ask other people for help and still nothing. We had been driving around Parktown for over an hour, the heat, exhaustion and frustration getting to us and it was not long before we were all snapping at each other. Tweets finally managed to get comprehensible directions from a little Bistro on one of the streets, and there, nestled between various other shops and café’s, tucked away in the corner, hidden from plain sight was Moemas, holding the coveted cupcakes hostage.
We stood outside the shop window, looking wide-eyed at all the delights displayed, mouths agape, speechless. It was like Willy-Wonka’s factory and we all had a golden ticket. This was where the quest had ended. Unfortunately for us though, there were so many patrons, that we had to wait for another hour to get a table. By the time we were eventually seated outside, we were famished, drained and flustered. We ordered several monstrous triple chocolate cupcakes, one slice of blueberry cheesecake as well as a slice of another cake that looked so delicious, no one bothered to ask for the name. The chocolate cupcakes were divine, as was expected, but very rich. We were soon so thirsty, that when I offered Peanut some bottled water, her little mouth ravaged the contents like a stranded, dehydrated man finding an oasis after 10 days in the Sahara desert. Her five year old tummy was so full after that, she couldn’t drink her milkshake.
There was a stupid grin on our weary faces after that as we made the long trek home. Upon asking my Dad what Peanut’s account of the day was like, he replied that she said “We drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove, and we drove and then we got there. And then we ate, and we ate, and we ate, and we ate, and we ate, and we ate, and we ate, and then we were full”. The day was horrendous, but so worth it.