Abuse

She is the wife of state president in Africa. It is August, Women’s Month – a great time for a first lady to hit a chambermaid with a kettle chord. What an un-Grace-ful act that was; will the women’s rights activists please rise?

I live amid a lot of verbal and emotional abuse. If I had to keep record of every negative comment, insult, rude remark, I would be a busy man indeed. It is stupefying to see the abuse hurled at men, at other drivers, at bosses, colleagues, family or friends. It is violent even if not physical.

A charismatic Christian counselor recently said, repeatedly, that all men are immature and cannot deal with their issues or get angry when confronted. I am not sure that she is capable of taking any form of constructive criticism herself, though. See, one cannot dish out what you cannot take yourself.

My own idea is that men are much more mature and usually aren’t even bothered by the little things that upset most women. Men aren’t blind to their environment but would generally only respond to what really matters.

I am also blessed, being married to a pioneer spirit, a strong pillar, a really upright woman with the kindest, softest heart. We hardly ever argue and, after thirty years of marriage, we are still madly in love. The Lord blessed me with the absolute best, others have to make do with second. Yes, she is the soft, strong queen of my heart. Homemaker, entrepreneur, artist, miracle worker, motherly and spiritual. Yes, the wife of Proverbs 31 shares my space.

In this month when abuse against women is often the topic of discussion, I would like to present another angle to this. Why not, for spicing things up, debate abuse, verbal or otherwise, by women?

Why not talk about abusive women who hit their boys because of their anger at grown men? Women who lay the foundation of having boys growing up to beat their wives – because of the resentment they may have for abusive women. In such a case, issues needing to be dealt with, but who will have the discerment to understand what it is about?

How many man withdraw into themselves, into sports, man caves or even pornography – just to avoid having to deal with the sharp tongue of an ungodly, abusive woman? As such abuse is evidence of the absence of the Spirit of God. Like Eve in the garden, the seeds of the Antichrist showing its vulgar head.

It is August. A cabinet minister hit women at a nightclub. We don’t know the full story, we don’t know what they did. What we do know is that he was at least mature enough to apologise and resign from his office.

Apart from my own wife, I have very seldom seen a woman mature enough to be accountable, accept responsibility. I was ridiculed and bullied on social media by the premier of my province and she refused to apologise when proven wrong.

I really think that society could afford taking a closer look at the abusive nature of the feminine types around us, see how they can hit at men in so many ways, only to turn and gloat in playing victim.

Several men had been arrested on false charges lain by women and perhaps government should start prosecuting them for perjury. It will teach a few Eves to behave and not use brute force to assault men.

In the work situation, two thousand men work together in harmony – as a former career soldier, I have seen it. I have also seen and experienced the abusive of women in the workplace. In a professional workspace, I have seen one woman hit a pregnant colleague in the bellow, resulting in an aborted foetus. Yes, they can talk about afterbirth while eating cake or discussing the intimate specifics of a period while having dinner! That is gross, gross, gross.

The first lady sought diplomatic immunity while being brazen enough to show her face at an international summit, same as my own premier who is not even ashamed after having been disgraced in public after something stupid she said on Twitter.

It is still August and it is still a disGrace.

Let the real women remove the Fake Eve from society. She has overstayed her welcome.

 

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

Practical Travel Tips – ShosholozaMeyl

Here are a few really practical tips for travel on South Africa’s tourist class Shosholoza Meyl trains. We are seasoned travelers and share our experiences with you.
Prasa operates two long distance trains:

  • Premier Classe, a luxurious travel experience
  • ShosholozaMeyl, a tourist class train

These travel on rails owned by another company, power comes from yet another. Sometimes, there are delays caused by power failures or speed restrictions. Also, freight services are given preference and this is not the fault of Prasa who operate passenger trains only.  It is no different from aircraft delayed for hours because of operational variables. Please be considerate, take this into account.  Also see the media statement from the Minister of Transport.

An Italian friend, Giulia Raciti, is a seasoned traveler and tour guide who hasn’t seen home for seven years. She has experienced public transport – buses, aeroplanes, ships and trains – in numerous countries. She views a train delay of three hours as international average. 

Go with the flow. Don’t pack the go. Sit back, relax, you will get there. 

Read more here

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ShosholozaMeyl

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ShosholozaMeyl in Nieuwekloof Pass

#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. 

Do you know Joe from Africa?

So we meet online, you ask me where I am from. I say that I am from Africa, then you ask if it is one of those countries in Darfur. I say now, I am from Cape Town, so you ask me if it is in one of those countries in South Africa.

(eyes roll)

Do you know Joe?

Where does he live?

In Ghana, that is close to you, eh? You must know him?

There is an online tool to check how far Accra, Ghana is from Cape Town, South Africa. Check it out.Bear in mind that Accra is just about halfway across Africa from Cape Town.

Chances are that I might not have met Joe, after all.

Africa is a rather large continent with more than fifty countries in it, just like North America has the USA, Canada, Mexico and other countries in it.

South Africa is a country. It has more than fifty million citizens who don’t BBQ. We braai.

Something to consider.

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Independent Countries in Africa

 

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The Size of Africa

Where is Blackie??

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South Africa’s first steam locomotive – Blackie

Blackie went missing from her plinth on Cape Town Station and your help is needed in finding her and relocating her to her rightful resting place.  She was South Africa’s first steam locomotive circa 1859, courtesy R&W Hawthorn of Leith, Scotland.