Tuesday, September 9, 2014

My IPL Diary# Pepi Kern De Nobrega

I arrived in the UAE on 15th April 2014 in 38 degree Celsius unaware of the fact that I would get the biggest culture shock of my little life. I had a mild panic attack at the Abu Dhabi airport when I lost my fellow dancers during the Immigration check points. I followed a family from England who knew exactly where they were going. Apparently first class passengers had a faster check point than the rest of the travelling peasants. By being clever I ended up waiting at the baggage conveyor belt for almost an hour. My first time travelling, my first time going through immigration and my first time getting lost in a place where no one speaks English. Lets just say, by the time my friends arrived, I was mortified to find out that I illegally missed fingerprints scan and an eye test.
Later that afternoon we arrived in the most beautiful hotel in the center of Dubai, The Yassat Gloria. Two girls shared, not just a room but an apartment. A fully equipped kitchen, white marble bathroom, LG washing machine/tumble dryer which ruined everyone’s whitie tighties. We lived in luxury for 14 days. Ate in great restaurants, saw the most beautiful sceneries, and paid desperately R210 for a single Budweiser. Life was great.
When it was game day, you could feel the electricity in the air. A ghd and hairspray didn't help my hair stay down. I was ready. I was ready until we danced our first routine and I melted from the inside. Make-up running down my face which looked like a mudslide. Hair needed to be readjusted, looking nothing like I first stepped out on the field. But the crowd gave us the adrenalin to keep going. Four hours felt like fifteen minutes. We felt like celebrities. Camera flashes going wild as we walk back to the bus. As we drove back to the hotel, we couldn't wait to jump in the showers. Celebrations were in order.
When I arrived in India, things drastically changed. The heat that us South Africans are accustomed to was nothing like we ever felt. Wet heat. Sweaty cheerleaders, I must admit, is not sexy. But I didn't complain. I anticipated it. Never in my life did I expect to drink 5 liters of water in four hours. We were on fire. The cricket fans knew it, our families back home saw it and we indulged it.
Another thing which I allowed myself to be enjoy was the shopping. Indian scarves for Africa. Jewellery to die for. Knock off designer handbags our families could kill for. I was living the life.
Some of the girls were lucky enough to have visited the Taj Mahal. The team I traveled with stayed in Mumbai for most of the tournament so I didn't get the opportunity to see the Taj. But I was also envied because I stayed in the most beautiful city in India. I stayed in the best area. It was walking distance from the Colaba market, as well as Subway. Subway definitely saved my little western tummy. I believe all of us had our fair share of Delhi belly but we didn't complain. Any cheerleader is more than happy to drop a few kilograms :D.
After six weeks of dancing, shopping and smuggling in bottles of wine in the hotel I started getting home sick. I missed rain, I missed my dogs and I missed a rump steak badly.
The day our team lost, it was a mixture of feelings on the drive home. I was sad that this adventure was over but I was happy to go home. I was sad that I won’t be able to see my new friends as much but I was happy to know that I will be having a beer with my old ones very soon.
It was a crazy journey, one which I will never forget. India made me grow and made me realize that the grass could be greener on the other side. I have a Hindi tattoo on my leg to remind me that I changed in India. I changed forever.
Pepi Kern De Nobrega
For DieHard Cricket Fans

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