So after a year of working from the comfort of my own couch in the comfort of my own jocks, I’ve finally decided to tog up and hit the road again. It was a big decision – will the thrill of adventure even come close to matching the thrill of never really having to put pants on? Only time will tell.
I just arrived in Africa, and for a trip that has so far consisted of an hour long drive from the airport to a house, it’s already been eventful. I’m still in the clothes that I sported on the plane and haven’t worn underwear in 24 hours, as Singapore Airlines thought that my backpack looked good enough to keep. I can’t blame them, it’s a nice backpack. But they have agreed to give me custody in the (hopefully) not too distant future.
But this rather large negative has been counterbalanced by an even larger positive. I write to you from here:
It’s what looks to be a millionaire’s retreat. That’s because that is exactly what it is.
In a sequence of events too complex and boring to lay down here, I’ve shacked up with a family who not only control one of the largest real estate conglomerates in South Africa, but are also bloody nice people. What a double. My only concern, as I outlaid to Pete and Corrin (the well-to-dos in question) last night, is that I might’ve dived into dessert before I’ve had a go at the vegetables. I can’t imagine camping on the side of a Rwandan dirt road right now. I’m too busy jerkin’ off to the sight of native wildlife on my 17 acre estate.
So before I get into what might be described as a slightly more traditional African experience, I thought I’d note down what I’m expecting as a totally naïve and unknowledgeable visitor. I’m guessing-slash-hoping my idiotic predictions about the cradle of humanity will be hilarious to look back on once this whole adventure brings itself to a close.
The Complete Guide to Africa, by a little white boy from Adelaide who’s watched a couple of Attenborough documentaries.*
*I don’t mean this to be racist but it could be.
From what I gather the people of Africa are overwhelmingly happy. Whether they’re of limited means or are a little more blessed in the pocket department, they are just generally chuffed to be here. Obviously frowny Frans exist somewhere around here, but I’d expect them to form a distinct minority. I also expect to see the whitest fuckin’ teeth ever.
People will also be more tanned.
Hot. It’s freakin’ hot you guys. The fact that Africa is precariously balanced on the equator means that I’m pretty confident I got this one right. Furthermore I imagine that the plains of the Serengeti are a bit dry, the middle of the Congo is a bit wet, and the top of Kilimanjaro is a bit nippy.
Heaps of it. Nature out the arse. As visitors to Australia expect that they’ll have to bat kangaroos away as they go to the shops, so too do I expect to be inconvenienced by an elephant, giraffe or ostrich when I’m walking on a beach or having a beer at a hostel bar. If neither of those specific things happen I’d like continent of Africa to politely refund this whole fuckin’ trip.
Chilled. God it’ll be chilled. Provided I keep the more war-torn set – South Sudan, the Congo et al – at arm’s length, I’ll expect that I’ll keep said arms and also use them to high five people because of the aforementioned chilledness. I predict that my heart rate will not exceed 80bpm at any point in this trip.
So, like Nigella Lawson with a honey-glazed ham, let’s set that to one side and check back on it in a few months’ time. Will my naivety come back to bite me? Will I get into a fist fight with an ostrich in a hostel bar? Will I try to insert a link to an Enya song into every blog I post?
Who knows (except for the Enya bit which can be answered with an emphatic yes). The only way to find out is to tune in next time.