Insolence

Yesterday, we were parked opposite the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town. I parked in such a way that I could easily get out of the parking, with the rear of the little Polo almost on the edge of the parking space. I do this because I have a problem with my neck, following an injury on one of the city’s new busses, some time ago. I don’t want to crane my neck as I almost always have a terrible headache ever since.

Suddenly, a young female (the term “lady” would be overtly generous) drove in with her scooter, parked it sideways in front of the car, leaving me no space to exit. Even before I could get out of the car, she disappeared from sight. By the time my wife had returned from her shopping, the scooter driver was still missing.

Note: it was in my demarcated parking space that she had intruded. Also, I paid for that parking and, if I had to stay for longer, I would have had to pay even more. We are not wealthy people, me living with disability. I also do not own the car and object to an added risk of possible damage, as was quite real in this case.

I started searching in nearby stores and asked if anyone knew where the scooter driver was. In one store, a young female admitted that it was her scooter. I politely asked her to remove it so that I could leave. That is where things started going south. Already in the wrong in terms of traffic law as well as moral principles, she found it necessary to chirp at me, telling me there was enough space.

As I am a retired soldier, we have our way to deal with obstacles, so I gave her a choice to remove it her way or I could remove it my way. I then left and went into the car. She came out, followed by a white male with graying hair, who came and banged at the car’s window. He also obstructed my path by standing in front of the car as I had tried to drive off. I nearly missed him.

This is typical of the arrogance we see in Cape Town and, with seven traffic officers to a shift in a city with over four million people, imagine the chaos on our roads!

When I reported this to the City of Cape Town, they were unhelpful, as usual.

Recently, a march was held to try oust the State President. Most South Africans have become arrogant, insolent and self-righteous. They do as they please and turn on anyone opposing their bad ways. It gets blamed on the President, on the blacks, on the ruling party, while nobody else seems to want to take responsibility for their own lives.

And the City of Cape Town will forward my complaint to the relevant department, where it will disappear and be forgotten. Nothing will change, as little or nothing had changed for the better over the past decade.

Then I am in the wrong for getting angry at this?

Within an hour, a similar situation presented itself; I am on the case of the errant driver, he was reported to his bosses as well as to the Traffic Department. And I was smart enough to post his picture on social media.

Since Cape Town cannot police its own streets, we citizens will need to step in and restore order ourselves. Perhaps time has come for a national traffic department that will have teeth.

Convenient ScapeGoat Metrorail

We lost everything due to the Metrorail strikes of April 2016, eventually even our home. We cannot, however, blame Metrorail as they were as much a victim as anyone else. Read for some perspectives!

My note to Tammy February in response to her article on #Metrorail

“Your article is biased and really badly researched! It is adding to the problem instead if fixing it. (You can read her article here)

I have been using Metrorail since 1987 and have been stranded once, ever, my wife twice. That was when outsiders attacked trains as part of the #FeesMustFall and #RhodesMustFall protests. A third time, we had to disembark and change to another train when #ZumaMustFall protesters so badly damaged a train that it had to be terminated.

Metrorail gets some R5 subsidy per passenger, compared to MyCity’s R22.50+ as reported to me by a senior(MyCity) officer a few years ago already. MyCity’s subsidy could be more by now, of course. It is MyCity, however, that causes people to walk on a daily basis, not Metrorail!

With an average of fifty acts of vandalism per month, trains gutted by rioting protesters, arsonists and the like – not related to Prasa’s service delivery – and then without support from Treasury, how do you expect Metrorail to operate? Add to this the fact that some eighty per cent of passengers board illegally, become very violent when confronted, can you imagine the cash drain? Security companies and SAPS are simply not strong enough to control the masses – military intervention would be the only possible solution. Imagine the cash drain – blame it on a criminal society, not on Metrorail! Please do some PROPER research before publishing opinions, fist get the facts! Yours was really very bad reporting which I strongly object against.

Signals equipment get stolen as trains just passed, we have seen this a few times. The next train then gets delayed for 40-50 minutes, as that needs manual authorization (same as aircraft from ATC) for every sector that it moves into!

Metrorail in Cape Town has been automated for decades; their systems aren’t designed for manual operation, there aren’t enough staff, either, for obvious reasons. You sound so smart, now come try run a public service under these conditions. You will fail within the first few seconds!

Most staff at Metrorail bend over backwards, they give their everything, they are tenacious and resilient yet gets flak from all over, especially from wet-behind-the-ears, opinionated reporters who had done little to get to the truth! I am retired and have been a competent person in my career life, worked in both public and private sectors, including enterprise. never have I seen such a will to succeed than I have seen at Metrorail in particular and Prasa in general. If Lucky Montana mismanaged funds and was corrupt, don’t paint all at Prasa with that brush.

Go do your job properly, go investigate the arson, sabotage, the criminality of passengers, then write a report on how much under siege Metrorail is – a tiny ship with torn sails fighting the perfect storm, yet doesn’t choose to just give up and founder. Report truth, not opinion.

