On arrival in South Africa I cheered up when I heard that one English team went with Air France - and suffered a three-day delay in Paris! That made me forget small delays and selfish passengers!
We reached Durban, got into the hire car, turned the key in the ignition, and - nothing! Even at the end of our trip I had trouble working out how to overcome the immobiliser!
The main event was a three session qualifying pairs, then everyone played in the various finals, each being an all-play-all barometer pairs over four shorter sessions. It is a great competition, virtually unknown in England and North America, but common in other places such as Australia.
During the week we twice went looking for a train called the Banana Express, but only found some fairly decrepit looking rails. With Dan Crofts, my partner, more and more disbelieving, I searched for the train, eventually missing it at Port Shepstone by about five minutes! However, we eventually found the engine in its shed with the driver, and took pictures as proof it existed, which will appear on my website some time in the future.
As with other places to which I have travelled, one of the delights was meeting people previously known through BLML, RGB, IBLF or via emails. I met the Directors, Rusty Court and Andre Truter, who did an excellent job, and Robert Solomon who had to play. I also met Sid Ismail and Abby, the SABF webmasters, and many new friends.
On the way back I was pleased to find an air stewardess with a sense of humour. She managed to keep people interested in the safety briefing by saying various things, including:
When she finished everyone applauded!
Look here for BLML , here for RGB [and BLML], and here for IBLF.
There was a tendency to aggressive behaviour amongst some of the players. If I did not score immediately, or left my score-card face-up for a moment, some of them delighted in snapping at me. The majority, however, were friendly.
One opponent told me of a Law that requires a player not to turn his card face down until the person who had won the trick turned his. He was very offensive, and suggested I should learn the Laws. Naturally I told him pleasantly that I had never heard of such a Law, and would turn my card down when the trick was completed, but of course would turn it up if required by any other player who had not quitted his card.
When he realised his gamesmanship was having no effect he called he Director, who told him he knew of no such Law. He said to the Director, Andre Truter, "I will accept your ruling, of course, but I think you should check with your superior." Andre, unfazed at being called a liar by innuendo, very sensibly returned with the Law book, and read him (and showed him) the relevant Law.
The player was reduced to saying that the Law must have been changed, and it was different at World level (ha!! - of course neither of these statements are correct) and he would write to the WBF. Sadly, I believe he will try his nasty little tactics against players less able to take care of themselves. I was told that he had a reputation for gamesmanship yet was a good player, and people were pleased I had stood up to him.