Welcome to the land where its politically and culturally correct for young ladies to annually prance about in public bare-chested… ah Swaziland! The King’s word is law, everyone swears by Nkosi (King) and at the moment he has 13 wives and he has a kingdom that needs to be run.
Swazilands’ topography is made up of hills, which makes it fun to run around. As I prepared to run on Day 1 all I could think of, was,this will be my Kerio Valley or Kajiado Nightmare, because like these two places the Swaras have run, the hills DO NOT end, granted it plateaus but just for 100 metres, then you have to run up another hill.
Its winter down South and temperatures drop to as low as -1 degrees, especially early in the morning or in the evening. So three days in this country, I have gone through it all. Day 1 started with charting a running path and I found this well tarmcaked hilly road, which looked more promising, than the adjacent ragged hills. So here I am thanking my lucky stars, that despite the steep hill , that it’s a smooth road, 4 kilometres into the run, the tarmac road ended in front of a massive gated home, guarded by armed military men. The first thing that goes through my mind is what have I got myself into and I slow down as the armed men approach me. My first instinct is turn around and flee, until when they wave me down. “ Is this a military installation?”, I ask. “No, this is the QUEEN’S palace!” They reply, “Oh,” I respond rather stupefied and I push my luck, “ So this wife number….?” They laugh nervously and deflect with this question, “so are you married”. I nervously give them a two thumbs up and nervously smile and say, “nice talking to you!”… and I was off . I continued charting another path and stuck to the main road, where I actually saw traffic, so to avoid getting into any private residence. 8 kms later I was able to make it back to my hotel room. Running the remaining days have been rather uneventful, except, when the temperature suddenly drops, so I am forced to run with a fleece for extra protection.
With all said and done this country is good fun and I really enjoy the colloquial language which is flawlessly mixed in English. So here goes
Izzit? You are running neh? Look sharp!
Next stop is LESOTHO! Yes they do have a King and he swears by one wife, unlike his “brother”, who has 13. At least the chances of me running into a Queens’ palace is rather low
Swaras, so, izzit? This weekend, you are running …neh… sharp sharp! Share your stories as well