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Tuesday, December 20, 2011

As Casual as You Please

I read an article in National Geographic Traveller - The Bus Stops Here.

City Tour Busses run on a tight schedule. The Bus leaves from Here, at 9.05 or 9.45. Please note the minutes.

Of course there will always be those tourists, cool and casual as you please who stroll up late, nary a cary, oblivious to the jeerings of the other passengers, who have been waiting for up to twenty minutes.

It happens here as well.

A group of six, who asked me to arrange the Johannesburg and Soweto Tour and couldn't contain their excitement, spent the next 25 minutes back and forth to the bedrooms and bathrooms.

They had been scurrying around for the previous two hours, asking me in turn, whether the bus would be on time.

Benjamin, not part of the group, asked me to book a taxi for him the previous night, as he was 'always late for his flights', and the 'stress was getting to him'.

The Tour bus arrived and then that taxi whose driver parked behind the bus.

The tourists were now ready to leave. But, where was Benjamin?

And, there he was sitting at the pool reading a Roald Dahl short story.

"Please ask the driver to wait. This story is so riveting. I cannot put it down."

"And, could I use the wi-fi? I need to make sure-sure of my flight."

Thursday, December 15, 2011

Do Lonely Women Ask for It?

*Sarie du Plessis checked-in and wanted to pay: "Immediately, so that nothing would go wrong."

Her husband, Eddie Winfrey, was returning from the UK, after six months, but she would be returning home, after he had settled in.

"Please make sure that everything is perfect. I will bring platters of snacks and cakes, this afternoon."

Sarie arrived later with her blind poodle - "He won't be a problem, I promise."

"Please confirm the flight arrival times," which changed from Reunion to KLM. "These are night arrivals," I told her, "so there is still plenty of time."

"I think it would be best if I left now, as I am not sure if I will recognise him."

"I'll open the.." I said, looking for the remote, and there was a loud bang! Sarie had reversed into the unopened gate.

Steven managed to open it, while Sarie burst into tears, panic stricken.

At midnight, Sarie returned solo. Eddie did not arrive. "Another man 'phoned me and said that Eddie was on his way to the airport but had a dreadful car accident. He is in a coma, and he needed more money from me to pay his hospital bills. But, I don't have any more money. I have sent him my whole pension. All I have left is my small house."

"Your whole pension?"

"He told me that he did not have enough money saved for the plane ticket, and couldn't wait any longer to meet me. He had helped another woman who had, had her money stolen by a scammer, and I was to be very careful of these men. He also had to pay his late wife's funeral expenses, and brother's brain operation. He sounded so kind and also sent me a lovely bouquet of twelve roses, saying that each rose was for each month he have fallen more in love with me."

"Where did you meet him?"

"On Facebook. I was so lonely."

"I watched Carte Blanche and read an article in People, that there are sociopaths out there, but Eddie was so charming and convincing, and had a wonderful sense of humour. Unlike any man I had ever met. "He told me that he had never loved a woman the way he loved me and wanted to marry me."

"I really believed him, and transferred all I had into his account. Eddie said he was a 'man of means' but was having a problem accessing his money from a bank in Switzerland, as they only allowed him to make one annual withdrawal, which was in 90 days time, as it was such a large amount. I really believed him."

"Eddie said he would send a friend to my home with a large suitcase of money to buy a nicer house, and new car and I was to start preparing for the wedding of my dreams."

"Thinking about it, I'm sure I could have met a nice man at Church or a Social Club. Also, at the airport, there was a group of other ladies, wandering about, holding papers with his name. Then they started arguing, so I left."

I'll never forget how shattered Sarie was, and Steven suggested I call her to join us on Christmas day, but she said she did not want to speak to me.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Pillow Talk

On a visit to the Campbells, Misty completing an assignment had a blonde moment with GPS co-ordinates:

"Where do I find Gauteng on the map?"

Aimee doubles up with laughter.

Blake with pointed forefinger: "Emmie! I see you! Don't be naughty!"

You don't mess with his mommy.

I then gave Blake, a Buzz and Woody colouring-in book and puzzle.

And he disappeared.

We leapt off the couches running and yelling until Nick shouted:

"It's okay. I found him!"

There was Blake, hidden inbetween the pillows, colouring-in and giggling.

We settled down again and then it was time for more sports, which went like this.

Blake piled up the pillows on the couches next to Nick and waited in the doorway.

After a few seconds Blake felt a thump on the back of his head.

"Stop, Daddy, Stop!"

Nick stops.

"More, Daddy, More!"

That night during a thunderstorm, Misty felt a presence in the bedroom.

Blake was squeezed in between the bed and side cupboard.

"Psst, Mommy, Boom-Boom!"

Blake snuggled in, and in the morning as Nick sat on the side of the bed rubbing his eyes, a pillow was hurled at his head.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Where You Here?

Terrylin, was inundated with guests this past weekend attending a Health Seminar at Emporer's Palace.

As each one entered, there was thunderous applause with whistling, back-slapping and clapping. But, there was still time for questions...

1. Three young men after a week at the Kruger.

"We have so many questions that weren't answered to our satisfaction. What do lions eat? And, why do they sit down? And, why, when we wanted to go back to the camp, others wanted to stay?"

2. "I booked a dorm bed. Why do I have to share the room with others? You didn't tell me that you had other bookings!"

3. "Come and sit outside with me while I smoke. Do you look after your health? We only have one body, you know."

4. "You have to drink this herbal tea. It takes away headaches and stress. You look as though you need it.""

5. "The fridge is filled with everyone else's alcohol. Where can I put mine?"

6. "Why didn't you fetch me from the airport? I e-mailed that I might need a transfer but I wasn't sure. I also didn't know what time I would be landing, but I thought, you would be there anyway."

7. "I am a born-again Christian. What about you? I noticed your bookcase needs more books from CUM. Take mine. I can always get more."

