Driving in Durban

One of the things that shock you the most in Durban is the driving, especially if you come from generally polite Cape Town and having spent a year in ultra-polite England. (although their motorways are a lot like Durban)

Here its like everyone is on steroids the minute they enter the road system. Everone hoots all the time for every misdemeaner, like taking one second to take off at the robot, or DARING to switch lanes even if you have signalled and checked for cars..there is always another racing into your bum.

Cars pass both left and right no matter what you do. They are always going the fastest they can, and trying to get ahead of the person in front no matter who they are and even if ,or especially if, cars are piled in front. Cutting across three or four lanes vertically is quite normal, and simply stopping in ANY lane by putting on their hazard lights is considered sufficient excuse.

I tried driving in the left lane, but discovered that, since there is no yellow line, as in other south african cities, the left lane IS the yellow line. After some close shaves in cars stopping without warning right in front of me, and lanes suddenly leaving the motorway, I decided to try the second lane. This is infinitey safer, but beware as the left lane then becomes the passing lane as well as the right. It feels a bit like a kyalami race track.

Most people blame the taxis, and they certainly are guilty of all the misdemeaners expressed above..the worst one being HOOTING..mainly for custom. I think all taxis need a special sound for custom so that they dont use their general hooters, as after a while you begin to switch off to all hooters. This is a dangerous thing to do. In England it is a finable offence to hoot for any other reason than an emergency so you rarely hear hooters. (British people are also solaw abiding mainly because their fines are HUGE, and you get fined more if you protest in court..a bit of a police state,I would say).

Anyway, I forgive all taxis because every taxi takes ten cars off the road. Imagine how many cars there would be if everyone in a taxi had a car? So I always am grateful and allow taxis their idiosynchronicities. Also, I have used them occasionally and they are far and away the best form of transport in South Africa. they are fast and efficient, air conditioned (often), not overcrowded, as most people think and will go anywhere and stop anywhere..unlike buses. They are also cheap for what you get.

I put the blame on the roads in Durban. The fact that there is no yellow lane ensures that the inner lane is a disaster area. Also, the road markings are bad, and you willsuddenly find that you are supposed to be in a right lane even altough you are going left off a highway. Also there are many offramps and roads that come into an intersection at an angle to meet a robot that is both red and green! Yes. unless you know the road, you dont now if you are supposed to stop or go or which robot slightly angled you should obey. Notice the robots in the photo below.20170406_064741

I just about killed myself taking this photo.

Durban has a glut of one way streets. Despite this, I must say they work well. I have rarely sat in traffic for long. The robots seem quite co-ordinated as a result, so despite theis photo, the traffic is not bad compared to other cities,its just that you have to constantly be vigilant that someone is not going to stop or turn in front of you suddenly.

More usual is HUGE trucks. As Durban is an industrial city, huge trucks are everywhere, and they dont drive slowly either..so its quite common to meet them in The right lane speeding with 10 new cars on their platforms or a number of containers. Can be quite fightening when they are on either side.

Durban also has high and huge highways, mainly because they ave to cater for high and huge trucks. I have not yet managed to get a photo of the astounding wall paintings on the N3 by graffiti artist Faith 47. I will post them up when I do. 20170327_162024There is an amazing vibe at the taxi and bus terminus, and I deliberately drive through just for a bit of it even though I risk my life getting around the thousands of taxis. the photo above is of the taxi rank area. There is loud music with a real African vibe and lots of market stalls selling everything from muti to plastic. 20170327_161938

I have been trying to get photos of the many white beggars in Durban. The only other place I have seen so many white beggars is in England. I’ve been told its because the weather is good that the Joburg beggars migrate to Durban, and back to Joburg in summer where the pickings are richer. I have an aversion to giving money to a white beggar, especially if they are young and fit. This is because I know they have been given every opportunity to not be on the street and have not taken them. (My bit of racism..sorry)

The contrasts of colonial Durban

Having spent a year in England, I was primed for the colonial side of Durban. The colonial street names are on their way out as we encounter double barreled street names like Solomon Maglangu rather than singular names such as Moore road. I have no idea who Edwin Swales is so I am happy to see him go.  I am quite happy to see more african changes. But there is still places like Victoria embankment and Queensborough. In fact the colonial side of Durban is very difficult to erase.
So I went to visit the colonial centre of Durban, and little England it is, from the sweet little hanging baskets (the pay and display parking also very reminiscent of olde England),

to the surprisingly undamaged royal statues and arches.

