Whimsical #blogging

I grew tired of the typical 10/10 bikini bodies, perfect sunshine, no wind, everything so picture perfect and totally different from what tourists actually experience. The jet lands in Johannesburg instead of Durban as there was terrible wind shear, the Greyhound is still stuck at a STOP/GO on the N12 while even the delayed PremierClasse is gracefully steaming in along Platform 24.

The MyCity bus MyConnect card goes corrupt in between stations, People walk and the bus is transporting thin air. The hydraulic doors break a Swedish tourist’s arm. At City Sightseeing, beggars harass tourists waiting on the Red Bus and at Mojo’s someone’s purse, mink coat and R18k iPhone finds a new owner.

“Life happens. Africa is a tough country.”

I am trying to bring reality home, trying not to be a tourist brochure or a voice on PA system but someone who share actual experiences with prospective visitors, so that they know what to expect. Here is the blog post, please read & comment there, guide me if you thing I am losing it.

https://awethentiqtravel.wordpress.com/2017/10/24/hoarsewhisperer/

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Real vs Crazy #Christianity 

On the other side of the globe, they are jailed for their love of Christ Jesus. Tortured, pierced, decapitated. They get evicted, with nowhere to go. No shelter against desert sun, wind, cold at night. Nowhere to draw water or get food.

They jubilate because of their love for Jesus, thankful for their salvation from sin, death and hell.  And they think that free Christians in the West think of them all the time, care for them, love them and pray for them.

In the West, Obama point blank ignored them and their plight. He did not intervene when he saw their persecution. Hilary eas going to add to their burden, than God that Trump had won, if only for this reason, nothing more!

What goes on in the free West?

Will I be saved if the Old Man is fighting fit in me, if I feed it prime steak and the best wine? Does PETRA Band not sing a cool tune about “killing the old man” in you.  Is it not Jesus who should be fed instead? How does Hollywood help with that?

Falling asleep to a TV series filled with bad attitudes and fictitional fights. Getting upset about the domestic fights in a fabricated story on a tiny screen at the bedside. Waking up to it, continuing the next day, 5am with the same.

Taking that dark attitude with as the wingman for the day. To lash out at those around you.

No sign of the Holy Spirit, yet Saturdays go into a trance, say “tik tik tik tik tik” in “tongues” and feel spiritually moved. All in the flesh, all for the show, or for self-righteous justification.

Where I live, there is this Christian who does weird things, for a reborn Christian. She refuses to thank the Lord before eating, as she says one doesn’t need to be religious about it. Through Moses, the Lord said we should pray before and after meals, as this would instill in us a sense of gratitude.

In eighteen months, we have eaten most meals together. At two meals, there were no complaints while, at two more meals, compliments to the chef. All other meals are marked by a constant complaint about what is wrong with the food. I may be wrong, but my own idea is that the dining table should never be a place of animosity or confrontation. Conflict tastes bad. It ain’t no spice.

What if she loses her job and end up eating scraps, cannot drive her car but must walk? If walking a kilometre between car and the shop is too much for a healthy person, how would she react to walking with a limp, or crutches, or rolling along in a wheelchair? Would healthy walking then look a tad more attractive? One really can’t but help to wonder.

The Lord has His ways to teach people. 

In traffic, while driving in any way other than legitimate, also switching lanes without indicating, traversing solid lines, closing gaps so that others can’t find their way in from an on-ramp. When she occasionally, maybe once in three months, do give someone a gap, she whines, moans and bitches because the other driver didn’t stoop to grovel in gratitude.

Constantly, the finger points, the tongue lashes. Others are shouted at, as they are monkeys, in her unqualified opinion. Joy had left me long ago, as nobody can remain positive and jubilant in such a holy hell.

Literally as wide as she is tall, she does not attempt to bring her weight under control. There is no self-control but rather indulgences as described in 1 Corinthians 5:9-13. I eat Greek salad for desert but the Greek prefers double thick caramel shakes. And it shows.

Such is the gossip that comes from work, the boss, the colleagues, even the clients suffer under a sharp tongue, in absentia. Just nobody can do right, as only one is perfect and don’t you even think the honour belongs to Jesus. No,sirreee, there is one more pure and perfect than that.

Such is the leadership at church, those who don’t just speak in tongues but make the weirdest sounds. Nothing like the typical glossalia. You have to visit a bovine feedlot to get a better idea.

My Muslim friends and a few animists, Buddhists and a Hindu say they can see that God has blessed my wife and I, how anointed we are. At church, we are told that we are in bondage of spirits by such as described. Guess where I prefer to spend my time and with whom.

If we must fellowship with people of faith, what are our options? Trains I travel on, have luxurious lounges with fully equipped bars and the folks do make use of it. I have my coffee. We have a wonderful time together, make friends, I share about my life with Jesus in a language they understand.

The Rasta in the wheelchair, poor as,a dog, rolls up to me, greet me with a “Yah man!” He goes on to say there is only one Jesus and that I should never worry as Jesus is right next to me, always. “Praise Jesus!”, he says, before taking his wheels down the road.

Raj grows his beard, prays five times a day. He says he wants to grow in his relationship with God, only do His perfect will. The world, he says, must wake up to repentance, to make things right with God, as Jesus wants to return. Not bad for a Muslim, eh?

Someone had this catchy tune called Blurred Lines three, four years ago. A very sexy video along with it, making me drool and blush at the same time. The deeper message is that we have choices, that life is seduction but that doing the right thing also is an alternative. When life throws you blurred lines, choose right.

So I visit the coffee shop. A Lesbian traffic officer, a retired Parliamentarian, a thirsty engineer, a photographer, also a handyman, another photographer, a busker, then also a painter and songwriter, a street preacher, the list of regulars is long. We’ve known each other for over a decade. The waitress’s daughter has a cancer. We all pray, whether we are saintly or not, maybe even speak in alternative tongues the navy could interpret. We care, we share, we laugh together, crying is a community thing. That cancer really bothers us.

Yes, there is love in that coffee house. Maybe true church is in the club, or having a coffee amid sharing yarns, or just where love is needed and received.

No sharp tongue required.

Dogma Deceives

Dogma can be described as follows:

Dogma is a belief or set of beliefs that is accepted by the members of a group without being questioned or doubted.[1] It serves as part of the primary basis of an ideology or belief system, and it cannot be changed or discarded without affecting the very system’s paradigm, or the ideology itself. The term can refer to acceptable opinions of philosophers or philosophical schools, public decrees, religion, or issued decisions of political authorities.”

Jesus said that we must worship in Spirit and in Truth.

Not knowing the truth but following a dogma is like the girl who drank her wine from a bottle, never getting a chance to really taste it.

The early believers were Jews and they were not even called Christians, but just followers of The Way. Some also called them Messianics.  We read in the Acts about their oneness of mind, how they cared and shared, there was peace, harmony and unity.

Then the Word was taken to non-Jews (Gentiles.) In came all sorts of pagan rituals and beliefs, to the extent that Paul warned against this, condemning anyone who deviated from the pure doctrine, to hell.

Guess what are we following today?  The very different gospel Pal had warned about.

I hear that people say “I stand on what the Bible says.”  Careful now.  Which one are you talking about?  There are partial Bibles in some 2,900 languages and full Bibles in almost 600 languages.

And in only one language is the Holy Spirit wrongly called a ghost.

A fundamentalist approach will only serve to make you a believer of dogma, of untested doctrine, instead of well-researched Truth.

I was one, in a previous life, until the Lord freed from from religious varnish, stripped me naked until only ugly me remained.  Then He started teaching me about Him, like He taught Job.

Job went through hell and back. He lost all he had, well, his troubles were indescribable, more than most of us will endure in twenty lifetimes. His lasted a whole 22 verses.

Then came the REAL trouble, from Job Chapter 2.

Most people have little knowledge of the book of Job, which is sad. It is a book that really lays the foundation of true faith, exposing the human heart, our very nature.

Recently, a floating missionary told me that job was a righteous man, without sin yet God tested Him. She cannot be older than maybe 25, I guess she is younger. She did not know what Jesus taught, less did she know what Job’s story was about.  She was a follower of dogma, but decidedly not of knowledge.  I was shocked to see she was going around the globe, from port to port, without knowing what the Jesus she promoted is about, because she does not know what His Word teaches.

I was like that once, when I was a young missionary.  Filled with dogma, but knew little Truth, although I thought I owned it all.

Modern Bibles are mostly translated directly from the original languages, while older, traditional Bibles are mostly based upon intermediate translations called base texts. The translators of the final product were very accurate – in copying tens of thousands of errors made by others.  Then dogma teaches it is inerrant.  Go figure.

The newer, more accurate ones (for various reasons) do not include certain added texts, which really were rather intentional deception by older translators, so as to establish a new dogma to suit their own personal views. Newer translations mostly exclude these additions, which is right.

Now the believers of dogma come and slam the more accurate Bibles, condemning its translators to Hell. Now isn’t this a funny thing to observe? Or strange?

Dogma is what resulted into the Inquisition.

My own forefathers had to leave their centuries-old wealth behind and flee to what is now South Africa, because followers of dogma wanted them dead. I can list endless examples.

Perhaps the zealous followers of such religious dogma hamper their own growth, restrict their own maturity, by blinding themselves from Truth.

Now let us look at Jesus – did He ever preach dogma?  Not once!  Should we not, then, follow His example and that of the first Christians in Jerusalem?  Interestingly, the Roman Catholics and the Protestants have so much similarity in belief, yet both, as well as the Orthodox Church, deviate vastly from The Way.

We are following a different gospel and will draw swords to defend our inherited dogma.

If only we could see Jesus for who He is, as He has been obscured by said dogma. It veils Him, and we as a religion follow that veiled image, instead of the Original Jesus.

Do we need all this dogma?  Give it a thought.

Only for truth seekers, did Jesus really say this?

  • camel through the eye of a needle (rope…)
  • eunuchs doing temple service, compare Deut 23:1
  • forgive them as they don’t know what they’re doing (not in all texts)
  • baptise them in the Name of the Father, of the Son, of the Holy Spirit. How did the apostles baptise?

Research this extensively, see what you come up with.  I have some answers but won’t give it away just now; I’ve given too many clues already.

Get the real taste, don’t drink Life from the bottle! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Nikita’s Has A Malignant Tumour #cancer

It was around this time, October, in 2007 that we first met them. The young mother with the two pigtail daughters, aged six and nine, respectively. Give or take a year, but there they were, the shy one and the extrovert. Nikita is the eldest and the introvert while Keisha is the ever-spontaneous extrovert. The two kids soon take to my wife Karen and I. They had an additional set of (grand)parents now.

One day, their daddy left home but never returned. They found him somewhere, dead. He had suffered a massive stroke. The kids were both broken but Nikita never really recovered. Her smile died with her Daddy.

Karen makes custom jewellery by hand and the two kiddies had a fair share over the past eleven years or so. Once, I went and bought specific miracle beads that I very much liked – and so did they. Karen made them earrings and necklaces. We did not have much to give yet we loved giving them what we had available.

The pigtails and skinny legs soon made way for blossoming girls who, in October 2107, are fully grown. The youngest, Keisha, is by far the most mature body wise while Nikita is a twiggy little thingy that I could fit into my shirt pocket. Intelligent, a keen observer and a silent achiever who had passed Matric in 2016 with good grades. We really love these two kids as if they were our own.

A medallion-like growth appeared on her abdomen about a year ago and it had taken her six months to even get an appointment with a surgeon. As they are poor, they have to do with State medical services that sometimes is just a cut above basic. About two weeks ago, the surgeon wanted to remove the blob and found that it sat deep – he took a biopsy and sent it away. Yesterday, October 11, 2017, the results came: she has a malignant growth that already has spread deep.

Surgery is scheduled for Monday, October 15, 2017. The surgeon is already worried about the growth’s spread but will try to clean it all out.

The mother earns a tiny income and the family lives in Hanover Park, a poor suburb in Cape Town. They rent a small dwelling from a landlord. Keisha is still at school and I sometimes wonder if these people even have food on the table, do they sleep warm? We have no car ourselves (I was semi-crippled for 22 years but can now walk again, but lost my job at age 37, I am 55 now) and I cannot visit to check up on them. We are friends with her employer, an elderly gentleman who is soon to retire as he is aged 79 already. Nikita cannot find a job as unemployment in South Africa is rife; the unofficial rate most likely is over 60%.

As from Monday, there may be loss of income as the mother will need to be at the hospital and also to care for Keisha who is still at school and cannot be left alone at home in a suburb know for gangster crimes. A conundrum. There will need to be money for meals at the hospital, for transportation, all of the sudden there is additional expenses and a likelihood of less income.

Friends offered help and, with the mother’s permission, I am now posting this here. A few thoughts:

  • If, for instance, a private surgeon can adopt her case on a charitable basis, this may help
  • Gift of the Givers?
  • If a restaurant can stage a breakfast or dinner to raise funds? We as a group of influencers can do the online marketing.
  • Hotel sponsor accommodation as prizes, say a 2-night stay in a quiet period, to be put into a draw against donations? We will surely give much media coverage.
  • Shops can offer gifts as prices for the draw, maybe the draw be done at the breakfast
  • Please be creative here, come up with ideas, let us create a home, a future, a life for Nikita and her mother and sister.
  • Prayer support, anyone who can help with transport, data bundles for WhatsApp connectivity, etc.

We will gladly introduce you to the family upon arrangement right here in Cape Town. We know that con artists abound and we need to ensure that the authenticity is proven to you. It is me and Karen who have known them since 2007, not you who read here. You still need to see what we already know, we understand that.

Please be creative, see how well we can come to the aid of this young family who had already endured so much loss and hardship.

Come on, let’s rase them up!

Two Oceans That Are Not #CapePoint

Ever since I was a small kid in the 1960’s, I knew where the two oceans meet: at Cape Agulhas, close to the famous lighthouse there that resembles the one at Alexandra, Egypt. 

Even so, this morning which is October 10, 2017, some gent writes on Twitter that “Cape Town is the only city that sits on both Atlantic and Indian Oceans.” If ignorance is not fueling the myth, it is the greed for tourist dollars.

Having done quite a few forensic audits in my life, let us follow good protocol and let the facts speak. What does the evidence say? 

FACT ONE – NO VISIBLE CONVERGENCE

One cannot see where two oceans meet, at least not with the naked eye. Videos trying to “prove” this on YouTube is a bit delusional in that it can, at best, display where the polluted waters from False Bay meet the open ocean.