8. "I have been taking these products for 5 years. (Clap-clap. Back-Slap) Let me show you my file. See all the weight I've lost. I am 63, and the fittest bugger on the planet."

9. "I met a few mates at Emporer's. They say it is so expensive. Could you find some extra beds, so they can sleep here? It is only for one night."

10. "I assumed that because there are so many of us you would fry us eggs for breakfast. White bread once it is injested, alters from starch to sugar."

11. "Don't fret yourself. If you want white bread, I brought plenty along."

12. "Your domestic has arrived. Do you know that you have to pay her double because it's Sunday?"

13. "Did you receive my towel? I had it posted from a hostel in Cape Town? This is very important to me. It travels with me, wherever I go, but I keep on leaving it behind.

And, this morning, there it was...

'Phone rings. Number 8.

"I seem to have misplaced my file. Do you see it? Or do you think someone has taken it?"

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Just Looking

Before, I could say, please sign in, Noel and Simon, threw down their backpacks and darted, one this way (kitchen) and the other that way (dining area)and flung open the fridge doors!

Usually guests dart to the bathroom. Understandable.

Steven, went one way: "What are your looking for?"

I, the other: "Are you OK? May I get you anything?"

Their replies: "Leftovers? You know, anything other guests have left behind!"

Later Noel enters the lounge and begins moving the furniture about.

Refer, questions above. Noel is looking for a plug-point.

"There is one in the bedroom," says Steven.

"I can't use that one," continues Noel. "Simon is in there eating."

Seated at the breakfast table, which I assumed they had been waiting for since the wee hours, Noel says:

"Oh, hi, we were talking about you last night."

"Really? Nice things, I hope? Is there any room for improvement?" I say and walk away.

In walks Inga, tall, blonde, beautiful, but all ashudder, and here is her story:

"I am so sorry. I was at another hostel last night. We had a big party. Everyone was drunk. I can't remember much. Anyway, when I woke up this morning, the owner I think it was, was in my bed fiddling about."

And, Inga tottered down the passage in her 'f**k me heels.

Noel and Simon with their mouths full ran to reception.

"Can we book another night?"

I was asked: "Do you have any monkeys around here?"

"No, only some of the guests."

I'm kidding. No, really. I am.

Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Blake All A Buzz

Blake is now obsessed with Buzz Lightyear and before bedtime he watches Toy Story.

E-v-e-r-y night.

He then leaps about swinging a light-sabre which narrowly misses the TV, yelling:

"To Infinity and Beyond."

Last Saturday Nick and Misty treated Blake at ToysRus. There he selected a cap, Buzz, and a gift inside a chocolate egg.

And, there was Woody.

Blake's mouth formed a perfect O. He clenched his fist around Woody, and refused to let go.

Off to Putt-Putt, what a day, and every time Blake hit the ball, he bellowed:

"To Infinity and Beyond."

When the ball went into the hole Blake punched the air and dislodged Woody.

"Now, the balls gone! And Woody!", he cried.

Back home Blake misplaced Woody, the size of his pinky finger, again.

Tossing out his toyboxes, and slapping his hands on his head, Blake explained the tragic situation:

"No, Mommy, no. Buzz is crying!"

When Blake found Woody he squashed their heads together making kissing sounds.

Misty switched on the TV. There was - Monsters Inc.

"No, Mommy, no!!! Now you made Buzz cry. And Woody. And Meeeeee!!!"

Saturday, October 1, 2011

Blake, the Bokkie

Nick and Misty were awakened by Blake bellowing: "Bokke!", and waving his t-shirt around.

I was to accompany Misty to the Mall and as I opened the shower tap my heart stopped.

After some gurgling the water farted and then nothing.

Must be another bluddy burst water pipe I decide, and call the Council.

But, like Manuel from Fawlty Towers they know nothing.

After a cold shower off we go.

While Misty was filling the trolley, Blake would say: "Oh, thank you, mommy, thank you."

Then Blake spotted a rugby ball inscribed, Rugby World Cup - 2011 - Springboks.

Blake helped himself to the ball, and saw the shelf of dog bowls.

After he selected the bowl that fitted the rugby ball, replacing the others as he went along, he set it in place, slid his feet four paces backwards, put his hands on his hips, looked upwards, and kicked.

Straight as an arrow, thank goodness, as I envisioned cans of dog food flying off the shelves.

By this time, there was an audience clapping away, which alerted security and they joined in.

"He is sooo cute," they all agreed.

Onto the next stop with Blake holding the Rugby Ball and bowl as though his life depended on it, he saw a toy police car, climbed in and off her went

"We really have to go now!" said Misty, and he ran off at a mean speed.

"Blake, Blake, stop, wait, please, Blake!" I called, breathlessly.

But this made him run faster into the arms of a man sporting a rugby jersey.

"Does he belong to you?", he asked me.

Oh, yes. Indeed.

Monday, September 12, 2011

Higher than the Himalayas

As I was parting the sitting-room curtains I spied two backpackers hanging onto the front gate.

They were also trying to balance vuvuzelas on their heads while falling over each other to ring the door bell.

I made my way out, and was greeted with:

BP1: "Good morning, Ma'am. And, how are you, this fine morning?"

This is accompanied with an exaggerated bow, nearly knocking BP2 off his feet.

BP2: "Ow, Henry, behave. Ma'am, shit your shebeens are awesome! What do they put into the mampoer? It has the kick of a mule?"

BP1: "That's moonshine right? The best we've ever tasted. And, we've been all over."

Me: "Well, according to extensive research, it's a concoction brewed with a dollop of dieseline. Proudly South African."

They look at each other and convulse with laughter.

BP1: "Hell, no wonder we're on fire!"

BP2: Ma'am, we've being pressing doorbells all over the place since 4am. Right, Henry? And the people are so rude!"

