Posted by Kian Barker
Greetings and Salutations,
This is about putting the B back in bling and the Bling back in Bling-Bling. It all started years ago when I was working as a guide. Generally guides have little to do with their guests and accommodation. You are the driver and Mr. Know All. You arrive with your robust, partly mud encrusted open safari vehicle, and once all your guests are on board, you disappear over the horizon to whatever and wherever the human instinct might guide you, and hope you find some interesting animals. Sometimes you may have a little in-house knowledge to take you directly to some animal action. In this instance you do not really get to see much of your guests, apart from on and off your vehicle, or in the immediate vicinity of your vehicle. That is as it should be. I have mentioned to a number of close and distant associates, friends and guests, that there may come a time when you may enter the financial food chain yourself, in an attempt to harvest greater wealth. So you will see what I did to achieve this end..
Once you see there is a little extra cash to be made, you start looking at expanding your operation or your choices. Somtimes it is expedient to go in to providing accommodation. For me it was a BnB. When this happens you get a more intimate knowledge of what tourists need when on holiday. Europeans are generally organised and not very extravagant. A modest suitcase, cameras and binoculars. Possibly one or two other articles to make their holiday a little more enjoyable. The complete opposite applies to many South Africans travelling in South Africa. If there is any chance of a braai, fishing, sport or outdoor experience, any quantity of equipment may be loaded, packed and squeezed into the available transport. I kid you not, but I have found myself spending an uncomfortable long distance journey squeezed into the drivers seat in order to accommodate more fishing gear in to the vehicle than was reasonable. My siblings and parents were very tolerant in this respect. I, also guilty of this extravagance, considered this to be a hedonistic essential to my wellbeing.
Now that I have climbed the financial money web a little further than just being a guide, I am surrounded by my BnB. The half ton or so of fishing, camping gear and bikes have since been distributed in and around my little Mecca. The stairs into my haven are tiled, and from time to time I hear the sound of high heels arriving in Africa. The refined nature of this sound is never distasteful to me, as it announces a little bit of unfamiliar sophistication. The Bling-Bling has arrived from the city!...... Why on Earth, Mars and the Moon would anyone attempt to visit Africa in high heels, I ask you, let alone on a safari drive, I just don't know. If you have ever seen a sitatunga antelope walking on dry ground, it is no different from attempting a night drive in high heels. Sitatunga have the weirdest hooves. They have long pointed feet that are about 15 to 20 cms in length. These are used to traverse the large reed beds found in the Okavango Delta. The hooves pierce the soft reed beds allowing them to clamber across these floating reed beds in order to graze on the variety of grasses and reeds found in this unique wetland. However, put them on dry ground, and they are unable to move. It appears that they have put on their high heels back-to-front! Now imagine high heels and the usual amount of bling-bling going through Africa. It is a sight for sore eyes; like my hedonistic half tonne of fishing and outdoor gear, to the owner and wearer ...... totally essential accessories!
Hasta la vista
The Knait Wrydah.