Lynn Dike

Let there be light

2007-07-25 08:49

Lynn Dike

Mozambique is a great place to relax and allow the brain to have a holiday. Miles of deserted beaches and an ocean of lukewarm water inspires a lifestyle of sun worshipping, diving, napping and, when all else fails, drinking.

The most taxing thing to occur is the daily calculation of exactly how many gin and tonics you would have to consume to get the requisite amount of quinine from the tonic water to ward off malaria. To really gain any medicinal effect it stretches into litres, but hey who's counting, the dosage by and large calculates into the very scientific category of "a whole lot".

Of course, you wouldn't want to go overboard, in case lashings of G&Ts inspire an intoxicated stroll along the beach past the landmine warning signs. Whilst tonic water in exceptionally large doses can help counteract malaria, it doesn't have much effect against small exploding objects around your feet.

One particular holiday, a New Years celebration coupled with the consumption of the required litres of gin and tonic inspired the idea of a skinny dip in the sea. Amidst much giggling we whipped off our kit and went for a swim in the very early hours of the morning. It was great fun until a niggling thought that this seemed awfully like the opening scene from "Jaws" drove me back to the safety of the beach.

Alien abduction

Which was fine and dandy, but when I returned to the sand to put my clothes back on, I realised that while the beach was as dark as only the African night can be, there was a pool of light around me.

I considered an alien abduction, the CIA and a ghostly presence. But it wasn't an ethereal glow, just an enthusiast with a torch. So much for my 15 minutes of fame. Rather more like 15 seconds of battery-inspired illumination by a stalker. So I got dressed at a speed that any Olympic athlete would be proud of and dashed back to my bungalow. And if that had been the end of the story, it might have been all right.

A couple of days later, as we were packing up to leave, some friendly soul came along and asked for a lift to the South African border in our 4x4, which we gladly obliged. Polite and sociable, he packed his small bag into the back and off we went. Half way through the drive a small bell began to ring ominously in the back of my mind and I took a closer look and realised that it was the torch guy.

I blushed bright red, died a thousand small deaths and spent the rest of the journey hugging the car door as far away from him as possible. Only a small select few who can afford therapy get to see me naked, and exposing my cellulite to strangers definitely wasn't on my list of New Year's resolutions.

Abandoned without mercy

I considered having him arrested when we reached the border, but these days I don't think they lock people up for the flagrant misuse of a torch. So using visual code language so sophisticated it would have ended the enigmas of the Second World War within a few weeks, I informed my friends of my dilemma. Amidst much unnecessary mirth and badly concealed laughter at my expense, they agreed to be rid of our fellow voyager at the first possible opportunity.

The South African border could not have come soon enough and was a very welcome sight. Our guest was hurled out of the car at the first opportune moment and left in a cloud of dust as we beat a hasty retreat to the safety of the bright lights of the city. Bright lights, I might add, which didn't focus on my naked body.

I do spare a thought for the poor soul who not only had to contend with me naked in the glare of a torch, but was abandoned without mercy at a border crossing in deepest darkest Africa. I'm sure he's contributing to the car payments on a Porsche for some psychologist as we speak.

But I think when the man upstairs said "Let there be light", he wasn't referring to one pervert with a torch on the sands of Mozambique.

Send your comments to Lynn.

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