FACT TWO – WHY FISH HOEK’S WATER IS WARMER

Two currents run along the coast of Africa toward Cape Town, one being the Mozambique current which is joined from another to form the Agulhas current. This brings warm water at a speed of about 5 nautical miles, 100km wide and 3,000 m deep, to a point far south of Agulhas. This point fluctuates as no ocean current is fixed. 

The other current is the cold Benguela current on the west coast. Where these two meet, it forms a gigantic “whirl pool” which spews warm water out at Fish Hoek, explaining why the water there is nice to swim in. This intermediate current sometimes run as fast as 43km/h!

FACT THREE – INTERNATIONAL BORDERS

It was confirmed in writing by the Chief Hydrographer of the SA Navy, Captain Kampfer, now retired, that the two oceans meet at Agulhas. He gave me maps of the oceans to show the demarcations.

FACT FOUR – DIFFERENCE IN OCEAN LIFE

Marine fauna and flora on the other side of Agulhas differs from that on the Atlantic side, even the abalone is different. The only thing truly Two Oceans in Cape Town, the Aquarium, will show you what the two marine habitats look like.

Estate agents, tour operators, as well as many others, live in some sort of dark place where people believe without questioning and learn without knowing. Even in the funicular station at Cape Point, one can see a map where it is very clearly stated that Cape Point is NOT where the two oceans meet and that the meeting place is at Agulhas.

20ceans

 Also, bear in mind that all of the earth in reality has only one ocean; how we name it, does not change that. It is one huge system. 

Why Bikers Bleed #ThinkBike!

Just a thought: is it biking, or bi king?

Now on to serious biking stuff. This man loves bikes. I am no biker but can appreciate it just like I can appreciate a decent Gibson Les Paul guitar without knowing how to play it. I leave that to those who can – Eric Clapton, John Fogerty, Tree63, Peter Frampton.

Bikes – I rode a few, a 125cc Honda trail bike, another 125, a Yamaha DT, a 200R Honda scrambler, a mighty Yamaha 600 TT with 58-tooth sprocket. A monster on pull-away and a powerhouse in the dunes. It would keep up with a Ford XR8 for the first few hundred yards, or shake its tail end when you roll the throttle at a hundred miles and hour on a loose gravel road. I can wax lyrical; that thing was D O P E!

Then there was a Yamaha RD 350, a little two-stroke wonder that could kill a 900 Kawasaki on sight. Or a GPZ1100 Quack. Kids, if you dunno what I’m talking about, just Google it. My most pleasurable spin was on a Honda CB900F Bol D’Or, a version named after the famous race. It was on that beast that I saw how I was going to kill myself as my enthusiasm had no rev limiter, even if the bike (maybe) did. Nope, I unsaddled my own gallows noose and never mounted a bike again. That was in the late 1980’s or early 1990’s.

My cousin had a Yamaha 1.1 and later a Honda Shadow. When Japs build something like a HOG but actually get it right. Harley-Davidson for all the hype cannot build a bike with a meaty roar like a Duke or a Beemer, but hire Junk But Loud to engineer sound effects that sound like the Mayor’s fireworks – loud, erratic claps that only create noise and hurt the ears. That one can mess up a great bike like that. The Buells on the race track sound wayy better.

HOGwatch, eat that!

Now for the thing: bikes need their own space in traffic to be safe and I am a saint when it comes to being truck and bike conscious when driving. Also very Land Rover aware, as there always may be another road block around the bend. No, not cops, I mean the Landy…..

A bike being rear-ended by a car is a sight for sore yes. Something you really don’t want to see, when meat and metal become one on the tarmac. So, smartly, these bikers drive in between lanes, where (hopefully) alert motorists will (hopefully) see them. And, my word, do we get to see eye candy on our way into town every morning! Beautiful bikes, with tyres so wide a Mini could park on them. Ever so often, that throaty rumble of a BMW Motorrad. Lovely stuff; I have a taste for style – as little as I like their cars, as much do I love their bikes. I grew up with them in Worcester, where the traffic cops rode 650’s.

Then we also get to see ZZ Top passing by on his Harley, which is quite nice but please just leave that throttle alone. Don’t spoil the moment of bliss. Or maybe a fat scrambler riding high, or a superbike in full song.

Full song it sadly is, as that is where the trouble starts. Some come from behind at such speed that even the most alert driver stand no chance to see them. A lane change could be fatal to the biker – and to those in the small cars on our roads. It really is unwise to travel outside of the median speed – best is to stay within 20km/h either side of traffic flow. Our crazy laws forcing trucks to do 80km/h while traffic flows at 120-140km/h (the latter illegally) serves as a reminder of danger being legally created. Rather up the truck speeds and lower all other traffic speeds, let all run somewhere between 90-110km/h.

Speed differences in traffic flow is where the problem lies as they come from the other side of where the driver sits, around a bend, so fast that checking a side mirror every six seconds is too little to notice them in good time. The cars crawl at 5km/ while the bikes do twenty times that. A car driver simply is not capable of seeing them in time when quickly needing to make a decision when switching lanes. Disagree with this to show you are an absolute idiot, like someone lambasted me on Twitter. He wants to bleed, let him. It is his choice, but don’t put others at risk. They are innocent. 

Now for the bikes: I really do hope that some biker reads here and spread this about. We’d love to see you guys arrive in one piece at work, at home or at the playground, not covered in a white sheet in a fridge. Please do be considerate to yourselves, if not to others, try not to be foolish on your way into work.

And this applies to every biker out there, from Murmansk to Hobart. Not just Cape Town.

Why I am not #Vegan

Creation was perfect. Man lived an eco-friendly lifestyle among animals, they were all friends. There was this stupendous harmony. Mind-blowing. Imagine not having to break in a horse. Or to feed a carrot to a lion. 

When Adam and Even brought a curse upon earth, nature changed and even lions became carnivores. The Bible has interesting teaching on this. Prior to that, in paradise, animals had no fear of man – who did not eat animal protein. But nature had changed. Even though the book of Genesis would suffice, interesting reading is to be found in the Forgotten Books of Adam and Eve. It just gives a greater understanding.

So, when I decided to follow Jesus, I slowly grew out of many things, like dancing, partying, etc. I never became a religious zealot, it is more that those things did not fulfill me any longer. Ditto pork and certain foodstuffs – I just developed an aversion that had nothing to do with brainwashing but rather natural selection. I would end up referring legumes to meat, for instance and I thought that “on earth as it is in heaven.” There won’t be butcheries in heaven, right?

Jesus came to put the curse right, yet we still live on the cursed planet. A new earth, new heavens await us, so things will become better.

Our bodies still need certain things, things that sadly are usually found in red meat. There is a way out, of course, so one can be  vegan and be healthy. It just takes a bit of planning and precaution. 

For now, I have several auto-immune diseases including intolerances for legumes, certain seafoods (mostly shellfish and octopi) as well as different types of grains. As plant material is really low in certain vitamins, especially B12, I have to aid my diet with what I can afford, sort of, as I am also living on a rather meagre income, being a State disability grant recipient. Even with my limited means of eating eggs, dairy stuff and some meat and fish, the vitamin intake is insufficient and I am always sort of anaemic.

Vegans fall into various categories and are as far removed from each other than the Roman Catholic Church could be from interdenominational home churches. Being a Vegan can mean many different things. My biggest gripe is that some types of Vegans sometimes are sort of militant, uncouth and confrontational. I see no peace in that, neither do I see that an unbalanced concern for animals while humans go to waste is even a righteous approach. All humans also cannot help for where they find themselves, not all can work, not all kids can think for themselves, etc. There has to be balance. it also doesn’t help you wear non-leather clothing but arrive at a protest march in a 6.3-litre twin-turbo V8 that eats its own hole into the ozone layer. Yes, that happened here in Cape Town!

But these are not my concerns.

As a diabetic, I flinch at the unhealthy meals and drinks I see on Instagram, for instance. Laden with sugars, starches, fructose – the latter particularly unhealthy when taken in the wrong quantities. Just because it is natural doesn’t mean it is good for you. Pretty harmful things grow out there. I see cakes, fruit shakes, baked stuff so laden with grains that my stomach turns. It will instantly send blood glucose into a high and send the gluten-intolerant reeling under the advances of microscopic soldiers attacking one’s body. I really think that more attention should be given to truly healthy eating, not just eating something because it natural.

Moderation.

I really miss by dried bean stews, different types I loved making, surprising my wife when she arrived home. Or that Gentil Lentil stew, chick pea pie (my version of shepherd’s pie) and a few others. Legumes. Good source of proteins albeit not sufficient. And Vitamin B12 is something most Vegans need to take supplements for – just make sure you know this. As, if you don’t, you may find that your suffer in terms of nerve health, brain function, etc.

Soya. I forgot soya. Another lovely item that had to be scrapped off my list. Sadly.

Moderation. Did someone say “moderation?” Even the Bible mentions that man should not eat too much meat; God has an aversion to that. And, as wrongly translated Bibles say, Jesus did NOT okay all food. That is an insertion made by mischievous monks centuries after Jesus lived.

Interesting when you read the dietary laws of Moses: today, with scientific research on our side, much can be said for the accuracy of that. I’d say that the true disciple is best advised to live according to the Word of God, as first and foremost authorative writing. It really contains good advice. What you eat, how or why is up to you – I am no judge of that. I just mentioned why I reverted back from my own version of mild veganism. And, in a separate post, I explained how my body chose its own selection of food.

How eating healthy food pays off #LCHF #Banting

For two decades and, of necessity, our small family’s diet really wasn’t very healthy or even balanced. Rich in carbohydrates, poor in protein and anything fresh. At some point in time, I was diagnosed with Type 2 Diabetes.

I saw my surgeon on July 8, 2015. My regular Metformin dose was augmented by a small white tablet to be taken at night. Within four days, all hell broke lose. I had very high fever, cold fever, convulsions and I bent over backwards in pain. I could not eat anything and all food had “the texture of sackloth and the taste of dishwashing liquid.” This went on for three weeks, then I could start eating small morsels of red meat, cocktail tomatoes, lettuce and about nothing else. Oh, and a few bananas – my only source of starch. No teas or coffees, except Chinese green tea with nothing added. And water, lots of it.

Five weeks later and I started recovering, having lost 22kg! Within about three months, I started feeling healthy again. Of course, I stopped the tablets immediately and went on to control blood glucose with healthy eating: lean red meat, said fresh vegetables and, by now, also Greek salad. For dessert.

The water addiction continued. I felt how every cell in my body came alive again, how youthful energy returned – I was 54 by now. Me, a former cripple, could run up steps three at a time.

For reasons of economy – I live on a meagre state disability allowance –
we had to resort back to a high carb diet. Now, after a year of eating badly again, I have gained about eight kilogrammes but the centimetres are what had grown. Short of breath, lethargic, pains through my body…..like before the good #LCHF diet.

This all happened while the world wanted to crucify Prof Tim Noakes for his Banting advice. He is a diabetic as well and should know. Unbeknown to him, I had proven Tim Noakes right! And, as soon as I can afford it, I will be back to eating healthily – not exactly strict Banting but at the very least a #LCHF way of life.

This is to eating healthy. Dish up the great life!

What to do when suspecting #heartattack – how this had worked for me! (Pls reblog/share)

In the prime of my life, I slipped a disc and had a (botched) laminectomy L5-S1 after having spent some time in a wheelchair. The surgery did restore my mobility to some extent but left me bedridden for weeks or months at a time over a period of 22 years.

About a year later, I was booked off work for six weeks with an “impending ischemic event of the heart” and, lo and behold, ended up with a mild-to-severe heart attack and, on top of that, a stroke that had left me speechless. Yes, my household was blessed with me having been stripped of my infamous eloquence. Silent is golden, they say.

Later on in life, I would be afforded a few more of each, with two minor strokes during 2016 alone. Less severe heart attacks around 2002, then again 2009 and some undiagnosed events over the past two years. Undiagnosed because access to medical help is simply ridiculously inaccessible. It only lives in departmental health policies and official procedures, yet ambulances that don’t show up even a day after having been summoned. Or, as my young doctor found, he had me carted away to the hospital nearby as I was enjoying my most recent stroke in his consulting room. Not able to walk or speak, off I went in a large green Volkswagen with red lights minus the Hollywood sirens. My wife was with me.

At the hospital, my wife was told that I would only be seen, hopefully, within some 24 hours or so. Stroke? 24+ hours? One needs help within the hour. Right in front of me, three doctors were politely debating with a lunatic why he neglected taking his lithium or whatever. Three doctors. I was sitting six feet away, not sure whether I would ever be able to walk or speak again, but that was none of their concern. With hindsight, my own state-employed GP perhaps would have been better equipped to deal with me; I also have much faith in him.

My first heart attack came when the military sick bay commander told my wife “he just fainted, it will be okay.” They knew what I was booked off for and they were close by, but chose to ignore me. Ten days later, I drove myself to the military hospital 260km away, where I was diagnosed with a heart attack and the stroke, after some vigorous testing by various specialists.

Twice in my life did I see where the ER service and medical system failed me. There would be more times to come, I just did not know it yet.

This past Friday, I went into a long but entertaining, constructive business meeting and left with high spirits. I did eat just before the meeting and felt on top of the world. My business friend’s little 3-year old granddaughter joined us at some stage and her witty comments had us laughing. All was well and I was on top of the world.

Driving home by 15:12, I went straight up to a less congested main road and took that route home. A felt a strong conviction to drive to a certain McDonald’s nearby but shook it off as a silly idea and proceeded on my way home. I needed a bathroom and stopped at the smaller McDonald’s near my house and, upon my return to the car, it hit me. A numbing pain from my lower left arm, going all the way up and growing in intensity, into my left shoulder, left upper back and up into my left side of the neck, left jaw. The pain became very severe. By now, the chest was hurting really badly, not a sharp piercing pain but rather a very strong pressure that had brought on an intense numbing sort of pain. I found it hard to breathe. I needed help but we have seen too much of the ambulance service over twenty years.

I have no medical insurance, so I slowly drove to the medical facility, a day hospital, across the road. They were closed, two staff were sitting outside and asked if they should call of an ambulance. Ah, we know where that would take us……so, in my persistent fight for survival, I faced the pain and got into the car again. On my way to an ER not too far away.

Trouble!! Rush hour on one of the most congested roads in the country!! Bumper to bumper, with minibus taxi’s doing just crazy things in between cars. A traffic officer could not help as he had to keep cars from rear-ending a stationary truck. Which is reasonable.

