After a great few days in Swaziland, we headed south towards Durban. I needed to turn the car in on Jan 1 and pick up my airline ticket to Australia on Jan 2. Durban would have been about a 7 hour drive from Swaziland, so we decided to stop in Eshowe about 2 hours from Durban. Nick had read about an inn run by a man from his hometown and favorite soccer club Middlesbrough. Since 'Boro was scheduled to play that night, Nick figured it would be a good bet they'd have the game on, and he'd be able to watch with a fellow fan.
It turns out, the Amble Inn was indeed owned by a man from Middlesbrough, and in fact from Nick's home village of Marske. They didn't know one another, but each knew of friends of the other. Well, that was it, Gary was going to show his fellow country men and his American friends what Eshowe hospitality is all about.
After finding the lights out at the Police Station Pub and at the local bowling club, we pulled into the Eshowe Sporting Club. When the second round of beers arrived after we had barely touched the first, we knew we were in for a long night. Gary had come to South Africca to work in the gold mines in Jo'burg, and had spent time as a mercenary in Angola and had done some telecom work in Bagdad. So much for the quiet inkeeper from Middlesbrough.
It's all somewhat hazy, but memories include Ronnie dancing reluctantly with some shirtless guy with a mullet as sweat dripped between his man breasts, and watching Nick try to hold it together as Gary talked seriously about gun control after he pulled his Glock 9mm from his rugby shorts with the 2" inseam. As for me, after the Police force holiday party turned up, I had to decline a rather aggressive invitation to dance with one of the female captains whose husband had invited me to go hiking later that week with " By the way I have an articifial heart."
Cue Dueling Banjos here.
Gary had planned a New Years Pub crawl starting at noon at the sports club the next day. We quietly checked out and headed to Durban.