The days we thought would last forever

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Oldie but a goodie

This is a re-post of something I wrote long ago when I tried my hand at blogging for the first time. It is still as valid today as it was then.



In my humble opinion my life is currently extremely tedious and not really anything to write about but today, sitting in traffic thinking about friends that have come and gone (some of them in the process of going) I had one of those moments of reminiscing and realised that while I may not have anything of note to report at the moment (hoping to change that) I do have some great past adventures that I would love to share. Some were those moments that still have you in stitches when you recall it, some you had to be there and some are just dear to me.

 One of the memories most dear to me includes an old friend of mine. I shall refer to him as The lawyer.

It was the last night of 1996. White people were coming out their bunkers after:

  1. A)They realised the dreaded 1994 uprising was not going to happen.
  2. B)They ran out of canned food.

Roxette was big again after releasing their Hits CD, everyone was dancing the Macarena, Tom Cruise was screaming “Show me the money” and the Fresh Prince was chasing aliens.

We were on a game farm near Hoedspruit and being teenagers we were not going to go into 1997 sitting in the middle of nowhere. After some deliberation we decided we would go to Swadini (Still Aventura in those days – anyone remember Overvaal Resorts?). We commandeered one of the cars, with permission, and took an ice cold bottle of 5th Avenue Cold Duck Champagne, without permission. I assume the grown-ups wondered about that one later.

Thinking back the deliberations went on longer than expected because the time was on the later side of 23:00 and we had some distance to go. We arrived at the gates at around 23:30 (there is no traffic in Hoedspruit at midnight) only to be told that the gates closed at 19:00 and that there is no way we would get in unless we had a reservation – which we had not.

So our options were:

  • Go back to camp.
  • Go to Fort Kapiba – a no fly zone for anyone not carrying a gun or who was an easy target for anyone wishing to pick a fight. We qualified on both accounts.

Back to camp then! We tried some low flying to make sure we make it in time but halfway realised we weren’t going to make it. When the countdown started on the radio we slammed on the brakes and with the dust still settling jumped out of the car to open the champagne. We were on a tarred road in the middle of nowhere and by now the 5th avenue Cold Duck had turned into 5th avenue Warm Duck

The corked popped on cue and everyone took swigs and exchanged hugs and kisses. I may need to point out at this stage that there were in fact girls too.

After a while it was getting a bit cold and the girls opted to sit in the car while The Lawyer and I figured out the asphalt was still warm from baking in the sun all day.

We lay down on the road and look up at the most breathtaking sky. Thousands of stars were glittering in a moonless sky as clear as crystal. It felt as if there was no end to it and lying there we felt small and insignificant, yet looking at the vastness of space above us there were moments when it felt like you can almost grasp your place in the big scheme of things.

It might have been fatigue, the magic of the moment or even the 5th avenue Warm Duck but to this day no starlit night has touched me quite like that one.

Lying on the warm tar in the middle of nowhere turned out to be one of the best New Years evenings ever.. apart from the one when I kissed my wife the first time.. but that is another story.

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