It's always about the journey, not the destination

At the 11th hour I decided to hitch a ride with Lee to Durban. In hindsight I could have also just move to a different lodge, but that would require thinking. The last straw was already broken. If I hear another psych trance again it will be too bloody soon.

The drive up to Durban was a nice, scenic 5 hr drive. Road trip is a perfect way to get to know someone beyond the surface.

Me: "you know, this guidebook says you should never ever stop and ask a random person for directions. I thought it sounded a bit ridiculous. I asked at least 3 people about it and they all agree. Meanwhile, here you are, pulling over at random black towns asking for directions, which I think is totally fine but apparently your people don't think so. What's your thought?"

Lee: "it's fear. They warn u bc u might not know what ur doing. Then u can get in trouble. If u look like u know what ur doing then ur less likely to get in trouble, eh"

Finally, someone who explains it like it is - no sugar coating or dancing around the obvious. I'm so glad I made a local friend. I'm also really glad he's genuine and real.

And now, some english to English translation of SA lingos:
Bruv or cuz - suffix referencing friend. Use like dude.
Ballies - parents (wtf?)
Mappe, mapping - general term for totally taking it. Like "I mapped the burger" or "I mapped her"
Chips - fries
Chop - idiot
Jol - party
Bumble - rolling
Wicked - awesome (how bostonian)
Braa - BBQ

Robot - traffic light (really?)

Slops - flip flops

Mission - used sort of the same way .. "it's a mission to do this n that" but more frequently. substitute for "pain in the ass to .. "

lekker - i forget this one. came with a funny story too. damn.

"haay?", general suffix used like the canadians use "eh" but a tad longer on the "a" sound.

Hmm. I'm forgetting a bunch... SA accent is so hot.

Durban is a nice quiet town with a Cali suburb vibe to it. On our way in, we stopped off at this little chicken burger place - a fave of Lee's. Omg, off the chains. Perfectly marinated, flame grilled, spicy (even for me, which was a surprise), balanced with a fresh slice of sweet pineapple. Mmm. We made another stop at a cute organic market and resto with banana plantation attached to it. All the food on the menu is pancake themed - pancake burgers, etc. So awesome. If I had more energy, we'd prolly go to the gorge and do the 70m free fall jump. That'd be wicked. Alas, too tired.

Monday - had a tour of the city area, a few suburbs, and swung by the city's new soccer stadium (well architected). Then I walked around berea and went out to din din with Lee n 13 of his buddies. The evening reminded me of my 2010 goal - to become a better friend. These guys put a lot of effort into one another and share more than one facet of their lives together. I hope I can have this with my friends at home one day.

Tuesday - woke up bright n early to catch a surf lesson at ushaka. The waves were just right (tho the break felt short) Perfect water temperature. Sunny day. The instructor totally sucked tho. If this was the first time, i'd prolly end up hating it. He didnt teach a lick of anything i dont already know. I did most of the swimming out alone. Anyway, it was good to be out.
Ushaka marine world is interesting. If linc ever make it to S africa he'd totally dig this place. It has africa's largest waterslide, among other water park goodies. Clean. So much to do here.

Took an afternoon tour to the valley of 1000 hills with this cat Mark who runs tours. The drive went through local villages in the valley. There's no transportation, no electricity, no running water. One would have to walk miles n miles to get to school. Water is carried via bucket on the head from the river. People looked happy. Took loads of photos. Drank Zulu home brewed beer from this women in a tiny busted store. Can't say it was good. Tasted thick and weird. Then there was this tony hawk skate park, built completely in the middle of the rural village. Weird. I guess he wanted to use it to promote skateboarding and give something for the local kids to do. It was really cool. Then we drove up to the cliffside of the same valley where all the rich white folks reside. Drastic contrast. Satellite dishes, big houses, etc. It is amazing that one can find total rurality just 25 minutes outside of Durban. Even more of a contradiction that said rurality reside hand in hand with posh villas. Nice, educational trip overall. Going to try some local bunny chow for din din. They say you haven't been to Durban till you try the bunny chow. Ironically no bunnies were sacrificed in making bunny chows. It is, I believe, lamb or chicken curry in breaded bowl. I still haven't tried a drop of south African wine tho. Maybe that'll be on the menu tonight.

Thinking back, the whole second part of the journey feels like series of random coincidences that led to all the answers I was hoping to find on this trip. I keep thinking back at John n caroline's convo in jo'burg - "you'll know it because u feel it in ur heart." I wonder if I had stayed back at makalali or even at port st johns I'd come to this same conclusion. It's like that 'choose ur own adventure book' - i would always go back and read it over n over again, each time choosing a different path only because I needed to know how every option ends. Life isn't like that tho. There is no do-over or what- ifs. There is just the present. I guess I found my answers because I was looking for them. Brilliantly enough, they all came in the most unexpected ways.