During my Johannesburg flight I wrote to Durban North Command, requesting a call-up deferment, and posted my Dumb Troopie letter at Jan Smuts Airport. Call-up deferment was easy, If I posted a letter for a lackey to file. Camp absentees were called-up for later camps. AWOLlers were visited by MPs.
The Organization of African Unity prevented SAA landing rights in some African countries. (Roger Childs, Divide and Rule, Macmillan, Auckland, 1990). At Luanda, black and white Portuguese soldiers made us walk a Kalashnikov gauntlet to the airport. Pricks!
We flew round West Africa to England, origin of dad's stamps. London dustmen were striking, so we waded through heaps of black-plastic rubbish-bags on dirty streets. In London and Paris we saw art and dog shit. Soho night-clubs and the Moulin Rouge interested Skelm and me. We bussed through Belgium, toured Rotterdam, and drifted to Delft. In Amsterdam we saw art and dog shit, and visited Anne Frank Huis, but no Afrikaners related it to SA racism. Sex shops in the red-light district sold porn books, magazines, sex dolls, dildos, love potions and creams. Penis candles stood by shop windows. Some whores leaned against wet walls. Others sat on couches, before shop windows, spreading wares. Men in dark coats prowled streets, hunting sex. Katie giggled with Skelm and me.
Our trek-group was mostly cherries, led by meneer JV Smit and meneer Olivier, accompanied by their families. Shopping by cherries was interrupted by kultuur. Photo-shy meneer Olivier hid his face in group-photos, and asked me to snap his legs when he entered buses. His drama scripts later achieved SATV, white, affirmative-action fame.
On our Rhine cruise, we drank a hang of a lot of red champagne...
1970. Hofbrauhaus Mug, Munchen, Germany
After a Munchen Hofbrauhaus piss-up, I stole my mug and another for Katie. We toured newly built Munchen Olympic Village. Tobogganing in a park, meneer Olivier told Katie to lie face-down on a toboggan, then pushed her. A stone stopped her toboggan's descent. Katie flew on cawing, "Eina!..."
At an Interlaken pub, we drank New Year champagne. Faces swam around...Up-down-up... Kissing mouths, moist lips...I scraped vomit from my bedroom hand-basin, and hurled a bag full from my window onto snow: my first time motherless pissed.
Breakfast headache...Nausea..."You rode a lift, kissing girls," cawed Katie.
Mount Rigi: Bouncy cable-car...
Bus trek: Innsbruck, over Brenner Pass to Venice, Pisa, Florence...
Rome: Katie's Afrikaner room-mate ran along a corridor, pleading, "Katie's in dat rroom wivva man. Help asseblief!" I knocked on the door. Katie lay on a bed, her glass dribbling brandy on her thighs. Skelm said, "Katie's with us!"
Pompei, and old bones...Sorrento...Capri, where cherries bought junk.
Greece: Art and monuments - Delphi, where the oracle had gassed herself, conning supplicants; Corinth, where our tour guide was cute; Gigantic Mycenae, where Schliemann had found shaft- graves; Epidavros, where my interest in drama increased; Sparta...My dad's stamps had included every European country we'd trekked, but dad's stamps didn't show that UK and Europe were vrekking cold in winter.
On our last night in Athens, a Greek asked Skelm and me, "Ya wan' some nice girls?" Skelm and I followed Greek to a bar, where Greek presented two cherries. Skelm groped in a corner, while I fondled my cherrie's mini-skirted legs. She had herpes lips. Skelm and I drank beer, while the cherries soberly drank whisky.
After arguing with Greek over our bill, Skelm and Greek walked to our hotel to fetch more money. Held hostage, I inspected the toilet, but a window was too small for me to escape. Greek returned, angry that Skelm had punched him, escaping into our hotel. I drank dregs of the girls' whisky - cold tea! More arguing: then me Pied-Pipering Greek, pimps, bouncers and thugs to the hotel, where the night-manager fixed finances.
"Why'd you drop me?" I asked Skelm.
"Jislaaik! I thought you'd escape. Baba-baba-boo!" In future overseas trips, I'd visit many unknown parts of Britain, Europe and Israel.
Note: Meneer JV Smit & meneer Olivier are composite characters.