In Durbs

Durban greeted me like a well worn sock: warm, grey, slightly moist and rather grubby.
There was also an overpowering smell of cheese. Possibly anyway.

I’m out here doing some training for staff at one of the local government hospitals. And I’ve decided that I quite like Durban.
The rolling hills and general unkempt state of the place remind me of South Yorkshire, while the stereotypical banana trees and fields of sugar cane are stereotypically stereotypical. Don’t you love it when that happens? Like a seeing a fat, topless Geordie bloke wandering drunk around Newcastle or a Mafia boss smoking a cigar on the streets of Palermo.
If I get some crippling humidity tomorrow, I win a small prize.
Oh, and the people here are friendly (although I haven’t met them all) (yet) and the birds are mental – splendid starlings everywhere – and the roads around the University are crazy steep like in Sheffield.
I even caught a glimpse of the Moses Mabhida Stadium, which was actually less awe-inspiring than I thought it would be but still inspired a certain amount of awe, albeit not as much as I had kept aside for the occasion. I now have some spare awe which I will hold onto for a sight or event that requires surplus awe.

But the Inkosi Albert Luthuli Hospital has been the biggest surprise of my visit thus far. I’ve worked in and around a lot of government hospitals in my time, both in the UK and in SA. And I was blown away by the facilities, the labs, the cleanliness and the general upkeep of the place. It would rival any major hospital in the UK and puts the ones in Cape Town to shame.
And now I can’t quite understand why there isn’t a moderate level of decency across the country rather than apparent excellence over here and utter disgrace back home.

The only drawback of being here, aside from missing my wife and two small kidlets, is that I had to get up at stupid o’clock to be here. Although even that did make for a stunning flight over the snow-capped peaks of the Western Cape, the barren Karoo and the KZN mountains at sunrise. Thus, once I’ve been out for dinner at Chatsworth – which is most probably something like the stately home in north Derbyshire of the same name – there is no plan to stay up late this evening, especially with the requirement to detect and diagnose a shedload more TB tomorrow at that sparkly hospital.

Til then, dearhearts…

5 thoughts on “In Durbs

  1. I ran away from home and went to live in Durbs-by-the-sea… and loved it. That was wa-a-a-y back in 85/86, when you were just knee-high to a grasshopper. Back then, they had bumper stickers for cars that read “Welcome to Durban, now go home” – printed specially to annoy the Vaalies when they arrived en masse every December, with their Vaalie habits, and their Vaalie ignorance, and f*cked off the locals. 😉

    Reading your blog post has just brought a whole raft of memories to the fore… damn you! 😀

  2. Methinks those birds may well be Indian Mynah birds – they look just like starlings and Durban and Joburg are overrun with them. They are truly mental. I once saw two of them having a barney, rolling around on the ground and trying to beat the whatsit out of each other, with a third one acting as ref and bobbing in and out between the two breaking it up when it got too rough.

  3. HH > Seemed like a nice place. Looking forward to coming back – will try to take a day off here next time.

    Charmskool > Hmm. Just looked that IMB up – not one of them. Could be a Cape Glossy Starling or a Black Bellied Starling though – will have a better look when I get home.

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