897 words on Travel
My fifth day in Strand already. And when I woke up there was no sun but clouds everywhere. As I’d been quite exhausted from all the sun before, this wasn’t too bad but I was still a bit disappointed. The first task for the day was to pick my dad up at the airport around noon. So we drove to the airport.
Just before the airport is Khayelitsha, which used to be a ‘township’ in the apartheid era – i.e. an area for black people to live in, live in poorly, that is. And while people may move away from there now, most still can’t afford to do it.
Along Khayelitsha, there are many corrugated iron shacks right along the motorway which leave a pretty bad impression. Apparently most or all of them haven’t been built legally and are thus called ‘informal settlements’ in the media. As there seems to be no way of creating proper houses for all the people living in such huts, the government’s plan seems to be to make sure everyone has access to water and electricity within the next few years. While this may not be an ideal goal, it could be one that can be reached. Seeing all the power (?) lines between those huts suggests that work actually gets done.
After having passed Khayelitsha, we arrived at the airport. With my dad’s being slightly early and us needing a long time to find a parking space, we made it there just in time – entering the arrivals hall just as he came out of the door. Perfect timing, if you wish.
When paying the parking ticket, we were once more troubled by the ticket machines. New ten Rand notes have been introduced recently. While the general design didn’t change, the writing was changed to remove the Afrikaans ‘Suid Afrikaanse Reserwebank’ from the front side and having the English ‘South African Reserve Bank’ there, while having two other of the eleven official language on the back side, in this case Afrikaans and ‘liBanghi lesiLulu leNingizimu Afrika’ which I couldn’t identify yet and couldn’t find the information on the central bank’s website. There have also been a few security changes and a new coat of arms on the notes.
None of that is a problem. The only problem with the notes is that existing parking ticket machines won’t recognise them as valid notes. As they’ve only been introduced very recently and the central bank didn’t publicise the designs prior to the release, those machines still await their updates. The fact that most of those machines seem to be made in Switzerland or Germany probably doesn’t help… but we managed anyway.
Then we headed to Balducci’s once more for lunch. It being Sunday meant that this was a bit more trouble than we had asked for. Sunday lunch is the big meal in South Africa. It’s got something to do with their church craze, I suppose. So many people go for a meal at lunchtime on Sundays. Which meant we actually had to wait for half an hour to get a seat. But we looked around some shops in the meantime so that wasn’t too bad. Once the waiting had passed we had our meal. I had a massive sandwich, which didn’t impress me too much. I keep thinking that food in many places was better when I was last here four years ago. Perhaps the increasing tourism is driving quality down a bit (and prices up, for sure).
After a trip home we had our usual walk on the beach again. With it being clouded it wasn’t hot at all and the walk was quite relaxing. Didn’t help my tan though.
At night we went for dinner to the Wijnhuis in Stellenbosch. We booked a table for nine o’clock, which was surprising, as late eating – particularly on Sundays – is rather uncommon here. And it seems that this was reflected in the meal we got. While the place seems to have quite a good reputation and my parents already had a good meal there, everything seemed to go wrong for us this time. They seemed to have run out of proper napkins and bread. They had also run out of the lettuce in the salad we ordered. And that was before they accidentally served our main dish (I had chili grilled squid) before the salad, so we had to return it and let them sort things out.
Needless to say that my parents were quite annoyed at that stage and, in good old German fashion, started being a bit rude to the waiter who had to sort all the things that went wrong out. In the end my parents were upset anyway, so even with the food being all right (apart from the rice which had a strangely dull taste), he had no chance of saving the evening for us.
With the restaurant being named Wijnhuis, they also had an extensive list of wines of offer. While this sounds cool, I actually found it quite intimidating as I don’t know about wine to tell the differences between hundreds of slightly different wines (neither by their taste, nor by their names). And as we didn’t want a whole bottle of either red or white wine, we settled for some glasses from their smaller menu of open wines. Less exciting but more accessible.
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