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Heat and dust: It?s just like home

Our travels have brought us to Paarl, and far as the weather goes, this place is as close to home as it can get here.

india Updated: Feb 26, 2003 15:12 IST

Our travels have brought us to Paarl, and far as the weather goes, this place is as close to home as it can get here. Paarl is in a valley, between the Hottentot ranges, and the mountains near Cape Town, an hour's drive from that city.

Here you can see dust, the first time since we left home. Burnt brown grass, and a long walk through that and you suddenly realise the dust is so much like in the northern parts of India.

So is the heat, almost identical to Delhi and surrounding areas.

But the approach to this town is so much different. It's at a fast clip that we race down the highway, at such speed that the rear number plate fell off our van in the morning. It forced us to get a new one and we stuck it with a sticking plaster!

On the highway, it is a straight route, as you drive head-on towards the hills. You leave the road to Stellenbosch, and the wine route on your left, and skirt some vineyards going into the town.

The aroma is there in the air, a tangy smell, which our driver insists is the smell of wine. But it smells like rotting grapes really.

You enter the town and drive straight down past traffic roundabouts, again so much like New Delhi, though the traffic is not half as much. Across the town, and bang at the foothills is the Boland Park stadium, a pretty little ground, very English in shape, if you can forget the weather.

There is a surprising lot of orange here, as the Dutch supporters have made a beeline for the stadium; some locals - who are swearing by their origins in Holland --- have also added to the numbers.

One ice-cream seller was going "Holland, Holland, Holland!" right in front of the press box, hoping his affiliation would sell more cones. That was till one Pakistani supporter ordered eight of them, on the condition that vendor went and changed his shirt to green.

Last seen, the entrepreneur was waddling towards the outlet selling team shirts and caps.

First Published: Feb 26, 2003 00:21 IST