Friday, 20 January 2012

Sometimes Conversation Is A Hard Act To Follow

Lots of things can get lost when hiking up a mountain. 

As you probably know I wear hearing aids and when wind blows into them you can't hear anything but whooshing.

Here’s an extract from a conversation as I heard it while climbing South Africa's Table Top Mountain with a friend called Irfaan.

Irfaan – Did I tell you about what happened?-------------------------------------------grabbed his arm------------------------punched in the face---------------I said HEY! DON’T YOU DO THAT! --------------------------------- and then I said I’d put my fist through his face and that was it-------------------------------amazing story eh? ----------------------------------- Christmas.

Me – Christmas?

Irfaan - Yeah. Well, what?

Me – What what?

Irfaan – Christmas.

Me – I’m guessing you are asking what I’m doing for Christmas?

Irfaan – Erm, ok. What are you doing for Christmas?

Me –I don’t know.

Irfaan – Well, do you eat kittens?

Me – Kittens? ... Like cats?

Irfaan – What?

Ray – I don’t eat kittens’ man.

Irfaan – No Ray, CHICKEN!

 Ray – Oh’. Haha, yeah I do. I’m kind of hungry actually.

Irfaan – I got a sandwich you can have some if you want?

Ray – Sure what’s in it?

Irfaan – Feta cheese, honey and feet.

Ray – Erm... what?

Irfaan – You know what figs are? Those little...

Ray – OH’! FIGS! FIGS! Haha, yes... Not feet.

Irfaan – What the fuck is wrong with you man?  

Ray – Yeah, a lot of wind is blowing in my ears.

Irfaan – OK.. So, you been into town yet?

Ray – Yeah.

Irfaan – Was it fertile?

Ray – I know you’re not asking me if the town was fertile.


We didn’t say anything to each other for a while after that.

Later I was at Irfaan’s house sitting at a table with his little cousins when a man walks into the room wearing black overalls and a Muslim prayer hat.

Irfaan – Ray meet fuck me.

Ray – What’s his name?

Irfaan – Fuck me.

Ray – Erm...

Fuck Me – Hi, I’m Fuck me.

Ray – Hello Fuck me.

Fuck me - ...

Irfaan – There are children here man!

Ray – erm... what’s his name again?

Irfaan – FUCK ME!

Ray – Oh'...OK.

I never did find out his name... probably Funky or Totsi or Cutney or Chucky or something...

It takes a while to adjust to new accents when you travel aboard. I was asking South African people often to repeat themselves (more the first month than the second). I always considered myself as someone articulate in speech but I often had to repeat myself too. I was often thought to be a "coloured guy from Cape Town" until I opened my mouth. The look of confusion when a South African greeted me in Afrikaans or "howzit me'brew?" and I responded without flattening the vowels in my speech - "hey, I'm good thanks, how are you?".

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