My original plan was to pass through
Swaziland with a couple of days at Manzini for some sight-seeing, then
straight on to Kruger NP.
The best laid plans etc etc.....
I'd picked out the Swaziland Backpackers as
the most likely stop, and it was definitely the right choice - a very
chilled place with a pool and so perfect for a few days of R&R.
Manzizni is a pretty non-descript sort of
place - a mall or two, and a market with the usual African wares, and a
special overpriced tourist section. I was chatting to one of the traditional
remedy suppliers when a German tour group barged in on our conversation.
What followed was such a parody of stereotypical behaviour that I couldn't
not record it...
In a decisive frontal attack the guide cut
in with a demand for information - while we were in mid-conversation - no
hello or how are you; "Wat is dat?", she barked, pointing at a pile of what
looked like something you'd feed to your rabbit. How on earth can you do
that if you're a guide? you're supposed to have a grasp of cultural norms,
She was probably pointing to peeling from
some veggie stew he was preparing for lunch, but ever a businessman the
herbalist replied "Vitamin Soup". Shame she didn't buy it.
The highlight of the market is, curiously,
found behind a line of stalls to the rear of the market. Here the locals
play fiercely fought games of draughts. The rules are completely different
from those I'm used to - any piece can move backwards, but a king can travel
any distance in a straight line.
Each move is executed in a blur of speed,
with the counter slapped loudly down on the bard with each move. Here be
masters of the game.