Rednose comic relief Detour haze

Those spur of the moment decisions are usually the best ones, and they remain the best if you don’t over analyse and just go with them.

The Plan:  

  • To do a road trip to Durban to meet all the fabulous people from Twitter who live there
  • To be a child again and enjoy every moment of our trip

Fast Facts:

 Dialing code for Durban is 031
Distance from Johannesburg to Durban is 588km’s
Time it takes to travel this distance is 6 hours
Actual distance travelled 1080km’s
Actual time taken to travel this distance was 12 hours
Number of laughing fits experienced on this trip were infinite
Number of Tweeps (People from Twitter) met was 20
Number of venues we made appearances at in Durban was 10
#Planking is the art of lying flat on odd surfaces & take a picture of it
#Owling is the art of perching on an object like an owl & take a picture of it
#Koalaing is the art of acting like a koala and grabbing onto an object with all 4’s & take a picture of it
Regrets? NONE
^ sign means see slideshow for picture to this part of the story

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The plan to go on a road trip to Durban to meet fellow peers from Twitter, was a very last moment one.  It seemed a great idea and we’d been wanting to get down there for a while and this seemed the perfect opportunity.  A quick in and out trip.  Durban is only about a 6 hour drive from Johannesburg.

So we budgeted and started the hype by letting people of twitter (Tweeps) in Durban know that they were going to be invaded by us shortly.  The excitement grew and we both felt as excited as kids going on holiday with their parents to the beach.  Butterflies and all other excitement-related emotions were taking their effect on us.

So the night before the greatly anticipated road trip, Elismha and myself start having a giggle at what we were packing for a 3 night trip. We were packing as if we were moving house.  I did a once over and eliminated half of what I had planned to take with and assumed Elismha would be doing the same….. The only possessions I refused to cut down were my CD’s.  Music makes the road trip! I took about 90 CD’s with.  We even had mascots for the trip^ and we named one of them V, after Vonimoller on Twitter.

18th August 2011, 4am,  I arrive at Elismha’s house to pick her up.  All my bags (2 tog bags and a pillow) packed in the car on the left side of the boot, leaving enough space for Elismha’s anticipated 2 tog bags or similar.  Bouncing out of the car, I ran and hugged Elismha and THEN I saw her luggage.  A suitcase and a tog bag.  But not like a miniature suitcase.  No!  A suitcase that a contortionist could fit into.  The words slipped out of my mouth, faster than a wet body on a foofy  slide lathered with liquid soap (too fast), “there better be a hot, naked man in that suitcase!^.   And that’s where the laughing fits began.

We started on the road and we both reminded each other out loud which road to take to Durban.  And that being noted, we started on our merry trip, slipping the first CD of many into the CD player and started singing, laughing, chatting and enjoying the adventure ahead of us for the next 6 hours en-route to Durban.  We laughed more than we had ever laughed, as if the aircon / fan was laced with laughing gas.  At least our stomach muscles were getting a good exercise.  I brought props to make the adventure more innocent and child-like.  One of the props was a set of clown noses^ and a whistle.  As we approached the first Toll gate, we decided that for the entire trip, we would wear our clown noses when we arrived at every Toll gate.  Some would say that this was childish, and I would say, yes, it was childish, but I guarantee that if you were in the car, you would have been swallowed up in the moment and the fantastic atmosphere, and joined in on the road trip fiascoes.

We updated everyone and communicated with the Twitterverse and we felt that they were all accompanying us on our epic journey. I think that they had just as many laughs as we did.  It felt so good to be connected with them, after all, Twitter is our other home away from home and all the Tweeps are like family that we have gotten to know and care for, otherwise we wouldn’t have thought of doing this trip.  We had created a hashtag (#) so that our friends of twitter could follow the conversations and trip easily #GrannyRoadtrip.

The first “highway” necessary toilet stop made it’s appearance.  This proved to be quite an event.  I pulled over under a bridge and gave Elismha some tips on relieving one-self on the open road:  Open the front passenger door and back door, and you have instant privacy.  Of course, this had us both in hysterics (no surprise there) and the need to go possessed me too.  I was just about to run around the car from my side to assume the privacy position, when a thought came to mind.  I realised I would have been standing in Elismha’s river, so I drove the car forward about a meter and then proceeded to smile from relief.  Just then, it came to me,  I had to #owl under the bridge.  My first ever #owling photo^.