Amid all of this, I remember something my friend Kath sent me on WhatsApp a while ago: an Indian doctor telling people to induce coughing violently when experiencing such symptoms. I started doing it, going up the street, trying not to pass out as I felt very dizzy. I managed to get to the initial McDonald’s where a staff member my wife and I are friendly with, came to my aid. I found my isosorbide denitrate sublinguals and placed one under my tongue. As I am diabetic, I had something to eat as well. I had to fight not to lose my conscience and a few times nearly blacked out. The lady later brought me some kind of aspirin to place on my tongue, to let it dissolve and not to swallow. About twenty minutes after taking the isosorbide, the pain started subsiding yet remained for another three hours.

Eventually, I managed to drive to where the ladies in my home could be collected and the car handed to them, about ten miles away. In all of this, there really was no other help that I could summon at all. I had to do it, regardless.

It is Monday now and I am still weak, really tired to death and will see a doctor tomorrow morning. What had happened to me fits into the matrix of either angina or a very light heart attack. After all, i do have some experience in this as it had happened before over the past 22 years. But let the good doctor give his verdict, if at all.

What you should learn from this, and the reason for me sharing this with you:

  • Help is always available in theory but practice may differ
  • Don’t give up but fight, even if it is the last thing you do.
  • Do everything not to black out, it is all too easy to succumb to that
  • Cough – even if it makes you feel like vomiting or if it feels that your chest will split open. Cough. Cough. Cough. Leave a few seconds in between coughs. It apparently helps with blood flow into the lungs and therefore to the heart.

ISOSORBIDE NITRATE

I was never instructed on how to use it, so let me explain – as taken from some medical website:

  • Put one under the tongue
  • If the pain doesn’t subside within 5 minutes, CALL THE AMBULANCE
  • Only then can you place a second tablet under the tongue, but call for help first!
  • You can use a third tablet if necessary but never more than three. Please do your own research, consult with your own doctor or medical professional.

Remember:

  • If at all possible, don’t black out
  • Cough cough cough
  • Get help
  • Cough cough cough
  • Sublingual tablet if you have one
  • Cough cough cough
  • call ambulance or doctor
  • Cough cough cough
  • More sublingual
  • Cough cough cough
  • maybe third sublingual, not more
  • Cough cough cough

Come back and tell us your story!!

Cursing and Aphasia – The Aphasia Center – Intensive Aphasia Treatment

https://www.theaphasiacenter.com/2014/09/cursing-aphasia/

Now you know.

Five strokes.

A stroke of bad luck?

As a regular soldier, I never swore.

A reborn Christian? Rather, I need Jesus.

After stroke, I was a loatheful man.

The secret’s out.

Get Real. Relationships.

A matrimonial breach of trust is so acutely severe that even the Bible holds it as valid reason for divorce. Trust cannot ever be bought.

It can be lost in a split second.

As a Christian, I have been circumvented in business by Christians vociferously proclaiming their faith. Such usually are also very smooth, know how to let the innocent appear to be guilty while the guilty get comforted by the next unsuspecting victim. I have learned how not to treat others, to be fair and just and a man of my word.

It would be unthinkable to do to others as had been done to me. I have seen bad examples and the responsibility upon me is huge not to also do that, not to do as has been done to me only this morning.

Karen and I have been married thirty years, we met just over 31 years ago. We both have been absolutely faithful. Temptations came, so openly that even the very naive me could stir it with a stick.

In marriages where there had been a breach of trust, it seldom is restored once broken. In business it is no different.

I sit here writing, at the doctor, with very high blood pressure. I came here for something else but received a call, only to hear how a very Christian friend, tagging me in the sweetest religious posts on social media, is busy stealing my business, using my contacts, behind my back. Yeah, now my blood pressure is elevated.

I next found I was tagged in a sweet religious post by the very same person.

Get real.

El Lions Conference Centre

It was Friday morning, the the 15th of September, 2017, as we headed out on the N7 highway, with very little traffic and the going was much easier than anticipated; time was around 8:30AM.

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We were not rushed and drove at a leisurely pace to Philadelphia, where we turned left towards the West Coast and passed the historical farm Keert De Koe. This is where we saw the first of many man-made owl-nests. This stretch is just 4.7km. We turned right into the R304, the old road to Darling and travelled for 7.3km, passing through a leafy tunnel formed by huge saligna trees and turned right into Saxonwold Road. We passed the Waldorf school to our left and saw many more owl’s nests. The effort to re-establish owls is encouraging. Following this road, we entered another “tree tunnel” and promptly found El Lions to our right, after having covered 4,1km.

Arriving at the gate shortly after us, were Marius De Vos and Marinda Holtzhausen, who had facilitated the day’s educational visit. We passed through the electric gate and saw a few peacocks doing their prouncing. We parked under gigantic trees next to a large khoi dam, where we were introduced to owners Mario and Lona. We were surrounded by woodlands alternated by expansive lawns and grasslands, with spring flowers blossoming. The setting was picturesque and the two ladies, Karen and Niki, soon took to doing some photography.

 

As other guests arrived, we were introduced and invited to the lapa, a tented wooden structure made of home-grown saligna and hand-built by Marco. It did not ask but estimate that it can seat approximately seventy guests, maybe more. In the centre is a lovely built-in fireplace and in the one corner, a very neat bar counter from where we were served light snacks and coffee.

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We were then taken on a walk to view the facilities and were shown a number of 1-bedroom apartments, each with a sofa, kitchenette, bedroom with double bed, wardrobe and a bathroom with toilet, basin and shower, all very neat and presentable. Each has a two-seater wooden table outside.

From there, we went to the conference centre consisting of two one-bedroom apartments that can also be used as a two-bedroom apartment, with a lovely lounge, there are two bathrooms and two kicthens, of which one interleads into the fairly large conference room.

We also viewed the thirty stables converted into sleeping rooms with two double bunk beds each, a shared kitchen and his & hers bathrooms, each with several showers, toilets and basins. As in all the other facilities, wood sourced from the premises have been used, expertly crafted by owner Mario Baragona.

Finally, there is an indoor swimming pool, pool table and other leisure amenities.

El Lions is set in rustic woodlands covering 21 hectares and there is ample space for team building, mountain biking, quad biking, jogging and other physical activities. There are various braai spots as well as an amphitheatre with a plinthed fireplace at its centre – formerly used as a lunging ring for training racehorses. As someone remarked, there has to be a place where Khumbaya can be sung under a starlit sky.

Groups of twenty or more are welcome and El Lions would be ideal for church-, school-, youth-, cultural- and corporate groups for conferences, team building and training.

 

Google Rock Star Level 7 #LocalGuide

This had happened two or three months ago, already, yet it gives me great pleasure to show that working for free, initially, had helped me gain recognition, making me a worthy influencer to market your product or service.

On Twitter, up to 250,000 impressions per month, Facebook is much more active and drive more readers to my blogs, yet I have no stats for that.

Being associated with six major passenger transport social media accounts and even more industry influencers, also helps taking your product out.

Furthermore, collaboration with various tourism bodies and other influencers makes my offer just that much more resilient and advantageous.

There are many ways in which I can promote your product as I am a recognised, authentic influencer, trusted by many as I don’t buy fake followers like many do, then they let you pay for that.
Test my Twitter handle @awethentiq at TwitterAudit.com

Contact me so that I can show you the different ways in which I can market your business an a great way, at a very low cost.

Being The Change #Leadership

We sometimes get into situations where compromise gets called upon. These are the times to prove your integrity, as the politician will always first see where there is either a benefit or a risk. A true leader, however, will seek the right outcome, event to his disadvantage, which is why very few politicians will ever be true leaders. I may sound rash but this is cold fact, not criticism. Moreover, it also is just logic.

I live in South Africa, a country with its own challenges and slow but certain backslide. it is slipping away from the fingers of the sane, just like the USA or Canada. It is evident that Americans would think their country is the worst and, on social media, they cry it out loudly, as do Australians, Britons, Germans, etc. Even Canadians nowadays prefer to be opinionated instead of being PC. Too little, too late, also that great nation is in a death spiral. All these people ever can achieve is to market possible failure so effectively that it eventually happens. When it does happen, they still blame others without realising what a tremendous role they have played in sinking their own Titanic.

How does one turn the tide? Well, positive change, like its negative evil twin, never came about by following protocol, or filling out twenty pages in triplicate with carbon paper. Of course, one would first seek a solution amiably and, when that fails, opt for a bit more enhanced influence. We love to play it by the rules, yet if the rulers entangle themselves so badly in red tape, using all their energy to manufacture elaborate excuses, one need to make new rules.

Making new rules is giving you the upper hand as the ruler now have to submit, as he is forced to. You can now call the shots, hopefully not through arrogance but just from a perspective of control. A more beneficial angle of attack. If you are off on a tangent, let it be one of fortitude. Effect positive change by frog-marching the ruler, yet save his face, always keep an olive branch almost within his reach. Give him something to live for, a reason to comply.

In so doing, you will not only save his face, but also your own cause. Be smart, always present solutions, even alternatives to said solutions, to afford your adversary an escape route that takes him on the path that you want him to be on. Let him choose what you wanted in the first place, by making it attractive to him. Ten, when change is effected, stand back if need be, let him get the honour, as this isn’t about you but about the positive change that you are called to effect upon this planet.

In so doing, you will earn respect and become trusted. If you have integrity to the core, that is.

Another article by Pete posted to WordPress via email. Follow on Twitter: @awethentiq

It Is Hard To Be Civil #DisabledParking

Section 9 of the South Acfrican Constitution states that neither the State nor anyone else may discriminate against any person on the grounds of race, religion, culture, disability, etc.  Taking reasonable access to public facilities away from anyone is a violation of that person’s rights. When disabled people get targeted in this way, we expose the very worst in society. 

Sometimes, being civil really is a challenge. For instance, I wanted to tell you that I really regard these people in the same league as child molesters, baby rapists or those who violate their own mothers and grannies. Then, I thought, what would that do to me in the end? Will I feel better if I blacklisted every shopping mall that doesn’t control their disabled parkings and encourage people not to be buying there?

I could tell you how badly management at Bayside Mall handled my complaint when I found a vehicle from South African Police Services parked across a number of disabled parkings, with a minor child left unattended inside. That I was told that it would be illegal to clamp transgressors – something I checked with the local traffic authorities since and found it to be not true. Clamping is still legit, parking without a permit sticker on disabled parking is not.

Of course, I could say that the very next vehicle that parked where the cop truck was parked, was just a coincidence and that the security officers were watching UFO’s and flying pigs, which is why they didn’t notice.

Okay, so let us not tell you what a badly bred tribe these parking offenders are. People so selfish and lazy that they cannot think that someone may actually need the parking near the door. Like my one friend whose 34-year old daughter is an invalid since a car accident at age five months, totally dependent upon her mother only. As an adult, so very easy to be carried over quite some distance from a remote parking as the mother is very strong and fit, despite being sixty years of age. No problem, she also handles the shopping trolley. But you must see my other friend, a real lioness. Wow, she does it grand! With a little boy breathing through a hole in his throat and limp in a wheelchair, she finds it so delightful that she can show off her prowess by juggle the limp boy, her very active three year old, a wheelchair and a shopping trolley without assistance. And how she just hates these disabled parkings as it makes her feel entitled. So, you will notice her at the mall next time, red in the face while showing off how tough she is.

When she cries into her pillow, be sure that it won’t affect you, as you parked where she should have. You sucked at a smouldering weed between your lips, your truck across to disabled parking bays, while you own very fit, healthy and sexy daughter runs to the store to buy your cigarettes.

So, instead, I told a beautiful young girl on the passenger seat one day, how noble she was to sacrifice her youth, her life, her career, even her blossoming sexuality, to the invalid driving their little Nissan truck. For some reason totally unknown to me, she started sniggering when I complemented her best qualities, while at the same time, her totally cripple boyfriend with his stick-on muscles (buy that at Virgin) became increasingly rosy in his complexion. To the point of being very red. I told her that a beautiful, fit young lady with a healthy dose of hormones like herself, really should have gotten herself a nerd who thought about nothing other than sex all day, as that would have satisfied her most basic needs. Yet, she was noble-minded and sacrificed her endless youthful joys to invest it into the life of her invalid boyfriend.

So, let me reiterate. We will be kind to these parking area pests who invade disabled parkings, as their mental retardation warrants it. And their wives must be deep purple with sexual frustration.

Next time you see one, hoot and feel sorry. Take a photo, share on social media, that others can help bear his burden.

As that is what love is. Carrying someone else’s burden.

What to do with #GeneraztionZ

About a year ago, I took an on-line assessment for my It skills and was rated young enough to be Generation Z.

Yesterday evening, I sat installed in my regular corner at a coffee shop at the V&A Waterfront and a number of tourists from India took seats at the table adjacent to mine. I didn’t realise that they were watching me as I backed up data between devices, swapped SIM cards, employed various types of external memory devices and did it all on Linux Mint, not MS Windows.

After a while, I was confronted in broken English – the gent wanted to know my age. Not something a total stranger should be asking me, yet I was intrigued and told him my age. The group exchanged glances, nodded knowingly but were taken aback when I told them that I come from the days of pre-PC and my first OS was CP/M. That, to the new kids on the block, is the OS before MS-DOS.

Yes, I am the new Millennium Kid, the tech geek who drives smartphone sales “executives” crazy and hack deep into the innards of Linux and Android. In the past, I was quite fluent in anything Microsoft, Symbian60, BBOS, Mac OS X, OS/2……

The website said I was Gen Z.

At age 55!

I Am A #PermaTourist In #lovecapetown

We were at a world renowned precinct, visited by 24 million people annually. It is called the V&A Waterfront, a working harbour with several shopping malls, roughly eighty restaurants, museums, cinemas, offices, residences over and above helicopter flights and ocean cruises from local sunset trips to ocean cruises, including the world’s largest liners. Tourists asked me if there was a travel agency and I said “NO.” They were taken aback, then I asked them to just look around them, saying “we are here already, where do we need to go to?”

I live in Cape Town, South Africa, one of the five most scenic cities in the world and the top travel destination in Africa. I am here to stay. Tourists sometimes ask me where I am from and I am quick to point out that I am a local tourist. That confuses them, so I explain that I must have a few thousand photos of Table Mountain alone. To do what with? Well, it was fun taking them! When asked if I travel, I say “of course!” When asked where I travel to, my answer is “Cape Town.

Let me explain: one an be born here, live here, see a new thing every day and still miss out on so much by age 85! The other day, a young tourist from Europe wrote on Facebook that she spent two very boring days in Cape Town….she must be very unimaginative as the world’s most scenic coastal rail route already was worth a day out on a Tourist Pass costing less than three United States Dollars? Nothing to do? Did she even put down her phone, detox from social media and noticed where she stayed – in beautiful Hout Bay where one won’t get bored for weeks on end, too much to do!

