Sunday, 11 May 2014

Kayik Tuak- Part 2, Menzie's Landing

...After what felt like an awfuly long time- partly due to Fazal Junior's commentary ("We are reaching now sir! Oh no, sir, it is far still, but not so far far far") but mostly due to the cold and the wet and the pain in my back- all but one of my wishes had been fulfilled. It turned out that large plates of spaghetti bolognaise don't materialise out of thin air.

We awoke as daylight began to peep through the cracks in the wooden walls of a small house, full of dust and bat droppings, at Menzie's Landing. It was still raining. Having dropped off the rest of the family at a campsite with the tarpaulin last night, it was just Fazal, Fazal, Ben and I. The senior of the two Fazals disappeared somewhere or other and it was quickly realised the some mis-communication had lead to us believing we would be somewhat better catered for. We hadn't taken any food with us, so over to the shop we went. The three of us ate an entire pound of dry, tasteless biscuits for breakfast. Thankfully the shopkeeper took pity on us and served a little hot chocolate too.

It didn't take long to get the feel of Menzie's Landing. It certainly wasn't the bustling little village I had expected to see right next to the country's premier tourist attraction. It was quite the opposite. By midday we had met all the inhabitants (and counted them on two hands). The place was the ghost of an abandoned mining village, most of the houses silent and empty, some missing their roofs and gradually being reclaimed by nature. What little was left was made out of rusting old oil drums. It was a miracle the shop sold anything, but it was clear what his main business was. The shelves were stacked with rum and vodka, and in the corner there was a cardboard box full to the brim with empty high wine bottles. High wine is 69% alcohol. On this grey, drizzling day, Menzie's Landing was the perfect place to be lonely, miserable and drunk.

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