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Going down memory lane in the Suzuki Baleno

Savouring the sights and sounds in the Suzuki Baleno in the Natal Midlands brought back memories for yours truly, Edwin Naidu.

It’s no secret every now and then I, love to drive a cool car or two – when Prashirwin does not hog the wheel. That desire has started to dim a bit after I said goodbye to the red riding hood love of my life, that devilish Mazda MX5.

Three punctures in two days in the Free State at Nampo did not help ease the mood. Driving is a pain in the wheelies. But, the BMW X3 M40i still has that something my wallet is reluctant to match. If there’s a first prize, many will know, I love travelling, seeing the sights and sounds and experiencing the taste of our beautiful South Africa. Thankfully, it has enabled me to rewind memories of a smart new bright Baleno, a super-cute vehicle #Otherswillfollow, was launched earlier in the year in the Midlands.

The rush to the airport, uncertainty of whether one is going to make the flight because Uber drivers cancel at will, leaving one almost grounded in the lurch. But God is far too kind to me. Blessed assurance, one will always make it safely. I recently cracked the nod for the all-new Suzuki Baleno  in the luscious Kwazulu Natal Midlands, staying at the Anew Hotel in Hilton. After the huff and a puff rush to OR Tambo International, it was time to get one’s breath back in time for an Airlink chicken or beef sarmie, a Coke zero (got to watch the diabetes), listening to music before landing.

Savouring the sights and sounds in the Suzuki Baleno in the Natal Midlands brought back memories.

At King Shaka Airport, a welcome cappuccino and the always receptive Suzuki team after a COVID-19 enforced hibernation was a genuine treat. Delightful drive partner, the seasoned motoring scribe who’s now in a wonderful digital space we share, Pritesh Ruthun, and I headed to Hilton from the airport in the sprightly Suzuki Baleno, passing two tolls, encountering no hurdles, considering the kingdom is a nightmare with truckers making the N3 a pithy protest playground.

Effortless, and easy, this Suzuki Baleno with its easy to shift manual gearbox was a breeze. Frugal in the fuel stakes too, the gauge drops slower than a Manchester United signing. Okay this was before they suddenly upped the tempo and Ronaldo threw his toys out of the cot. We stopped for lunch at a cozy hideout in the Midlands where they served pie and salad. It was mildly interesting with flavour conspicuously absent. Have they not heard of spice in the Midlands? Of course, there’s always salt, and a fizzy drink minus sugar to help.

On the road again, we popped into the famous Mandela Capture site. I visited the site in 2015 travelling on a train to the July Handicap (now known as Durban July). It was a long and miserable ride with far too many stops. Never again! The day at the races was memorable but you must wait for my memoirs. It will be next level as I was with my cousin Kuben, his delightful, better half and his dad, the legendary late Michael Naidoo. What a blast. Priscilla Jabulile Malinga, my journo-bestie from Mpumalanga to Mauritius is the real queen of the dessert, though there was none on offer when I took the cold mutton bunny kindly organized for us by you got to wait for the memoirs to her lodging at 1am to share.

Still the one: The old Mazda MX5 with young model Prashirwin around 2012 – still makes the heart. 

The July weekend at the races with fond memories, not only because it was such a joy bumping into my dapper looking uncle Michael Naidoo, Kuben, and beautiful lass, Melody. What happens at the races, stays in the heart of treasured memories for the beautiful creeper and the beholder.

So, the Mandela Capture with Pritesh, site brought back wonderful memories before we got into the Suzuki Baleno and found our way to the A New Hotel almost at the entrance of Hilton. Tudor style hotel, welcoming staff, and complimentary juice before I knew it, I was in room 208. There was no fireplace. I did not need one. With a looming deadline, dinner was taken in the room. I ordered a lamb curry which was flavourful. They threw in some chilli with the sambals. It hit the spot. I could not resist when the cheerful housekeeper passed by with a kit kat. I needed a break.

Before I knew, I had to force sleep to get ready by 6:30 am for the 7:30 am departure to the airport. Engaging conversation with fantastic co-pilot, Pritesh, ensured that my first launch in two years was one to savor. There was no snow in sight but a great ride in the stunning vehicle #Others will follow.  Remember the Toyota Starlet is based on the Baleno. Christmas is on the doorstep; I can dream of the MX5 again. But life’s little memories are more priceless than material possessions. 

  • Pricing starts from R221 900 for The Suzuki Baleno.

*Passionate about writing, Edwin Naidu is on Twitter @Edwin_Naidu or catch him on Fridays at 12:30pm Capricorn FM chatting about cars with the stunning Itu Banda.

Edwin Naidu
Edwin Naidu
Jack-of-all-trades journalist Edwin Naidu talks about cars on Capricorn FM during the urban lunch adventure with King Bash on Friday.
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