So, photos we take, things we see. Just yesterday, we discovered a very nice hotel hidden in plain sight right in the centre of the Mother City, as Old Cape Town is fondly known. Views from a rooftop garden on the ninth floor cover from Devil’s Peak to Lion’s Head. The rooftop is an ideal party venue, honeymoon suite with a great setting for wedding pictures. Or a rave with your young mates, or a corporate conference venue. That is where a sign advertising morning coffee at seventy US cents led me….nothing boring there!

Architecture, museums, action activities (well over a hundred!) plus so much more. I don’t need to travel abroad to see wales as we have our whales here 😀

Gosh, how can anyone become a couch potato in such vibrant surroundings?! If anything, cape Town can become an indulgent sensory overload, not that the young adventurer made herself guilty of that.

I travel every day, from Cape Town deeper into Cape Town.

I never get enough.

I coined the term PERMATOURIST to describe myself.

Follow me on Twitter @awethentiq

Main Line Trains In South Africa – PRASA

There is somehow a perception that trains have stopped running in South Africa in 1994. Many reasons are given by “those in the know” yet I am here to boldly tell you that all is well. We travel so often that I have lost count, but I am going to outline our journeys for you.

PREMIER CLASSE

1-2 November 2016

Upon our arrival at the Premier Classe Lounge, we were served with tea, coffee, scones and muffins. Our Train Manager welcomed us and we were addressed by Mr Mthura Swartz, Executive Manager, Main Line Passenger Services. We were made to feel at home. We also soon made friends with a couple from Kenya.

We left Cape Town on the morning of November 1, 2016, on board PremierClasse, South Africa’s only affordable luxury train. At a price point less than a business class airline ticket, you get:

  • Air-conditioned throughout with individual controls in each compartment
  • Only two guests per compartment, one per coupe.
  • Convenient lockable wardrobes, oodles of stowage space and lots of place to hang things
  • Complementary amenities such as body wash, shampoo and shower slippers
  • Shower gowns and towels – these remain on the train
  • A variety of mood- and day/night lighting options with reading lights as well.
  • A foldable table that hides a stainless steel wash basin
  • Soft carpeting on the floors
  • A complementary bottle of still spring water per guest
  • Personalised welcoming letters that also serves as travel information regarding your journey
  • Two lounges with cash bars, with card payment facilities – one for smokers, one for non-smokers
  • Dining cars where some of the most delectable meals are served, prepared by top class chefs
  • Dinner is a five course affair. Affaire could be the right description. It is a sensory seduction.
  • Lunch is a three course delight fit for a king
  • Breakfast – once you have been served, you can face an army. It is scrumptious and laden with goodness
  • Afternoon tea with a selection of cake
  • Welcoming tea/coffee with a selection of muffins and scones, jam and butter, sometimes cheese as well, in the PremierClasse Lounge
  • Welcoming bubbly or juice with crisps, nuts, sandwiches and biltong once on board.
  • I forgot to mention the crisp bed linen, really in a league well above the travel price – also included.
  • A conference car that can be equipped according to your needs and taking 20 – 30 delegates. Also great for weddings, birthdays and wedding anniversaries or just a nice party!
  • Telephones are being installed so that guests can order room service or summon the Train Manager.
  • Mains power ports – 220V great for USB charging, laptops, cameras or your own music gadgets!
  • Plain clothes Police and Security officers keep guests safe. Relax, all is well!

On this first journey, we traveled to Potchefstroom, some 1,200km away – it is not a scheduled stop yet the Train Manager allowed us to disembark as we had another train to catch.

Our train traveled through the vineyards of the Boland and finally we stopped in Worcester where fresh water and Diesel fuel were replenished. The fuel is for the twin generator set that powers all facilities on board as overhead power is only for the electric locomotives. We then passed through the scenic Hex River Valley, then the Hexton tunnel complex that consists of four tunnels of 0.5km, 1.1km, 1.2km and 13.5km respectively. We emerged in the Karoo desert and witnessed a sable antelope that stood guard over a solar power farm. On to Beaufort West, where we arrived about 90 minutes early. On our way there, we were served with afternoon tea and cake.

At Beaufort West, more replenishment and a single Class 7E locomotive replaced the twin set of Class 6E1’s. Overhead voltage now increased from 3kV to 7kV. This is also where the sun set as we passed Steenbokkie Private Nature Reserve while the famous five course dinner was served. Some had energy left to party the night away, smoke cigars in the Club Car or just converse with fellow guests over a few drinks in the Lounge Car. In the last few rays of daylight, we were treated to three herds of Springbok (Thomson’s gazelle) showing off their skills. A beautiful sight to behold and as African as it can get.

The next morning, we woke to coffee being served at our compartment – sunrise was so beautiful but we soon saw more herds of wild game – kudu, eland, sable antelope, zebra, gnu, giraffes, red hartebeest……and we were being served that famous breakfast as we passed through Klerksdorp and the first gold mines. Our journey was over within forty minutes and we greeted our new-made friends from Kenya, delightful people that we are still in contact with.

Our Train Manager was the venerable Mr Sydney Pele Nodikana.

14 March 2017

A number of journalists were invited but only showed up. Then you ask me why you didn’t know that main line rail passengers in this country is still alive and well, just better than in the days of old. The occasion was celebrating the brand new Conference Car and I travelled with Mr Karel Crous, the Area Manager, Prasa main Line Passenger Services, as a special guest, to Wellington. I had the opportunity to view the Conference Car on its maiden journey, but had to terminate my travel at Wellington as I had another appointment soon after.

17 March 2017

Karen and I boarded at Klerksdorp, on the return journey of the PremierClass with Conference Car. This was an excellent choice, as the SiMODiSA #VentureTrain was happening in the Conference Car and I was the first media representative to see it in action. Quite phenomenal and those people brought a great mood with them. Our journey to Cape Town, like our November one, was a delight and bordered upon indulgent. We met the owner of a game ranch, his wife, brother and sister-in-law. As our train was a bit delayed, we had the benefit of traveling about two hours longer, due to speed restrictions imposed by the Rail Safety Regulator and/or Transnet Freight Rail, both separate entities. Even so, these and other guests were reluctant to end their journeys as they found it so enjoyable.

Mr Sydney Pele Nodikana was our friendly Train Manager.

11 April 2017

Arriving at the PremierClasse Lounge, we were met by Chris and Nathan, who efficiently took charge of our luggage and directed us towards the lounge area, where Mr Sydney Pele Nodikana awaited guests for the welcoming snacks and drinks – and the regulation welcoming speech and “house rules.” We soon made new friends and were soon on our way, but I first showed an interested guest the heritage trains at the nearby Monument Station. Our journey to Klerksdorp was very pleasant and we were yet again treated to much wild game along the way. We arrived some twenty minutes late despite having gained 90 minutes during the course of the night. This was welcome as it afforded us an opportunity to breakfast before we disembarked.

27 April 2017

Our train arrived a few hours late due to speed restrictions as there was a TFR freight train that had derailed a week prior and the Rail Safety Regulator did not give clearance to travel at the usual 90km/h, but rather at 30km/h. As our train drew into the station from Johannesburg, a guest stepped out to stretch her legs. Her words to me: “Sir, you’d better board this train, the MOOD on here is GOOD.” So, it runs much late yet the guests celebrate? We were whisked to the dining room where our food was served, as they kept our lunch for us. A very nice touch. Then we went to unpack and settle in, as my usual paraphernalia had to be hooked up to the mains power to get charged. Cameras, laptop, tablet, three phones. We are geeks on a mission.

This journey became memorable in so many ways, as we saw even more wild game, twice we found that eagles glided for some distance right next to where we sat to breakfast in the Dining Car. We could advise foreign guests on matters travel in South Africa and we were delighted to count so many relics from the Anglo Boer War of 1899-1902, in the form of blockhouses.

People really enjoyed themselves even though we were running quite late – they found it a bonus as they now had more time to play card games or chat while having a few more cocktails from the cash bar. One guest came up to me and said: “You told me this is the #GoodFoodTrain, but I can improve upon that. Let me call it the “GreatValueTrain as we get more for the same money.” I just loved that attitude!

So, we rolled along the Karoo desert towards the Hex River and Cape Town. Because of circumstances beyond the control of Prasa, our train arrived nine hours late; we had two extra meals meanwhile and dessert with each. I stand amazed at the hours the staff were on duty and how friendly their service was throughout. As we neared Cape Town, a few guests came up to me, asking if I knew “the guys at the top.” They then asked me to “put a letter forward asking that the train always travels at 30km/h so that they can sleep another night on board.” Out of 68 guests on board, only ONE person was upset because of the delays.

Our Train Manager was Mr Patrick Khumalo assisted by James. As we disembarked, James asked me if the trip was exhausting and I surprised him by saying that, to the contrary, a number of guests indicated that they would board at the drop of a hat…..ready to go! Traveling on the PremierClasse is exceptionally pleasant and I am so glad I am not on board on the many days that I see it arrive either on time or a bit early. I would hate that!

SHOSHOLOZA MEYL

Expect:

  • Two classes, Sleeper and Sitter
  • Dining Car
  • A La Carte restaurant
  • Cash bar
  • As on PremierClasse, two flushing toilets but traditional types
  • Hot showers
  • USB charging ports, 220V
  • Carriages are being refurbished and have wood paneling (almost as great as PremiewrClasse)
  • Some have air conditioning
  • 5 or more uniformed armed SA Police Officers
  • 5 or more uniformed Prasa Protection Services Officers

You are in capable and safe hands!

November 2, 2016,

We boarded the ShosholozaMeyl at Potchefstroom and were allocated our compartment. It was old and maybe needed a lick of paint but it was really very clean and somehow, someone had made our (optional). Otherwise, spic & span! We left in a mild thunderstorm, treated to the beauty of Highveld lightning as we passed the many gold mines on our way to Kimberley. Soon, we had dinner which was a beautiful Sirloin served with Hot and cold salads. We had nice company in the form of a few couples who traveled quite often, ONLY to experience the train! They came to beautiful Cape Town, stayed a night or two and were on the next train back. They take all routes on ShosholozaMeyl and never seem to get enough of it. A good sign.

I slept like a log and woke in time for breakfast. Trains lull me to sleep and the gentle sway is something I love. I almost forgot to tell you: we were woken with coffee, a rather nice touch. After breakfast, we stopped at Beaufort West to replenish (there were two such stops while I was sleeping, at De Aar and Kimberley.) From there, we started our slow descent towards the Hex River Valley a few hundred kilometres away, passed through the four Hexton tunnels, the valley itself and on to the beautiful Worcester. We spent some twenty minutes here and I was fortunate as Mr Karel Crous, Area Manager, awaited me and promptly installed me in the driver’s cabin with driver Okkie Pretorius and Assistant Henricho Vermeulen. I had a fantastic ride to Wellington, through Nuwekloof Pass between Tulbagh and Gouda and, all too soon, our journey ended.

Our Train Managers were Mr Veldtsman and Delafontyn while Soraya Stemmet managed the dining car. We were really impressed.

November 23, 2016

We boarded at Cape Town and were once again surprised to see how smooth a train can pull away. One just sees the “platform move away.” So subtle, even on a budget tourist class train. We followed the same route to Beaufort West and took many photos, or bloopers, rather. Fun with cameras….. The train was very neat and tidy, nothing out of place. James, Assistant Train Manager was installed in the Dining Car where Suraya Stemmet did her usual magic and we really enjoyed the shorter journey to Beaufort West, where Dries Potgieter of Steenbokkie Private Nature Reserve collected us for a farm stay. Something I can really recommend.

We stayed for a week en returned on ShosholozaMeyl on November 28, 2016 – another pleasant journey.

I think this is sufficient to give you an idea of passenger rail travel in South Africa that really is doing quite well. You owe yourself a nice journey!

July 5, 2017

Stepping from a train that had been awarded the title of World’s Best Luxury Train some sixteen times or so, of which eight were consecutive, we boarded this train that cost almost twenty-two times less. With some guests in our party who had never traveled on trains before! No problem, they found all to their satisfaction and they soon were tweeting and posting all over social media about how great this backpacker on wheels was! Yes, ShosholozaMeyl is LOVED by we South Africans, yet we see that visitors from abroad travel here to experience her yet again. Some adopt some sort of “addiction.”

Yes, rail travel in South Africa is just great and, if anything, better than 25 years ago!

Join the #RailLoveRevolution (also as a group on Facebook) and re-live the days of rail travel. It is here and it is as great as ever, if not even better!

Be sure to: Follow @awethentiq on Twitter and AwethentiQ Travel on Facebook. Visit www.railloverevolution.blogspot.com

Another Crazy Little Thing Called Love

1 If I make use of the tongues of men and of angels, and have not love, I am like sounding brass, or a loud-tongued bell.

So often, we find that some charismatic Christians will become confrontational about the speaking in tongues, telling those with other gifts that they don’t have the Holy Spirit. In doing so, they prove that they don’t have His Spirit themselves, as they are unfairly judgemental and surely not acting in a spirit of loving kindness.

2 And if I have a prophet’s power, and have knowledge of all secret things; and if I have all faith, by which mountains may be moved from their place, but have not love, I am nothing.

What does it help to have all the prophetic wisdom and then be devoid of His Love?  The result is just another source of irritating noise.

3 And if I give all my goods to the poor, and if I give my body to be burned, but have not love, it is of no profit to me.

To be a giver and a sharer is really something commendable, but does it come at a price? The moment that it takes away liberty, freedom, dignity from the recipient, the deed is nullified. Do it in such a way that the one at the receiving end never feels compromised.  Don’t send emotional bills. They may become bad debt.

4 Love is never tired of waiting; love is kind; love has no envy; love has no high opinion of itself, love has no pride;

My wife and I have been waiting on the Lord for something since 1998. If ever someone was being taught patience, this must be it. During this process, like Job, we had everything taken away from us.  We had to remain humble and kind….not always that easy. Others had given up after waiting just a year or so; waiting is too much effort to have one’s faith really tested.

5 Love’s ways are ever fair, it takes no thought for itself; it is not quickly made angry, it takes no account of evil;

A sharp tongue, sometimes selfishly so, has ended many marriages and relationships, friendships and also careers. Being critical of others is a sure sign of the absence of natural love, a disqualification for being a marriage partner. My wife and I have been married very happily for thirty years and hardly ever a harsh word. I don’t jump on her because she cannot replace a cap, be it the toothpaste or shampoo, the ketchup or the jam. And she just never tires of me spreading reading material, flash drives, USB cables and computer paraphernalia all around me.