This is the city hall20170413_142008

Identified as South African from the cycads in front. (could be India from the palms).

In this precinct there are, as in all of Durban, the most amazing trees tat have just burst fort in flower. The alien police have not got here yet. This comes from Madagascar..looks like a normal tree for most of the year and then suddenly bursts into these amazing inflorescences. South African plants are beautiful, but some of these foreigners are utterly stunning.

No this was very british. Its the playhouse theatre

Teir shows are, however very African in style although they may have european origins. Inside it is quite stunning..with some very African artifacts. How about an African style corset?

The other import from Britain was the buying up of tickets and reselling them with an additional 50% price tag, I discovered when I wanted to see Handels Messiah over Easter. Someone called Zee had bought “too many tickets”. Strangely she hadnt even paid for them yet…sounds like some inside job too.

Open a space, and Africa will fill it. And so I wandered into a vibrant flea market

with some stunning shweshwe clothing (not shown here) and beadwork.

There were amazing fever trees..my favourite African tree..I love the colour of their trunks and the generous spread of their canopies.20170413_144122

There were also relics of the colonial and apartheid masters juxtaposed between the lightness of the market.20170413_144152

Open spaces also mean busking and this was a play with the audience. Difference to Blighty..less white skin thats all.20170413_143307

An odd and largely unnoticed sculpture was this Eduardo Villa’s mother and child. His sculptures appear in odd places in Sout Africa, and is a comment on te soft roundness of Africa compared to the hard sharpness of Western intellect. An unsung ant-Western commentator.20170413_142710

Ten I walked through the alleys to the Docks and unexpectedly in a dark narrow alley, I found this:

Rather taken over by a huge concrete monstrosity.

Durban has enormously diverse architecture..none of it all together but interspersed with hideous uncared for blocks. below is a beautiful art Deco building next to this pink thing.

This is on prime estate overlooking the harbour. Durban has these orphans needing paint and love but some may be too awful to do anything about. This is the view from these buildings.

And so I drove home, passing these iconic (art deco?) warehouses that sets the imagination off when you consider that they could be filled to the brim with sugar. 20170413_152322

Strange and lovely things at DUT

There are the most majestic trees and plants at DUT that we take for granted. What greets you in the morning if you are not rushing and take the time to look up is this most beautiful HUGE rubber tree20170221_072048.jpg

This provides the lunchtime shade near the food hub.

20170201_122339.jpgEverywhere are these fever trees and two huge ones greet you as you enter the main car park. The inevitable stralitzias and giant stralitzias,so much part of this area:20170201_123456.jpg

and then there are precious cycads just casually posing here and there.20170213_074203.jpg

this building has been built around the tree.

20170216_072417.jpg

And then there are strange statues like this one

these were surveying students surveying the grounds..something we do at Waldorf schools with the lecturers looking on and relaxing.

And unexpectedly these amazing lilies:20170223_112506

Odd things are these very effective brooms that come free from the palm trees that are everywhere. They sweep a lot at a time.20170224_071245

and then a quirky name on a take away:20170224_070909

And then I discovered a student hub:20170301_080312

Luckily, as I look older I am not questioned when I enter the staff canteen that serves the best coffee and really cheap and delicious and healthy meals. The students have to deal with instant ricoffee and real junk food (mostly vetkoek) and snacks but luckily tempered with fresh fruit.

And something unusual we enjoyed doing was painting each other to indicate the various muscles in the body. We had to know the names, origins and insertions of the major ones and teach it to each other.

