I miss you, Bulawayo

Bulawayo. Good old “Blue Skies” or Skies for short. I haven’t been there in over four years. And I miss ya, I sure do.

I lived in Bulawayo for two years after school, working an entry-level job in an entry-level industry. I loved it. I was earning a pretty good penny, and the perfect place to spend it was Bullies before the turn of the century.

I spent my money at Old Miltonians. I spent it at Visions. I spent it at Hartsfield. I spent it in bottle stores … oh, the bottle stores. There was that 24-hour one up by 14th. You could even buy a full roast chicken there, anytime of day or night.

Out of everywhere I chopped it, Visions was definitely the club. My boys and I would drink at the bottle-store on Ladies’ Night, then head over at around midnight. For fun and games.

Weekends were insane. If we weren’t braaing it up at any of the places dotted across the city, we were chilling at someone’s place, or cruising the city making noise.

Russian and chips from Sunflower was the staple. Bulldogs was the bar. Spur was the special night. Life was good.

When I started travelling back there during my cricket days, the town was changing. Walker’s had sprung up, which was ordinary. Brass Monkey and their huge television, which was mildly amusing.

Spending stretches of up to a month at a time in Holiday Inn, getting so bored I almost took up squash in the hotel courts. Squash! It got so bad I didn’t have to order in the hotel bar anymore; Johnnie Walker Gold Label would appear upon entry. It got so bad I swore off Spur food when I left the cricket-following gig! To this day, the thought of eating at Spur annoys me no end. And don’t say Pannarotti’s … that stuff is rubbish! Anywho …

Saturdays on the sunny side at Hartsfield, with a gas braai and cooler box for company, surrounded by friends and Castle and laughter and screams of “Dhoooongiiii”.

Random trips to Vic Falls when we felt like it, lazy jaunts to Francistown when the need arose.

I hear you’ve changed, Bulawayo, and I can’t wait to see what you’ve become. I’m on my way soon, but I can’t promise the fireworks and debauchery of 14 years ago. I’ll just have a couple of drinks, take a look around, and wallow in the memories.

And maybe one wild night, just for old time’s sake.

What’s one more wild night between friends, eh Bulawayo?

This time for Africa.

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