Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Africa Travel Clothes

I have a set of clothes in my cupboard which is referred to as my Africa Travel Clothes. A really thick khaki shirt that stood the test of time, and combat pants with lost of pockets to hide my iPod and other shiny accessories. I like to travel to Africa in these clothes for various reasons. First of all I always travel with this idea me going down in a plane in some remote part of a thick forest and fighting my way through dense bush until I finally reach civilization all tattered and torn.  For that I need comfortable clothes that could withstand the elements and give me the Indiana Jones look at the same time. Not only are they comfortable, you also don't easily see when it is dirty and sweaty-. I guess this is not really a requirement because I see many people travel in suits and shiny shoes and they always seem to end up quite respectable on the other side, but then again we've never crash landed before. Further more, the shirt and pants have lots of pockets. Not that I use them much, because as soon as you get to Customs you have to empty all of them and that could be spending a little too much unnecessary time in their presence. But, I've had it for many years and it has served me well. Recently I stood with my shirt against wet paint, so I thought that it might be a good time to replace it. Not that an Africa shirt should ever get to a point where it has to be replaced, but the yellow stripe across the front makes it looks like I've came second in some paintball war game. So I headed to what is believed to be the biggest shopping mall in the southern hemisphere, Canal Walk Shopping Center at century City in Cape Town.

I don't know if you still remember the Marlboro man? When I was a kid this dude was my role model deluxe. Not the smoking bit, I've never smoked and don't think I ever will, but the look. This man was the true image of adventure. And what about Indiana Jones? Another true adventurer. But the question always remained, where did they buy their shirts? Well, from my experience this afternoon, definitely NOT at Canal Walk. I first went to Cape Union Mart. Cape Union Mart is supposed to be for the outdoor lover, but has more pink striped shirts than Markhams. I stopped buying at Markhams many years ago when I realised that my shirts does not go with my complexion unless I apply some of my wife's eye shadow. At Cape Union Mart you pay R300 for a long sleeve vest to protect you against the cold. Have you ever seen the Marlboro Man in a vest? Or Indy for that matter? I tried Colombia Sportswear, where they welcome you to "the greater outdoors". I cannot pay R850 for a shirt that is going to be ripped apart in the jungle. It is also clear to see that Jeep, Caterpillar and Hummer are following fashion trends in stead of adventure. I know you might be spotted easier when you wear pink or bright yellow, but you might also piss off a rhinoceros or Jaguar along the way. Not to mention the hostile Pygmies that apparently roam the forests in Cameroon. At Due South it is better to buy a shirt along with a video and go home and try the armchair adventure. Those shirts won't last two decent washes. In Stuttafords the closest you get to the outdoors is if you buy a "100% organic" shirt. That's also the closest many men comes to protecting the environment...and spending some time in it. After finding nothing that suits my taste, or even closely resembles the Indiana Jones look, I decided to look on the Internet. Huge was my disappointment when I started looking for the name that was associated with adventure since I was child, only to find the latest Marlboro shirt in red covered with little flowers and butterflies. It looks like pajamas. Where is the male species going, I ask myself?? So, if you see the guy somewhere in Africa wearing a shirt with some yellow paint on it...that would be me.

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