Back in the car, satisfied and full of laughter, we travelled the road km by km.  The time it took to do 350km did not even phase us because we were having such a good time, and they say time flies when you’re having fun.

Just then a sign appeared that made alarm bells go off in my head.  But these alarm bells tickled my funny bone and I burst into fits of laughter trying to get out the words “Liz, I laugh we travelled 400km’s in the wrong direction!” Cue Elismha’s laughing fit.  We were laughing so much, I couldn’t drive anymore that I almost stalled the car.  But the dreaded sign appeared again.  BLOEMFONTEIN.  Still laughing hysterically I said to Liz, “Let’s just pull into a petrol station and ask them if we are on the road to Durban”.  We arrived at the petrol station and asked the dreaded question, as if we were trying to hypnotise the petrol attendant to give us a positive response. Well, we failed at being pro-hypnotists.  We knew the answer before he confirmed our fears.  And for the first time in 400kms we were speachless!  We had driven 400kms in the WRONG DIRECTION.

We were angry at each other, just because we didn’t want to blame ourselves.  So we pull into a little town called Senekal and pulled over to ask 2 farmers for directions to Durban.  We wanted to find our sense of humour again, so we put on our clown noses and asked the farmers to look at us seriously and tell us where to go.  We even made them draw us a map^ (turn right in 200m and drive for 3 hours to Harrismith and then we are back on the right road).

The first 2 hours of the detour to get us back on the right road, we were so silent that an outsider would have thought we had a lover’s tiff.  But we started to get our sense of humour back after we stopped for a coffee and a bit of a stretch. We went right back into full laughter mode.

We were finally nearing Harrismith, which was supposed to be our original 400km stop.  We stopped for a bit of a photo shoot, taking touristy photos of the snow capped mountains just outside Harrismith^ and then finally stopped for a bit of lunch at the Spur.  We were now 8 hours into the trip.  Keep in mind that Durban is 6 hours from Johannesburg, if you take the right road.  But we were not phased in the least by our misfortune at this time.  We took it as “Things happen for a reason” because we were thoroughly enjoying our trip, the laughter, the memories and each other’s company.  Oh, I did another #owling picture in Harrismith^  🙂

Silliness (or more like delusional stupidity) was starting to set in from the tiredness after being awake since 4am and the way the drive was going, we would only reach Durban by 4pm, so we were looking at a total of 12 hours of driving in total. But we were still motivated for this trip.  The music was still blaring, the laughter and conversation still flowing and the clown noses were still making an appearance at every Toll gate we went through.

Finally, we arrive in Durban, 12 hours and 1080km later.  I think Adrenalin was working it’s magic up until that point, because we did not feel tired in the least (maybe mentally exhausted).  We drove around Umhlanga looking for our hotel, and decided to stop and ask for directions.  

We saw some men on a balcony having a smoke, so we stopped in front of the building and asked them for directions.  They directed us to our hotel and also gave us a little advice on where to go for a little bit of a drink after we had settled in.  The place is called “Cottonfields”.  We thought that this was very nice of them and proceeded to our hotel.

The moment we checked in, the adrenalin checked out, and the tiredness attacked with no holds barred.  We felt limp and delusional.  We flopped on the bed, but we still had a tiny bit of a sense of humour left in us to take a self timed picture of us sprawled out on that bed which we aptly named it “Roadkill”^

We didn’t move for what felt like an eternity.  Everything said and done at that time was mindless and numb.  Shuffling our feet instead of walking.  We showered and felt a little re-energised, so the ingenious idea of going out for some dinner possessed us. So we got up and went to Cottonfields, which was earlier suggested by the friendly gentlemen on the balcony.  We acted like typical tourists without a clue.  Seems like we should have asked our Tweep friends if going there was a good idea.

After seeing all the warnings on twitter from our concerned friends, we scoffed down our dinner in record time, paid the bill and made a runner from Cottonfields, of course taking a few funny pics in the process^.