Further to the course in Homoeopathy

Much of the course in first year is laying foundations in Science and Anatomy and Physiology as experienced by medical students. There are somethings I would like to change but I am withholding judgement as I am looking from a perspective of someone who has a science degree. We do basic chemistry that I find too basic and theoretical, and physics that I find too orientated to engineers driving cars although, having tried to avoid physics in my previous degree, I am enjoying the challenge, more from a mathematical perspective.20170326_100913.jpg

I am beginning to have sympathy for my matric students who chose science. Luckily my many years of teaching maths has made me very adept at manipulating it. also some things we literately did 4 times over in different subjects..this is measurement, significant figures, using SI units and rounding off. This needs more co-ordination within subjects. Another subject I find too basic is Biological principles, as most students will have done these in life Sciences at school. (although there are some delvings into microbiology) but I dont think it has been thought through sufficiently to be of value.

The subjects that are excellent are Anatomy, Histology and Physiology. There is a lot of detail and it is done in a very physical scientific way which may seem alien to homoeopathy that is more instinctive and artistic and appears unscientific, but, as with Steiner, I feel that one has to move through science to the artistic Goethean thinking. luckily I have a background in anthroposophy, and so, as we go, I form my own interpretations using the threefold method, polarities and fivefold influences of the etheric. also the animal characterisations of the organs.

The library has wonderful books, including some Steiner and Anthroposophical books that I have been reading. I have done two courses on Anthroposophical medicine..the etheric and the astral, and this has helped me to determine these influences. There is another course in October outside Cape Town that I want to attend, but my budget is quite tight and I will have to fit it in to my study leave and be back..which means additional cost for airfare.

I am living on my inheritence..so I see this as a gift from my parents and an uncle and an investment in myself. There is not enough time to work at present, but perhaps in subsequent years I will be able to adjust my time.

Also at the same time I am doing my own self study on the homoeopathic plants. Samuel Hahnemann did not put much score on the doctrine of signatures in plant morphology but only in symptoms, as he found it more rational..and it certainly is, but having been a teacher of Botany and being interested in medicinal plants for years, I am investigating their form from a Goethean perspective and relating it to their healing capacities. homoeopathy uses Like cures like in symptomology, so I am looking at the potentising effects and reversing the allopathic uses, as it seems that Homoeopathic remedies undergo a reversal in their effect when potentised. In subsequent blogs I will publish my findings. Paracelsus followed this principle.

We are also receiving lectures on the principles of Homoeopathy, which we really enjoy and do far too little of at present. It just whets the appetite. Also we are doing some basic diagnosing methods and observation of surface anatomy by a dynamic woman.

Or highlight of the week is the Human dissection, and what has impressed me is the departments commitment to provide this skill despite difficulties in obtaining bodies, but also the reverence with which they deal with it. We all attended a dedication ceremony where we acknowledged the gift of the body and the life that lived it. Our group always says thank you in entering the dissection room and when leaving. We also signed a abbreviated Hippocratic oath.20170301_084948.jpg

The slides behind show an acknowledgement of the cadaver from birth to death likening it to a sunflower seed from seed to field of flowers presented by our wonderful Histology and physiology lecturer.

This is our equally wonderful and talented anatomy lecturer introducing a pastor who is an ex-student, who dedicated the bodies.

Another lecture that is interesting for me is called Personal and professional development, where we discuss deeper issues like “who am I” and “why am I here” and have to keep a personal journal. This appears to have been introduced this year as compulsory for ALL students. I have a suspicion that this subject was introduced in order to accomodate dissent, as previous demonstrations have been damaging. (possibly recommended by Jonathan Jansen who had to deal with more extreme cases of racial dissent in a conservative city) It certainly teaches respect for others simply through the humanising of the subject..ie you are a human first and a student second.

I have mentioned the support at DUT before, but it really is tangible here. DUT, being such a mishmash of cultures and creeds could, and maybe has been a hotbed of dissent. But these opportunities allow us to interact with each other as human beings and this diffuses dissension, as we see each others struggles.20170224_105123

Homoeopathy at Durban University of technology..starting my course

We began our course with a blitzkrieg of mathematics to “clear up common errors” ..a so called bridging course. However, if you had any wobbles around maths, you would have wobbled more. The lecturer was very engaging..but perhaps too much so as he kept going off at a tangent and spending ages chatting about the origin of numbers in history and then raced over the actual issues. (reminded me a bit of Howard and other older waldorf teachers). I had not done physics since school for a very good reason but suddenly had to remember how to work out vectors. Luckily there was no calculus, as I would have been lost. I have totally forgotten logs and as I taught only up to cl 11, I had to relook at it. Also here it is very much applied.

