All change…

So he was pushed to the very edge and now he’s jumped.
Well, I say “jumped”: actually, it was more of a dignified step.


Mbeki – gone: “Butchered”, no less.

Yes, it’s big news, but it’s not bad news. It’s not even unexpected news after the Nicholson ruling on the Zuma case. Scandals, allegations, divisions, resignations: this sort of thing happens on a fairly regular basis in democratic society. Of course, it’s a new thing for South Africa, because democracy is still a new thing for South Africa. But one only has to look to the UK (it’s about 6000 miles, I’m told) to see much the same process under way there.

The papers are full of screaming headlines about political uncertainty, mass hysteria, turmoil and disorder across the country. Anyone reading them would think that there is utter chaos here. And of course, there is always a difficult transition period in these matters. But life does go on and it’s going on completely as normal today. Slightly more quietly, perhaps, because there’s a public holiday this week.
Here’s what we were dealing with on the way to work this morning.


Another tough day in Africa after Mbeki resigns

I’m sure there will be more news to come from this story: in fact, I’ll be gutted if there isn’t. But for now, that’s it. Stay calm, don’t panic, watch with interest, enjoy the weather and don’t believe all that you read.
Apart from on here, obviously.

South Africa: Places to visit in 2010

Number 2. Brakpan, a mining town in Gauteng.

The name Brakpan was first used by the British in the 1880s because of a non-perennial lake that would annually dry to become a “brackish pan”.

While in the now defunct uranium mining town named after a dirty lake, you can visit the Gyproc factory, which produces almost a quarter of South Africa’s plasterboard. Alternatively, you can visit the site of the world’s biggest mine dump (higher than the pyramids, nogal!) or just enjoy life as it would have been in a previous age.
An age when people still lived in caves.

For more great places you can’t afford to miss on the South African tourist trail, just follow the TOURISM TIPS category in the sidebar. Suggestions welcome.

New Unbalanced

I’m a t-shirt, trainers and jeans kinda guy. In fact, throughout winter, you’ll find me in little else, save for socks. Undergarments are a given, obviously – it’s just too dangerous for a bloke of my dimensions not to.
In the summer, I’m more of a t-shirt, flops and shorts kinda guy, but this isn’t a post about summer.

The jeans are invariably Levis, because they’re the only ones long enough. The t-shirts are invariably one of Puma, Nike or Adidas and the trainers have been New Balance since I can remember.
I can like to be a creature of habit.

My latest pair of takkies – as they are called out here – are New Balance 606 Trail Running shoes.

New Balance 606 – I have 2 of them

Of course, I haven’t run any trails in them – they might get dirty. Oh, and because I might get dead.
Why?
Because while it quite clearly states “All Terrain” on them upon a silhouetted image of a mountain, they make me look like Bambi on ice as soon as the relative humidity rises above 8%. They’re bloody lethal.

Looking at the sole, one could quite easily believe that they would grip anything, anytime. And indeed, they will – as long as it’s not wet. I can only imagine that they were road-tested in the Sahara.
Sadly, we are still in the throes of an extremely damp Cape Town winter, which has made walking about town dangerous for me, yet somewhat amusing for passers-by whose only concern is avoiding the several hundred invisible ball-bearings that I am struggling with. 

I will think long and hard before buying another pair of New Balance “All Terrain” trainers.
Assuming, that is, I live long enough to wear these ones out.

Blatter dancing for joy

FIFA President Sepp Blatter’s visit to South Africa to inspect preparations for the World Cup in 2010 appears to be a big success. Despite the unfounded concerns of a vocal minority, all ten stadia are on course to being ready in good time for the tournament. Addressing those sceptics, Blatter said:

They have to admit the stadia will be ready, people will be well received and so on.
What is needed, instead, is a little more enthusiasm in South Africa;
for the whole country to say … yes, let’s go, let’s do it.

It’s about time South Africa got some good publicity from the world’s press over 2010.
However, many of the reports I have read of the FIFA visit have been very keen to mention the political issues dominating our news at the moment and also the crime rate, which they are lining up as their big story of the tournament. I can already see the “FAN MUGGED!” or “TOURIST STABBED!” headlines being readied. Because that sort of thing only ever happens in South Africa. Never in London or Hamburg or Rio. Oh no.

blatt
“When I left the plane and arrived on African soil, I started dancing.”

In addition, much of the stadium construction work is ahead of schedule. Which is better than Athens 2004 or er… Wembley. Is that actually finished yet? I mean – really finished?

Work is ahead slightly ahead of schedule at Durban’s semifinal venue, and at the two stadiums in Johannesburg. FIFA general-secretary Jerome Valcke said that even Beijing’s “Bird Nest” Olympic stadium looked small compared to Soccer City. Even Cape Town’s 3.9 billion rand or $490 million stadium – the most controversial because it is in the middle of prime real estate – is on track.

Now the naysayers and the critics have had their naysaying and criticism, I wonder what they think will happen to the World Cup in 2010? Do they honestly still believe that it’s not coming to SA?
Or is this just now a case of sour grapes?

Live webcam feeds of Cape Town stadium site

South Africa: Places to visit in 2010

Or you could pop over a little before World Cup year if you so desired. To be perfectly honest, once you read the first installment in this new 6000 miles… series, I think you’ll have trouble staying away.

So – number 1. The Fred Turner Windpump Museum in Loeriesfontein.

Loeriesfontein, a neighbouring town only 65km from Nieuwoudtville, hoasts a unique Windmill museum of which there are only two in the world – the other being in the U.S.A.

I’m always impressed by unique things of which there are only two. For me, that makes them even more special than those rather routine and ordinary unique things of which there are only one.

Stand by for more great places you can’t afford to miss on the South African tourist trail. For more, just follow the TOURISM TIPS category in the sidebar. Suggestions welcome.