Now the holiday starts the get real: I finally get to do some hula hooping and stay in a backpackers. Whilst I’ve loved the fancy rooms and wildlife, I’m looking forward to more humble accommodation. Ideally with bed bugs.
It’s a long way to Swaziland, and the roads get more ridden with potholes the nearer you get to the border. But the real adventure start when you reach passport control. While the South African officials are not so bureaucratic, the boxes of free condoms available in the toilets tell you what their concerns are. Being a sensitive bunch of Western males, we each take a pack to play jokes on the others. When we realise that we are all completely unoriginal, we stash the packs (totalling around 50 condoms) in the glove compartment.
Then we start to panic when a Swazi official chooses to search the car.buckets of condoms probably don’t count as humour here and I forgot to bring my English Toilet Humour translation book. Fortunately our man gives up straight after checking the boot. Apparently my hula hoop is a sign that we are not sex tourists.
Following more confusion trying to get the correct immigration forms, some musings on Google maps failure in Swaziland and some arguments about how dangerous it is to hit a cow in the dark in a country where we are not insured, we reach Lidwala lodge in the Ezulwini valley.
My hopes for gritty realism take a knock: Lidwala lodge is very secure, the gardens are gorgeous, and we sleep in a very comfortable safari tent. There isn’t even malaria here, so the Larium seems a bit pointless. Hopefully its accompanying ulcers and schizophrenia will be more useful.
We do get some grittiness when we visit the local pub. I also get a massive hangover after a night out in The House On Fire, but I’ll save those stories for tomorrow’s entry.