Durban is, without a doubt, a strange place. The last British outpost, where most white people (and black people for that matter) cannot speak one word of Afrikaans, couldn’t be more different in climate or attitude to life than Britain.
Durban is described by many visitors with one, short word: HOT. Yes, we do have several months of the year where the weather is sticky and the air seems to press down on you like a heavy fur coat. This is more than made up for, however, by a winter climate which requires neither heaters nor thermal underwear. Yes, some Durbanites own neither of these other-place neccessities.
Britain, on the other hand, requires one to use a heater even in summer. They can boast as many warm days as Durbs has cold (not many for those of you not lucky enough to live here.) Now, honestly, who should be doing the boasting?
Yet, so many Durbanites have recently felt it necessary to up sticks and leave Joburg’s holiday resort and hot foot it over to the motherland. I am amazed at how many of them manage to stick it out. Blonde, bronzed beach beauties hopefully pack their biknins with every intention of “popping across to the Rivera,” having made no provision for the fact that one actually has to make a living to live in Britain. Clearly they don’t know that living in Britain doesn’t always allow a lot of extra cash to leave Britain. So, the blonde, bronzed beauties become mousey-brown, pasty-pale, plain-Janes who sigh with relief down the phone that they don’t have to lock their doors anymore. Really? In South East London? HUMMM…I have premonitions of newly acquired retail therapy disappearing…
The attitude of most Britons is very different to that of Durbanites. British people are not, I repeat not, in the least bit friendly. They will send you off on the wrong bus, just for the hell of it. Many people find these shenanigans most offensive, but wouldn’t you behave the same way if your country were being over-run with blonde, bronzed, beautiful gold diggers hoping to suck your inheritance dry? I thought so.
Britain, London in particular also differs from Durban in pace. Nothing happens at speed in Durban, a fact new residents either love or loathe. It takes ages for the plumber to arrive, you always wait in the doctor’s rooms and the police never come, but that’s the Durbs we know and love. London, however is one of the fastest paced cities on earth. Buses arrive on time (unheard of in Durban, possibly in all South Africa) and shows begin on the dot. I often snigger at the image of some of my contempories who never made it to a lecture on time getting hauled over the coals by a British boss for tardiness.
As the old cliche says “If you’re tired of London, you’re tired of life.” That may be so, but I’ll bet my bikini that most Durbanites find London tiring.