BP1: "Yes one guy said he would kick our asses all the way to Soccer City if we didn't shut up. And, to take those ridiculous things off our heads."

BP2: "And others refused to open up. Their mobiles were on voicemail. What good is that?"

BP1: "Please Ma'am we just need to sleep. We'll be quiet, I promise, we'll tiptoe."

How could I refuse, considering the Bokke beat Wales yesterday, by one point?

God Bless South Africa.

Thursday, August 25, 2011

Why Do They Bother?

When hostels join booking sites accuracy is of upmost importance, to avoid guests saying:

"We only booked here, because this or that is free."

"I swear I saw that the double room is R150 en-suite. I know of a lot of hotels at that price."

But sites insist on check in and check out times and I wonder why they bother?

Message from a booking - My wife, two small children and I will be travelling long distance by car. We need to check-in at 7am.

I reply - Please note the check-in time. The rooms need to be cleaned. And the other guests are checking out at 10am.

At 7am, I hear hooting - paap, paap, paap!!!

When I open the gate, six people emerge from the car.

Of course Dad did not receive my e-mail, and when he can locate his reading glasses, will prove that check-in time is from 7am.

Do I really deserve this? I tell them that they may wait in the car until their room is ready which can take a maximum of two adults and two children. They can check this as well.

When the other family were loading their luggage into the taxi, the driver sticks his head out the window.

"Madam are you aware that there are a lot of people sleeping here in a car? How much do you charge for that?"

At midday I ask Dad: "Have you decided what to do about the extra children?"

"These are not all our children. Two of them decided to join us."

The children jerk their heads at one another.

"Dad," they say, as one: "How can you lie like that?"

As the siblings shuffled inside Dad offered R100 apiece for his two additional offspring: "We are very tired and just need to sleep."

Three hours later, Mom emerged: "We seem to have run out of hot water. And did my husband confirm with you that our flight is leaving tomorrow at midnight? So, we'll be leaving at 10pm and not 10am."

Wonderful Wednesdays

Midweek Aimee and I visit the Campbells.

This wonderful Wednesday began with Blake running and leaping into my arms, shouting: "Guppy, Guppy"

"I thought I was Gummy," I say, smothering him with hugs and kisses.

"No, no," laughs Blake, shaking his head and hands. "Not Gummy, Guppeee!"

"Come Gummy, no Guppy, come. Let's play golf."

"Blake, Guppy is sooo tired," I say. "Let's read or watch Tele-Tubbies."

"Please pour me an Oros, Guppy."

"Drink, Blake."

"No, Guppy, no. Where's yours?"

We snuggle up between the couch cushions and I close my eyes.

"Come, Guppy, come. No, stay, Guppy, stay."

Blake disappears into the bedroom and returns:

"Come, Guppy, come!"

Blake has turned back his bedcovers: "Sleep, Guppy, sleep."

As I lie down Blake removes my specs, and places them carefully on the bedside table.

Later, there is a massive splash in the bathroom, and: "Whaah!"

It's Blake, hair on end and eyes like marbles.

All of us: "Blake, what happened?"

"I fell. And the water smacked my bum."

Misty: "Where you standing on the bath again?"

"Yes, mommy."

"Are you going to stop that now?"

"No, mommy, it's funny..."

Settled in the lounge and making a racket, Blake puts his finger on his mouth: "Sssh, all."

Of course, no-one listens. "Ssssh, SSSSHH!"

"What's wrong, Blake?" asks Misty.

Blake farts!

Thanks, Nick for teaching Blake to warn us in advance.

Friday, August 12, 2011

Rocka Rolla

Nicolene 'phones from the Argentinian Embassy confirming a booking for four, and a delivery of two keyboards, a guitar and drums.

Musicians! Aah, sex, drugs and rock 'n roll. And, Doef! Doef!! Doef!!!

I receive an e=mail from Ernesto confirming his arrival at 10h15. (Tuesday) Ernesto, Javier and Pablo are arriving 7am (Wednesday).

Ernesto is arriving twice, and what has happened to number 4?

Then Nicolene 'phones again. Their driver is on his way to collect two keyboards, a guitar and drums.

"No, hold on," she says, "the driver will be dropping these off. Are your directions the same as on the website?"

The driver arrives and drops the items in the sitting room.

"Please," I plead, "could you kindly take these through to the bedroom?"

He lights up a cigarette, and ponders the consequences.

"Oh, all right! But, this is not in my job description."

The guests arrive near midnight, request a taxi at 5am, and promptly fall asleep.

5am no taxi. I call Sophie who tells me that the driver, "is new, but not to worry, he promises that he knows where you are and here is his number."

I call Twespo.

"I have been waiting outside for fifteen minutes," he says. "There is an old lady, peeping out from beind her curtains, and looking at me funny. Is that you?"

"Where are you?" I screech, as Javier taps his watch as though it is my fault.

"Number 2 Harvard Street," replies Twespo.

We are Number 2 Halifax Street.

Saturday, August 6, 2011

The Benedicto's

Steven welcomed the Benedicto's late last night.

According to Mrs Bendicto, her stupid husband refused to pay for a Garmin and they were on their way to God-knows-where!

This morning there was bedlam in the bedroom.

When they emerged, I crouching under the counter and expecting four black shiners, was heartily told:

"Don't mind us, we're Italian!"

After breakfast and armed with the Lonely Planet Guide, I was asked the directions to Sabie.

"Take the N4 to Nelspruit. Then take the R40 to Hazyview."

They were lost on the N4, and their eyes had a hazy view.

"No, no, no," they bellow in unison, "in Italia, in Italia!!"

I then noticed their Lonely Planet Guide was in Italian with the directions in bold print.

The Benedicto's, arms flapping, have another go:

"You are stupid!"

"No, you are stupid!"