Luckily having taught maths, I had all the algebra at my fingertips..a little bit of refreshing on trig..something I had avoided. Luckily I was also clued up on all manner of Cartesian planes.

Although I think people got a bit irritated by the lecturer going off on a tangent, he allowed a lot of interaction and error and in the end, we got to know each other much better  than otherwise. I learnt 4 names: Taylor, Lihle and siphesetle are all doing homoeopathy. Ben is doing chiropractice. A couple of others I now know by face if not name. There are a fair amount of Afrikaans speakers.!

A number have studied elsewhere for a year or so. (Lihle and Ben and a little afrikaans chicky, Heleen and one guy has a BSc too.)IMG-20170215-WA0002.jpg

There is a real mishmash of colours and creeds. Many African languages, Indian, Coloured, White, Taiwanese, Afrikaans, English. Hindu, Muslim including a couple in Hajibs, Christian. The lecturer made sure that we mixed and matched the colors in the rainbow nation. From this, we could see that all of us had issues and so made us less shy of each other. Also I did not feel so old, although I was clearly the oldest in the class..even older than the lecturer. It was a good way to begin. Also we were about 200 people from all the health science faculty: Environmental health, dental, radiology, chiropractice, homoeopathy, medical technology.

I must say I love the mixing of cultures..there is a great vibe.

Durban, if I haven’t mentioned a hundred times is HOT and humid. Luckily some of the lecture rooms are air conditioned..but they are closed during breaks..so we sit in the shade of the lovely big trees…

but it is still hot. I ice a bottle of water that I carry with me and keep an ice brick or two in a cool box in my car that I take out at lunch time to help me least the afternoon. I use it like a hot water bottle, except its cold. You HAVE to wear shorts or a skirt,otherwise you die (except on overcast days)..even then you die unless the wind is blowing. This is a little gimmick that I found at a flea market. It contains polymer beads that hold water and release it slowly to keep you cool. 20170216_135230

Durban University of Technology is a vast campus having 4 campuses across Durban..all in quite far walking distance. and there is a real maze of classrooms and lecture rooms and laboratories all linked by a maze of path ways. 20170208_064252.jpgThey offer a HUGe amount of subjects from art and drama to design, journalism and engineering, hotel school,

marketing and of course Health sciences. Here they offer radiology, nursing, chiropractice, homoeopathy, environmemtal health, medical technology.  the grounds vary, but there are lovely big trees and nooks and crannies and places to sit. Wifi is all over, so people spend a lot of time on their cellphones during breaks but we are not allowed to use them in class at all. The classrooms are airconditioned and have internet. The laboratories have good quality equipment..see these amazing zeiss microscopes.20170216_141636 I must say I prefer chalk and talk myself, as a lot of time is wasted setting up. However, all lectures and slides are posted onto a student website called blackboard so you can access anything. We all have dut emails and any notifications  go there as well. so if the university is closed for any reason, teaching can continue to some degree. The security is quite physical..classrooms are barred..trying to be tasteful, you can only enter with a student card.20170201_122339

We do a lot of practicals: anatomy (is dissection of a human body), physiology, microbiology and microscope work (histology) and also physics and chemistry. We also do diagnostics on each other in small clinic rooms.

Our class has a whatssapp group and we chatter away although we don’t know each other yet.img-20170208-wa0004 I can see that we will become firm friends at the end of this course as the University gives us many opportunities to do so and I am impressed with this. We have a course called personal and professional development where we discuss more personal issues, and go deeper into our reasons for being, with some journalling. On the whole its is a much more personal space than any other University..possibly related to the Health faculty that seems pretty organised. They have made real efforts to welcome us and make sure we attend lectures and pracs. They have even given us equipment and books.

We have only had one week of lectures so far. Much of it I know from my Bsc and am considering getting credit for some of it. But I have been helping the other students and feel good about that. I will report more on the actual content, which I am enjoying nevertheless. Many are just out of school and very nervous. The teaching, however is excellent. Engaging and thorough. There is no excuse for failing. The support is incredible.

