Place camera on rock. Set aperture. And walla…
The Estuary at Port Edward, Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa. Saturday night.
Seems I have a lot of catching up to do on the blog. I’ve not attended to the many comments posted since I’ve been away on my mid-year break, and my sincere apologies for this. I’ll get to it all in the next day or so. I’ve all but shunned social media, including this blog for a little over two weeks.
But first, more about Erik…
We took the little Viking dude to The Barnyard in Umhlanga on the Kwa-Zulu Natal North Coast on Sunday, for a tribute to Elton John, Pink, Freddie Mercury, Tina Turner and Michael Jackson. An odd ensemble you might think, but they were awesome, especially the Jackson character who had MJ’s dance moves down to T. From past posts, you’ll know I’m a big fan of The Barnyard, but who would have guessed that Erik would dig it too.
My previous experience with two year-old’s (and older kids) at live shows have been torturous. They’re not known for sitting still and watching – running around, screaming, throwing tantrums and just making a mighty old fuss is more the norm. Not Erik!
He just sat there mesmerised for nigh on two hours, with barely a word out his mouth, sipping occasionally on his fruit juice. He was perfectly appreciative, eyes all lit up. The little Viking sure loves his music. I’ll bet he’s hooked on live performances now.
And when he gets older his Uncle Lenny is going to take him to rock concerts. So be prepared, mom and dad…
While standing on the balcony of friends’ flat this weekend on a trip to the coastal Kwa-Zulu Natal town of Illovo, I spotted these beautiful bulbous flowers. They appeared to be growing on some sort of vine creeping up a tall tree alongside his townhouse flat.
I tried searching the internet, but have not been able to identify it. I have no idea what type of tree it is either. Anyone with answers?
It’s been a week since the end of my road trip, but I’ve been somewhat lethargic to write about it. It’s not that it was not good; it’s just that I don’t really know what to say about it. So I’ll just give it a shot; maybe some photos will help.
After leaving beautiful Saint Lucia behind, I spent a few days in Durban, and you’ll remember that I was off to the Eastern Cape and the Tsitsikamma Forests. My stop-over in Beacon Bay, East London brings back horrible memories of the err, uncomfortable drive down to the Tsitsikamma area, probably due to some dodgy Sushi I ate there that night, but I won’t forget the wonderful conversation I had with my hostess at the Parrot Peek Inn.
I’ve been almost everywhere in South Africa, and had the privilege to gaze in awe at some of the most stunning scenic beauty that nature provides, but the Tsitsikamma is beyond spectacular. In fact, I’m going to stick my neck out and proclaim that this region in the most beautiful in South Africa; topping even the magnificent Cape Peninsula. It has everything; rich forests with ancient trees, jagged mountain ranges, flowing gorges and a pristine coastline. The early morning mist hanging thick in the air gives the area a surreal and other-worldly look and feel. It’s quite simply, astounding.
For my Tsitsikamma adventure, I was based at the Otters Nest in a little village called Storms River. Tsitsikamma is a Khoi-san word meaning place of water (or place of many waters depending on which translation you trust), so I was a little surprised, when my host Jaco informed me that I was to use water sparingly as restrictions were in place. However, this did not prove to be any problem at all.
Various activity operators offer the adventurous traveller an abundance of adventure-sport such as hiking, zip-lining (The forest Canopy Tour is a firm favorite), abseiling (also known as repelling), boat tours and bungy jumping (the Bloukrans Bridge claims to be the highest commercially operated pure free-fall jump in the world at 216m, but I have since found that the Verzasca Dam in Switzerland is higher, but only just, at 220m). For the less adventurous, gazing at the majestic beauty around you while getting a massage at one of the Spa’s, is a good alternative.
I did manage to drive down the East Coast one day, to Knysna which is also quite breathtaking, although there has been far too much development in the Knysna Lagoon area since I was last there many years ago. However, a boat cruise out to the Heads is always a great way to take in the natural beauty of the place. There is also a wonderful upper-floor tapas restaurant at the Knysna Waterfront, the name of which escapes me at the moment.