6 It takes no pleasure in wrongdoing, but has joy in what is true;

Love won’t enter into a contract with sin, it won’t lust after someone outside of marriage, or covet the neighbour’s brand new Lexus. Love will want to walk a straight path as God is Love.

7 Love forgives everything. Love is always trusting, and always hoping, and never gives up.

Love forgives everything. Did you make a wrong turn in traffic?  Love forgives that. Did you burn the toast?  Love forgives that. Did you spill tea on the carpet? Love forgives that.  Did you forget to close a window or take out the trash?  Love forgives that. When we remind others of every little mistake they make, we reveal our own hearts to be devoid of His Love. If He cannot entrust colleagues or friends to us, how can He trust us with a spouse or children?  Someone who nags all the time and point fingers, simply lack His Spirit. The Bible teaches that.

8 Love never ends. The gift of speaking words from God will end. The gift of speaking in different tongues or languages will stop. The gift of knowing many things will end.

Tongues will stop

Prophecies will end

Love will last into all eternity.

If our friend has done something wrong, remain silent and forgive if it isn’t something really, really crucial. Be the least, just shut up and let that person be, as such is grace, the Product of Love.  This really is the acid test for true Christianity.

A burning question:

How does your life measure up in terms of love?  How tolerant are you of others?

With the Black Eyed Peas, I sing a sad song:

“Father, Father, Father help us
Send some guidance from above
‘Cause people got me, got me questionin’
Where is the love (Love)”

Spayed

It was 1967 when we took her to the vet, her name was Lulu. She was a smooth-haired fox terrier. (Fox or terrier?  Not sure!)  Lulu stayed there for the day while we went to the co-op, Dad demanded more money from Volkskas and we drove around the dusty little town in our Ponton Mercedes. We had chips, Coke and warm bread, then it was time to collect Lulu. She had yellow stuff and a fresh zipper on her tummy and she walked rather stiff-legged and looked dopey. As a small child, the day was a busy one. I knew what was happening to Lulu, or so I thought.

The next Lulu smiled in my face when I told her she was a real brown bitch; she was my Spaniel and she slept behind my back. I smuggled her into the room via the outside loft stairs at night. She attracted too many boyfriends and Mon didn’t take kindly to that. She was Lady Angelique De Something  but we couldn’t care about titles. It were puppies we didn’t want. So, to the vet she went and also she returned with stitches and a stiff gait – and dopey. The year was 1979.

Spookie was our white cat. She was taken to the vet in 2013 and we were told she had “very small kittens inside” when the operation was done. I am not so sure they were so small as I saw her crawl into all sorts of tiny spaces just a few days prior. Her stiff gait was less pronounced, she also was less dopey and the zipper very small.

It was when Spookie started acting weird that I was spooked. Around the time that she was supposed to have given birth, she started looking all over the place for her kittens. Finding none, she drove Seun crazy – he was our very innocent and technically disarmed tomcat with some discreet Bengal blood in him.  Spokie cuddled Seun, he had no peace the way he was being nursed by a caring “mom.”  Yet Spokie went in search of her kittens, meowing relentlessly as she went.

That was when I decided that I won’t ever do this to an animal again. Right now, Ginger is growing a belly and in search of a private little corner……..

 

I didn’t leave under a cloud!

Mac is hugely expensive in South Africa, sometimes we must pay up to 155% of what someone would pay in the USA, when making direct comparisons.  This is enough reason to give it a wide berth but I also had experiences that let seek my solace elsewhere.

So, that was Apple. Now let’s talk Windows.

Some have radical reasons for using open source operating systems. These range from conspiracy theories to paranoia. I am not a member of that club.  Instead, my approach is practical.

I live in Africa, where less than half the 1.2 billion souls have Internet of any kind, let alone broadband. Even globally, less than half the population are online.

Globally, there is a huge drive into the Cloud. Everybody seems to be pushing everything into the cloud, making themselves totally reliant upon a good, constant internet connection. As Windows is going the subscriptions route and more becoming like ChromeOS in the end, we really do need alternatives.  I cannot be using GoogleDocs or Office365 or ZoHo if I don’t have constant Internet access, can I?

The solution is simple:  I am using Linux Mint Cinnamon, the world’s most advanced computer operating systems that also happens to be FREE.  Perhaps another reason for using open source software!

I can travel into the Karoo desert, or the Kalahari and still have all my applications ranging from image and video editors to office applications, with all my data neatly on my laptop.  No cloud required!

Think of the future – Microsoft has already killed anything up to Windows 8.1 and they are already slitting the throat of Windows 10; soon you can choose between 10S, 10S and 10S.

When I venture into an area where there is some Internet access, I can send and receive email using IMAP or POP3, even, by virtue of Mozilla Thunderbird mail client – also not a resource-hungry browser-based solution but a standalone client.

So, that explains it.  No cloud coverage, no cloud computing. The old way sometimes really is the very best – yet my OS is fast, modern and sublime. It is stable, reliable and extremely secure compared to Windows.

I am not living under a cloud.

Werksoekers Lees Hier

Gee my bietjie tyd om te besluit of ek moet lag of huil. Dit is nou eenmaal so dat daar regstellende aksie plaasvind en daarom kry onder andere Afrikaanses moeiliker werk. Dit geld dan ook vir meer as een ras. Dit is egter nie die onderwerp ter bespreking nie en ek gaan nie kommentare in hierdie verband toelaat nie.  Jy is egter welkom om kommentaar te lewer op die onderwerp hieronder:

Die onderwerp: net die sterkstes sal oorleef.

Wanneer jy alreeds deur wetgewing gemarginaliseer word, moet jy alles in jou vermoë doen om jouself te verbeter, jouself op te hef. Daar is programme by sommige van ons biblioteke, waar jy gratis kursusse kan doen, jy kan aanlyn studeer, ens. Die belangrikste, egter, is dat jy nie stagneer nie maar soveel vaardighede as moontlik bemeester. Dit is ook regtig baie belangrik om jou taalvaardigheid te verbeter.

So pas het ek gesien op ‘n groep vir minderheidsgroepe, dat die volgende baie sigbaar is:

  • Swak spelvaardigheid
  • Onaanvaarbare grammatika
  • Patetiese woordeskat
  • Gemengde taal
  • Afstootlike, vuil taal

Een dame het hierdie probleme uitgewys en binne ‘n ommesientjie het bykans tweehonderd lesers haar aangeval en in die proses beide swak en vuil taal gebruik. Dit beteken dus dat hierdie tweehonderd mense by geen organisasie met ‘n goeie statuur aangestel sal word nie – voornemende werkgewers lees ook daar en sien wat aangaan. ‘n Manspersoon het selfs aangedui dat hy haar fisies sou aanrand – maar hy soek werk!

Dan het ek gaan kyk na die sosiale mediaprofiele van etlike van hierdie mense wat so tekere gegaan het; bykans sonder uitsondering is dit mense wat nie omgee wat hulle in die openbaar plaas nie. Daar is skynbaar ‘n totale gebrek aan selfrespek. Hoe sal jy ander, insluitende jou kollegas asook meerderes respekteers as jy nie eens vir jouself respek het nie?

Dit wil voorkom asof ‘n redelike persentasie werkloos is as gevolg van wie hulle in wese is en hoe hulle hulleself in die openbaar aanbied. Dalk juis niie as gevolg van hulle velkleur nie of taal nie. ‘n Mens moet darem ‘n bietjie gesonde veggees hê, of hoe? As jy nie goed kan spel nie, is dit waarskynlik grootliks daaraan te wyte dat jy nie genoeg lees nie. Jy kan nie verwag om goed taalvaardig te wees as jy nie in daardie taal lees nie. Daar is mense met aangebore taalgebreke; hierdie gesprek handel egter nie oor hulle nie. Dit is die gewone persoon wat weier om te groei wat my hinder.

Sedert ek sowat twintig jaar gelede medies moes aftree (sonder pensioen) het ons deur diep waters gegaan. Mettertyd het ek weer geleer loop, soveel so dat ek nie meer ‘n rolstoel, loopraam (winkeltrollies werk ook goed mits jy op die winkelperseel is) of kierie hoef te gebruik nie. Omdat my werkgewer my nie medies ongeskik verklaar het nie, het my ongskiktheidsdekking nie uitbetaal nie en daar was werklik geen inkomste nie. Desnieteenstaande het ek myself so wyd en ver as moontlik bekwaam, aanlynkursusse gedoen (ek kon net nie die tagtig Euro vir elkeen bekostig nie en het dus nie my sertifikate ontvang nie) alhoewel ek met lof geslaag het. Ook het ek die Linux-bedryfstelsel so goed onder die knie gekry dat ander Linux-gebruikers my as ‘n “geek” beskryf. Ek dink dit is gevaarlik om so ‘n titel te gebruik. Tans leer ek alles wat ek kan van fotografie en videografie maar het net ‘n klein tweedehandse kompakte kameratjie om praktiese ervaring op te doen. Laasnag het ek twee ure geslaap en daarna weer begin werk. Ons bou alreeds twintig jaar aan ‘n besigheid, wat my ses maande sou geneem het as daar net van iewers af ‘n bietjie ondersteuning was. Tog gee ons nie moed op nie en beur voort.

Moenie jouself in die voet skiet deur te stagneer nie, moenie jouself gaan goedkoop maak nie en doen die maksimum met dit wat jy het. Iewers vorentoe gaan iemand dit raaksien en jou ‘n kans gee. Koop die tyd uit, ontwikkel jou vaardighede en talente, ook die moeilikes wat nie van nature kom nie. Sorg dat jy in geen gemaksone verval nie.

Gedurende die eerste helfte van 2017 kon ek nie eens blog om byvoorbeeld die Wes-Kaapse Departement van Gesondheid se #WoW-inisiatief of ander gemeenskapsprojekte te bevorder nie. Ek het onderhoude gaan voer, notas geneem maar daar was net eenvoudig nie voldoende internettoegang nie. Klein dingetjies wat elders ‘n groter uitwerking het, goed of sleg.

Sedert ek weer leer loop het, het ek om ander redes medies ongeskik geraak, naamlik Tipe 2 Diabetes en hipertensie – maar omdat ek self verantwoordelikheid aanvaar vir my toestand, is ook bloedglukose en bloeddruk regtig onder beheer. ‘n Mens moet eienaarskap neem en elke faset van jou lewe onder beheer kry, sodat jy so effektief as moontlik kan wees.  Ook om nie ‘n las op ander te wees nie.

Vermy negatiewe gesprekke, klaery en vitterigheid – omring jouself met positiewe, kreatiewe geloofsmense. Leer om inisiatief aan die dag te lê en maak jouself onmisbaar so goed as wat jy kan, dan sal die deurbraak vanself kom. Die regte geleentheid op die regte tyd. Om te verwag dat jy in ‘n pos aangestel gaan word deur te versleg of, ten beste, bloot te stagneer, is onwerklik.

Kry koffie en word wakker.

Carey Dunn on “Chemtrails”

Quite often, here at the tip of Africa, we get to laugh at silly folks in supposedly more sophisticated countries, who believe this junk despite all scientific evidence to the contrary. But, then, we also live in times when any lie and deception becomes mainstream and treated as “knowledge.” The truth, to the contrary, doesn’t stand a chance as they simply reject it.

Here is an example:

My month with chemtrails conspiracy theorists | Environment | The Guardian

https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2017/may/22/california-conspiracy-theorist-farmers-chemtrails

Are Dogs De-Tuned Wolves?

We grew up with the belief that dogs were bred from wolves. This was fifty years ago. Over time, we would learn about evolution, a theory that really doesn’t sit well with me, for various reasons including that of science.

Through DNA testing, it would seem, however that dogs do not come from grey wolf lineage at all but that it shares a common ancestry. Interesting that dogs have been with humans for thousands of years, yet they have not evolved any further. So, why did their evolution stop?

Man, however, had gone out of his way to breed new types of dogs, from huge monsters that can fend off packs of wolves, leopards, cheetahs or lions, even, to tiny things that live in dark places and make purses growl. There are so many different types and breeds now that it would almost be impossible to list them, as someone may be having a secret new breed almost ready to be released in public.

So, while the grey wolf and the household dog share some common DNA, they are different beings altogether. Some have tried to domesticate wolves, foxes and jackals, but with rather uninspiring results. It seems that only dogs are really suited to this role.

The one thing stands out about dogs – apart from the Everlasting Jesus, they are man’s next best friend. We can learn lots about friendship, love, affection, loyalty and forgiveness from our dogs.

Must be the most “Christian” animals on the planet, then?

NAILS IN THE WALL

An anonymous message via WhatsApp

Make sure you read all the way down to the last sentence. (Most importantly the last sentence)

There once was a little boy who had a bad temper.
His Father gave him a bag of nails and told him that every time he lost his temper, he must hammer a nail into the back of the wall.

The first day the boy had driven 37 nails into the wall.
Over the next few weeks, as he learned to control his anger, the number of nails hammered daily gradually dwindled down.

He discovered it was easier to hold his temper than to drive those nails into the wall.

Finally the day came when the boy didn’t lose his temper at all. He told his father about it and the father suggested that the boy now pull out one nail for each day that he was able to hold his temper.

The days passed and the young boy was finally able to tell his father that all the nails were gone.

The father took his son by the hand and led him to the wall. He said, ‘You have done well, my son, but look at the holes in the wall. The wall will never be the same. When you say things in anger, they leave a scar just like this one.

Once you hurt ur loved ones It won’t matter how many times you say I’m sorry, the wound will still be there.

A verbal wound is as bad as a physical one.

Remember that friends are very rare jewels indeed.
They make you smile and encourage you to succeed;
They lend an ear, they share words of praise and they always want to open their hearts to us. Show your friends how much you care. (Edit: Don’t snap at your friends for no reason – me. Love covers all, hold it in.)

Send this to everyone you consider a FRIEND, even if it means sending it back to the person who sent it to you! If it comes back to you, you will then know you have a circle of friends.

YOU ARE MY FRIEND AND I AM HONOURED!

Now send this to every friend you have.!! And to your family (they need to know that you love them too)

Please forgive me if I have ever left a hole in your life.

KJV Only

I own a KJV and also have it in electronic format.  It is great, but it isn’t 100% accurate, either.