A NEW ADVENTURE IN DURBAN

So here I am moving to Durban to study homoeopathy at this late stage of my life. they only accept one “mature” student per year, and I am she.

Durban is a strange city and almost feels like a foreign country. The climate is so different. Hot and tropical with warm rains and warm seas..lovely lovely. I have been sweating so much it literally comes out of my eyes and drips down my face. The effect is also that I drink a lot of water out of pure thirst. I am a person who never drinks extra water..other than in tea and coffee. Here, I am just loving being thirsty and being able to drink clean water.

THE JOURNEY

Well I packed everything into my car that I own..dropping a few things at my sweet sister, Claire on the way..mostly photo albums and memorabilia. Things I find difficult to throw away because they are irreplaceable. Things that my dear son, Byron thinks I should have thrown away long ago. I drove with a full car with some essential items like a bathroom mat and a couple of vases.

I knew it would be a HOT drive without an air conditioner and so I manufactured a makeshift thing I got off the internet that uses a coolbox a fan and ice. It kept me cool enough..I was surprised.

I decided to go slowly this time and took 4 days, stopping for lunch and sleepovers. I first stopped in Barrydale after tea with Claire. It really is a friendly town, and the backpackers found me some wonderful accommodation, which was surprisingly empty..as every other place was full. ..I think because the front of the place is so non-committal. 20161229_065416The décor was artistic

and surprising there was a small plunge pool –cum-Jacuzzi downstairs.

The breakfast was good and it was reasonably priced.

 

Barrydale is full of surprising little businesses with lots of originality.

20161228_195944A faux banksy on a hotel wall.

After driving a HOT day, I found some chalets in Middelburg with shady trees, that were very reasonable and HAD A POOL! They had bought up almost an entire block of houses and converted them to chalets. The décor was typically small town SA, but with some real boere rusks in the morning, I just plunged in the pool in my clothes when I left in the morning..and that kept me cool for a good deal. Middelburg is a lost little town with a mix of colonial and Afrikaner influences..see the names of these streets that intersect. 20161229_185355

But many shops are closed or sell loans and funeral services.

Aberdeen was lunch where I could actually get wifi..but had a real retro outside loo.20161229_140352

From here, there is really no place to stay until Kokstad 200 kms away. Here the prices skyrocketed suddenly for shitty little places..but I had no choice, and stayed in a funny place..not really clean with a hundred policemen and women. Noisy with lights blaring..only compensation was the bath that I cooled down in. No outside space to sit. Definitely a non-repeat.

And so I arrived in Durban a day earlier than I intended.Such a confusing place to drive around in. EVERYONE hoots all the time for nothing. Here I also witnessed the worst driving ever. My nerves were on edge by the time I got to the Bluff on new years eve. Luckily the cottage I had found online and was renting was being vacated and I could blow up the air mattress my sister had lent me,20161231_152732 wash off all the sweat in the shower and sleep..with earplugs as my landlord was having a new years get together.  I was rudely woken at midnight by VERY LOUD bangs from next door.  Nobody here seems to follow the firecracker rules as crackers were going of everywhere as in England. But I had arrived in one piece..more or less.

THE NEXT DAY

I discovered that the flat was not very clean, as the previous tenant had just left and also and needed a paint job..things you could not see in the photographs sent to me. The ceiling had mould on, the outside walls had paint cracking off, the previous tenant had a dog that pooed all over.(I found the place on gumtree and so hadn’t seen it. ) Also I had no furniture other than the blow up bed. Its redeeming feature was a lovely tropical garden with cycads, and an enormous avocado tree, bananas, paw paws, and my bedroom window looked out onto it.20170109_064527

My landlord and lady have two small children and three dogs, a couple of cockatiels and a fish tank.  They, however, were very sweet and nice and so were their kids and dogs,  (despite pooing on my doorstep.)

The garden was obviously planted lovingly by someone else and was neglected..but still beautiful..luckily nature thrives on neglect …but the dogs had denuded areas.

So my next task was to make the place liveable.