So we listened to our friends and went to “Luna Rossa”, which is managed by a tweep friend  Rawnis Higgens, to have a few more quiet drinks before heading back to our hotel room for much needed sleep.

This did not turn out as planned, but the whole trip didn’t either from 4am, so you could say that we were true to form.  After a few cocktails, we eventually made our way back to the hotel room at 1am.  Please note, that some of the silly pictures you see in the slideshow were taken that night, like the “stopping to smell the flowers, cartwheels in the corridor, 2 tents, chip on my shoulder, Elismha with a straw up her nose, #owling outside Luna Rosa, oh and Elismha on lap (this was when someone asked us if we were a couple…..^”

We slept like the dead that night.

The next morning we woke up a little later than planned, again, true to form, but we were so excited to meet with Jerome Naidoo for a local spicy Bunny Chow^.  We had officially met our second Tweep on our #031GrannyRoadTrip. We had a great banter and got to realise that Twitter is such an amazing tool which opens new doors in our life and the people on Twitter are truly amazing.  Thank you so much for that spicy Bunny Chow, Jerome^.

After the delicious lunch, we decided to visit another tweep.  This was not a planned visit and we didn’t actually know how to get to Trevor‘s establishment, Europa on Florida road, so we drove and prayed we would arrive there.  He was surprised, not sure if he wanted to hide away though.  But a fantastic tweep with a sense of humour that many would kill to have.

And the fabulous Shanita ^ joined us impromptu as well.  We had fabulous moments of laughter and a great chat over cocktails, coffee, and Shanita had her famous Whoffee (Irish coffee).  Now we were getting excited for the tweetup that night (a tweetup is a meet up with people of twitter).

Fast forward to our shopping spree, and then back to our rooms, we started to dress up and ready ourselves for the much anticipated Tweetup being held at Unity.  We organised a taxi, and made our way to Unity.  We were overwhelmed and honoured by the number of people that were at the Tweetup.  Thank you so much to the following people who were there: Joslyn, Michelle, Liz, Gordon, Nicola, Lyndon, Shanita, Bianca, Matthew, Grant

After a few drinks and a delicious dinner, we made our way to House of Curries with Joslyn, Liz, Michelle and Grant.  We then met Willis and Chaunce and that’s where the night went downhill (no other way to explain it in a nice way).  Socialising at it’s best.  I did my first #koalaing^ here.

From there we went to Czar^ meeting Pixie and met Jem Atkins and Glen, a few more drinks there and then back to House of Curries and then we ended the night at Unit11.  We finally made it back to the hotel room by about 2am and passed out.

We didn’t surface until about 11am and the plan was to do as little as possible.  Elismha brought me breakfast in bed, good ol’s MacDonald’s, and then we made our way to News Cafe to meet Genna and Michelle.  I had no voice.  My voice was a squeak, so bad, that dog’s would howl every time I tried to speak. And again, we had great laughs and it was awesome to get to know yet another Tweep of Durban.

All this time that we had been in Durban, we hadn’t seen the beach or put our feet in the ocean yet, so we finished our drinks and went to the beach for a bit of a stroll.  To see the sea was also a part of our plan, and we almost missed this opportunity.  We loved the sand between our toes and the cool waves lapping up on the shore were therapeutic.  We carried on walking down the beach and out of nowhere, a rogue wave attacked us, only dampening Elismha, but drenching me from top to toe, wetting my phone in the process.  So I was phone-less for the last part of the trip, but it was not a problem, because we had achieved what we set out to do in Durban and the last few hours were to be quiet time for Elismha and myself.  Well, at least for me.  Elismha still had her phone.

The day arrived that we had to leave Durban and it’s fabulous folk.  We finally made our way out of the hotel and onto the road at about 11am.  The road home was faster than the road to Durban, because we took the right road.  6 hours in total.

And so the end of the fabulous trip, to meet our extended Twitter family in Durban, had come to an end.  We went to Durban to consummate our friendships with the fabulous tweeps of Durban and the memories will last with us forever.

 Thank you 031.


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