There are people going about shoving “KJV Only” in everybody’s faces. Not only is it devoid of His Truth, but it also speaks of arrogance, therefore absence of the Holy Spirit. It is done in an autocratic and unloving way and it does cause offense. People who promote this theory just reveal their own very, very sad ignorance about who James 1 and Sir Francis Bacon were, also those involved in the translation. Also do they not know about the source texts used and its origins.

KJV_JesusWasHebrew

Moreover, if they had taken the trouble, as I had done, to research for many years, how the Bible came about, who compiled it and why, they may have come to a different conclusion. If these people, in their arrogance, rather repented and followed The Living Word, Jesus Christ and lived His Gospel in such a way that we never needed a printed book, it would have been different. As it stands, their zeal makes them to be fundamentalist radicals. One of their very stupid premises is that God head “breathed every word” written in the KJV.

OK, say that was true, why are there 11 different versions?

Did God breathe in English? Why then not breathe in Hebrew, His own language? Did God have to try a few times before getting it right?

Why, then, following public outcry because of the occult and Masonic symbols in the original 1611, was a revision published to remove the occult?

In other words: did God breathe occult and Masonic symbols originally?

With or without Apocrypha?

Where are the lost books of Adam and Eve, books that tell of the love of God, how He restores when there is repentance?  The most beautiful of all yet the monks and scribes decided to chuck it out as they rejected it for personal reasons.  If the Bible were complete, it would have consisted of some 600 books, not a mere 66!

Then, also please note that quite some texts were ADDED to the KJV that were NOT in older texts at all. It is as if the translators decided to breathe a little bit of their own. Insomuch it changed the gospel greatly, but is it not a SIN to add, alter or delete?

Please, let us be civil and not repeatedly offend others with rude and offensive posts about what we may THINK is the truth – without even having researched it.

The KJV is NOT a literal (direct) translation but an idiomatic one, NOT based upon the original languages and the KJV itself says so in its foreword! Some wrongly believe that it is a direct translation like YLT or Green’s. It is NOT.

The unloving sheer arrogance portrayed by some of the most religious here makes me understand better why Jesus Himself felt more at home around sinners.

Go, set aside seven years and study the subject intensively, go far outside the scope of theological college, don’t get spoon-fed but be taught by His Spirit who will guide you to the TRUTH if only you are open to accept it when in comes.

Amen.

Spoorweglegende Flip Botes tree af na 43 jaar op Worcester

Soos in 1995, toe dit die prys as beste stasie in die Wes-Kaap gewen het, blink elke hoekie en gaatjie op Worcester Stasie. Dit is 11 Julie, 2017 en ons stap op die stasie rond met toestemming om foto’s te neem, want die PremierClasse kom mos netnou van Kaapstad af.  As daar in Suid-Afrika ‘n netjieser stasie as Worcester is, moet ek dit nog sien – en ek reis gereeld per trein na verskeie plekke in die land, sien baie stasies.  Flip Botes is in beheer as Senior Administratiewe Beampte.

IMG_0051.JPG

Flip Botes spreek gaste toe tydens sy aftreefunksie.  Foto: Drikus Louw

Soveel maal in my lewe het ek daar plek bespreek op die Trans-Karoo of Trans-Oranje sneltreine, ook op die “melktrein” wat op elke stasietjie stilgehou het.  Flip Botes het menigmaal my eie besprekings hanteer en later dadelik geweet wie praat as ek getelefoneer het. Tog het dit dekades geneem om Flip regtig te ontmoet en watter aangename kennismaking was dit nie?!

Rustig, iewers tussen beleefd en beskeie, maar baie intelligent en ‘n wandelende ensiklopedie van Spoorwegkennis. Hierdie man wat voor my staan en so onderhoudend gesels, is eenvoudig ‘n onuitputbare bron van kennis.  Hy versamel foto’s van stoomlokomotiewe en vors die geskiednis na; hy praat met groot gesag oor die onderwerp van Spoorweggeskiedenis.

Flip Botes het op Barrydale grootgeword en gematrikuleer aan die Hoër Landbouskool Oakdale op Riversdal. Hy wou graag in die veeteelt gaan studeer, op grond van sy belangstelling in beeste. Daar was egter nie geld beskikbaar nie en dus sluit Flip Botes aan by die Sporweë op 25 April 1974.  Daarna rapporteer hy vir Nasionale Diensplig en keer daarna terug na die Spoorweë op Ceres.  Hy het al die inkarnasies daarvan beleef, beginnende by SAS & H, Spoornet, Transnet, uiteindelik Prasa Hooflyndienste.

In 1977 trou Flip met Rina van Riversdal en die egpaar het twee kinders, Marnél wat werk as kraamsuster en Arno, wat getroud is en werk as sjef in Melbourne, Australia.

IMG_0046.JPG

Karel Crous, Areabestuurder: Wes-Kaapa van Prasa Hooflyndienste, oorhandig sy dienssertifikaat aan Flip Botes. Karel is die groot man.  Foto: Drikus Louw

Flip Botes, persoonlik wil ek jou bedank vir dekades van vriendelike diens, jammer ek het jou so laat eers regtig leer ken. Jy het diep spore getrap, ‘n baie hoé standaard gestel en joy aftrede op 31 Augustus 2017 laat ‘n leemte wat dien as ‘n groot uitdaging aan jou opvolger.

IMG_0056.JPG

Flip Botes en Karel Crous   Foto: Drikus Louw

Geniet die welverdiende rus, Flip, geniet ‘n rooiwyntjie en geniet jou liefde vir geskiedenis en aardrykskunde.  Dalk kry jy nou kans om ‘n paar beeste aan te hou.

IMG_0047.JPG

Freek Mentoor oorhandig ‘n geskenk aan Flip Botes op 31 Augustus 2017  Foto: Drikus Louw

IMG_0049.JPG

Flip Botes ontvang ‘n geskenk van Jakob Delafontyn, Treinbestuurder en Unieverteenwoordiger van Prasa MLPS in Kaapstad tydens die aftreegeselligheid op Worcester, 31 Augustus 2017. Foto: Drikus Louw

Entune In-Car Entertainment

“Toyota’s Entune in-car infotainment platform is a one-stop shop for all your in-car functions: hands-free phonecalls over Bluetooth, music streaming, satnav and so on. You can even bellow at Apple’s Siri after button-mashing your steering wheel while doing the supermarket run, if that’s the sort of thing that tickles your fancy.

Built in Linux, Entune will receive the benefit of input from fellow Japanese car firm Mazda, according to Japanese business newspaper The Nikkei, which reckons the joint effort is at least partly due to a shortage of vehicle-focused software devs in the Land of the Rising Sun.

Entune essentially aims to put smartphone-style functionality into the central dashboard touchscreen, meaning it is not written to interact with key car systems such as acceleration, braking or steering.

Auto Trader has an overview of it here, noting that access to core apps is free for the first three years. Those core apps include Bing, music app Pandora, radio station streaming app iHeartRadio, a film tickets app, restaurant booking app OpenTable and an in-house Toyota app featuring various news and weather feeds.”

Read the article

What I can do with Linux Mint instead of Windows

Before you read:  in my Linux articles, I usually say this: every geek has his distro.  You are welcome to enjoy yours but please don’t bring it here, as your opinion is an opinion and therefore irrelevant. This post is for Windows users, written at their request, not for Linux users.

My suggestion of using ONLY Linux Mint Cinnamon is aimed at Windows users wanting to escape the “Hell of Gates” and decidedly not for Linux users at all. So, if you are a Linux user, this is not for you.  Free to read, but that is all you need to do.

Over the past decade or so, the “but I use KDE or MATE or whatever was argued to and fro on a thousand and ten forums, without resolve. I used several platforms ranging from a 2002 Pentium 4M 2.8GHz with 1 GB RAM to s whopper of a Macbook Pro, with several offerings in between, running different AMD and Intel chips.  On all of these, it was Linux Mint Cinnamon who remained utterly stable, reliable, dependable and FAST, even on old hardware that were salvaged from the write-off corner.

The objective is to offer the WINDOWS USER an alternative that affords a smooth migration, with the least hassle and without confusing them.  Linux should have standardised long ago.

I communicated personally with the developers and owners of distro’s, for instance Mahdi of Ari, Clem of Mint, etc. Oh, and the project managers at Zorin and UltimateOS respectively, there are many, many more.  Can you talk to Bill Gates?  I guess not.

Also, I come from before the days of the PC and started my IT career in 1982. I have been in the corporate environment and especially in the defense industry. I know what users need, which is going to be different from what you want.  Let us address the needs of hundreds of thousands of others out there, not your private preference. I am really not going to take kindly to “but my distro….” kind of talk, heard it thousands of times.

Also, considering the unfriendliness of user support groups, let me say that the ONLY user-friendly one I ever found was Mint’s. The others are intolerant and rude. Mint shines in its user support department and that is why I will only ever promote this distro. Mint Cinnamon isn’t the world’s third largest operating system without reason.

Finally, lab tests show that speed differences between lesser, quirky Xfce and MATE and that of the advanced Cinnamon is negligible. I am typing this on a laptop that runs Cinnamon on a 2009 Celeron-based machine and I use OpenShot, Darktable and RAW Therapee for media production and it does the job.  For web browsing, office work, GIMP and such, still just perfect.


OK, so now over to business………

So, what can you actually do with Linux? This is a valid question. I am giving a link here, please go ahead and compare feature-for-feature with Mac OS X and MS Windows 10S, then consider that this is FREE…..

It comes bundled with:

  • Office applications such as a word processor, spreadsheet, presentations, a math tool, a database, etc. Compatible with MS Office, GoogleDocs, etc.
  • Internet browser of top quality and hardened against malicious script
  • Firewall
  • Mail application that can be turned into a PIM app (Personal Information Manager much like Outlook)
  • GIMP image editor
  • Document reader
  • Audio- and video players
  • A host of utilities
  • Half a million FREE apps that can be installed with the click of a mouse

http://www.zdnet.com/article/so-what-can-you-actually-do-with-linux-a-guide-for-beginners/

Travel

I find that travel takes me places. No, I don’t mean destinations. I am talking personal growth, a broadened mind, a greater understanding of how the world fits together. It takes me to new friendships, tastes, smells, fragrances, stimulating thought and creativity. Travel prompts me out of my comfort zone into the torrent called life. One can never travel and return as you left, you will be a changed being.

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Why Linux Mint? What is Linux Anyhow?

Being a cheapskate for reasons other than laziness, I believe that one should only pay for software if you are using it to earn an income with. When it is your tractor or your plough, your ox. Thinking of the very poor Third World out there, in being kept poor deliberately by the First World, I also think it is unfair to expect from a small office in Africa or Asia to pay the same price as enterprise on Wall Street. I am sure that apples on Manhattan Island cost more than one in Darfur.

Having said that, I am also not satisfied with software piracy, for various reasons, suffice to say that it is a criminal deed.

So, if one cannot afford expensive software and you also have some conscience, what do you do? Easy does it. What is good for 95% of the world’s huge supercomputers, your microwave, PVR, VCR, TV, fridge or your car’s “black box” must also be good for you. It is an operating system that is called L I N U X. The name is derived from its inventor, Linus Torvalds and the UNIX operating system, to the best of my knowledge. Linux just turned 14 in the second half of 2017.

There are well over 300 different versions or “distro’s” of Linux as these are free and open source (FOSS) operating systems. Every geek has his distro and enthusiasts bicker and argue all day, defending what they like best. Well, that shows that the fraternity is alive and well. However, I am not here to tell you what works best for me or even what I like best myself, as then you would have to deal with a little beast called Slacko Puppy Linux. Instead, I went to research this for the past ten years or so, tried and tested them from AriOS to ZorinOS and pretty much every main distro in between.

I would rather want to stay with what will work best for the absolute novice, for someone who doesn’t know RAM from ROM. The beauty of the Linux Mint Cinnamon distro is that “everything just works.” Well, it does take extreme circumstances to let it ask you for a little extra help. It is super smooth, extremely stable, hyper reliable, dependable – to the point of boring we geeks as there is really nothing necessary to fiddle with – and fiddling under the hood is what we like most.

But: to be productive, one needs a car that runs, eh? You can’t stop every fifteen yards and change the engine, right? As that is another reason why I like Linux and not the usual expensive computer operating systems. “Windows requires reboots so often that one can’t really get work done.” In Linux Mint Cinnamon, all drivers for hardware and peripherals are already in the system, so just stick in your dongle or your printer, connect your camera and it should just work. Some high-end graphics cards may need to download drivers but even that is still easier than Windows. When you pop in a HSDPA dongle, for instance, it doesn’t download or install drivers. It just works. 99% of the time!

Cinnamon Desktop on www.linuxmint.com offers a number of workspaces, up to 64, meaning that you have as many computers to work on! It is not like Windows with the pesky minimise/maximise thing all the time, just flip through to where your browser sits….I have Firefox on one workspace, Google Chrome on another, my email on a third, my camera and photos on their own, etc.

It comes pre-installed with:

  • Thunderbird email, something that can be grown into a powerful tool similar to Outlook
  • LibeOffice which works much better than MS Office
  • GIMP image manipulation programme
  • PDF or document reader
  • Firefox browser
  • and a host of other apps and utilities

I have a full Bible programme on my computer, as well as several RAW image editors, openShot video editor, etc.

Oh, then Linux usually doesn’t get viruses/malware – not because there are few users but because of how Linux works, also because of the huge variety of distro’s, yet the security lies in its architecture.

It all is FREE of charge, take a look at the website as above but please stick to Cinnamon desktop, you will thank me for that some day, guaranteed. Oh, you can even run it as a live session from a CD/DVD, USB flash drive or even a microSD card like I do!

Happy computing!

 


Disclaimer

In my Linux articles, I usually say this: every geek has his distro.  You are welcome to enjoy yours but please don’t bring it here, as your opinion is an opinion and therefore irrelevant. This post is for Windows users, written at their request, not for Linux users.

My suggestion of using ONLY Linux Mint Cinnamon is aimed at Windows users wanting to escape the “Hell of Gates” and decidedly not for Linux users at all. So, if you are a Linux user, this is not for you.  Free to read, but that is all you need to do.

Over the past decade or so, the “but I use KDE or MATE or whatever was argued to and fro on a thousand and ten forums, without resolve. I used several platforms ranging from a 2002 Pentium 4M 2.8GHz with 1 GB RAM to s whopper of a Macbook Pro, with several offerings in between, running different AMD and Intel chips.  On all of these, it was Linux Mint Cinnamon who remained utterly stable, reliable, dependable and FAST, even on old hardware that were salvaged from the write-off corner.

The objective is to offer the WINDOWS USER an alternative that affords a smooth migration, with the least hassle and without confusing them.  Linux should have standardised long ago.

