Pleasure days in banana city

Vusi Ndlovu

Vusi Ndlovu

Southern Sun North Beach Hotel in Durban stands blushing at the warm ocean.

The seductive beach that cries for attention a stone's throw from the hotel whispers words to the patrons of the hotel.

I am not easily enticed, but as I watched the water parading back and forth for my attention, I could not help but descend from my 30th floor room and venture into the ever-warm waters of Durban.

After a long and tiring swim I went back to my hotel room. Through the window, I fed my eyes on the sub-tropical garden that sits gracefully on the shore.

Ships and boats that competed for the best wave on the shore added glamour to the scenery. I enjoyed the outdoor swimming pool on the 32nd floor, with a great view of the ocean.

Breakfast at the hotel is a time to look forward to. A bright, sunny breakfast room is where a large range of delicious, fresh goodies are served.

I came to the banana city for the yearly travel and trade fair, Tourism Indaba. This is the weekend when Durban really comes to life. The streets are abuzz with activity, all the way from the beaches to the streets leading to the venue of Indaba, the International Convention Centre (ICC) and Inkosi Albert Luthuli Arena.

My weekend in Durban also coincided with the Super 14 rugby match between the local team Sharks and New Zealand's Blues.

The city was a party den with all its sinful ingredients. The music, hot babes, toxic beverages and the beach all competed for my attention.

The Durban experience is not complete without a taxi ride in and around the city.

The Playhouse Theatre and a flea market are also some of the novelties that make for a memorable time in Durban. It is where the city's character of multiracial culture comes to play.

Watching a Muslim man in traditional garb trading next to a Zulu woman made me realise how diverse our beautiful country is.

To upcoming musos, Tourism Indaba is a platform to show off their talent. Above the subway, gospel singers entertained the crowd that had gathered in the arena outside the mall, for free.

Leisure walks on the sea shore were also great. Many artists, mostly street kids, displayed their skills by making portraits of anything from sharks, dolphins, lions and cars using nothing else but the sand.

Back to the ICC where things were happening. Lesedi, a Johannesburg-based cultural village, had come down to exhibit their traditional dance.

Well-positioned on the walkway between the ICC and the arena, the group compelled everyone passing by to stop and marvel at their traditional dance as they skilfully changed moves from Zulu, Pedi, Xhosa, Ndebele to Tswana.

The beer garden was also a place where things were happening, from people just chilling or enjoying the humid and breathtaking air of the coast, to making business deals or being interviewed by the media.

Business was booming at all the stands.

On Sunday night my friend Themba Gadebe and I were invited to a party that shook my opinion of our Rainbow nation.

Black Durbanites still subscribe to African time.

For a while we seemed to be the only black revellers on the beach with white party animals. Then hours later, our brothers and sisters made their appearance.

Though I was strongly warned against walking around at night, my weekend in Durbs was very pleasurable.