Licenced to k… drive

I went to renew my driver’s licence today. It’s something you have to do every 5 years in South Africa, so that they can extract just a little more cash from your already hard-pressed wallet.

There’s a rather inefficient system in place to get the all important card. Firstly, you have to stand in a queue to get a DL1 form. It would be nice if you could get this online and fill it in in advance, but you can’t. So there.

Once you’ve completed DL1, you get to join queue two. That’s the eye test queue. Each eye test takes 4½ minutes, on average, so it’s not a quick queue. Still, you had nothing better to do with your Saturday morning than stand in another line, right? Right.

Only once you’ve passed your eye test with flying colours can you move on to the third queue. That’s the payment queue.

You’d think that simply handing over R140 would be a fairly speedy, uncomplicated task, but they seem to take quite a while considering the straightforward deal.

Open another payment window?

I think not.

And what do you get when you’ve paid? A piece of paper that you can hand back to them at a future date once they’ve printed your licence.

Of course, when that time comes, you will have to stand in a queue to pick it up.

Yep. If there’s something that the system to renew your driver’s licence in South Africa is trying to tell the general public, it’s definitely Four Queue.

Cape Town from space

Astronaut Randy Bresnick shared this image of Cape Town taken from the International Space Station. He says it was this morning, but there was a lot of cloud over Cape Town this morning, so I’m guessing that it was just “a morning”. Still, decent pic:

Click through here for full size.

It’s upside down in conventional cartographical terms, so here’s a quick guide to what you’re looking at:
Robben Island bottom right.
Cape Point top right.
False Bay all across the middle.
Rooi Els and Pringle Bay top left.

You may also be able to pick out Steenbras Dam, just above Gordon’s Bay down in the bottom left corner of False Bay. Hint: Look for the light coloured sand, rather than the blue coloured water. Hmm.

Quick flight

The Joburg-esque winter which has left us so critically short of water has made for some great flying conditions, with cold, clear, still days.

Sadly, life has been busy and so I haven’t really had the opportunity to make the most of it. But I found myself with a few spare minutes this morning and chucked the Mavic up for a quick scout around the neighbourhood and beyond.

I love the different perspective that the Mavic can give you – even when you’re looking at something as mundane and unattractive as Wynberg CBD.

For reference, that’s the Wynberg Girls and Wynberg Boys Junior Schools campus in the bottom right, the ‘boxy’ police station and courts just beyond them, and Maynard Mall on the left. In the distance – False Bay.

A few other views here.

Oh, and for those of you outside South Africa, I’m able to fly today because it’s a public holiday.

Rain a week away?

I’m not sure how good these two week forecasts are (save perhaps to say that so far, this one has been bang on), but this image, shared by ‘Agricultural Economist’ Wandile Sihlobo seems to give us a bit of good news:

That little red spot at the bottom of the second picture is the promise of decent, heavy, significant rain for that second week of August.

If the previous forecast was accurate, then we can even say that that potential rainfall will take place somewhere between 8th-12th August.

But like I said, I have no idea how accurate these types of forecast are.

Suddenly: August

It’s nearly the end of July, and that means that it’ll soon be August. After that… [double checks] yes, September.

So what? This happens every year, right?

Well, yes it does, but September 1st is unofficially known as Spring Day in South Africa, bringing with it… well… Spring. Not really Spring, but unofficially Spring. Springy enough not to be Winter anymore. Unofficially, at least.

That also happens every year, but given that we’re basically 5 weeks away from it (and therefore 5 weeks away from what is unofficially the end of the rainy season), and our dams are still looking emptier than an ANC promise, we really should be well into full panic mode by now. Especially given that the medium term forecast for the next fortnight (making up, as it does, 40% of that 5 week period) shows no sign of significant rainfall for the Western Cape.

Look, tomorrow is not going to be dry, but with a forecast of just 5.2mm of precipitation over 24 hours, it’s not going to be particularly wet either.

With the Cape Town dams sitting at 27.4% of capacity (as per this morning’s city figures) – and with the last 10% of that infamously “unusable” – things are looking every bit as precarious as ever. Add to that the fact that Cape Town’s residents are using 643,000,000 litres a day (that’s 143,000,000 litres or almost 30% more than we should be) and you (actually “we”) have a recipe for disaster.

There’s enough publicity about this situation on the TV, the internet (not least this damned blog), the radio and everywhere else for everyone in Cape Town to understand the gravity of the situation. But given that we’re apparently still paying no attention and not saving nearly enough of the wet stuff, I’ve now come to the conclusion that a lot of the locals simply don’t care.

I wonder how they’ll feel in 6 months time?