Thursday, 26 January 2012

Travelling Alone - When It Gets Lonely.

Bus Fare
I am sitting on a minibus driving along the green African hillsides of the Wild Coast, heading towards Durban. I am squeezed between a very large African woman and three scrawny African men in beards and vests. There is a sign by the window that reads ‘fourteen seated persons only’ and I have just counted nineteen people around me including one baby and three children.

There is also three large baskets of fruit and vegetables, an old African lady wearing pale orange face paint (I thought it was skin bleach but actually it means she’s being treated by a witchdoctor), a small cage with two clucking chickens, two barrel sized sacks of rice and a wheel barrow. The radio is on full blast! 'Dear Mama' by Tupac has just come on and all the children are clapping. The afternoon sun is high and the smell of petrol and greasy chicken has taken over everything. The woman in front of me is very round and keeps leaning back, squashing my knees with her seat. 

My god why does she have to be so fat? I think to myself. What excuse is there? Why isn't anyone in her life giving her this feedback!? – Five hours into the journey and pain has arrived in my left buttock and my lower back as well as the fizzing blood in my legs – my legs are going numb! Fuck! How can that woman not know her fat is crushing me! Of course she knows! She just doesn’t care! Fat fuck! She’s eaten a whole box of chicken! She’s so bloody fat and incon-fucking-siderate! I have eaten all my food (two packets of Biltong, a banana, a Power Nut bar and a 1.5 litre bottle of water).

Actually, think! This is perfect, all of the deepest reflective moments in my life happen on cheap, uncomfortable, long haul journeys. Yes, who do I miss right now? Who would understand my rage against the fat-chicken-in-a-box eating fuck! Who would listen to me talk about how surreal the landscape is here with the hills, the cows and the beaches? Who would sit next to me right now and laugh about how ridiculous the word “baboon” is... BABOON! Are you kidding me?  Shout the word “BABOON” and keep a straight face!

I've been on the road alone for over a week now and have met many people and other travellers at backpacker hostels but not really anyone else as alone as me right now. You have this part of you that always has to be open when wanting to meet new people but that gets tiring. You have to keep proving to people how interesting and intelligent you are and sometimes you just want to make some dumb joke that only someone who knows you will take the right way.

I know I’m ok on my own but right now I would be so much better with company.

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