My landlord said he would fix the ceiling and paint the walls. He brought in the ladder etc, but didn’t get very far. He works and so has to fit it into his day. I decided then that I would do the painting etc. I got rid of an enormous amount of junk left around the place and went around picking up doggie poo..just to make it safe to walk around without stepping into it.  So I painted my bedroom and one wall of the kitchen..it looks rather nice. My landlord said he would get more paint for the lounge but that hasn’t happened yet, so I thought I would in the meantime just clean the walls and ceiling with bleach. It already looks so much better. I also bleached stains out of the outside piping.

I now have a small desk, a table and 4 chairs and a three quarter bed..a lot more comfortable than the air mattress. I trawled Durban for second hand shops, finding my way around at the same time. There are very few..I think because of gumtree and olx. Luckily we had some rainy days, and it was not too hot to travel around. I made sure I visited a different beach every day too. Its so great to swim in warm sea..but it was really rough too..no calm Fishoek beaches here..but good exercise and knocks you thighs into place.

The beaches are quite different to cape beaches, having yellow sand, but just as beautiful even though it was high season. People tended to congregate at the swimming beaches..and congregate is the word. Here is wall to wall gazebos. people really go to town when spending time on the beach.20170101_094010 For the rest, the beaches were empty and lovely to walk on.

Durban has a lot of rubbish lying around, but the landscape is so forgiving and covers everything with green bush so that you don’t notice. Someone needs to start taking care of the place.

You certainly feel the difference with the ANC running the municipality. I am not anti ANC, and in fact vote for them every time, but I can see the complaints of lack of service delivery. One wonders where all their energy goes and whether they even notice the problems. Rubbish collection is still in black bags, torn open by dogs. Library, thin on books and librarians. Roads needing repair..although with all the rain, I think it is a bigger job than CT. however there are enormous engineering projects north of Durban. Looks like they focus on the big and forget about the small things.

The city centre is very run down but in contrast there are HUGE elaborate shopping centres. Racially, Durban is very mixed. 20170103_121831Relics of apartheid delineate areas into poor black, poor Indian and affluent, which could be Indian, Black or White. Its good to see the ratios change a bit on the beaches. Durban is a busy city with a lot of Industrial spaces. This makes travelling around difficult as you have to contend with railways, Industrial areas, the Harbour, rivers and peninsulas, with low cost housing thrown in here and there and occasional informal settlements. The heat adds to the constant hooting from taxis particularly , who announce their presence ALL THE TIME, enormous trucks and others who hoot at you every second you take to move from a robot. The roads are also not well marked, the streets have unfamiliar new names sometimes together with the old names, as Durban tries to Africanise the very colonial streets of Durban. I can understand that, as Durban was like mini England even with a Victoria Embankment, George V road etc..

People

I have found the people here to be very friendly and chatty. I suppose that I have got used to Cape Towns ways and now see now how reticent it is. Also my year in England was even worse on that score. Polite but cold. Durban is warm in lots of ways and has colour and vibrancy. Also people of all races and walks of life chat at the drop of a hat. The Zulu and Tswana people approach you quite readily.  You really stop noticing race..and I must say I am confused as to peoples races here. It is also good to see some Zulu newspapers readily on sale.

 

The Trip Home..To Cape Town in 2 days

So after my very filling breakfast, I walked around the Durban waterfront comparing it in my head to old photographs from when we were small.

It hadnt changed that much..still had the kiddies pools 20161001_135757and cable car. 20161001_135817the sea was heaving with swimmers, 20161001_140003

but I felt that I needed to get out of the city before I would swim in the WARM sea. (Cape Towns waters are freezing). So I headed  via the coastal road.

We used to come to Amanzimtoti, which is now considered a suburb of Durban, in our holidays in our youth. It hadnt changed very much..just smartened up a bit. Then went on to Scottborough camp site, 20161001_160753

where we spent some summers camping in a canvas tent until my mother complained that she was not getting a holiday. After that we stayed at holiday flats and cheap hotels.

The campsite at Scottborough was EXACTLY the same  as 40 years ago..next to the railway and right on the beach.

The sand is quite different to cape Town. Yellow and grainy.20161001_165410

So I set up my flimsy tent that I had bought in England and never used and shlepped back to SA. I was going to have a early night for the first time in 4 days.20161001_164532 Well the weather decided differently. After a wonderful day, a storm came up and almost blew my tent away. So I had to get up in the middle of the night to lift some heavy rocks to anchor it. After that I had a decent-ish night.