Then, they hug and kiss.

"We have been married for forty years," beams Mrs.

"And, will be married for another forty," confirms Mr. "What is the quickest way to the airport?"

"While you are there," I say, "It will be best to hire a Garmin.",

"I told you, you are stupid," says Mrs.

And, off they go, laughing and waving...

Sunday, July 31, 2011

Wound Up

Stacie shot out of the shower all in a froth!

"The water is ice cold!"

On an inspection, yes, ice cold water is spewing out of the tap labelled with a C.

"Stacie," say I. "Hot water comes out of the tap marked with an H."

"Well, where I come from, California, the hot tap is on the left. Are all the hot taps in South Africa on the right?"

As Stacie leaves, one further question?

"Will it be cold here today all day? I was told that in South Africa it is always hot."

Which reminds me of another incident.

"Is the water hot?", asks Tse.

"Like a chilli," I confirm.

Wrong word, I realise as it was confused with chilly.

This morning Daniel in a panic tells me that he has lost the winder for his watch. That tiny silver thingabob.

I think I left it in the garden," he wails, "Would you help me look for it?"

Luckily, I was distracted by someone else with more pressing concerns.

"I found it," Daniel shouts, "In the bedroom!"

When I go in to clean, I want to weep.

The furniture is upended. Both beds are overturned, the carpet and curtains all over and the linen is in the cupboards.

And, the shower panels are under a bed.

Now it is not only the watch that is wound up.

Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Hello and Goodbye

Blake, waves to all as he leaves: "Hello, Goodbye", even to the 'plane overhead.

At home there is a hello for everybody and everything. This includes the children walking along the pavement, the family dogs, and all his possessions.

"Hello bika's, hello balla's, hello, books."

Whenever Blake leaves the house the ritual becomes:

"Goodbye bika's, goodbye balla's, goodbye books."

Yesterday morning, while Misty was bustling about she discovered Blake having a bath in the shower.

He had pushed a golf ball into the drain way down, and was lying on the shower floor, hands behind his neck, legs folded at the knees, and singing.

The golf club used to hammer the ball into the drain, was pushed against the door, making entry difficult.

After Blake dressed, he began his goodbye's.

"Please hurry, Blake," pleaded Misty, "we are going to be late!"

"Aw, Mummy," replied Blake, "please go back to sleep!"

Blake, has a cousin Courtney, aged seven, who is a poppet of note.

About three years ago, Courtney came to visit, and politely enquired as to whether she may use the loo.

"But, I must warn you in advance it will be a number two."

The other day, Courtney threw a carrot into the garbage bin.

Her mommy Michelle lectured her about starving Somalians.

"Well call them and tell them, they can have my carrot," replied Courtney.

Courtney now has a brother, Cayden, who sang Happy Birthday to his mom.

"What did she say?" asked Misty.

"Nothing," he replied, "She was laughing so much she farted."

Tuesday, July 26, 2011

Is This for Real?

The 'phone rings: "I would like to speak to the owner?"

"You can speak to me. I am the owner."

"No, the real owner."

"I am the real owner."

"How many times must I explain that I want the real owner? Clearly you have no idea how to run a business. I don't do business with a woman. I'll get my boss to ring you.

Ten minutes later his wife calls.

I received an e-mail from Ghana.

I would like to book in the dorm room for four nights. These are children aged from 18 months to 11 years. I will not be there. This is what I require.

1.) The baby has an allergy to milk and will only drink skim, name supplied. This needs to be provided. As well as diapers.

2.) Three of the children are sickly, and the 11 year old will provide a prescription for their medication.

3.) There was also an attachment, listing what they will and will not eat.This was itemised under breakfast, lunch, dinner and snacks.

4.) Finally, there was a bath time schedule, television viewing to be strictly monitored, and a speedy reply was requested as to what, I had in mind, for their entertainment?

Another e-mail - Hi. I am at the airport. Please collect me. Yasbek@yahoo.

And another. I will arrive at midnight. Could you organise a tour of the Apartheid Museum at that time. And, I would like dinner there on arrival.

A booking, with a message.

I saw all your rooms are non-smoking. I would like one that smokes.

Father and son return from Gold Reef City close to midnight.

Dad: "Brandon barfed all over the car. I cannot return it like this in the morning. I need you to clean this. Here are my keys."

In the morning: "I see you did not clean the car. I have a good mind to give you a bad review."

Me: "There's a car wash at the airport."

Dad: "But, I will have to pay for that. You really should be more attentive to your guests."

Thursday, July 21, 2011

Ginny, I Need that Tonic

Ginny informs me that she will only book at Terrylin if I would assist with her further travels.

Onward bound to Botswana, she needs to be at Park Station at Sparrow's Poop, and enquiring at Taxi Information is told that the fare will be R350.

"Is this true?", she asks with a shudder.

Well, if they say so it must be.

Ginny further explained that she is a student, studying Aids and tropical diseases, has been a diabetic for 37 years, and is very poor, "but that guy at the taxi desk would not listen."

This morning Ginny has a Plan B and has to be at the airport within minutes to catch a flight to Botswana.

I call for a taxi, and tell her a driver is on his way and should arrive within 10 minutes.

I also tell her that I am going to the loo.

"Will you be long?", asks Ginny, "Please don't make me miss my flight."

I have barely sat down when there is a knock on the door.

"Hello, it's me, Ginny. (Who else?) I need to speak to you urgently! I heard a car."

"Someone is collecting someone else. It's not the taxi!" I reply.

"But, I never said it was. I was just telling you."

Ginny runs off: "Now, there is a big truck outside. Will the taxi find this place, if the truck is blocking the way?"

The taxi driver arrives and Ginny flings her arms around him. He winks at me.

Tring. Tring.

Now, it's Nadia: "I would like to book the room with the pool view. I would like a photo of the room. Is the linen also African like the other room? Could you exchange this with the linen from the other room? I would also like another photo of the pool from the room."

