A River ran through it, and we ran away

I promised to finish the series, but trust me it’s better in person over a couple of beers.

(See previous posts to catch up).

So there we were, wiping our chins, Beef and Ostrich juices dripping down our fronts. Replete with the tastes of Africa.

But although we were representing our Mother continent, the rest of the world wanted in on the action and we were only happy to oblige.

Europe held its own.

Scotland was represented, with Whiskey giving a good showing, England gave of her best in the cross-continental beverage showdown; the performance of ale was impressive.

The contestant from France was charming and although the knockout blow by Champagne (I think that was her name, although the shameless hussy was presented by the hosts of the establishment in haste and we were never properly introduced),  might have been a bit low (at least it felt like that the next morning), her conpany was much appreciated at the time.

When I think back on it now, a jury of our impartial peers (i.e. not demented like us, which is only excuse I can think of in retrospect) would have ruled the entire exercise ill advised.

So there we were, replete with a dinner fit for a honeymoon couple, some Italian Kisses sealing Europe’s assault on the African digestion (and liver), with the sounds of a meandering Crocodile River completing an African evening.

The Crocodile River and Fluffy, don't mess around with Africa

Sit, roll over. DO NOT bite my arm off. Sunset over the Crocodile River (not)

Bed seemed the only option.

After a couple of exploratory bounces, (on the bed, not on me, I still had the shattered remains of my dignity, honeymoon couple be damned), Anthony, my good friend banished me to my cot in the corner.

Never had a man been more happy to enjoy the sticky embrace of a foam and plastic mattress. I was out like a light.

However, all was not well. After a day at the river, bitten by insects, beaten on by the savage Southern sun and drenched by the Crocodile River’s water Africa was about to take her revenge.

The Mother continent provides many wonderful things, beautiful sunsets, vistas of graceful veldt grass gently swaying in the wind, prolific wildlife, dappled light playing on the ground through the shaded boughs of ancient baobabs and willows which dip their graceful branches in streams of pure crystal water. Visit, you’ll love it.

But one unwelcome opportunity Mother Africa also provides unprepared idiots with is an invitation to partake in the joys of sunstroke. the invitation is presented on a silver platter, no RSVP required, all you have to do is leave your hat and sun protection in the chalet.

“Come on in”, she says, “don’t worry about the dress code, you’ll have all your clothes off later anyway, when you’re feeling a bit hot and bothered”

Africa in summer is sort of like a senior varsity student having a chat with your newly arrived freshman daughter, and sunstroke, rather than Captain Morgan is its weapon of choice. It’s going to end in tears and shame (with possibly a trip to the GP the next morning).

So, at about midnight, I began to feel a bit restless, dinner not sitting right, a slight fever, a mild case of the shakes and shivers, a general wobbleyness all round. Anthony was snoring his head off, no doubt reminiscing about his hearty dinner.

Soon the feeling of discomfort became more acute. Nauseous and trembling I headed for the loo.

To spare the more sensitive of you any embarrassment, I’ll summarise; I proceeded to crap myself into oblivion. Along with a bad case of dribbly bum came the other horsemen of sunstroke, projectile vomiting, nausea and lightheadedness. These horsemen of wretchedness were accompanied by their stable boys, retching, dry heaves and moaning.

I knew that a man of Anthony’s refined upbringing would come to my aid, surely a good friend would understand my weakness and vulnerability?

Leaping from his matrimonial bed he calmly leant over me and with a look of great care said “if you’re pissed Mallach, have some of the fruit in the basket in entrance area, it’ll sober you up. It’s not as if we’ll be taking it to Mauritius on the rest of our honeymoon. Now shut the fuck up and let me sleep.”

Friends like this are hard to find and the bodies even harder to hide.

But revenge was not long in coming. It appeared that Anthony’s steak was not as well done, nor as fresh as he might have liked, it wanted out.

Now I’d like you to free your minds to explore the possibilities of a bathroom about 2 x 2 metres across, with a couple of fairly hefty middle aged men throwing their guts up.

There are only a couple of options: i.e. toilet (I’d staked out this area and wasn’t giving it up for anything), the bath and a sink. All I can say is that if you ever visit a honeymoon destination next to the Crocodile River in South Africa, disinfect all of the ablutions. But to be safe I’d probably stay away from the cottage suites completely.

I really, really wanted to give myself up to sleep, but unfortunately Mother Nature had other plans. Anthony staggered back to bed. I threw up for the next 3 hours (trust me, wear a hat when in Africa).

Anthony had, by this time revived himself enough to shout encouragement (the effects of the steak may have worn off, lucky bastard), but Scotch,  Champagne and the sun, those evil triplets wanted to stay up all night, and they wanted to party.

I was still throwing my guts up.

Anthony is a big man, with a big voice, a deep baritone sounded from the other side of the bathroom door; “The banana! Try the banana”.

Quieter: “The fruit basket. Fruit, that’s you need. Maybe later the pineapple will help, rehydration, your liquids”, (mumble, mumble, fades to silence. Loud fart and so to the embrace of sleep).

Good in a bowl, not the bowel - common mistake

Good in a bowl, not the bowel – common mistake

Now you must remember that the chalet’s are only about 10 metres apart.

At 05h00 I’d collapsed sobbing into my bunk and passed out, however Anthony’s steak was visiting him again, and so the groaning and moaning continued until about 07h30 in the morning.

So picture the scene come the next sunrise:

A large (6.4 foot), rotund man of English extraction, made pale by the evenings exertions, is leaning exhausted against the doorframe of a honeymoon cottage, the towel around his waist barely covering natures’ bounty. The dawn was absolutely wonderful, rose, blue, purple and red colours signaling the start of another glorious day in Africa.

He’s joined by a smaller (but perfectly formed) berobed man, weepy, but resolute, wearing a sorrowful look and a bush hat perched atop a very pale face.

The larger man, glances down at his very good friend with a pained and worried expression, and just as the neighbouring newlywed couple walks past says candidly, “my ass hurts. Banana’s are good”.

The looks were priceless. The paying of the bill by credit card was left up to Anthony. Silence until we had taken the right turn out of the property on the way back to Johannesburg.

They will not be entertaining our reservations in the future; according to Anthony we were politely asked never to grace their establishment with our deviant behaviour again.

“The booking of our next excursion will be left up to me Mallach. That way least we know that I’m not going to be embarressed at the front desk the morning after. You pillock”.

How wrong he was, how very, very worryingly wrong.

But that’s a story for another day.

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