I was up early to get on the road as I had to be back in CT at a certain time. I decided to go a slightly different way, but still short cutting through the Karoo. Luckily the weather was overcast, as it can get very hot. there were beautiful views over the cane fields and the rolling hills of the Transkei. A bit more populated but still rural.

I was pacing myself and tried to take photos from my car rather than stop..a dangerous thing to do.

As I was going through the Transkei, just outside the Capital city, there were roadworks again. This time they had speed bumps..bad ones that you couldnt see and you could not go faster than 40m an hour over. I can understand why they had speed bumps, as this is the road that the taxis take to go to and from Cape Town and there it is always a race..nothing else would have slowed them down. Well we went for miles this way…it was too late to turn back and find another route.   Transkei was very pretty..houses on every hill, just like the Cotswolds in England. (see if you can guess which is which). Transkei is like I imagine England to have been long ago when they lived in Rondawels always perched on top of a hill..thats why the roads are so twisty.

You could see that development was happening, as the roofs were made of iron rather than thatch and walls made  brick rather than clay and often was square rather than round and even double story. At least  couple of family members work in big cities and support their families in the Transkei. There are few work opportunities here. Mostly the inhabitants are grandparents and children.

A little while later we came to more stop and goes. It was quite funny because every time we stopped, the doors of the many taxis would open up on all sides and all the men would hasten to the bush to pee. I wondered about the women.

I went through the mountain Zebra national park and saw what looked like albino springbokke. I had to stop because it was so unusual. Not a good photo you can just see the white buck running away. 20161002_175515 When I googled it, I found that there are 4 colour phases of Springbok. The white was not albino, and you could get black and copper colour,. (The website gave me the grillies, though because of how they wrote about them. (It was a hunting website)..as trophies to collect. “Besides the Common Springbok, there are three color phases that have become popular to collect. They are black, white and copper springbok. It is a fun and challenging quest that makes a colorful quartet in any trophy room when mounted together.” I live in a different world it seems.

I was not going to travel too late to find a place to stay, so as night fell I entered Graaff- Reinet and passed a small reserve. Although it had a sign saying it was open, it was closed but a kind guard took my details and gave me the key to a very fancy tented camp. He didnt know how much it would cost me, and at this stage I didnt care. He couldnt take money so I said I would pay in the morning. He gave me the gate code and I had a wonderful luxurious night..outdoor showers and toilets..but so tastefully done. I had no food with me, but the self catering facilities were top class.

I managed to do some walking around and although the camp was full, it didnt feel like it. I took this photo from the deck overlooking a dam..looks like a ghost also got in on it.20161002_201741

In the morning, it was so cold (after a hot day) that there was ice on my windscreen. 20161003_061137

I had to be on the road early as I had to be in Cape Town by 4pm. Luckily I heard people arriving to open the gate..but the office was still closed and another gate stopped me from going further. I couldnt afford to waste an hour, so I wrote a note with my details, left the keys  and ..having the gate code of the entrance (not the exit), I opened the entrance gate from the other side and left. I expected to hear from them and still wondered what they were going to charge, but have never. So thank you for that free night. I will come back some day as I would have liked to spend longer there.

So, I considered visiting my friend Diana who has a farm in Ladismith, but was running out of time. I will go another time. I stopped in at my sister for some tea. She was very ill with presumably a dose of flu that had come on very suddenly, but she covered it well. Only later she told me that she almost died as its seems she had actually an extreme allergic reaction to something and had to call the ambulance for oxygen as she couldnt breathe. She thinks it is the sprays that drift across the wheat fields. I worry about her being alone in RSE. But she is quite sensible, I think, and has since recovered.

So, hot and sweaty I arrived in Cape Town. I still had to go home, gather my clothes, go to deliver my car in town (50km away) as my sons girlfriend, Pia,  was borrowing it, had supper out in Obs, spilt a milk bottle in my handbag, then went back with my son to the house I was sitting before I could have a radox bath and crash again at midnight. I think I was crazy to drive up and down so far in such a short time..but what the heck, I got to see a good cross section of the country in a short time.