In this monthly column, we chat to some of SA’s favourite sons and daughters about their travel experiences and favourite local pastimes and haunts.
This week we catch up with heart 104.9F’s Clarence Ford, who has been with the station since its P4 days.
Ford’s show ‘Lunch with Clarence Ford’ can be heard daily between 12pm and 3pm.
What is your favourite travel destination, and why?
I love Thailand and Cuba equally. Thailand for the warm and friendly people and food and Cuba for its music and Joie de vivre. The Cubans seem oblivious to the isolation foisted on them by the Americans. I love survivors.
What was your first international trip, and what do you remember most vividly about the experience?
Walking and hitching through Africa in the early 1990s was my first out-of-SA experience. I remember clearly the Muslim holy man I encountered in Lusaka and his wondrous wisdom that would forever help to shape my character. Sheikh Ali Baba Kassam was singularly the most endearing encounter I have had with another human being.
What is the first thing you usually do when you arrive at your destination and you’re trying to get acclimated?
Get a beer at a local establishment. I instinctively shy away from touristy establishments in the hope of getting a glimpse of local culture and energy.
What for you is usually the best way to soak up the culture you’re in?
Have more than one beer with a local. Let them (the locals) lose the façade, and you gain insights on local customs, politics and socio economic dynamics.
Flying – love it, or hate it?
Love it so much I trained to be a pilot. While I did not complete the mandatory 35 hours for a Private Pilot’s licence, I did get to take off and land the thing (an Australian Jabiru) a good couple of times. It is boring though, if not for the take-off and landing. Good fun.
What has been your favourite cuisine that you have discovered on your travels?
Definitely Thai Cuisine. The passion and love that they put into their food and the pride they take in their culinary history is really reflected on the palate.
You’ve got exactly R48 in your wallet. Where do you go for lunch in Cape Town, and what do you have?
Zorina’s in Loop Street, for a Beans and Mutton Salome. I can even get a cool drink with it.
What is your speciality in the kitchen?
I love taking risks. So, my food is rich in taste and flair. While I excel in curries and stews, I can twist just about anything.
Describe your ideal night in, and out.
Out: Definitely “Live” jazz music and musing about the state of SA politics.
In: A curry, friends, loving hugs and laughs and a slab of chocolate to end off the night.
What makes life worth living?
Remembering and emulating the generosity of spirit afforded to you by other, often random individuals, with more on their plate than you. Selflessness brings profound rewards.