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Published: October 14th 2007
Something had changed back in Cape Town
The winter had arrived and with the winter there was a change in mentality. The hordes of German
tourists had left the city and Long Street
- that busy, loud waterhole for the Bazbuz
crowd had calmed down to a pleasant evening stir at weekends only.
The strollers (as the begging street kids call themselves) were busy storing glue underneath the man-hole covers, and the homeless added extra sheets of cardboard paper to their beds.
Truly there was winter in the Mother City
and it affected all its inhabitants, but the chilly nights hit the weak and marginalized, the hardest. Thick fog would cover the Cape Flats
in the mornings and foghorns from the harbour would add a pleasant base to the sound of police sirens and the calls from the minarets of Bo Kaap
. I would sit in the garden outside our tent on the side of Signal Hill
, and watch the early morning commuters as they arrived to the CBD
in long lines of cars. On the two main highways leading into town along the side of Devil's Peak
, it looked like two never ending metallic snakes crawling into the
Long Street Blues
Getting some first class drama in the Mother city
We had our phone stolen at an internet-café. A week or two later I was scammed off 35USD by a guy who said he was American
and in great need of help. The feeling as you realize that you’ve been deceived is very uncomfortable. It’s a combination of feeling, stupid, used, naïve and angry - because some prick has decided to flaw your “faith in the good of mankind”.
On an early Saturday morning, there was a highjack drama as we had breakfast on Long Street. Huge crowds gathered behind the police barriers until the rain-god decided to disperse them. A few hours later the drama ended as a trigger-happy sniper shot the lone gunman in the forehead. The hijacker had been jealous and feared that his wife was being unfaithful, so he took her and some other staff at the restaurant on Long Street as hostage. He shot his wife in the leg and then waited until someone killed him. Not a very bright move, but the understanding of “cause and effect” and the concept of “severe consequences” is lost among the labyrinthine streets of the sprawling townships. The majority of the inhabitant’s lives are
GUILT is what hurts when everything else feels soooo goooooooooooooood.
about making ends meet, and yet more despair is expected at the end of the tunnel.
Some bright guy smashed the window to our friends car and stole our jackets when we parked outside a club. Of course the "Car-guard" (The S.A:n national nuisance of young men pretending to keep an eye on your car while it’s parked and then demanding money for the "service".) didn't see or hear anything. What can you feel except frustration. South Africa
is a third world country with a first world façade. That took me seven months to establish, but I know now that it’s true.
It’s the world’s biggest Potemkin Village
. As soon as one scratches away the glossy surface that the elite keep up to encourage foreign investors, the deeper one realizes how rotten the machinery of the Rainbow Nation
In a year from now there’s an election. Two Xhosa
heavyweights will battle for the presidential sceptre. One of the candidates raped a HIV
-positive girl in his care. Knowing about her disease, he didn’t care for a minute about his two other wives, but said he could wash away the HIV by having a shower. That’s the
All of us!
Yes really! All of us! That's kind of the whole deal with the Christian fairytale. By praying to a white guy that was crusified some 2000 years ago one will get salvation, and enjoy all the divine pleasures of heaven. Simple and Oh so wonderful.
kind of primitive, corrupt, and backward role model the Rainbow Nation will have after the next election. That, or a guy named Tokyo Sex-whale
Two cold months passed as we lay freezing under three layers of sleeping bags and blankets in our tent at the farm. I would warm myself every morning with a double tall cappuccino in one of many the cafés on Kloof Street
while listening to Cape Talks
on the radio and reading the Cape Times
. Our travels had slowly turned into a humdrum as we awaited a big parcel from Germany
In the end, we ourselves had to track the parcel down. After a few friendly phone calls and visits to the DHL
-office, we realized that the staff couldn’t care less. So we changed tactics to the “OK-so-let-me-then-explain-to-your-boss-how-bad-you’re-doing-your-job
”-method, and within a few hours the parcel was found, stuck in customs.
The customs officer demanded over 2000 Rand (almost 300USD) for clearance of the goods. But like every fee or price in Africa
, that was open for negotiation, and 15 minutes later we left with the parcel after a small dash of 25 Rand.
Same thing goes for work permits, visas, fake passports;
My morning cup
A double cup-a-Chino (the name comes from a monk-order that had white hats while coffee was introduces to Italy and they had to add milk since a black brew had to have some sort of commection with the devil. In Christianity everything is so rational.) and the daily paper (don't we all love Zapiro?), the best start of every day in Cape Town.
everything is possible in the Rainbow Nation, its’ just a matter of price.
Although Cape Town’s probably the most beautiful city I ever been to, I missed “real” Africa after five months inside the European cultural bubble and I felt it was time to move on.
Cold weather- cold smiles, the close proximity of violent crime, the tangible income inequality, and most of all, the racial tension and aversion, made it clear I’d overstayed my welcome. We where ready for the third and last leg of our journey.
A familiar restlessness had been itching in what the Christians refer to as the soul.
We where both eager to abscond.
It was a beautiful Friday morning. The traffic was calm and the air was cold and clear.
I took a deep breath watching the fluffy clouds that embellished the blue sky. Cape Town had never been more beautiful.
It would have been a perfect day to fly a kite, to eat ice-cream at the waterfront, climb the Table Mountain
or begin the day with a good friend on top of Signal Hill
with a few Black Labels
. It was also a perfect day to leave
Ready for take-off
All I wanna do is, Bicycle, Bicycle, Bicycle.
With tears in our eyes, we said farewell to the farm and all its unique inhabitants, and on trembling legs we slowly left the Mother City on our brand new bicycles.
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