At the eleventh hour, my husband finally gave into my demands (actually it was more like begging and pleading than demanding) and decided that we could spend the long weekend in Durban. This meant that I had about five minutes to organise a trip I’d usually spend a week preparing for, but I am not one to look a gift horse in the mouth, so I made it happen.
Now think back to your youth, do you remember how we Durbanites used to laugh at the Joburgers who would flock to the coast during the school holidays? The Vaalies would infiltrate our beaches – even during July, wearing their VERY short khaki shorts, socks and sandals; they’d apply sun block to all visible areas, except the moms who’d literally play dead in the sun in order to catch a tan and then prance around proud as peacocks, as if the boiled shrimp look was hot. Yes, you remember? Well it turns out that I have become a Vaalie – sans the khaki shorts and socks of course.
The kids started sweating almost as soon as we drove past the “Welcome to KZN” signboard. On cue, my hair shrunk back to its roots – literally – and my sleek Highveld look morphed into coastal “croos.” It was the middle of June yet Durban was as warm and inviting as Joburg in October. My first thought was that I had packed completely wrong for the kids. All the fleecy jumpsuits and polo necks which had taken up MOST of the space in the suitcases, were packed in vain, I knew that the most we’d be wearing was one layer, as opposed to the four layers we were accustomed to in Joburg.
How nice to wake up to the sun splashing across your face – in Winter. We wasted no time greasing up with sun block and made for the beach. Although the Golden Mile was packed with revellers enjoying the sunshine, there weren’t many swimmers, except for the Vaalies! Liam and Hannah made a bee-line for the water, I was ill prepared for the splashing, cavorting and frolicking and had to call for back-up when my beloved Blackberry almost drowned – while trying to take photos and holding two children afloat. We made it back up to the picnic spot, the four of us looking like drenched drain rats.
I have come to realise why us Vaalies love the coast – the eternal Summer, the warm Mozambique Current, the fact that your ice cream melts faster than you can eat it even in Winter. Just that fresh sea breeze alone is an automatic mood enhancer, it’s no wonder I had such a happy childhood!
Durbanites, be thankful for your mild winters, your roaring ocean, curried pines and Murkoo, Britannia bunnies and Ushaka. One day when I’m big, I’d like to retire in the city of my birth. Perhaps my loving children will see to it that I have a sea facing room in my old age home.