A wet summer; out of fashion:
It is about one o’clock in the afternoon. The sight of people attending an outdoor concert dressed in jeans, covered shoes and light jackets clearly tells a lot about the summer. Moreover, more than 70% have a disposable rain paper on them, a sign that the wet weather caught them off-guard. There are some light showers. At a time like this, open shoes, shorts and barely covered bodies are common.
As time drags by, heavier clouds cover the sky and the light showers turn in to a heavy down pour that lasts for about half an hour. At the turn of things, everybody rushes under the temporary tents that are serving as bars and restaurant for shelter from the unforgiving rain.
I take cover under an umbrella already sheltering five. We are standing under a tree and an umbrella, heavier drops pound my back, and splash thin mud on my shoes and pants.
The fact that not many of us have open shoes or gumboots indicates that we expected a cold but not wet weather. The downfall was a bonus. The rain alternates between light and heavy showers and last all afternoon.
Around five o’clock the weather gives us a break and we start moving around in search of drinks to warm our heads and food to fill our stomachs. Others rush to the concert to catch a glimpse of the action’s happy hour. The sky remains glim without letting us in on the sun. We shiver as our clothes dry from the warmth of our bodies.
At nine, the bars and restaurants are now filled with a hungrier, thirstier and noisier crowd. Although still the same from the afternoon, alcohol in their bellies have changed the atmosphere. Plates, cups and bottles are moving around like money in a bank system and almost in an illegal manner. A few people have managed to sneak in their own concealed brews and are mixing them under the tables. The guards are too busy controlling the crowd to notice.
A large tent that served as a restaurant during the day has been gradually transformed in a club. It now features a disco ball, a dj stand, four disco lights, a dancing floor, and two fully operable counters. The queues however, are extra ordinarily long not just at the counters but at the mobile toilets as well. Guys relieve themselves over the fence and into the lake as the guards watch helplessly. It makes sense to let the ladies take the unisex bathrooms, besides no one seems to be bothered by this indecency, it is sort of allowed here.
“A hungry man is an angry man”, a hungry woman … a hungry crowd can be dangerous! With their stomachs filled with an outdoor cuisine and liquor filling in on their moods, you can almost smell the fart in the air; the strong smell of liquor is evident. The party goers are now jubilant and as happy as kings, being merry and dancing themselves crazy.
We used to drink one for the road but now we take a few for the weather. Am not sure if its for the wet summer or for global warming. One too many and a few drunks are escorted out of the tent. Others pass out on their tables as the bottle gets the best of them. Even though there is a lot of action under the tent, most of us are warmly dressed, its chilly outside and we are not sure when the rain is coming back.
Our club does not offer cloak room services. Also missing are a VIP lounge, and a pole. Fashion seems to have really been forgotten. A few drunks dance on the table but the guards are quick to have them climb down.
At 2 o’clock, the dj pauses the music and makes the crowd beg for more, they chant, yell and cheer, “we want more…”. Others are too soaked to raise their demands, some couples are busy fondling to notice that the music has been paused. Its is an indication that the club will close soon. The music is continued but at half past two it is stopped for good, at least for the night. The facilities have to be taken care of before the partying resumes in the morning.
The crowd which has lost a number to the bottle reluctantly leaves the tent. The 24hr party street now turns into some sort of a food festival. The tents nearby are selling food of all sorts, tastes and flavor. They are almost too many for a drunk to count. Some leave the enclosed street to catch a last beer in a late night bar while others stagger home.
At one food stand, I buy a plate of fish, potatoes, boiled carrots and some sauce; am too tired to ask what sort it is. I down it and buy a half more. On my way out, I notice that one of the cooks at this stand is bare footed. Her toe nails are filled with the overspills from the serves I dare not imagine what her feet are like. She moves around the cooking area, serving other customers. She shows no sign of being irritated at what she is treading at. Disgusting! She is taking full advantage of the drunk customers and lacking hygienically as well as in fashion. She is stepping at the heels of her pants and they are wet all the way to the knees.
If she was to be my date God forbid, she would have to swim in the cold lake.
Its a bit too late to call the health office and the guards that had loitered the grounds are no where in sight. They have probably gone in search of a happy hour of their own. I hurriedly walk out of the tent trying to think of something better, the sight almost makes me want to throw up but I do not have the appetite to.