I communicated personally with the developers and owners of distro’s, for instance Mahdi of Ari, Clem of Mint, etc. Oh, and the project managers at Zorin and UltimateOS respectively, there are many, many more.  Can you talk to Bill Gates?  I guess not.

Also, I come from before the days of the PC and started my IT career in 1982. I have been in the corporate environment and especially in the defense industry. I know what users need, which is going to be different from what you want.  Let us address the needs of hundreds of thousands of others out there, not your private preference. I am really not going to take kindly to “but my distro….” kind of talk, heard it thousands of times.

Also, considering the unfriendliness of user support groups, let me say that the ONLY user-friendly one I ever found was Mint’s. The others are intolerant and rude. Mint shines in its user support department and that is why I will only ever promote this distro. Mint Cinnamon isn’t the world’s third largest operating system without reason.

Finally, lab tests show that speed differences between lesser, quirky Xfce and MATE and that of the advanced Cinnamon is negligible. I am typing this on a laptop that runs Cinnamon on a 2009 Celeron-based machine and I use OpenShot, Darktable and RAW Therapee for media production and it does the job.  For web browsing, office work, GIMP and such, still just perfect.

The Old Man and the School Mistress

There once was an elderly gent who had to take the kids to school on his donkey cart every day. He served his community as best as he could and, so many times, the farmers in that area refused him a better wagon or faster horses so that he could transport their children and their farm workers’ children more efficiently. They just ignored his pleas and just added children from more farms and villages to be transported.

The wagon he had was really getting old, the donkeys too. Then, one night, someone stole one of his twelve donkeys. Soon after, the wheels were stolen from the wagon and he had to find another. They sawed chucks out of the seats or just stole them, took the wheel nuts, even an axle once. Every time, the old man had to find a spare part or two, even when he had very little money, yet he believed to take the kids to school. As, who else would have?

One morning, he saw that even the workers’ kids had killed and eaten his best donkey. His bridles and reins were cut to pieces by vagabonds. Nobody wanted to help him and few even paid him.

One day, the school mistress became angry because the kids were always late. She went to the judge and asked that he gets fined for not doing his duty, despite much of his work having been a free service. Of the twenty kids that went on each trip, only four really paid the fee, the others just stormed his wagon and jumped on board. The kind old man never could chase them off as he was a good man not given to violence.

Eventually, the school mistress stood ready to whip the old man. She never educated the kids, never taught them manners, same as the parents.

One night, the old man passed away in his sleep and his donkeys only knew his voice, refused to pull the wagon.

So, everybody had to walk.

Premier Helen Zille wants to hold Prasa accountable for lack of service delivery without understanding the problem, just as she had shown before. But then, she made a comment that perhaps fits, at another time she acted inappropriately. Yes, cane people into submission, whip them when they can’t drive a car with a stolen engine. I wonder why it had taken her so long to wake up to the problem and why she did not intervene to help save the old man and his wagon instead of taking him to the judge.

Electric Cars Not The Answer

It is like me cooking on my stove but the coal makes smoke in your back yard. Are electric cars really cleaner? Where does the electricity come from? Only from pollution sources elsewhere, of course! Let’s take a look:

– Fossil fuels cause terrible pollution, coal being used for electricity generation

– Nuclear is still the safest and cleanest if modern technology is employed. Uranium only needs to be excited 2-4% yet waste is active for longer than we would live, or our great-grandchildren’s great-grandchildren.

– Wind power is really only about 17% efficient, it takes tremendous resources to construct and they kill our larger birds, raptors especially. The worst is that they cannot generate power in gusts or strong winds. Also, an ugly source of spatial pollution. Lifetime is rather limited and they don’t generate power when wind is too strong or gusty. 

– Solar power is more efficient but still spatial pollution.

Electric cars need expensive batteries that cause terrible pollution during mining of raw materials as well as during the manufacturing process. These batteries have limited lifetimes and need to be replaced at great cost. Recycling also causes pollution.

Perhaps we should just drive less…….

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The Best Hake Around Cape Town

Uncle Bobby is a soft-spoken gentleman in the truest sense of the word. He comes from the faraway island of St Helena, from a family of traders and fishers. Having been in South Africa for the past sixty-six years, he knows his way around fishing spots. Uncle Bobby has a palate attuned to the best.

Look, take it from myself, one must have a standard. There is no communism in the ocean; all fish simply aren’t equal. While I am always grateful for a bite of fried hake, for instance, my own palate does discriminate.

In October 26, my wife and I tasted a rather exceptional fillet of hake. Later that night, we scanned through our mutually shared history to see if we could recall even one offering of the same freshness, lightness, flakiness, fluffiness, like candyfloss melting in the mouth. After just over an hour, we just gave up. This had to be the best.

I sat across the table from Uncle Bobby. He came from the other side of the peninsula to taste the best coffee in Africa at Anthony’s Golden Cup.

Uncle Bobby gave me fatherly advice in finding the very best fried hake in all of Cape Town. “Go to just before Jubilee Square in Simon’s Town”, the dear old gentleman softly said, “just before you get there, at your left….they have a take-away section with a few tables outside. It is the absolute best….and me and my family know our fish.”

Never boastful or offensive, always humble and modest. I really love Uncle Bobby. So, here he sits across me, the date is August 18, 2017. And Uncle Bobby just guided me to the renowned restaurant that I had written about so many times. Yes, we tell all, that theirs is the absolute best fish in Cape Town.

If an expert arrives from St Helena, make his pilgrimage to Simon’s Town, to taste the superlative little fillet of hake at Harbourview Restaurant, who am I to disagree?

There you have it – an independent, Awethentiq opinion, from far across the ocean.

Magnet tude of Joy

The joy of the Lord is your protection. This is a little understood truth divulged through Scripture.

How can joy protect?

The sine wave has two sides to it, an upswing that is positive and a downswing that is negative. But you can only surf the positive one.

Interesting that some computer electronics only use the upswing, the negative one is filtered out. This is sheer coincidence yet it serves to drive home my point.

For a year, we lived independently and were joyful. The place where we lived even had an African name meaning “jubilation.” My (electronic) tablet so many times started playing praise music, inexplicably, even in public places. We soon realised that this was the Lord at work. More so when, at first, I was annoyed a bit, thinking it was a glitch. Then others would board the train, playing such music out loud and His Spirit reminded me of Jericho but also of the siege King Jehoshaphat lived through victoriously. Surely, we see that the Lord uses praise music to power the instruments of war where our eyes cannot see.

And it is nuclear!

Despite our own situation, dire at that, the Lord instilled in me a deep knowledge that we should just look up, ignore our dire plight and praise His Name.

See, we went through a most trying financial crisis and constantly faced eviction. Yet we were called upon to praise.

It soon became evident that positivity is very, very contagious. We saw time and again how our Lord smoothened our progress. In practical things such as finding parking, or the best seats on the train. Bargains hidden in plain sight in the stores, at a fraction of the price.

In this time, our Lord Jesus helped me, an indigent disabled person, to effect the most positive change in my city by Him forcing large corporations to replace or repair several escalators in three different buildings. This is where even the mayor and premier dismally failed – but the Lord afforded victory to the insignificant.

We had the most wonderful blessing from above! We could travel on the world’s best luxury train. Not once, but twice – the second time was on our thirtieth anniversary. We traveled five times on another prestigious luxury train and then scored a few trips on a tourist class one. We greatly enjoyed these journeys, all within a period of seven months!

The Word teaches that footmen can wear one out and leave you powerless when facing giants. Jeremiah 12:5 teaches: “If you have run with the footmen, and they have wearied you, then how can you contend with horses? Though in a land of peace you are secure, yet how will you do in the pride of the Jordan?”

The downswing of the sine wave isn’t a wave you can surf but is destroys, like a small tsunami. You can’t balance on it.

Find yourself in an environment where there is constant fuss and you will see the destructive forces of unbelief at work. The Holy Spirit simply is absent when we nag and fuss, when food is never right, when the boss and colleagues or the food at McDonald’s annoys.

I saw how a gent berate a lady at McDonald’s the other night. It wasn’t a real issue with food, but rather a display of ego and pride, as that is what food fuss is about almost all of the time. It never is nice to experience, the animosity about a gherkin marching out of pace. Or too little sauce, or perhaps the abundance of it.

The lady staff member at McDonald’s is a widow, trying to raise four children on a tiny salary. When visiting there, she greets patrons as if she owned the Sheraton. Never a frown, never a sigh, even when egotistic customers come from abroad to tell us here in Cape Town how important they are back home.

The Spirit of God withdraws where there is negativity, where there is a lack of gratitude, an absence of jubilation. We have been saved from the realities of eternal hell; isn’t that reason enough to praise God constantly? To be filled with joy?

While I was writing this, my wife brought me a breakfast of “krummelpap” which is a very stiff form of corn porridge. A basic meal, the staple diet of so many, seen as traditional “African” cuisine despite its Mexican origins. And Matthys Roets was singing in Afrikaans about what music had done to Jericho’s walls.

Leave the whining, complaining, fussing, belittling of others to the spiritually dead, the lost, the unsaved. Prove to others that you have the gift of eternal life so that sweetness will flow from your lips, making the world feel a bit better.

As, if we don’t, do we show to others that we are thankful for being plucked from hell?

In traffic, we have the opportunity to show our Christianity. Allow others to pass, extend grace by giving someone a gap – even the minibus taxi. Show the driver that you, as a Christian, doesn’t hate him.

Negativity rubs off, so rub it off.

Don’t steal the joy of others by constantly complaining, as you will rob the most enthusiastic person of joy. In that respect, you will be doing exactly what Satan does, therefore becoming his instrument.

Joshua told the Israelites to choose who they wanted to worship. They opted for the Living God but Joshua told them they couldn’t, as there came a huge responsibility with it. They had to appreciate the cost.

In the same way, we need to live up to being Christian. Not religious, just righteous as there is a difference.

We cannot praise our way through hardship if we sulk, frown and whine. We cannot do that by saying negative things about others. If your friend has a terrible wife, take her to the Lord and not to the coffee table for discussion. Also that is negative talk.

Change your tune, improve your tone. If someone did something wrong, remember that love covers everything. You fix it, save that person’s face. It really creates division complaining about a teaspoon that wasn’t washed properly.

When you sit down to eat, first thank Jesus for the privilege of having a meal to eat. Do this because you love Him. Then thank the one who had prepared it, also not out of decency but out of love. If it tastes different from how you wanted it, why didn’t you prepare it? Why didn’t you do the dishes?

If we are positive and joyful, if we praise God in every circumstance, we create a better world for ourselves and for others.

Of course, we can prove that we are spiritually dead and emotionally bankrupt by being negative. As Joshua said, you choose, but be sure to live up to expectations.

Joy protects by placing you smack in the presence of the Lord. Can anyone touch you there?

The Unforgivable Sin

Some aren’t even aware of this, but there is a sin called unforgivable. It gets described as blasphemy against the Holy Spirit.

There are so many interpretations but I have an idea how it works. God wants to have communion with us, relate to us, be friends with us. If we spend time with Him, we earn His favour just because the friendship grows. Of course, love is unconditional but favour requires relationship.

If we make Him feel bad, ignore Him, lash out at Him, or if we are pushy, demanding, arrogant, how will this further our relationship with Him?

But there is another angle to it; if it is unpleasant for Him to be around us, why would He want to be there? Slowly, but surely, we can cause a divide by being non-compliant, just as in any other relationship. If His efforts get a cold wash in the face every time, He slowly withdraws and the relationship eventually ceases to exist.

If we can do it to Him, we can do it to others. This is why Jesus, who is God, or His apostles such as Paul, Peter, James, etc., advised us extensively to live in peace with others, to let joy fill our hearts, not anger.

The Word also warns us to be careful about being friends with anyone with an uncontrolled temper. Along with that, the argumentative woman gets mentioned. Someone who stirs trouble in a household is already under God’s wrath.

We really need to be careful of how we treat others – or even God. It is really unwise to let our ambitions, moods and desires rule over us. We should be controlled by His Spirit.

The tongue is a powerful wrecking ball.

Dam Empty

December 2015 was the hottest and driest in over a century. When one has grown up in a family of civil engineering constructors, dam builders at that, water awareness is in your bone marrow.  Warnings about a severe drought coming was ignored because the political leaders don’t listen to people.  In the process, the very lives of roughly four million people, also the economy that sustains them, have been placed at risk. A potential humanitarian crisis in the making.  I see this neglect as irresponsible and bordering upon criminal – to me, it makes Apartheid look small.

Our water reserves – the safe kitty in the life bank – was splurged on luxuries, not essential needs. Our leaders, in their acute ignorance, defied logic by letting dams run dry while there was a very clear pattern of reduced rainfall.

I so many times drove through poorer suburbs and saw how people collected water from a central tap, then leaving it wide open while purified drinking water was running down the streets, the next person carrying a plastic container still many metres away.  Be it such a water waster or the wealthy person watering the air above his lawn, wastage is wastage and a senseless act.

As I child, sitting quietly listening to conversations of the adults, afforded me a fairly good general knowledge and an understanding of how life works. Sadly, children are given electronic games and sent to play on their own, removing society’s corporate IQ from the next generations. Perhaps this is why senior officials of the City of Cape Town pardoned themselves by stating “there was no way that we could see this crises coming.”

Of course, they were so very wrong! The signs were very clear yet they lacked the insight of traditional wisdom.  City people who don’t understand nature. Scientists sometimes don’t see what basic people living close to nature, do.  To the latter, it comes natural, as they are experienced observers of natural trends. For example, scientists don’t understand why whales do “tail hopping” yet common fishermen do. In the same way, even farm hands saw the drought coming but, even in 2017, Cape Town Executive Mayor, Patricia De Lille, said that there was “no crisis.”

A tad over four million people live in the Western Cape of South Africa. Not just the City of Cape Town, but those living in rural areas also make use of water from, for instance, Vogelvlei Dam.

Coming from a culture where one stood upright in a bowl and washed down with a jug, where cars were sometimes dusted and not washed, toilets were only flushed when solids were deposited it has always been hard to see how water was wasted in suburbia. Water sprinklers on lush lawns, with taps opened too wide, maybe also with the usual wind blowing, up to ninety percent of that water ended up in the atmosphere!

