Thursday, October 12, 2006

capsule kimberley

Kimberley. Hot. Flat. Sparse.

You walk into the airport to walk out of the airport.

"Everything's five minutes away," I'm told.

This is a full-on work trip and time is not lenient, so I don't get to see the big hole or the diamonds this unassuming dorpie is claim-famed to. I spend the day in a building with inactive airconditioning, compensated only by the friendly willingness of the people I have to interview, the real diamonds in the dust.

It looked like rain in Johannesburg when I left in the a.m, but here it's 29 celcius, and the sky is a stubborn blue.

Duties discharged and it's back to the corridor through which I catch the return flight. It's 4.30pm and the curio shop is closed. The waiting area is too small to people-watch, and I don't want to come across as a loon. It's a small town, you know how people talk. I wittle away time on
Mxit and Opera mini (glory, glory).

It begins to drizzle as I step onto the little plane. My window seat is seated right next to the propellor, and I found myself slipping hypnotic as i watch it pick up momentum until the edge of the blades disappear. That's the super power I want, being able to move so fast, no one sees me. The buzz from the propellors is so loud, I stop hearing it, and I'm looking over the landscape, an abstract carpet. This is farming country; a Mondrian of reds, greens, yellows and browns, circles and geometrics.

Flying through the clouds, I indulge in pareidolia, seeing monsters and gods in the cumulus. I'm looking at the spires of a castle on a mountain with a mermaid in the moat, when I realise it's sunset, time to break fast. A mid-air iftaar; I've packed dates and open SAA's offering - salmon and cream cheese roulade and some fishy-lookin snoek (obvious pun intended). The salmon's edible and I smile at the packet of Tumbles. Mmmm.... chocolate. In-flight catering finally gets something right.

Touch down Jhb straight into a traffic freeze. Scattered accidents and breakdowns convert the 20 minute commute to an hour and a half belly-crawl.

If I were in Kimberely, I'd be five minutes away.


Dreamlife said...

We went to Kimberly in junior school, for a school trip. From what I remember, the Big Hole, big...but i wondered why there was water in it. And whether there were still diamonds there (under the water). Couldn't get any clear shots of it because there's a cage around it :(

It would be quite an experience, though, if there was no cage and you dove straight in - as if it was a pool. (I suppose Bungee Jumping would give the same rush though)

We went into a diamond mine, and through the security controls they have (seems quite intrusive - but hey, people swallow drugs to smuggle them - so diamonds are also swallowable...nice word, don't u think? ;)

There were some nice buildings too, which we visited. I have no idea (anymore) what they were, but I've got the pix somewhere at home.

It was a History excursion; and looking back on it - aside from the History on display, its become a personal History as well...childhood memories :)

queen_Lestat said...

On a road trip with my dad, I travelled through most of the Northern Cape, beautiful, quaint, peaceful.

Mzanzi is gorgeous :P

M Junaid said...

gaping hole in ground
lament, lack of disneyland
settle for big ditch

Hanna said...

great post! I love the metaphors! :)

Z said...

very well written missy! :)

points for u!

Muhammad said...

Slms Saal.

My minds still reeling.. floating outside the airplan window over kimberly :P Awesome Post.



Bilal said...

good stuff:)
i learn from the best:P
Stopped in Kimberly sometime- awesome chicken licken!!

saaleha said...

dreamlife, QL - hope i get to gather some of those memories when i make a return trip.

mj - :)

hanna, Z, M, B - aw shucks thanks. i write to keep the rust away. Bilal, that's the only drawback about travelling while fasting - cant really sample the local cuisine/franchised cholestorol.

zee said...

was it a very small plane????

i rem flying one of those 4 seaters once and i thought the thing was gonna come crashing down the way it was shaking away! :)

Profane. Profound. What's your poison?