wot no pics

Many of my beagle-eyed readers will have noticed that there has been a dearth of photo uploadage from our recent Eastern Cape trip. It’s not that there aren’t photos: in fact, there are heaps of them. But I’ve been planning to invest in download a decent photo editing program for some time now, and I figured that with some great images of lovely animals, this might be the time to do it.

But last night, there was sleeping to be done. The 5:45 wake up call each morning while we were away was well worth it, but wasn’t conducive to fulfilling the mythical 8 hours per night. Mind you, to be fair, neither was watching the Madrid derby in the Champions League.

I’ll switch on my interwebs this evening, find a suitable program and play with some photos.
I know you’re waiting.

Return to the Oos Kaap

Last year’s journey to the Wild Coast of the Eastern Cape apparently proved to be such a success with the kids that having offered them the opportunity to return, it looks like we’re going to head back there this winter.

Last time was memorable in many ways: some good, some not. Even the journey there gave us two road related blog posts. This time around, we’ll know which activities we need to book in advance, how the resort works and have the opportunity to catch up on the stuff we missed out on last time.

The birdlife round there is spectacular – hence this quota photo of a Giant (it’s not actually that big) Kingfisher* (which has the excellent Linnean name of Megaceryle maxima – half Roman Emperor, half Transformer robot villain) – and with the new camera, I’m already looking forward to some pointing and shooting.

Anyway, that’s something positive to think about (if not the drive), albeit a loooong way off right now.

* Other kingfishers on show last time around included the Pied and the Brown-hooded.

The Lusikisiki Speedbump Conundrum

A couple of weeks ago, I had the pleasure of driving through some of the Eastern Cape: specifically the region formerly known as the Transkei. It was an eye opener of note – the roads crowded with children, goats, dogs, donkeys and potholes. Most of the journey was through the unique rural landscape, but we also travelled through the towns of Bizana, Flagstaff and Lusiksiki. The former two were busy, bustling and dirty; the latter – a hilltop settlement developed from a military camp established in 1894 – was more notable for its huge number of apparently unnecessary road calming measures.

No driver particularly likes speedbumps, but I think that the majority of us can understand the need for them in certain places: near schools, pedestrian areas etc. What I didn’t quite understand was the need for 79 (seventy-nine) of them (and 31 rumble strips) on the R61, in and around Lusikisiki. The majority (though not all, as keen mathematicians will note) of the speedbumps were arranged in groups of 6, perhaps 50 cm apart. Having watched minibus taxis repeatedly slowing to a near standstill to traverse these devilish sets, I can attest to the fact that they are a particularly effective way of slowing vehicular traffic down.

But, as I mentioned, slowing it down for no apparent reason whatsoever. Even when you leave the town and are heading back out onto the roads snaking south towards Port St Johns – the speed limit back up to 80kph, there’s yet another lot – in the middle of nowhere. It was almost as if they’d been put there for the sake of putting them there – or because someone needed to be paid for something tangible. Look, I’m not suggesting that the local municipality is in any way corrupt, but it’s kind of tough to work out what other reason there could be for so much utterly pointless work being done when the whole area is so severely impoverished.

Hmm.

I was reminded of this anecdote:

Some years ago the mayor of a small rural town in the Eastern Cape visited his friend, the mayor of a similar town in Zimbabwe.
When he saw the palatial mansion belonging to the Zimbabwean mayor, he wondered aloud how on earth he could afford such a house.
The Zimbabwean replied: “You see that bridge over there? The government gave us a grant to construct a two-lane bridge, but by building a single lane bridge with traffic lights at either end, I could build this place.”
The following year the Zimbabwean mayor visited the Eastern Cape town. He was simply amazed at the Eastern Cape mayor’s house: gold taps, marble floors, diamond doorknobs; it was marvellous.
When he asked how he’d raised the money to build this incredible house, the Eastern Cape mayor said: “You see that bridge over there?”
The Zimbabwean replied: “No.”

Indeed. There’s no new bridge in Lusikisiki, but there are speedbumps for Africa… and beyond.

Cape Party in Sense Of Humour Shock

We’ve had “a few” run ins with the Cape Party over the years here on 6000.co.za.

We suggested that they wanted to turn the Cape into France:

Normandy is a bit out of proportion, but that Southern coast looks dangerously familiar.

We questioned where they got their logo from:

Did all three of them sit down and have a meeting about it? Was it a rough doodle? Or was there some other source?

And then we roundly mocked them when they did badly in the 2011 elections:

It’s not just me, it’s the entirety of the Western Cape that thinks your idea is a bad idea.

But fair play to the Cape Party, when the wicked weather over the Eastern Cape effectively removed a large chunk of the N2, they stepped in with this comment:

 

Nice try, guys. Nice try.
Keep dreaming.

I’m not dead…

“He says he’s not dead!”

So begins the dialogue in Scene 2 of Monty Python and the Quest for the Holy Grail. That’s a British comedy film, full of utterly ridiculous scenarios – like a bloke who’s not dead being taken away because some relative thinks he knows better.

Some say that, even by Monty Python standards, it’s a little too far-fetched.
They’ve obviously never been to the Eastern Cape:

 A 50-year-old South African man woke up inside a mortuary over the weekend and screamed to be let out – scaring away attendants who thought he was a ghost.
His family presumed he was dead when they could not wake him on Saturday night and contacted a private morgue in a rural village in the Eastern Cape.

He spent almost 24 hours inside the morgue, the region’s health department spokesman told the Sapa news agency.
The two attendants later returned and called for an ambulance.

The man – whose identity has been withheld – was treated in hospital for dehydration.

“Doctors put him under observation and concluded he was stable,” Eastern Cape health spokesperson Sizwe Kupelo said.
“He did not need further treatment.”

It’s another feather in the cap for South Africa’s image abroad, with this being the second most read story on the BBC News site today. Yes – even despite all that “other stuff” going on.
That said, this is the Eastern Cape we’re talking about. It is a little backward, even by SA standards.
I mean…  have you been to PE?

Meh – everyone’s an expert, aren’t they:

“We need to [get] the message across to all South Africans that it is very wrong for them to conclude on their own that a person has died,” Kupelo said.

Perhaps there should have been a bit more “Oh, I can’t take him like that – it’s against regulations” before our hero ended up in the morgue.