My Christmas Abroad – Christmas Eve

The start of my TWO part series of “My Christmas Abroad” in South Africa. This is the Christmas Eve edition.

This will be a TWO part series.
Many of you, my few readers dotted around the world – HELLO, FROM THE OTHERSIDE, – will have spent Christmas at home with your family every year since you were born. Some may have had circumstances that disrupted your traditional Christmas celebrations but even fewer would have been in another country over the festive period. Did I mention that I have?

A brief back story: In 2010 myself and a girlfriend of the time embarked on a 3 week Road Trip around South Africa. Starting in Johannesburg and driving to Durban, East London, Port Elizabeth, up to Kimberley and returning back to Johannesburg. As you may have guessed this was over the Christmas period.

Sitting and writing this brings some memories back both good and bad and I can tell you this time was one of the hardest times I’ve ever had to experience BUT an experience I would never change.

So Christmas 2010 was in Durban, South Africa. To be quite honest I had no idea we would be in Durban over Christmas so there was no real run up to Christmas feeling.

Christmas Eve 2010

So if any of you know me will have likely heard one of my favourite stories of the whole trip. Something that could have quite easily been an absolute disaster.
Durban has a beautiful beach and this was our 2nd day here so as you would expect a beach visit was over due. We parked the car, walked along the beach front and chose a spot to sit. It was swimming time but the issue was there was only two of us which had to mean our stuff would be left alone. I was sceptical of leaving the bag and towels which had almost all of our important belongings in it: the car keys, phone, her passport, money and so on. As my ex walked down to the water and I hesitatingly followed a short time after only a mere minute or two after I had walked away a small child had run along and grab the bag…

It was all a blur really I saw a child running and towels in the air. Shouting down to the beach front “He’s grabbed our bag!” (or something along those lines) and just losing sight of him in the crowds.
As you could imagine a rush of shock, anger and emotions raged through the pair of us a hunt pursued. She, my ex, walked one way and I stood there helplessly lost in a country where I knew 1 person properly. So I passed looking around to see if I could see the child. 

No LUCK… for about 30 minutes (give or take).

But this is a somewhat happy ending. As I walked off up to the main road in a state of confusion with “WHAT THE HELL DO I DO NOW?” running through my mind over and over. Whilst my ex still no where to be seen in the other direction. A large burly man police man native to South Africa shouted at me. *Its important to stress that up until this point that I have only heard of corruption in South Africa*

I have to say at this point you miss out on my beautiful version of his accent.
He goes:

Police officer: “HEY YOU, IS THIS YOUR BAG”
Me: *absolutely stunned and sheepishly responded* “yes! yes it is!”

However it is to say I was confused as he did not only have the bag but he had someone in hand cuffed next to him but it was NOT the child I saw. The exchange continues:

Police officer: “What is in your bag?”
Me: *Lists off all the items I can think of…*
Police officer: “Is this the man who stole it?”
Me: “No, it was a boy”

THE BAG HAD ALL OUR BELONGING’S

To cut this short as I’m sure you have read enough by this point. I found my ex and the exchange continues.  The police officer was insisting that we pressed charges against the man as he was connected to a gang that use children to steal and then hand off items to them. This was not an option as it could have taken TWO weeks to sort out and we had places to be.

To round out this long winded post. This is a story that I can only say was a crazy highlight of mine as you could not have made it up. Had I not walked up to the road then that police officer may never have found me and this could have quite easily ruined the trip. ALAS it did not.
I do hope you enjoyed this part 1 to “My Christmas Abroad – Christmas Eve” Edition and hope you return for the actual Christmas Day events in part 2.

Thanks for reading,
TheMichaelJoseph.