It peeves me that everybody has an opinion but few seem to actually have any real knowledge!”

DISCLAIMER: I do not work for Prasa/Metrorail, I do not speak on their behalf and I am not paid by them.

Harbourview – Kitchen Magic

A cheerful family visit. Lots of fun, laughter, joy and bliss. As in the good old days, on the wide, open veranda and a lazy ocean shimmering below. Food and drink in abundance, people smiling, chatting, enjoying the feast on the tables.

March is such a wonderful time in the Cape, when winds die down a bit and the sultry, balmy days arrive before the lovely winter come to passionately take us into spring. We love every day, regardless of weather, as we have learned to dress in the right attitude. And, if you don’t like the weather, just a minute…. see, it has changed already!

So, there we were on a Saturday, late March 2017. We were seated at our favourite spot, overlooking the yacht basin below and the naval harbour beyond.

We sat watching the guests arrive, some in larger groups, others just intimate families. The decibels increased a little as food and drink went past us, to waiting tables. Tall, golden beers with frothy beards to softly kill the thirst of the weary traveler. All served with that array of natural smiles that seem to be the corporate trademark of the Harbourview Restaurant in Simon’s Town. As that is the lovely, close family we were visiting.

Some restaurants have a quicker staff turnover than they can flip over an omelet. Not at the Harbourview, oh no, here they stay! It seems that especially one lady called Noleen comes in when off duty. It is always a good sign to see people who are internally motivated, inspired and happy.

Owner Linda Wiltshire is a most agreeable lady. Linda is a really inspiring person who adores her crew so much. I love seeing a business owner involved, passionate and informed.

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Invited to a frothy cappuccino, made of great gourmet coffee, we extended our conversation until time came to snap some shots of sundry items of interior decoration.

A marine setting it is, with all sorts of military paraphernalia coming together rather nicely. Of course, Harbourview being in Simon’s Town, the legendary Just Nuisance also stands guard at a door. Etched into the glass, that is.

We ordered Dry Lemon and my “darlingmost wificle” selected a roast chicken salad. I settled for a smoked salmon one. As this was for starters, we were slightly taken aback by the sizable portions that arrived, rich in colours, textures and tastes. I have to deviate a little.

At some posh restaurants, supposed “chefs” show off their skills in commercial art by drawing food on one’s plate. People who come laden with money order it, stare at it, sip at drinks, swipe a platinum card and leave the sometimes untouched little Picasso job to the cleaners to dispose of. Haute cuisine is bad language in my home. We are Saffers, we eat for a living. Don’t mess with our food!

Back the salads. Never show fear in the face of adversity, so we assaulted our incredibly picturesque salmon or chicken. Freshest ingredients, all oh so perfect! As in the past, Harbourview’s chef’s team produced something almost magic from the kitchen. In fact, I did hint at Tanaka that his black magic was quite obvious. The large dollop of Danish feta found a welcoming party in me and the first battle was over. The memory will be lasting, as even food we ate upon previous occasions still remain fresh in memory, if not the palate.

Guests at a neighbouring table ordered prawns and I could not resist the temptation to ask if I could photograph it. I introduced myself as a travel blogger and aspiring food reviewer. “Oh so,” the one lady said and introduced herself as a renowned French food photographer and critic! Oh my, I walked into the dragons’ lair in my absolute ignorance. Sensing my apprehension, she soon gave me a few quick hints on how to photograph food. Her husband and other friend were very hospitable and accommodating as well. What a pleasant experience in the end! This was so kind of them and the expert never let me feel uncomfortable. The prawns, as you can see, are top class but I must say that my own photo taken with the flash looked better, so here it is!

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Then our main dishes arrived. My better half had ordered a wild game curry served cutely in a three-legged pot. She later described it as “the best curry I had ever eaten in a restaurant.” Of course, I had to taste a sample (or six) and found it quite to my taste as well.

My own was a 300g beef fillet served with fries and a fresh salad. It also came with a most delectable cheese sauce, which I treated as a side dish so as not to infringe upon the superior tastiness of the fillet. Soft and tender, grilled to perfection, sending my taste buds fighting for position. As I have said, I think there is magic practiced in Tanaka’s kitchen.

All good things come to and end and so did our main course. We greeted our empty plates with a sense of loss but were soon consoled by the ever attentive Noleen who brought my wife a slice of that legendary Malva pudding. Now I need to say here that we as Afrikaners will fight to our very last drop of blood for a spoonful. Any adversary is best advised to not come in between us and our Malva pudding.

