May 24, 2010

The vuvuzela: it's really a trom-bat

The vuvuzela is a South African tradition:
But it is the vuvuzela, a cheap plastic horn, that may be the lasting South African symbol of the 2010 games, said Mr. Alegi, a scholar of soccer at Michigan State University. A stadium full of them make a racket so ear-splitting that the usual cheers and groans of the crowd are lost. And South African fans will undoubtedly be blowing their vuvuzelas, which are ubiquitous at South African soccer games, proudly, joyously, defiantly.
On the river, one of the traditions is a call to dinner, usually with some kind of horn. There are a few choices, the most elegant being a large conch shell with the very tip cut off to make a mouthpiece. If we're lacking one of those, sometimes we have the loudest person on the trip yell everyone in. One trip though, I remember one family had made an improvised horn by taking a plastic bat, sawing off the far end, and cutting a mouthpiece in the handle end. They called it the "trom-bat," and it made a plastic wheedling drone--exactly like one of these vuvuzelas. Imagine a stadium full of trombats. I'm bringing earplugs.

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