We are back from the French Alps!
For seven days, the glorious Val Thorens in France was home to a number of Afropolitans. A good number of the Kaya FM listener family took up our challenge to give snow and mountains a chance. The one thing you all know about Kaya Travel is whether it’s a cruise or a Sho’t Left to one of our country’s beautiful destinations, the trip will be great. Kaya Travel is where the on-air Kaya family gets to meet the listeners who make our work worth it. Our snow-covered adventures in France were no different.
We flew from OR Tambo into Paris. From Paris, we flew to Geneva, which is one of two airports closets to Val Thorens – our playground for the next few days. The travelling Afropolitans then had to take a two and three quarter hour bus transfer from Geneva airport into the Val Thorens resort. Spirits were high as we drove through gorgeous slopes and snow-capped mountain ranges.
After an early breakfast, it was time for our first skiing lesson. For the first lesson, our instructor Max, emphasised the value of balance and baby steps as none of us had skied before. Skhumba, Mo-G, Kojo Baffoe and our listeners all started with just one ski on to help them get accustomed to the movement. Many fell a lot, which is all part of the fun of skiing.
While we were enjoying the beginner lessons with Max, we had our first casualty. Skhumba fell – but, thankfully, avoided serious injury. But that’s how it goes: When skiing for the first time, you go in hopeful, you fall a few times, you stand up again only to fall some more. You feel utterly hopeless and a little broken by your inability to stay upright. But the longer you stay on your skis, the sooner your belief in your abilities will return.
We gave our skis and our instructor, Max, a break and took on a new challenge. Skhumba called it “shishiliz-ing” while the Val Thorens officially calls it toboggan. We went up on a gondola – an eight-minute ride, and slid down marked paths using the sledges provided. For over 45 minutes, we were tobogganists.
There was still quite a bit of falling involved, however the comfort was in how much closer to the ground we all were. It began snowing just as our day of tobogganing came to an end. Exhausted and a little cold, we all went to have hot chocolate and warm up.
We decided to explore the town surrounding the Val Thorens resort. We tasted fresh produce farmed and sold in stalls by the locals. The unspoken theme for day five was exploration and many of our listeners went their own ways and did their own thing.
Some listeners went to Paris, the French capital – or “city of love” as it is known around the world.
We had sundowners that evening and planned a night out.
The main group activity for this day was scheduled for the evening. At 5:30pm we all got in position on our snowmobiles with our partners. We rode around the slopes with our guide, taking in the views and started to reflect on the fantastic experience that would be coming to an end the next day.
We also hit the Clubmed club at the resort. What’s a Kaya FM trip without good music? Kaya MD, Greg Maloka, was on the decks.
The rare Bob Mabena – who was sick most of the trip, unfortunately – felt better on the last day of our ski tour. He got a chance to hit the slopes and enjoy the activities on offer. Skhumba had his first comedy show on ice.
This travel diary will never be enough to capture just how wonderful the trip to France was. It’s now a fracture in time that will always belong to those of us who share those few days together, trying every single new thing.
Masentle, a Kaya FM listener who went on the trip, says, “This trip was one of the best! I went alone, I knew nobody but everyone was friendly. I didn’t feel lonely at all. I was happy with the Kaya team; they were very nice. I didn’t feel lost or regrets. I’m missing everything and everyone now. I made a lot of friends from around the world: French, Israeli, Belgium people.”
By the end, even Skhumba was convinced that even skiing was for black people, all it takes it practicing and a willingness to try.