Tuesday, 21 May 2013

The long way home - Sunday

We woke with heavy heart and tired eyes. Today is our last day so we planned to go to Victoria Market in Durban and then come back for the shuttle to the airport. 

As people were packing up the last of their things it was sad to think we won't be here tomorrow. The lure of the market and the promise of buying souvenirs and bargains to take home for loved ones was enough to keep everyone on target, but it was impossible to ignore that we were all feeling a little sad. 

Sme of the group walked to the market whereas some of us hung back and took taxis up the Main Street and toward the market. After some initial confusion over whether we wanted to go to the local fish market or not we finally joined with the rest of the group. 

Throughout my whole time here I have been mostly affected by the sounds in every part of South Africa which has been beautiful, inspiring, annoying and overwhelming in equal measure. It's impossible to explain completely what it's like but the people here live through sound and music and it is so ingrained in their culture and their identity. 

This was no different in the small market street we congregated in. Amongst the fake football shirts and the mobile phone sims there were lots of TV screens playing a variety of gangster films, Kung fu films, videos of traditional music and dancing. All of the screens, around 40 in total were hooked up huge speakers which were 'turned up to 11' (for any spinal tap fans out there) but all playing continuously at the same time. In this tiny zinc shelter the sound bounced around the space and groups of people stood transfixed by the images. It was fascinating to see and was clearly a main part of the market. 

Once together we moved to the slightly more civilised indoor section which sold souvenirs, jewellery and clothes perfect for obvious tourists such as ourselves. Occasionally I would pass students haggling for their bargains. 

Personally I loved the music shop - a veritable trove of CD's and cassettes you don't see back at home. Helpfully in the store they would play any cd you'd like to hear. Helpful seeing as I didn't know over 90% of the artists I saw. They tried to give me the Soweto Gospel Choir and Ladysmith Black Mambazo, both brilliant but I was hoping for something a little more unique to reflect what I have heard since being here. I left with a CD of traditional SA music and a Jazz CD that may earn me some brownie points when I get home. 

Matt and I wandered around and picked up a few presents for friends and family but I was enjoying more just the set up of the market, the Indian influence again really prevalent.

After the market most of the group went back to the Happy Hippo by taxi to continue their shopping or  grab food. Matt, Katy, Holly me and Chris (our new found companion) walked back. Again there was a real assault on the senses of smell, sound and sights. On every street corner women and men willing to braid your hair. 

Katy Holly and I went to the beach and ate fish and chips and had a relaxing chat - we discussed the trip and their plans after they finished. The students will go straight into another new experience, moving out of their homes and coming to terms with not being a student any more. For them this trip is only the beginning of exciting times. 

And now we sit in the Happy Hippo waiting for our shuttle. Some people writing postcards, taking condoms as souvenirs from the Baz Bus, or chatting and still finding out new things about each other after three years together.

We are sad to leave but we have so much to take with us - not just the souvenirs we bought in the market but also the souvenirs we've collected along the way through our experiences. 

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