Thursday, October 12, 2006
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.