"Not that this will be of any significance though," she continues, "I will be arriving late and night and leaving early in the morning."

Monday, July 18, 2011

Lest We Forget

When guests say: "Bye, bye, tootle doo, see you again," I ask them to check if they have left anything behind.

They dart back and forth, no, they have everything and then the calls and e-mails arrive.

The 'phone rings twice. Moments later, it rings again.

"This is Beth. We stayed there last night. Something terrible has happened!"

"Oh no," I breathe.

"I sent you a missed call. Why didn't you 'phone me back? Anyway, my boyfriend left his wallet in the wardrobe. Please could you see if you can find it?"

I cannot find the wallet and "hello, hello", into the 'phone.


Tring, tring.

"Did you find it? I couldn't hold on for ever. This is costing me money. Now, this is what I want you to do. Do you have a pen and paper? I want you to deposit the cash into this account, and then post the wallet to this address."

The 'phone goes dead. Then rings again.

"Why you not call me back? I am a backpacker. My boyfriend found his wallet but we are looking for his passport."

Now I am trying to get the place cleaned when the 'phone rings again.

"We found the wallet but I left my jacket there. I am cold. I am about to board. Bring my jacket to the airport in five minutes."

"I am so sorry," I say, "but my Lear Jet is not available at the moment."

The 'phone rings AGAIN.

"I have organised a courier to fetch my jacket this week or next week. I told them that you are always there so please don't leave the place at all."

A new guest: "Some-one has left a jacket in the wardrobe, and I would like to use that hanger because it is pink."

"What would you like to hang?" I ask.

"A pink scarf," she replies.

Tuesday, July 5, 2011

Golf, Anyone?

Nick took Blake to the range to practice his golf.

But if another golfer tried to hit their balls Blake would run after them, shouting: "Mine balla, mine balla!! Go get them balla's"

After complaints Nick and Blake went home.

Later that week, Blake spent the day with me.

He opens his bag of balla's. Every size and shape. But, no golf balls.

"Wrong balla's. Gummy, these are kakka!" he wails.

So Steven buys 12 ping-pong balla's. The real ones would smash every window to smithereens.

A beaming Blake blasts them down the passage, and then silence.

"Boet, come here!" he calls Steven.

There stands Blake leaning on the club, other hand on his hip, with one foot crossed over the other.

Steven has now been appointed as the caddy, and is expected to retrieve balls from under the beds and in the bathrooms.

Meanwhile, I discover a laptop in the bag and switch it on.

"Hello and Welcome. Please press the red button and we can begin."

Blake marches into the sitting room and presses the off switch.

"Bye-bye, see you later."

"Bye-bye", says Blake.

I flick the on button. Blake presses the off switch.

"Bye-bye. See you later."

"Bye-bye," bellows Blake, "I said bye-bye. Bye-bye. Now go away. I'm playing golf. Can't you see?"

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Now, another Name

Some travellers will hire a posh car air-conditioning included, with an enquiry for bullet-proof windows, but will not hire a GPS for an extra ZAR50 per day?

Armloads of maps are spread over the dining table and they will enquire thus:

"How far is it to Pemba, my love?"

I, going the extra mile will google and authoritatively announce:

"Do you wish to travel to Mozambique, Zambia or Zanzibar?"

As our airport has been renamed three times, from Jan Smuts International to Johannesburg International.

It is now O R Tambo International, and as some people are not busy enough have renamed streets in Johannesburg.

What was once, say, Andries Aardvark Avenue, has been renamed Satlahopmate Sinklalegatholo Street.

"Could you pronounce that street name for us and spell it, my dear? We've only just arrived!"

One guest who lost his way from the airport to Terrylin, was so impressed with Steven's Tom-Tom that he bought it from him.

Steven then bought a Garmin and spent some time 'phoning someone to add Terrylin as a 'Point of Interest Accommodation' and 'Home'.

I now understand the meaning of Boys and their Toys.

When Steven drives to the corner shop which he can do with his eyes closed, he taps on the Garmin.

On his return he will press 'Home', and as he whooshes through the front gate, he is duly notified that he has "Now Reached his Destination."

When I am bored, I read - Really Ghetto.

Some dipstick couldn't afford a Garmin it seems and glued a globe onto his car's dashboard.

Happy Travels, Boet...

Monday, June 20, 2011

Blake's Baptism

Blake was baptised in St. Therese's Catholic Church, and I was a tad concerned about outbursts of bika and balla during the ceremony.

But, everything went off splendidly along with another little cherub, both of them ginger's.

Neither of them uttered a sound, even when the holy water flattened Blake's mowahawk.

We then assembled at Villa Bianca for lunch, Blake was the man of the moment, with one gentleman yelling: "Give that Man a Bells!!"

To say that the Itilian Giannoccaro's are a colourful lot is an understatement.

At any 'get-together' they all have stories to yell. This immediate family consists of eight brothers and sisters who all speak at the same time, nobody listens to any one else, and it is a laugh a minute.

There are arguments about who owes whom money from 20 years ago.

"But, I thought that was a gift."

"You said that the last 100 times!"

"Oh, forget it," and then there are passionate declarations of love, ties that bind, and death threats to anyone who dares to harm.

A story doing the rounds was of two sisters, nicknamed - 'I know', and 'I don't know'.

Sister 1 : "Where is your husband tonight?"
Sister 2 : "I don't know!"
Sister 3 : "I know!"

Sister No.1 : "Where is your daughter this morning?" Repeat.

Blake, named Archie by Dada, has his own version:

Granny Mary is Nona. (correct)

I am Gummy. (must make that orthodontist's appointment)

Grandpa Martin is Ammie.

Godmother Aimee is Emmie.

