Africa – Random Thoughts – 8/19/12.

Fish Catching Travel

 Africa Notes 

After being home a few days I have had time to reflect on our trip.  And now realize the shear numbers of photos and videos I have to work on.  So keep stopping in, I will keep posting stuff as I go along.  And tomorrow it is back to the Gulf, not having fished in 3 weeks has left me ready to go.  It will be one of those mornings where I wake up before the alarm ready to go.

South Africa was an interesting trip besides the safari and the mission.  We found most folks to be very friendly and helpful, and as most people had at least a basic understanding of English, there was only the occasional communication issue.  Money was not that hard to deal with as it worked out to 8 Rand = $1, give or take a cent or two.

The only thing I had a real hard time with was driving.  Though people there would say folks did not drive all that well, it was no worse than the Dallas area at 4 Friday afternoon.  The issue was they drive on the wrong side of the road, or is it us?  Either way it took some getting used to.  Nancy drove most of the time, but I finally got in the action.  There was no left turn on red, many street signs were icons or symbols, and the parking thing was somewhat confusing.  In the city there would be a parking official who noted your plate and collected the parking fee.  In other areas you would be approached by someone who would watch your car, a common thing in South Africa, so you slipped them 10 Rand ($1.25) and they would watch your car.

And many of the lots had guys who washed cars.  That ran about $5 and when you got back from shopping or dinner your car was shiny, nice touch.  And many of the private lots, at shopping centers and strip malls had parking guys.  Some expected a tip and some were paid by the stores, it just depended.  Nice to have the son in law to help out with who was who.

The food at almost every place we ate was good.  And as a bonus, was relatively inexpensive.  We ate several meals that would have been  $100 plus at home that ran under $50, and I am talking wine, drinks, meal, desert, and coffee.  If you are traveling there you can easily budget your money and still eat like a king.  Drinks were also a deal.  And my wife loved it when as a habit they brought a glass of ice with her Chardonnay wine.  Oh the little things.

And speaking of eating the “braai” is a staple in South Africa.  Braai is basically what we call grilling out, or barbecuing.  And like the US, is cause for a party.  One thing that is different though is that many restaurants supply you with salad, bread, plates etc., and you bring the meat.  Most places you do the cooking on their grills.  We did that one night on the beach around the fire, a great evening.

One thing that was hard to get used to was the amount of security.  Almost every store, motel, condo had the large armed security protection sign.  You saw the guys everywhere.  But the most disturbing was the fences around almost everything.  Many of them with barb wire rolls, glass shards along the top, and other serious looking sharp things.  In fact, to get in our apartment took 4 keys, it was safe.  I do not want you to get the idea South Africa was not as safe as most places I have been, it was.  The security seemed to be a remenant of the past.

And then you would go to the townships, which for a lack of a better term are slums, and they were generally walled in with fences around them.  The seperation was obvious, the message clear.  If you are black, or colored (their term) and poor, stay behind your wall, and we will keep you away from us with our fences.  I found this to be a stark expression of the way things were in days past in South Africa, no matter how things have changed politically, it still comes down to if you have it, things are good, if you don’t, to bad.   I saw quite a few folks on South African TV talking about the plight of the townships, but after seeing folks on the news who have been trapped in some of the townships for 15 years, with no realistic chance of getting out, most of it was talk.  There is no excuse in this day and age for there to be a township without sewage facilities, period.  Until the walls, and the attitudes that accompany them, are down, South Africa will continue to struggle.  So some of the talking heads on South African TV need to put their money where their mouth is.  The situation is not hopeless, but it has been long enough.  Like the rest of the world, poverty is the issue.

Now that I got that off my chest back to the good stuff.  Cape Town was a modern city with everything you would expect.  We stayed in the Sea Pointe area, with lots of restaraunts and shopping within walking distance.  The area was relatively safe for a big city, and I get panhandled 10X more in Austin that I did anywhere in South Africa.

In fact, the group of us was having lunch at a cool place on the Quay in Knysna while outside the weather was awful.  As the restaraunt was on the bay, they had a deck, and on that deck was a guy fishing.  I went out to chat with him and found out he was new to fishing.  He had only started in January.  He was out of work, had walked from Cape Town in search of work, and the only money he made besides pan handling was from catching fish.  He asked nothing of me, and was excited to show me his book so I could see what type of fish he caught.  As we huddled in the rain and wind he hoped it would slack off.  If he caught fish, he and his dog ate, but no fish, no food today.  His bait was a salt water crawdad, very similar to ours.

I went back in the restaraunt and had a nice hot lunch.  I ordered him a wrap and a hot cup of coffee.  He never begged, he did not complain, but was thrilled to teach me about the fish he caught.  I gave him his food and hit the road.  I hope he caught some today.

Sorry about the rambling, I am having a hard time putting the whole thing in perspective.  So to help put it in perspective here is a cool video for you.

Stop in tomorrow.  There should not only be new fishing, but some new pictures or videos.  Thanks for reading my stuff.

Good Luck and Tight Lines.

Elephants of the Shamwari.

About Redfishlaw

I am a retired attorney who just loves to fish. I was a freshwater guide for about 20 years and now have moved to the salt. I am not the greatest fisherman, but I am committed. So if you love fishing, and want to learn what little I have to offer, stop by anytime.
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