A Travellerspoint blog

Day 97 – Have we forgotten anything? And Henry

28th December 2011


The prop shaft was replaced first thing and a test drive revealed that the squeak was gone! Oh yeah. We indulgently patted each other on the back, we were genii.

On the way out of Harare we needed a new pair of decent circlip pliers, those bolts and the much talked about UJ’s. I was also going to get my Christmas present, a fishing rod and reel, on the basis that at a going rate of two dollars per kilo, I’d have to catch enough food to cover its cost. I now have to catch 42 kilograms of fish on our way home. Only the fish that we eat counts, anything endangered is considered cheating too. As I caressed my new rod and reel with a grin like Christmas we realised we’d left all of our food in the kitchen of the backpackers. Somers turned around and travelled the three kilometres back to fetch the grub whilst I went after nuts and circlip pliers.

At the land rover spares shop we procured our UJs and our bolts but sadly no nuts. Somers got chatting to the security guard who had his own farm that he runs growing, paprika, soya beans, tobacco and sorghum; the payday cash crops. He didn’t mention how he acquired his land, a sensitive subject as much was ‘reclaimed’ by war veterans when Robbie needed votes in 2000 and stepped up ‘indigenisation.’ He was a fascinating guy who said he actually preferred living under white rule when fair salaries arrived, in full, on pay day. He postulated that “when the old man goes next year, things will be better, we need you guys to come and open businesses; you can have a black man fronting it so you don’t get problems but you can run it and make it successful.” He was referring to the general elections due to take place in 2012, postponed from March 2011 for dubiously unclear reasons and the fact that white run businesses seem to be successful in creating job opportunities. It was another angle on the country and especially interesting given the outburst at the market the day before.

Our mission objectives were accomplished; it was time for the 300 kilometre drive to Masvingo and the Great Zimbabwe Ruins , at a quarter to four, Somers started asking questions. “Did you bring the books from the room?” ”Yes.” “Did you check the room was empty?” “Yes.” I retorted with, “Somers, did you bring the washing in?” “Oh bugger.”

My swish nylons were still swinging in the rain in Harare, as well as my smelly t-shirts, our towels and some of Somers’ skimpies. We made a second about turn and travelled the eighty kilometres back to the lodge. The washing was both of our responsibilities; we had to stop acting like Muppets. To avoid setting back our schedule we would stay in a cheap dorm and head out early the following morning. The alternative, five hours dusk and dark driving, would not be advisable.

We picked a dorm with no one in; it would be like it was ours alone. But at seven o’clock, in came Henry, a moderately built black guy who was staying for one night only. A little later two American guys appeared with a streak of Italian in their features. Our room was a dorm after all. Somers had a bubble bath, as ladies do, we watched a classic film called Local Hero, (thank you Adrian at Jollyboys,) and fell asleep with our damp clothes strung from anywhere we could find. A short while later I was slipping deeper into the night when the world started shaking. Furniture vibrated and pictures shuddered on their hooks. It was deafening. It was physical brutality. It was Henry. As the snoring roared; I thought of what qualities give a soft palate such depth and power, neither of us had never heard anything so loud, it eclipsed even the fattest, ugliest guys who sound like every breath sucks their soft palate inch by inch into their lungs before growling and gargling it back out. It was incompatible with anyone else’s sleep; all of a sudden four people were rolling uncomfortably in their beds. I spoke out loud. The snoring continued. I spoke out louder. The snoring knew no restraint. I rose and walked over forcing my way through the sound shockwaves as they pushed me like the strongest of winds. With one hand gripping the bed post and my hair flowing in the wind I reached out and touched Henrys arm. He awoke startled. “Dude, you’re snoring like a trooper.” “Uh, sorry man.” He rolled over, the next half hour was bliss; and then there was the very faintest of grunts. That first palatal movement, so faint you can’t be sure if it exists, until it comes again, and again, that palate inching ever higher until it finally occludes the airway and obstructs the breath. A gargle, a snort, a half choked series or ngugh-guh-gugh and out it flaps, breathing resumes, snoring continues, the process repeats. Dormitories are actually for peasants, as every minute passed in the jarring and inharmonious darkness my hatred for them and for Henry’s soft palate increased. Give me a plastic flysheet and blanket any day. We got up at half five and left. We forgot to hand our key in, we forgot to collect our deposit, we were losing it, that place held a curse over us.

Posted by ibeamish 02:50 Archived in Zimbabwe

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