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?