Pack No Ego

He has soft blue eye and he is just over five feet tall, cannot

weigh more than fifty kilo’s. And he is threatening me and everybody

else. His lawyer apparently must be a direct descendant of Ivan the

Impaler. He mentions a lady’s name, repeatedly. Sue! And he must be a

gray little accountant as he keeps adding up the millions that Ivan the

Impaler and Sue will bring him from our empty pockets. I guess he is

also a concert director, by the way he waves his finger before my eyes.

Maybe he isn’t aware that, in my country, acts of intimidation are equal

to assault, both being criminal. His luggage must be heavy as he had

brought one helluva ego with him. At least twenty times the size of his

rather flimsy physique. Knowing Ivan the Impaler and Sue makes him

strong. Very strong.

“Eeen my kahntree, veee vill Sue zee for menny meelions, zee?” Zim

dollars, I hope!

Oh, the typical air of superiority of his tribe shines through. A

conundrum. Be friendly towards tourists, we also need their Euro’s. But

should we always be content to bear with the abuse we get from them,

even on the streets of our Mother City?

Our train is a few hours behind schedule. Guests flock together in the

Lounge Car and the Club Car. They play card games, have entertaining

conversations, enjoy a few drinks. This in the Club Car smoke a few

cigarettes with their whiskey. One lady guests encounters me in the

passage, her eyes glowing with delight. “This is the #GoodValueTrain”,

she says enthusiastically, “we can travel so much longer for the same

money.” So many others don’t even complain. They are mature enough to

know that airliners, ships, buses and cars get delayed, expecting it to

be no different with trains. A family member is an airline pilot: he had

to land his jet in Johannesburg the other day; passengers were on their

way to Durban. A little nasty detail in weather patterns caused a

deviation. Landing a few hundred miles off-target saved lives.

RSR (Rail safety Regulator) imposed several speed restrictions after

recent floods. Railroads were completely under water in some places. We

all know that the restrictions are not always necessary, but rather safe

than sorry, eh? I can agree to that! Don’t you gamble with MY life,

because I don’t. The train crawls across Africa at a third of its usual

speed. We see more game, more detail and also new things, because we now

travel in daylight through places we usually experience at night. We

see two eagles, in different places. Two steenbok, two ribbok, a few

kudu, eland, herds of springbok, ostriches. So many that I lose count.

The staff work more than an extra day’s shift, preparing two more meals

for 76 guests. Only once did one lose her usual smile, I think she

needed a hug. Someone threatened the already overworked lady with Ivan

the Impaler and Sue. The Bonnie & Clyde duo makes for scary thoughts.

Our elegant waitress regains her composure, fits a new smile and

soldiers on. I find a lot of heat in the kitchen. They are peeling

fresh veggies, while cooking up a storm. An extra lunch for 76 plus

staff, must be a hundred mouths to feed. Then another unscheduled dinner.

The little man with the huge ego has intimidated enough guests for one

day. He finally reaches the Train Manager, just by chance. He never

thought of going to the right person, the very friendly, efficient Train

Manager in the first place! No, he had to threaten almost every guest

on the train with his duo of quasi-medieval torturers. Terror! Imagine

being swathed to death by a Law Book and then bankrupted posthumously.

Train Manager, staff, drivers up front – none are to blame for any

delays, yet they have to take the flak coming from a little

Messerschmidt train fighter. Ever so diplomatically, faster road

transport is arranged, the EGO gets off-loaded (if it will fit into a

1-seater van….) and we continue our journey, munching away at the most

tender braised beef with a brown sauce, savoury rice and a choc-mint

creme brulee.

Their is peace in the palace as we enjoy the beautiful pastel coloured

mountains, as the sun is setting in the west, where we are heading. We

all just enjoy the increased travel time and the pleasure that comes

with it.

Maybe just one bloke was too small to peek outside and see the beauty. Or did his ego obstruct his pleasurable view?




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.