Published: December 4th 2007September 8th 2007
A divine Welcome
The priest at the Shri Sanathan Mundal temple. He was constantly friendly, happy, smiling and calm. One of the most balanced humans I've ever met.
-“You are the reincarnations of Lord Varuna and Lord Vayu”
, the priest at the Shri Sanathan Mundal Temple
, told us.
We looked at each other in disbelief.
-“Don’t you worry, you’re just not aware of it yet, but I’m 100% sure.”
He said and smiled as we nodded hesitantly.
-“Of course you must stay with us here at the temple tonight, together with the other Gods. I’ll first go and have my wife prepare us some chai.”
He made no sign of joking and disappeared, skipping up the stairs to his domicile. Personally I hadn’t been the reincarnation of a God before, and neither had Aili
. But since the priest was so convinced we decided it was easier to play along. He introduced us to the other Gods in the temple. Some were old favourites I’d met before during my travels in India
, but there were also some new faces. Then we were introduced to the Hindu
community of Stanger (they wheren't as convinced about our holiness as the priest where!) after which his wife prepared us a suitably divine tali with chai.
That day we celebrated the wisdom of the Bhagavad-Gita
with a chaotic concert inside the
In with the new
New glammy Gods freshly arrived from the Indian sub continent got all the attention in the temple and had stolen centre stage. The other gods looked with envy on their garlands and wellpainted bodies.
temple, followed by the indulgence of very, very sweet pastries as a last treat before the coming days’ fast.
Already before we arrived to Durban
, we’d heard about its’ huge Indian community (supposedly the biggest Indian community outside of India). We'd heard about its’ strong influence on the city and its surrounding, but we had to see for ourselves to fully appreciate its contribution to the rainbow nation.
After the strenuous Wild Coast
we felt we were done with South Africa
, and besides shaping up our bikes, we just wanted to try the famous Bunny-Chow
and then leave South Africa as soon as possible.
But quickly we realized that Delhi
- Sorry - Durban was a treasure box of incense smelling temples, Bollywood
Blockbusters and more Bombay Splash
than we’d ever expected. It kept us lured for over a week, much thanks to an Indian classic called Bhang-lassi
The Indian community certainly added a whole new spice to the soup of incongruous ethnic groups in South Africa. To us they (and Durban) were a fresh breeze of tandoori-tikka instead of boerwoers, masala dosa instead of milie-paap and bunny-chow instead of biltong; something two
Entering the ISKCON temple at Chatsworth.
vegetarians couldn’t but applaud.
So with this spur of new energy we sat out to visit as many temples and veggie restaurants as possible. After a week we’d visited nine different temples spread out in the sprawling suburbs of Durban and had so much sugary chai that it would give our dentists nightmares. The magicians at David Wiseman Cycles
had transformed the wheelbarrows we’d given them in the beginning of the week; back into the mountain bikes they were prior to the Wild Coast.
We had one last bunny-chow for the road, and then cycled fast past the swaying fields of sugarcane, that personified Zululand
. On the road we met a French
cyclist who could channel energy from the surrounding nature, we were honourable guests at a pineapple farm (with all that meant). We discussed teenage angst with the daughter of a tax-refund officer that kindly let us stay in her house and we were forced to accept all the food we wanted to buy in a supermarket for free, just because we cycled. In other words - we were back on our bikes again which always lead to unpredicted and memorable encounters.
Then it was finaly farewell to South
A Swami explaining parts of the Bhagavad-Gita in the ISKCOM temple at Chatwood. The ceiling inside the temple depicts different important stages of Krishna's life and are painted wit hintricate detail.
Africa - for now.
Not that Swaziland
was much of a difference, since everything looked exactly the same. Swazilands claim for fame is to have the worlds’ highest HIV/AIDS
rate with 40% of the population infected, and subsequently the lowest life expectancy in the world, at 32,2 years. Statistics boding a bleak future for the populace, especially since they’re ruled by a polygamist hypocrite of a King with trumped-up knowledge, that’s in true African-ruling-tradition, takes himself too seriously.
Still we took us time to visit two game reserves in the country before leaving it. A friendly South African foreman on one of the huge sugar factories took us care of us and showed us around the Eastern region, before kindheartedly dropping us off at the Mozambican
From there it was only a day’s ride to the capital, the once grandiose Lourenco Marques
. During the days of the Portuguese
the city were known for its flourishing beauty but had now turned into the typical African urban decay that I favoured so much. A ramshackle dream of high-rise ghettos, crumbling roads, loud traffic spewing out fumes and an evident feel of characteristic African-governmental neglect. This was the
Gods for sale!
At the "Hyper Singh Pooja Shop" in Verulam it was all about gods. Big, small, green, blue, two arms, four arms, six arms. To bad I didn't stock up.
part of Africa that I’d longed for so much during our seven months in semi-sanitized South Africa.
Of course, such a city can’t carry a name like Lourenco Marques, it must have something more suitable, something appropriate to fit its’ new afro-Brazilian personality.
Something more Bantu:
There are more photos below