Nick and Misty are Daddee and Mommee (sorted)

Godfather Dada is confused with Daddee, and so Dada announced: "Just call me Ugly."

Saturday, May 28, 2011

Most Verbose

Clarice: "I have been thinking, I would like to change my tour. Will it be cold there? Where I come from we have indoor heating. What do you think the temperature will be? And, the scenery? And, the roads? Do you think, I would really want to spend four days at Vic Falls? What is Zimbabwe really like? Is it as bad as they say?"

"Could you please organise the Joh'burg/Soweto tour now? You have to speak to Samuel and my driver has to be Edward."

"Joy, I am so sorry to bother you again, I realise you are busy. Your telephone never stops ringing, so I could not sleep, and I was wondering if you had managed to change my tour for tomorrow yet?"

"This time its Pretoria and the Lion Park. Speak to Samuel and confirm that my driver has to be Edward again."

To Roger, on his arrival:

"Good afternoon. I am Clarice from Canada. What is your name? And, where are you from? This is a very nice place to stay. And, Joy will organise all the tours you want. If you need anything please let her know. She is here to help. I have been here for a two days, and if you need any advice and Joy is busy, I can always help. Where have you been and where are you going to? I have heard that Cape Town is lovely. I am going along the Garden Route, as well as Durban and Port Elizabeth. I hear that is in the Eastern Cape."

Same Roger, who sent an e-mail.

My flight is an odyssey of patience and endurance.

As a young man, I hitchhiked around the world, staying in many a hostel. So your establishment has a special meaning for me as it is a wonderful reminder of my earlier adventures.

Yet, after what will be about thirty hours in a pressurised tin can with only recycled air, I was wondering if there would be sufficient synaptic brain activity for me to figure out a taxi ride to your place. Your offer is the perfect solution.

Once I depart the USA it is essentially a non-stop flight so the only time to contact you is once I land and clear customs.

What have you found the best way to meet up?

Clarice and Roger natted on and on for hours.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

Odd Todd

Todd arrived, via a taxi and informed me that he had to attend a conference in Sandton for two days, and wanted to see the sights, and what was the cheapest option?

"Car hire or the Gautrain," I said. The bus will collect you here on the corner and then take you to the station. The price is R40 each way and the conference centre is across the street."

Todd emerged from the room two hours later and confirmed that he had arranged a taxi, for the following morning, at R500 'but could I arrange the car hire, for that evening?'

This I do and 'phone Todd to collect the car which is available from 5pm.

Todd returns in a taxi.

"What now?", I ask.

"I have arranged with the driver to collect me again tomorrow at 6am," replies Todd.

At 9am the driver has not arrived. Todd's first meeting was at 8am.

I 'phone for another taxi. Then have to cancel and the driver arrives. Todd asks me to re-book the car.

Not a chance, as I'll look like the loony. He is now on his own.

Todd returns midday, rather irate, as this driver now charged him R600. Serves him right.

"So will you be hiring a car now at around R200 per day or use the train?" I ask.

"No, I have arranged with the driver again. He promises he will be on time. I have his mobile number."

The following morning:

"Please may I use your 'phone?" asks Todd. "I have no airtime."

That afternoon:

"The driver told me that he had made a mistake. The price was actually R700. But he promised that he would take me back to the airport tomorrow morning for R200."

"Todd," I say, "the price is R100."

"No, it's fine, he has done me a huge favour taking me all over," replies Todd.

Saturday, May 7, 2011

Blake, not Superman

Blake's other granny Nonna bought him a helmet and bika boots.

All that is now required is a jacket and gloves to complete the ensemble.

I gave Blake an old pair of woollen gloves. "Thank you, Guppee. You are so kind."

Blake is so impressed with his boots. When I see him he hikes up his jeans and points to each one in turn.

After Misty parks her car in the driveway, Blake waits for her to leave to prepare dinner.

He jumps into the driver's seat, presses the button to roll down the window, fastens the seatbelt, and turns up the volume on the radio.

"Broom. Broom. Broom", shouts Blake, turning the steering wheel.

Screeching cats, yelping dogs and baffled birds all flee in unison, and Sanna opens her door, saying: "That can only be Blake!"

Not long after, Misty hears: "Ma, Maah, Maaah! Daddeee!!"

Blake has locked himself in the car!

"Push the button, Blake", says Misty.

"I can't Mom, it's stuck. I am not Superman."

One day is one day when Blake may catapult into the traffic cop's garden next door, while he and his family are having dinner.

Saturday, April 16, 2011

Curry, Worry and Hurry

A voice boomed from the entrance:

"I am Dr Deviharin, a cardiologist from Delhi."

What a relief as I nearly had a heart attack.

"Good day." I say. Welcome to Terr..."

"I would like to do a tour of Sun City and a tour of Johannesburg, Soweto and Pretoria. And the Apartheid Museum. And, I need to be back here at six sharp for my whiskey."

The taxi driver was still unloading his luggage.

"You'll need at least three days to do all that," I tell him.

"Well, then I'll just have to stay here longer," he replied.

"Do you know what brings on a heart attack?", asked Dr Deviharin, completing the register.

A big fright, I believe. Like the one you just gave me.

"It's Curry, Worry and Hurry," he says. Now I know.

Steven returns from the airport looking baffled and holding a bag of apples and two banana peels.

Before collecting a guest from the airport, Steven had bought some groceries. He asked Jeffrey if he needed anything - food, airtime or to draw cash.

"Only airtime," was his reply.

On Steven's return, Jeffrey had eaten two bananas and thrown the peels onto the back seat.

Jeffrey signed in as Major and requested a receipt.

"I need your full name and surname, please?" I said.

"I was a Major in the Army and that's all you need to know."

Jeffrey the Major then asked whether South Africa had two currencies, as he had two one hundred rand notes which appeared to be different.