Purified drinking water get used to flush toilets and water gardens. So many homes have swimming pools. Then, Cape Town’s water comes from mountains fairly far away from the city. When it rains in Cape Town, it doesn’t necessarily also rain in the catchment areas of our major dams.  These are:

  • Theewaterskloof  (a dam my late grandpa envisioned and proposed, planned but it was built after his death)
  • Vogelvlei Dam that also provides water to much of the Swartland and West Coast
  • The two Steenbras Dams
  • Wemmershoek Dam
  • Berg River Dam

The general level of ignorance as far as understanding water is concerned, is astounding. It seems that people show very little interest in their life-giving water and just assume there is much more, out there, somewhere.

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Section of Theewaterskloof Dam, July 11, 2017 – Photo credit P. Louw

Large expanses of where water used to dominate, now meet the eye. People are fooled into thinking there is no problem when they, as we did on June 9, 2017, drive across the Theewaterskloof Dam wall and see some water. To the untrained eye, it looks fairly good but then the observers most likely don’t know what the dam should have looked liked if much fuller.  As water flows into the dam, water levels don’t only go higher but also much, much wider. As hundreds of hectares now lie exposed, imagine the volume of water presently not in the dams.

The sand is too wet to be dredged out at this stage, as it forms an aquifer that also holds in water and protect it from evaporation.  Even deepening the dams won’t resolve anything, for these reasons:

  • The inlet to the water pipe is at a fixed height and water below that level simply cannot flow into it. The pipeline gravitates into a tunnel which cannot be lowered, so there would be no way to lift that quantity of water into the pipeline.
  • It would remove the sand holding the last bit of water
  • Moving that amount of earth would take many years, time we don’t have
  • Where will the mountain of soil be taken to?

Many people have arguments about water, but here is what needs to be done:

  • Ban the many swimming pools, lush gardens and car washes
  • Create a parallel system and use treated waste water for use in gardens, toilets, etc., while drinking water is supplied separately.
  • Step up water savings projects, in so many homes leaking toilet valves, etc., waste millions of litres of water per day. Go from house to house and cut off water where wastage is encountered, be totally strict.  Instill in people a fear as it is too easy to pay a fine.
  • We have the ocean around us, desalination for industrial use is much cheaper than producing drinking water; provide much of the drinking water from the Atlantic ocean that surrounds Cape Town and beyond.
  • Use aquifers but bear in mind that these will also dry up in the end.
  • There is no guarantee of ample rain; indications are that more drought is to come. Teach children at school, at tertiary level, educate the public. Inspire people to become water wise. Educate, educate, educate.
  • Policing water usage has never been done effectively; we need to see radical change in this.

About the springs and rivulets around the city, a Facebook user was advised as follows by the City of Cape Town (reprinted with permission.)

“Please be advised that the City has been aware of these springs off the Table Mountain range and has been utilising some of them in various forms for decades. The City is currently applying to the National Government to use these springs more extensively, and if this application to further harness these springs is successful, they will be used to offset the demand on our potable water resources, for the benefit of all residents.

In addition to further exploring options to utilise the springs around Table Mountain, the City has been studying the deep aquifer underlying the Cape Folded Mountain Belt (which essentially runs from Vanrhynsdorp to Mossel Bay) for more than 10 years to determine the best possible sites to be able to extract water viably and with minimal impact on the environment. This water will be abstracted to augment the potable water supply. We are nearing the end of the exploratory phase and are about to enter the pilot phase which will help us identify and confirm the locations and design of future production wellfields. The City chose to adopt a precautionary approach to the project in order to ensure that the integrity of the environment was not compromised. The allegation that ‘the municipality is sitting on this resource and busy arranging business interests to take over the management of some of these springs for private gain’ is pure fiction. The National Department of Water and Sanitation is the custodian of our country’s water resources, and ultimately decides on how water resources can and should be used by municipalities, agriculture and all other users of water.

The claim that harnessing this spring water could have prevented the water crisis is also unsubstantiated. The City’s studies show that the yield from these springs is not enough to offset the current drought. For example, the Oranjezicht spring source (mentioned in the post) flows out at approximately 2,77 million litres every 24 hours. However, this varies according to the season. Unrestricted peak summer demand from the City’s residents is currently approximately 1,05 – 1,15 billion litres per day. In order to preserve our water over the coming summer, we need to reduce this to 800 million litres per day – a reduction of 250 – 350 million litres. As such, even if the water from these springs had been licensed, it would not have made a significant difference. The suggestion that there is no ‘real’ water crisis is not true, and is very irresponsible during the current severe drought being experienced in the Western Cape and other parts of the country, in which the successful adherence to water restrictions is critical to ensure that our water supplies are protected. Thank you.”

We really need to start taking our water seriously and become educated on this subject.

Metrorail Manual Train Authorization

Like ships and aircraft are controlled by traffic regulators working from control towers, such as the ones at Table Bay Harbour or Cape Town International Airport, Cape Town’s trains are controlled from Windermere near Century City.

Metrorail’s automated systems have been sabotaged through vandalism and crime. It now means that train movements are authorized manually to comply with requirements set by the independent Rail Safety Regulator or RSR.

A driver approaching a signal that is not functioning, has to stop the train. He will then phone the Authorizations office at Windermere to get clearance to proceed. This takes time. Only once authorized, he may proceed, many times with a 30km/h or even 15km/h restriction. Cable theft, malicious damage to property and acts of sabotage or vandalism all complicate our lives and frustrate us. The important thing to remember is that decisions are made with your safety in mind. Rather safe than sorry, late than never.

Disclaimer: author does not work for any railway company, is not paid to write and opinions are his own.

Magic Carpet Ride on The Blue Train

Our reservations were confirmed via email and we were also sent Guest Information Forms to complete and return to the friendly bookings officer. They ensure that they can contact your next-of-kin or anticipate medical conditions, food allergies, etc. Special dietary requirements are taken care of individually. Impressive efficiency.

A few days later, we made our way to The Blue Train Lounge where butlers awaited is, greeting us friendly, welcoming us to The Blue Train, while taking care of our luggage. A soft carpet bearing The Blue Train’s logo led us into the lounge, where we were registered at the Concierge Desk, by two very friendly and helpful ladies. We then were invited to take our seats in the plush lounge area, tastefully decorated.

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A gentleman called Collen appeared and offered us coffee or juice, or we could have had some sparkling wine if we so desired. Soon, the ever friendly F&B Manager Leon came to greet us; we have met before as this wasn’t our first journey on The Blue Train. Also, Financial Manager of The Blue Train, Mr Francois Geldenhuys, came to greet us as also he was no stranger. Friendly faces, a hearty welcome. Africa is renowned for its hospitality; The Blue Train certainly is a window to the soul of Africa.

We were the first to arrive and had a second coffee while guests trickled in – our own group consisted of six guests including my wife and I. Our journey would be short as we were here to expose stakeholders from the tourism industry to the superlative service on board The Blue Train. Next to arrive was Siphelo Guwa, a videographer who agreed to film our journey – this also wasn’t his first experience of The Blue Train, having been part of a film production team on board this magnificent train some time prior. The social media marketing guru’s arrived next. They are Marinda Holtzhausen and Marius De Vos of Cape Town Bookings, who also own the contracts to market various regions of the Western Cape. Finally, Richard Valentine of the Fish Hoek Valley Museum joined our group. He is involved in promoting tourism in the South Peninsula and is an accredited tour guide as well.

By the time that all guests had arrived, we were formally welcomed to The Blue Train, by Train Manager Lethabo Vilikazi. She explained the “house rules” and then we were taken in groups by our assigned butlers to our suites. Our butler was Angela; she was our butler on our first journey as well and there was a good reunion with this impressive lady.

I made my way to the Observation Car at the rear, hoping to take video footage of our departure from Cape Town Station. Great was my surprise when I noticed that we were already under way. The movement of the train only became perceptible as speed gradually increased. Table Mountain, followed by Devil’s Peak, sailed past like silent ships on the ocean.

Of course, our group are all active on social media and we took to Instagram, Facebook and Twitter almost right away – and a little frenzy ensued. Before long, the shock and surprise of friends elsewhere made room for their inquiries: “How do we book to travel on The Blue Train?”

She gracefully wafted through the northern suburbs of greater Cape Town, found her way through the vineyards, orchards and dairy farms until we slipped past Simonsberg to the right, Paarl rock to our left, where wider spaces welcomed us with open arms as we skirted the edges of the Swartland, home to wheat and sheep farms. We passed a few Anglo-Boer War blockhouses and the wind turbines at Gouda, from where the train made her spectacular passage through the Nuwekloof en route to the Wamakers Valley and the Witzenberg range of Tulbagh, on to Wolseley where we soon crossed the Breede River, flanked by two more of the historical British blockhouses.

Guests indulged in an array of snacks and treats, to suite even the most discerning palate. Even so, it soon was time for brunch, something we sincerely enjoyed as Master Chef Bobbie Wessels and his team are renowned for performing magic in the kitchen. Already, a less opulent cousin of The Blue Train goes by the hashtag #GoodFoodTrain. What shall we call this delightful dining experience, progressing almost imperceptibly yet at 56 MPH across the southern reaches of Africa. I have thought of the title #GlamTrain but, then again, the timeless class of this train is more of an understated thoroughbred.

I will rather show you photos of our meals as words won’t do justice. My crumbed Camembert with Cranberry Sauce was followed by a hearty soup and then the main course arrived, beef sirloin hiding a little blue rock cheese surprise to tantalise the taste buds. During all this time, our eyes feasted on the beautiful Boland mountains, vineyards, we passed Sedgwicks, home of the famous Old Brown Sherry as well as no less than five different brandies. Wine cellars, horses, farmsteads passed us silently as we enjoyed our dessert – mine was a sticky toffee pudding with ice cream. All too soon, our journey came to and end at Worcester, where we were given lovely certificates of remembrance and a rather nice ballpoint pen each, with The Blue Train’s logo inscribed on it. We thanked and greeted Lethabo and David – he is the manager in charge of the bedroom suites.

Our magic carpet ride was over and we made our way back to #LoveCapeTown

The Train Always Wins

There are upward of 7,500 level crossings in South Africa. No country has the money to replace all of these with road bridges.

We grew up with level crossings and respected them with an acute reverence. That was fifty, sixty years ago.

The level crossings are still there, of necessity. To many, this is their only access route between home and the big world out there, even if your world doesn’t go beyond Rondomverskrik or Regtigverdwaal.

Relatives of my late grandmother’s were always very careful. In darkness, worsened by a thick fog, once looked left, then right, left again and slowly drove forward, straight into a stationary train! It remained a family joke, to repeat their conversation every time we encountered a railway crossing.

People are less careful nowadays. If one visits any of these level crossings, it is almost scary to see that most vehicles don’t even reduce speed, let alone STOP when the sign indicates so. Rules are there to protect and mischief leads to disaster.

The day before the accident, shown in the picture, had happened, a car hit an oncoming train at a level crossing in Cape Town. A week prior to the one depicted here, the very same train driver was part of a team raising awareness for road & rail safety at this very same level crossing. A month prior, I was a passenger on this very same train and saw, at this level crossing 1,100km away from home, how a father with his young children on board, sped towards the crossing to try and beat the train to it. Sheer arrogance, recklessness, to place one’s loved ones at such an unnecessary risk. The train is roughly five hundred metres long and moves at around 60km/h, so anyone needs only to wait a few seconds for it to pass. Why risk lives by trying to cross the railway line before the train does?

At the time of this accident, I was a passenger on another train and saw where a train had hit a stray pedestrian. The train did not swerve, as trains can’t – they are directed by the railway lines. As these rail tracks are meant for trains, best advice is to give them a wide berth. Two serious accidents in one day, caused by people disrespecting the rules of society. There is an adage that “rules are there to be broken” but this is false dogma and it can be fatal. As the stray pedestrian discovered much to his own destruction. As his body lay between the railway tracks, I could not but help to wonder how their loved ones would react to the sad news.

I told a friend about my experience earlier this morning and he then told me that his sister had died this way.

Lots is being said on social media about the Police needing to be more strict – why do we adults need cops to turn us into good citizens? If only we lived according to the official rules of society, this world would have been a better place. Why is it always someone else’s fault, never just our own?

Dice with death and your gamble may fail. I hope that your Last Will & Testament is in place and that your passwords are where your next-of-kin can find it.

Look for trains! Trains always win!

Short Trains, Shorter Tempers!

So many commuter trains had been gutted by arsonists and vandals – I call it sabotage – that some train service have been cancelled altogether while the remaining ones are now making use of shorter trains, to even the spread. Train sets typically consisted of thirteen bogey sets but the average number now is eight.

Of course, the number of daily commuters have remained the same and this is leading to a bit of chaos. Trains now are so overladen that it is even very difficult to disembark halfway, or even to board, as door passages are crammed to the hilt.

People rant & rave and are angry, tempers flaring up and much is being said on social media.

It will take many years to repair or replace the train carriages that were destroyed, some which are motor carriages meaning that they have electric engines. These are very expensive to replace. The older 5M train sets were produced from 1962 and the newer 10M3’s date from around 1989 – I stand corrected on this – and then there are a few 8M train sets being brought back into service. Even the 1962-built ones could have served us well, had it not been for people who set trains alight, or slash seats, stealing upholstery material, etc.

As long as our national government does not properly fund and protect (why are our soldiers not protecting our trains?) the Passenger Rail Association of South Africa – PRASA for short – we will endure major discomfort. Plan accordingly.

I am Pete, an independent travel blogger and I do not represent any railway service, nor I am paid by anyone.

It’s Fine To Park #disabled

Hungry Shark 

Franchise food usually comes in a nice package, maybe with nice music and some catchy corporate theme. It also comes, usually, at a price sustained with preservatives, chemicals and enough packaging to build a new floating continent in mid-ocean. 

Back to our roots we go, to a good old fish & chips shop, that also sells Gatsby’s (this is awethentiq Cape food!), burgers, hotdogs, jaffles. Jaffles? Sure, they even have that, come educate the kids. The jaffels are divine, we love it. 

While really a take-away, there are two sit-down tables ultimately seating eight hungry sharks. 

There is an African Grey parrot, one that doesn’t swear yet, a fish tank and hand-built model tall ships. It is clean but rather basic, the way it should be. 
Here at Hungry Shark, you can eat to your fill and some more at a fraction of what the snazzy franchise would have charged you. It is like a real sit-cafe in a dusty village out there, yet right here in Goodwood, 52 Voortrekker Road, seven miles from Cape Town central and accessible via Metrorail, Golden Arrow bus service, any of many minibus taxis that will drop you right on the doorstep. Or on foot, or by road if you are 

Go do something different for a change. So many combo specials, family meals, divine fish cakes, you name it. 
Call them on 063 157 2050 to order.