Monday, June 9, 2008

Go to Hell! Sure, but where?

As a kid in Norway we used the expression “Go where the pepper grows”, meaning to the place where pepper grow (Norwegian; “Dra dit pepper’n gror!”)! This was a junior version of “Go to hell”, and one of the worst things we could throw at each other. For years I’ve been wondering why this was such a cruel thing to say? Even more so, where does pepper grow?!Firstly, nobody had any clue where this was; just that it was a very bad place! Norwegians had probably just acquired pepper and salt for cooking, and this was as adventurous as one could be in the kitchen back then. Pepper probably arrived on the same ship as the coffee beans . All we knew was that pepper was not grown in any of the nearby countries (Denmark and Sweden). That was as far as our imagination or horizon could reach. No doubt, pepper was from a place very far away!

Far away, for the purpose of sending somebody away could be good enough! If you could send this annoying person there, you should expect not to see him/her again for quite some time. Naturally though, since these orders were usually given during a fight, the bastard was not overly obedient or compelled to do so! My mindpower was under-developed at the time, so I never succeeded. It was safe to say that the moron had no clue where to head either. Pepper was not marked on any map! In fact, both parties where blissfully ignorant and unaware of the pepper’s origin or its geographical location. Why send somebody to a place you don’t know, and haven’t even confirmed as being a bad place either? It could be paradise, and far from serving your intention… There had to be some other explanation! Pepper is hot, and must come from a hot place! Hot is for some reason perceived as bad. Hell is hot (like Hell) – alas “Burn in Hell"! Hell is bad, so hot must also be bad! Any accounts of purgatory, before you even get to Hell, will tell you that it’s hot. Anything hotter than the beach in Spain (favorite holiday/roasting destination for Scandinavians) is pain and a bad place to be, no doubt! But how could we know that pepper came from a hot place? Tales from the seamen could of course have been told, retold and finally reached our ears, but not very likely. One look at the whole pepper corns can tell that they’ve been in a hot place. Roasted like straight out of Hell!

Surely we had tasted pepper, but spared of any bad burn. What the hell did we know about ring-sting?! This was of course long before chillies and jalapenos could reach us! Jalapenos and chillies are grown in hot places too, Mexico and many places around the world as far as I know. Although much hotter than pepper, we were totally oblivious of any of these chilli and jalapeno growing places. Pepper was as hot as it could knowingly get! The pepper growing area out there somewhere was the worst place imaginable. Up until recently I had no clue where to send my enemies though! A family member that lives in India came to visit short time ago. For some unknown reason she mentioned that they grow pepper there. A lifelong mystery for me was cleared up quite unexpectedly! Kerala in India to be exact! It’s probably not the only place in India or elsewhere, but at least now I have some clue where pepper is grown.

For a couple of years, we’ve been talking about going to India. Even with a long holiday, you can’t do the whole of India, but Kerala was one of our marked destinations. Without knowing it I had planned my future holiday at a place where I’ve previously wished only my worst childhood enemies! True,
India had Thugs, but they don’t cause Hell anymore. How ironic?! All the Hell’s on earth that I know about and that I’ve come across are actually not bad at all! They are actually nice places and definitely not cursing material!!

However! "What happens in Hell, stays in Hell". What goes to Hell or grow there also for that matter, am I right?! As far as I know, the ticket to Hell is one way only! …and since pepper grows in India, there must be Hell on earth. Either that, or earth is in Hell. So whether I tell people to go to Hell or to the place where pepper grows, they will not be any worse off than myself! I might as well send them to Bermuda! Damn – swearing people kinda lost its sting now! Bloody useless!!

In my garden you will find chillies thriving alongside lizards and scorpions! The summers here (Pretoria, South Africa) can be hot like hell. With the recent xenophobia incidents, this is probably closer to Hell than any named Hell you will find on earth. I live here!! Somebody else’s mind power must be quite strong!

I quite like it here

PS! "In Rome - do like the Romans do"! When in Hell...???


Joanne Rasmussen said...

Interesting twists! You dont post nearly enough.

Anonymous said...

Lol!!! brilliant :)

You know there IS hell in SA, close to Prins Albert ;-)
As to go to where the pepper grows, seems like someone else was wishing you the same thing ;-)

PS ... i'm with joanne, you don't post enough!!!

Jonny said...

Joanne & Abraxas:
Thanks a lot guys, just been busy lately, but hopefully I've got a few stories still left in me.

For every wish... Kerala or any other pepper growing region would be my second home by now if it really worked that way.

...and Hell. Well, I would've known the ins and outs of that place like a local taxi driver, lol!

Jonny said...

Oh, one more thing... Always a pleasure to see you still hanging around!!

beaverboosh said...

I did not know they grew pepper in LA. Fascinating!

Anonymous said...

I just found your blog and have been enjoying reading. I am an American living int he UK and have an opportunity to go to SA for a job. Can you give some advice on the levels of crime there public safety ( i know you were robbed) etc.. I would be living and sunninghill and working / living in Lephalale...
Many Thanks,

Jonny said...

Matt J.
Can't access your blogger details. Send me an email to, then I'll be happy to give advice :-)

Anonymous said...

Yo, why you not writing recently???


A 2 Z said...

Dear Jonny,

I dont think that blogger matt j. is an American living in the UK. Look at all the spelling mistakes and the poor writing skills. Why would he write to you for advice? He or she is just leading you on to see what you will say about SA.

Anonymous said...


Great one! I too must echo the sentiments of your other fans: you need to post more frequently!

HOWEVER, I don't think you should take A2Z too seriously. Judging from her previous comments, she is paranoid.

Now, how does that feel A2Z? Casting aspersions on the character of another in a public forum is no good idea.

I only hope Matt J. doesn't sue you! Haha!

Sleepless in Manhattan (But don't take my word for it, just judge my spelling)

Anonymous said...

Hi Jonny,
Many, many thanks for your advice. I will arrive in SA in about 5 weeks, after I get my visa. I will be based in Sunninghill.You got my email Jonny, so please keep in touch. I will be there for 2+ years, if you ever come back for a visit.. I own you a beer!
Anonymous... the lawsuit is already in the works.:)

Anonymous said...

This blog explains about the Hell called India ( I mean the Hellish Living) , I do understand heaven and hell are our creationsa, but what can the devil create?

Jonny said...

Ummhh... Or it's the devil that takes possession of you and make you make hell... So yes, both you and the devil make Hell! My understanding only though!!