Thursday, May 03, 2007

catching up

Can you believe 2 weeks has whizzed by.... it has been a time of hectic activity, punctuated by wonderful "stop and smell the roses" moments.....

Before we went on the trip to Capetown which i covered in the previous 2 posts, Our son and his fiance arrived for a visit, which was delightful. we had some good times together. one evening, they all met at the beach, and i joined them there when i finished hanging some curtains for a client....
the sun was setting and the moon was rising like a giant red ball....
we had a memorable meal together.
In my last post i promised a few photos of the return trip from Capetown....
on our last day we popped over the mountains to visit an old friend in Scarborough, near Cape Point, and stopped to take a picture of the Atlantic, because it was such a lovely shade of turquoise.
On the horizon we spotted a cold front wedging in from the South West (the cold air forms a wedge which pushes in under the warmer air, causing condensation. ) Within an hour our sunny day was bleak and misty, and this is the view from almost the same spot on the way home an hour later.
we left Capetown early in the morning on the Tuesday after Easter.
.... It was misty and so the sunrise had a wonderful ethereal quality about it....
Approaching George, i wanted to show you the beautiful Outeniqua mountains which form a backdrop to the town, but they were shrouded in cloud. George is known as a trecherous airport to fly in and out of because of the position of the runway in relation to the mountains, and the way visiblity can disappear so fast. In fact this mountain range that you see peeping through the cloud is the one that claimed the life of the ex-captain of the SA Cricket team, Hansie Cronje, in an airplane accident.
(Speaking of cricket, well done to the Aussies for winning the world cup. There is serious rivalry between their team and ours, but i have to say in all fairness that the best team won, they were so consistent, in contrast to our erratic "brilliant one day, abysmal the next" team! Cricket fever seems to have gripped our country, and every night the park resounds to the sounds of boys hitting balls and dustbins which masquerade as wickets!)

However, I digress.... back to George, where we stopped in on the way through,
and saw this sad image of the cost of progress, the stunning old Post Office building, marred by the communications tower behind it.
and we discovered something we had never noticed before, a railway museum, so naturally we went crazy taking pictures of the lovely old steam engines we found there....
During the week after we got back, the whole "camping at the office while wrapping up the business" took on a ridiculous tone, as my desk was used to display some goods for sale, and i was reduced to working on the floor with the dustbin as my desk!! However some order has been restored, and i now have a ratty old table to tide me over!

one day during the week I had to go and supervise an installation for a client in Summerstrand, and on my way back, as I was stopped at a traffic light (we call them robots!!), I glanced to the right and saw such a wonderful sight... there was a group of about 20 dolphins swimming past!
I zooted into the nearest parking bay and ran to the beach, just in time to catch them going past the Pier.

After watching them for a while, I raced off to Kings Beach, hoping to catch them again. Unfortunately the beach is so wide at low tide that, by the time I got to the water, there was just time to get a distant view of the stragglers surfing on a wave!

So i took a few shots to show you the amazing expanse of pristine beach which is our main swimming beach, i was so lucky to practically have it to myself!

however, if you turn your back on the sea, you see something the city planners should have been lynched for!! On the edge of all that pristine natural beauty, they positioned the Manganese ore dumps and the oil tank farm!! GGGRRRRRRR. It has been worked out that, to reposition this eyesore at the new deep water harbour at Coega, and reclaim the land from all the pollution will cost 3.8 billion Rand. So, while many developers are keen to turn the land into something tourist friendly, few are prepared to spend that much up front, before development can even take place, and then gamble on getting a return on the investment over the duration of the 50 year lease, which is all the Harbours Authority, who own the land, are willing to grant.

The following weekend, we both woke up early, while it was still dark, and Max had the brilliant idea of going to watch the sunrise over the sea. Off we went, intending to go to the pier, but the lights reflecting in the harbour were so stunning, so we went up the hill to South End, and had a wonderful time photographing the sunrise....
made more interesting as a ship was escourted into port by a pair of tugs...
this is my favourite pic taken that morning...
and then as it got lighter we started exploring the surrounding area.

South End is on the southern bank of the Baakens River, the mouth of which forms the harbour. It is a fascinating area, and bears the scars of Apartheid. In the old days it was a thriving mixed community, with a couple of mosques, cheek by jowl with Christian churches. The population was a mix of white, coloured and Malay. When the infamous group areas act was proclaimed (stating that each racial group must live in its own area and no mixing was allowed, naturally the prime areas close to town were saved for the whites, while coloureds, Indians and blacks had to move to areas on the outskirts) the area was the scene of forced removals, and families had their homes bulldozed to the ground, and the land sold to developers. Little survived of the old community, apart from the three remaining mosques. It is now mostly covered with townhouse complexes. (If you go back to the post about the fires, it was a south end complex which burnt down.)

One of the remnants of all this destruction is an old church, now in ruins.
Sadly developers are building around it at the moment, and before long it will be inaccesable to the public, so we took the opportunity to photograph it thoroughly for posterity.
Then we spotted a graveyard down the hill, and had to go and explore....
on the way down we passed the lovely old ice rink building, now in a sad state of neglect.
On the grass verge we saw some graves (you can see the white walls around one), and the headstones were all in strange writing, we assume Malay or Arabic. The dates were around the mid 1800s, so even in those years, long before official Apartheid, the Moslems were on the road verge, and the Christians in the official walled graveyard!
I bet if you examine the historic areas around where you live, you will also find signs of this kind of separation, whether class snobbishness in England, or racial division elsewhere, the sad fact is that humans have practiced "separate development" throughout the ages, and, whilst it may have reached an Official and evil degree here in South Africa, it is none the less present throughout the world. It is easy to point fingers, but we all need to examine our attitudes, and it is shocking how deep rooted it is.
As a person who grew up in a snobbish upper class British Colonial family, lived through apartheid and the war of independence in Zimbabwe, and came to South Africa at the height of petty apartheid, I opposed the values held by my parents and the previous Governments vigorously. Yet if I am brutally honest, it shocks me how often i have to challenge myself with deep rooted attitudes i have absorbed without question. It was a real eye opener to see that cemetary, and the division that was already entrenched in the 1800s. I think all we can do, as we seek to live in hopefully more enlightened times today, is to keep questioning these things as we recognise them in ourselves.

We ended our walk at the yards of the old narrow gauge steam railway, on our way to a hearty breakfast overlooking the sea at Wimpy. It was a delightful way to start the day and prepare for the craziness of the week ahead...
And finally the reason for my scarceness... the Homemakers Expo which took place from 26 -29th April in the old Feathermarket Centre which i showed you here.
I not only had a stand to showcase my painting, but was also responsible for designing and putting together the entrance, stage, information and extra eating areas, so sleep was a rare commodity last week!
I'll end this marathon with one of my latest paintings.... Backlit daisies, oil on canvas, 900x900mm, R1200 excl postage.


kirsty said...

Good to have you back, Suzi! Great photos as usual :)

Sheila said...

Welcome back, you were missed..!
You sure pack a lot into two weeks. Love your photos, the ones of the dolphins especially..!
Racial division is an awful thing, another of man's inhumanities to man. I admire your honesty though, for who among us, no matter how liberal we claim to be, hasn't at some time thought or even said things that we should not have.