I am a brave man and offered my wife half my cheesecake with the unspoken expectation to get a mere morsel of her Malva pudding. It paid off and I had a few crumbs to taste – but the cheesecake, in turn, is the best I had ever eaten. It really was tasty, the texture perfect, the balance between sweet and sour just about divine. (I never order cheesecake but wanted to review theirs. After all, there IS Malva pudding in the house…..) Having straddled six decades, there did come a day when I could say that a cheesecake was more than “nice.” Oh, I can become poetic about this one, wax so lyrical that you may think I get paid to write this. But I honestly do not charge for these reviews, so I was not bribed or influenced. Coming from me, the accolades bestowed upon the cheesecake are “awethentiq.”

Culinary Seductress Noleen appeared like a genie from a bottle and tried to entice us into more indulgence, to which I said that I would order anything with “bed” written all over it. To awaken us from an impending post-dinner sleep, we were soon served with cappuccino to end the day where it started.

We came full circle. Harbourview’s lovely silly kitchen banter, jovial mood and leisurely ambiance will keep the wheel turning, as full circle isn’t full stop.

But why take my word for it, go experience it for yourself!

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A Little Something To Take Home

 

Anthony’s Golden Cup

Anthony’s Golden Cup is an established purveyor of the finest coffee beans, freshly ground or that refreshing cup of coffee that had made him owner Anthony Swartz world-renowned.

Cape Town never afford the resident or visitor a dull moment. There always is a new discovery to be made or, sometimes, a hidden gem to be found. Such a gem is my dear old friend since eleven years ago, Mr Anthony Swartz.

Having grown up at #Kylemore near #Stellenbosch, Anthony has since settled in the greater #CapeTown and he has been in #coffee since 1963.

At age 79, Anthony is most likely the oldest serving #barista in Cape Town. He declines calling himself by that title yet he is an expert in knowledge about coffee – and also tea! He only sells the choicest #Arabica coffee beans, or ground to order and no Robusta is allowed in his little store at 59 on Loop Street, Cape Town.

Anthony’s Golden Cup has been the stage of various film shoots. Also, he has an established clientele internationally and we often see old friends arriving, GPS in hand. Having placed Anthony’s Golden Cup on Google Maps does help customers find him, as many forget where they last saw him. Do not underestimate the value of GoogleMaps.

As far as we could establish, Anthony was the first non-white commercial coffee roaster in Cape Town. His coffees are authentic and he does support the African farmers from many countries. Therefore, if it is the BEST coffee you need, Anthony’s has been rated as the best in Africa several times, also by in flight-magazines of international airlines, etc. But is that important? My nose regularly guides me to his front door and yet another special coffee or cappuccino finds its way down.

Do yourself an immense favour and go visit Anthony at https://goo.gl/maps/4JWyq68DLYU2 and be sure to send him my regards. Click on the link for lovely photographs as well!

To whet your appetite, here are a few.

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Cape Town on a Shoestring

Not all locals or visitors are affluent enough to afford luxury tours, yet you can see the very best even on a  shoestring budget. My wife and I usually do this every three months or so, here is my latest review.

Please do visit but also share, as so many miss out on this when they visit South Africa.

My blog review of the #Southernline

 

 

#GoodFoodTrain 4 #RailLove

As requested in the Facebook Trans-Karoo Group, here is a list of some of my first wobbly steps in rail travel blogging. During 2017, this will be revisited and improved and I will also take better pictures next time.

This friendly couple consented to having their picture taken

Hors D’oeuvre on Premier Classe

Nieuwekloof Pass between Gouda and Tulbach, Western Cape, South Africa

The famous Three Sisters just north of Beaufort West

For more, please link to these pages:

Excellent service from Prasa

ShosholozaMeyl

A Premier Classe Journey

Premier Classe Makes Business Sense


Romance on Rails

German Invasion of Simon’s Town! (via Metrorail)

Rail Travel South Africa Photo Albums

#DSLR Learning to Shoot

So I borrowed the Canon 700D from my friend again. Here are a few photos taken as follows:

  • Flowers photographed with nifty fifty lens at close-up setting or Tv 1/10 ISO 100
  • All other shots with 75-300 kit lens, Tv 1/160 ISO 100

The ship in the photo is the Gulden Leeuw from Kampen, Nederland.  This Dutch vessel was built in 1937 and arrived in CapeTown a few days ago. I was lucky seeing it enter the harbour and coming alongside to her mooring right in front of the beautiful Table Bay Hotel.

Gulden Leeuw with the Cape Wheel in the backdrop

The golden lion mascot

Oscar the Seal in front of Table Bay Hotel

VW Beetle still in high demand locally. Ancient stuff!

Eurocopter coming in to land

Sugarbush protea. Notice the bees.

White rose with a darling pose

Stokroos

ShosholozaMeyl train – South Africa. Canon 700D 18-55mm on automatic settings.

PremierClasse Train also 700D on auto, 18-55mm lens

Comments are welcome, constructive criticism on each and every photo is invited, provided your level of proficiency warrants that. 

General comments are also welcome, of course! I love showing you around my world.

Oh, this is me at work. Photo taken with a US$45 Android phone.