Phoenix Temple, Jungle Drums, Roti Aunts, and Water Frogs

Had a good old chat with my assistant Quentin as we drove the highways to Phoenix to set up for my evening cookery workshop last night. We passed through rolling hills, suburbia, and black townships of unimaginable squalor.

Quentin loves to chat. While in full-rapport, a bizarre thought crossed my mind; being an ex-hearse driver turned Hare Krishna, could Quentin be making up for his previous passengers’ lack of conversational reciprocation?

Anyway, the sun was starting to hang low on the smoky African horizon when I took this picture of the Phoenix Temple. This angle is quite deceptive since the main hall is huge and can easily seat 1500.

Phoenix temple:

The verandah surrounding the temple offers breathtaking 360 degree panoramic views of Durban. Here I am, looking a bit shaggy after a busy South African schedule. I’m starting to hear jungle drums.

on a Phoenix hill:

The class went very well. Everyone seemed to appreciate hearing new things from new angles about a subject most were already expert at – cookery. The crew were mostly ladies of Indian origin, so cooking was second nature to them. This was especially evident when we made our final dish for the night – the fried breads called poories.

Apparently the ladies are affectionately called ‘roti aunties’, after their homely affinity for breadmaking. They were certainly not ‘backwards in coming forwards’ when confronted with a lump of dough, and transformed it into crispy, puffed mouth-melting breads in record time.

roti aunties:

Towards the end of the night, lightening sliced the skyline, thunder rolled and rain fell for the first time in months, moistening the parched winter landscape of Durban. It seems that unseasonal rain was gratefully received all over South Africa yesterday.

I returned home to my little subterranean room in Chatworth to a chorus of African water frogs singing their little puffed green lungs out. My room actually adjoins the moat, and the attached bathroom has tiny windows near the ceiling that literally sparkle with bubbling moat fountain water. The thunderous frog sounds were coming to me amplfied and warped from underwater and were unbelievably loud, surreal and alien in their nature. I drifted to sleep dreaming of strange green slimy reptilean things…
Posted by Kurma on 2/8/06; 4:32:16 PM

Life and Travel

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