He and Dr Deviharin, over a bottle of whiskey had an intense discussion on the matter.

Before retiring to bed, Jeffrey the Major asked Steven if he could have two apples to help him to sleep.

Wednesday, March 23, 2011

Blake our Brick

I was watching 'The Middle', where the youngest son, Brick, was nearly swopped at birth with a baby named Blake.

The mother, pacifying Brick, said: "Anyway, Blake is a boring name."

Have you ever?!

Misty was unpegging the washing, when she felt as though a gale force wind was about to lift her off her feet.

With a prior warning of: "Marmeeee," Blake with his arms and legs, clutched around Nick's shirt, swirled around the washing line like a tornado.

Even the neighbour's looked over the wall.

Nick brought Blake home from playschool, and saw the house key on the kitchen counter.

Nick pushed Blake through the window and begged him to give him the key.

Blake, however, had a better idea and jumped off the counter, ran to his bedroom, and rode his bika up and down the passage.

When Misty returned home, Nick was still standing at the window, begging: "Please, Blake, please, give me the key!"

Nick and Misty, no longer need an alarm. At 6am, their wake-up call is 'vroom, vroom, vroom'.

Blake often checks the car tyres, by kicking them, to ensure they are in order.

Last Saturday morning, Blake insisted on baked beans on toast for breakfast.

Once the beans had taken effect, Blake dramatically bent over, placed his hands on his knees and let rip.

While he looked embarrassed, he guffawed as though this was the funniest thing ever.

Misty and Aimee visited me for a natter. We sat on the front porch, while Blake batted the ball.

Blake then hid the ball under a tree and toddled up the steps to sit next to me on the slatted bench. He looked uncomfortable and slid off.

Blake then pushed his fist under Misty's bottom, which was on the comfy chair.

Misty said: "Blake, your ball is not here. I'll get up and show you."

Blake was now comfortable and smiled at his mom.

As Misty stood up, Blake leapt onto the chair, with a look that had to be seen to be believed.


Saturday, March 5, 2011

A Day with Blake

Blake was in hospital for two days.

He scampered about with Chloe, who had a brain tumour removed, both as happy as larks.

Blake, in fits of giggles, kept tugging at the nurses skirts, asking for a bika.

Once better, beaming Blake, visited Guppy, as Misty went to work.

Blake on his bika zoomed down the passages, around the back garden, the front garden and the driveway.

He insisted on feeding himself, and upended, the porridge onto the carpet.

I retrieved a book, and began to read with superhuman enunciation. Blake looked at me as though I was daft, and bursts out laughing.

He opens the biscuit tin, and puts his head inside. I forgot to replenish the Iced-Zoo. Blake then points, throws up his arms and says: "Gone!"

Misty calls. Blake presses every button, and cranes the mobile in his neck - "Mummy Gone."

I also forgot to put the container of tooth-picks away. Blake and I spend the next 30 minutes, picking up 100 toothpicks.

Blake has now found the permanent marker, and is poised at the lounge wall. I find some paper and crayons. Silence.

I decide to wash the breakfast dishes. Blake enters the kitchen, and says: "Gone." I crawl under the bed, to retrieve 30 crayons. All the while, Blake is smacking me on the bottom and laughing...

10am - 3 hours to go. Misty calls. She will be an hour late.

1pm - I change Blake into clean threads. Mommy is on her way. We are off to Wimpy.

Blake has found a packet of nik-naks and now he is orange, from head to toe.

At the Wimpy, Blake pours a bubblegum milkshake over his head and giggles.

Misty and I, collapse with laughter - not the right thing, we know...

Blake now looks as though he could audition for Avatar 2...

Sunday, February 27, 2011

Up for Sports

Blake's potty class were the first to line up for the obstacle race. I implored his fans, to behave appropriately and not ululate, as this would be very distracting.

Halfway through the race, Blake spied plastic bikes at the end of each lane. He bolted like Usain, and, unable to contain myself, I ran along the sidelines, bellowing: "Run, Blake, Run!"

Blake realised that all his Christmases and Birthdays were rolled into one, and he ran from lane to lane, undecided as to which bike to aim for first. Once there, he sampled each one. The other participants had to wait their turn.

For the second race, after weeks of practicing, Blake decided at the inopportune moment that - On Your Marks, Ready, Steady - was a complete waste of time, and had to be held back by his daddy to avoid disqualification.

Blake wept.

The gentleman with the funnel, then requested all the mommies and grannies to ditch their heels, and after a moment of stretching, they formed an orderly queue. The daddies and grampies, followed suite, and a good time was had by all.

Misty and Aunty Aimee, ran for a laugh and Granny Nonna, fell. Nick, talking on two mobiles at once, nearly missed his turn.

Daddy was also jokingly reprimanded, for false starts. Father, Son? Daddy and his mate, Matthew, took the sprint very seriously, and flew to the finish. After much debate and back-slapping, they decided on a tie.

But, the highlight was, Blake's Grampy, won, amidst, much jubilation!

One gym bunny mommy, togged in a tracksuit, ran with one arm behind her back, laughing like a hyena, leaving the competition and spectators wiping the dust from their eyes.

After, boerewors rolls and beverages, the teachers, may they always be blessed, cleared the fields for the more advanced obstacles, which included shapes and hoops.

Everything has a place, Blake, decided to stack these in an orderly fashion. Aunty Aimee and I, rapidly restored these items as the advanced classes proceeded to their places.

Blake pointed and wept.

He then spied a stray bike and all was well...

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

The Law

An irate neighbour is shouting from the front gate:

"You come out here now! I am contacting my lawyer tomorrow, and the Council, and the Police. Just watch me."

His mother emerges from the front seat, screaming: "This is bullshit!", while his wife sitting in the back, is showing me the finger.

"What is the problem?' I ask.