On my way back, to Storms River, I stopped at Plettenburg Bay, and all I can say about this place is that its absolute rubbish. I suppose it was once as stunning as the other locations on the East Coast, but once the developers got their grimy hands on this place at the behest of South Africa’s rich and not-so-famous, it became a shitty little town, just like Margate on Kwa-Zulu Natal’s south coast. Plettenburg bay has been turned into a home-away-from-home for those with too much money; the big inner-city transported to the coast with all its ugly buildings and conveniences.
I won’t forget the wonderful evenings dining out at quaint little restaurants, and especially the evening with my host Jaco and his forester-friend Charles, at the backpackers around the corner from the Otters Nest. What a wonderful evening we had, chatting, drinking and shooting pool with the locals and a bunch of German backpackers, with a warm log fire burning in the bar. And afterwards, a drag of Tsitsikamma’s finest – not exactly Durban Poison, but enjoyable all the same, since it’s been such a long time since I indulged.
I found it hard to say goodbye to Storms River, but Port St. Johns and the Wild Coast beckoned. I will definitely come back to Storms River one day; real soon. There was more to see on my way back North, but that’s a story for another day…
I read an article in the news media recently about a women who is suing the Kwa-Zulu Natal roads department, and the government, over the loss of a hand and part of a forearm in an accident, in which she was a passenger in a taxi. Apparently the taxi overturned when the driver lost control after hitting a pothole on an extremely busy road.
I didn’t think too much about it the time, except that I hoped she got to screw them for as much as possible. As you may be aware by now, I am a big fan of anyone who gets to screw the government… back.
Anyway, I came across a follow-up to the story today, where the roads department is opposing the claim based on an unconvincing argument that they lacked the funds for road maintenance, so could not repair the pothole, which earlier evidence indicated could have been repaired for a measly 500 hundred bucks. However that was not what caught my interest, which incidentally, led to full-blown anger as I completed reading the article. No, my anger was the result of the revelation that in about the same fiscal year, the roads department blew around five and half million bucks tarring a quiet country road that runs past the Minister of Transport, Sbu Ndebele’s country residence – a road that apparently is used by about 20 cars a day, according to court evidence by a local.
I have heard of many incidents involving motorists hitting potholes on our slowly deteriorating road network, most of which fortunately result in damage to the cars only. However, it galls me to think, as I slalom my way to work and back every day, about the sick bastards in government who not only squander our tax money on luxury SUV’s, but on getting fresh tar layed out for them as they drive as well.
Now that I’ve recovered somewhat from my week-long sojourn down in Durban, it’s time to turn my attention to writing again with some things that caught my attention.
Kwa-Zulu Natal, on the east coast of South Africa, is famous for the annual sardine (alternatively known as a pilchard) run which usually occurs between June and July, but sometimes as early as May. In recent years however, the shoals which have beached in the past, have slowly dried up. There were huge catches in some odd years, but the general trend is that the “greatest shoal on Earth” is slowly becoming a no-show. This year was no different.
While sitting on a south coast beach, waiting with hundreds of other eager sardine-spotters, I pondered why the great sardine run is turning into the great sardine crawl in recent years. It’s really tempting to blame global warming, although how exactly, I have no idea. I overheard one guy on the shore say that the sardines are getting smarter. They’re learning how not to get caught. Who knows? He may be right. Evolution is supposed to be continuous after all. Well, I certainly hope they’re not getting smarter, because they sure make a tasty snack. And it won’t do, to hope it’s because of global warming either. That’s certainly not very smart.
On a slightly more significant note, well only just; last Friday evening while on my way to visit a cousin in my old hometown near Durban, I noticed some rather colourful, bright neon lights flashing up ahead on a hill. Thinking that it was some new club that had opened, I was rather taken aback to discover that they were in fact adorning a Hindu temple. Having followed the religion, many years ago before returning to Atheism, I’m used to Hinduism being rather conservative and dignified, well lacklustre really. This garish display of brightly flashing lights on top of a building that is revered by Hindus, is more reminiscent of a casino.
I actually burst out laughing at the time and afterwards remembered where I had seen such a phenomenon before: about two years ago I saw almost the same neon lighting display (although not in so many colours) on a modern building in Toronto, Canada, which could easily be identified as a church because of the large cross on the side of the building. Is this the way of the future? Religions trying to attract the noticeably dwindling flocks, with a casino-style lure? Or is it just a modern beacon for worshippers who have become lost? I wonder?