"Your dog barks all night and keeps us awake. We work hard all day and my mother is aging rapidly from lack of sleep. My wife has had numerous psychological check-ups and I have no medical aid left. I have a good mind to make you pay." he screams.

"We don't have a dog," I reply.

"What are you going to do about it?" he continues.

"We don't have a dog," I confirm.

"So then whose dog is it?" he asks, while making a hasty getaway.

The Smythes arrive later, gushing: "We were recommended all the way from Port Elizabeth."

They kick off their shoes at the entrance, carry their luggage to the room and lock the door.

I knock tentatively and ask them to fill out the register.

"We will pay once we leave," Mr tells me.

By a stoke of luck, the owner of the hostel calls from Port Elizabeth. He would like to speak to them as they left without paying and he would like their credit card details.

They huff off to the room to gather their belongings, trip over their shoes at the front door and demand free transport to the airport.

I have been told that to run a backpackers business I have to be a bitch. Unfortunately.

"I have received a call from Mike. He says you did not pay. You will also have to pay me now for your accommodation and the taxi fare," I tell them.

Mr: "My wife has not one but two law degrees from Poland and Canada. She knows what she is talking about. You have overcharged R20 for the accommodation."

Mrs: "And, there is a special on at the Intercontinental, and you have the cheek to charge more."

"I charge more than the Intercontinental?" I ask. "Let me call them."

They throw their credit card on the desk. R4500 per night is a vast difference between R420.

I fall asleep as soon as my head hits the pillow and didn't hear the phantom dog barking.

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Blake's New Bed

Misty assembled Blake's new Toy Story bed.

Two hours it took. 15 minutes max on the instruction manual.

Blake, watching the construction of the bed intently and pointing from bed to bike, laughed so lustily he nearly stopped breathing.

As Misty also needed to regain her breath after the bed building, she flopped onto the couch to read a month old magazine.

Blake was pounding on the computer then stopped mid-press, looked at her, stood up and slowly walked over, and hugged and kissed her.

At bedtime Blake eagerly snuggled into his new bed and silence prevailed.

Around 2am, Misty hears :"Ma, Maa, Maah!"

"Go to your new bed, Blake."

Blake tip-toes to his room. Silence again. Then a chair is scraped back.

Twang! Twang!! Twang!!! Beethoven Blake is playing the piano.

"Go to your Toy Story bed, Blake," says Nick.

When Misty wakes up the following morning, Blake is sleeping on Nick's bottom and has one big toe in Misty's ear and the other up her nose.

"I like my bed, mommy," says Blake, "but yours is so much kinder."

Friday, February 4, 2011

Passport Be Gone

Late one night a taxi driver deposited six gentlemen at Terrylin and sped off into the darkness.

There was a cacophony of blubbering and babbling. I didn't understand a word.

The leader Flavio, could speak a smidgen of English. Marcio had left his carry-bag on the seat at the airport.

All his money, his passport, traveller's cheques, his life, was in that bag, Mario explained excitedly.

Steven 'phoned airport security and was told that they had the bag, intact.

The message was relayed to Flavio, who waving his hands in the air and grinning like a madman informed all and sundry. They whooped and hollered.

And, nearly lifted the garage door off its hinges to push the Renault down the driveway.

While Steven was looking for the car keys, he loses everything, I was frantically attempting to open the gate, with Marcio running in and out.

The next morning Flavio told me that Marcio did not sleep very well as he slept on his carry-bag.

On the other hand Emily arrived as calm as you please.

While in Cape Town she had mislaid her passport.

Emily then had to fly to Johannesburg find accommodation and travel to Pretoria the following morning to apply for a temporary passport.

"Tomorrow is a holiday," I tell her.

"Another one?" she sighs. "So I'll have another day then. And I've just re-arranged my flight schedule!"

We have many public holidays in South Africa. Best to check on the days first.

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Bonding with Backpackers

I want to make your at Terrylin a pleasant one.

1. The security gates are locked at night for your benefit.

2. Please consider others who want to sleep. Don't shout, sing, exercise and bang doors.

3. Please don't leave your belongings behind. I cannot post these to you.

4. Please do not bring me 2kg's of washing at 11pm.

5. Please don't complain about the check-out time. I need to clean your mess so others can find the place as you found it. Also, don't arrive early and ask me every ten minutes if your room is ready yet?

6. Please do not hover over my domestic help. It makes her feel uncomfortable. She does not steal.

7. I cannot answer your questions while I am on the 'phone. You will have your turn. Please be patient.

8. Please don't leap out in front of me while I am carrying a loaded tray.

9. If you have booked your own tour/transport please don't ask me where they are?

10. Please do not follow me around. No-one is going to bite you, least of all me. I also have to shower and brush my teeth as you do. I won't try to open the door.

11. I cannot be held responsible for power outages, burst water pipes, slow wi-fi, thunderstorms, heavy traffic and the neighbour's barking dogs. And yes the 'planes do make a noise.

12. If I book a taxi for you it will take 10 minutes to arrive. Please do not ask me to allay your fears every two minutes. When the taxi arrives do not holler: "Taxi's here!" If you heard the driver hooting, then so did I.

If you are awake at 5am, please do not knock on my bedroom door, to enquire whether I have booked the taxi yet, which you require at 10am.

13. If I am in the shower, please do not knock on the door, enquiring whether the tour guide will definitely be here. He will, I promise! I also want to smell nice.

14. When I open the gate please take 2 steps inside before answering your mobile, so I can close it again.

15. I cannot provide a door key for the dorms. You all want to wander in and out.

16. If you want to cancel your booking please let me know. It's polite.

17. Please clean the loo if you make a number two. Everything you need is there.

18. There is a rubbish bin in the kitchen. Please feel use it.

19. Please do not ask to use my 'phone even if calls are free in your country.

20. I paid for my food as did others. Please buy your own.

Other than that, you are most welcome.