Tuesday, 5 January 2021

Coronavirus streets in Cape Town - III

Streets with meaning

Stepping out this afternoon to catch a breather from the onslaught of bureaucratic hurdles I could do without, the illiterate Dutch collided with my mastery of English in the naming of some streets in Cape Town. Obviously, I should be careful not to suggest that Dutch and Afrikaans are the same language separated by centuries and the tropics but must give due consideration to the distinctive difference that makes each language unique.

From Buitenkant (Outside corner) Street, you begin to get a feel of the history and the geography of the city which I will not delve into that much apart from offering a snippet of my observations as I walked and sauntered in the heat of the sun.

A slipper of a masked dog

For by happenstance or a yet to be determined means, a slipper or probably a shoe found a home on an air-conditioning unit quite out of reach, the other foot whether right or left was not right beside it and for whatever reason got left behind. Much as we are under legal compulsion to wear face masks, as he walked past me, he was wearing something that looked more like a neckerchief that if he were ordered to don it as a mask, he most like would strangle himself.

In the back of a truck they call a bakkie in these places, something moved that I expected to be a big shaggy dog. Another blink and a man it was, unleashed and left there alone without anyone else in sight. I could have asked, but he might well not have mastered speech. Therein is some inconvenient truth, some people are still being treated as subhuman, else, he could have been just standing beside the vehicle until the owner returned.

An English history here

Edward, yes Edward VII, what are doing in the Grand Parade where Nelson Mandela made his first speech when he was released from prison. His mother, Queen Victoria regales the front of Parliament as a jubilee statue. The English not only were here, but they were also trouble too. To my hearing, trousers hanging under a canopy shop and the exchange in unmistakably Pidgin English has an accent much closer to another home, I made no further inquiries.

On to Strand or Beach if translated properly, but that was a long, long time ago, it is a more a boulevard with cars travelling as if their brakes have been tampered with until I saw a splash of golden Jesus painted on a rock or perhaps the ruins of a once palatial edifice. Need I travel back in time to see?

Ocean views on a bicycle

The Strand soon becomes High Level Road and just at where it peaks, I have an amazing vista to the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront and just in front of me is a grave memorial of Muslim ancestors with an ocean view. It makes you wonder if in life they did command that view before they were so revered in death.

A road takes me down to the Main Road and then the promenade at Sea Point where she mounts a rented bicycle, Gucci bag on shoulder, stilettos screaming kill, completely oblivious of anyone that she might just run us down and then she is off, the belt on her trousers flexing out and pulling down to reveal, that’s all.

Easy on the ice cream

The sea wall protective and may be exposed for it is a Designated Mugging Area, I cannot say what time of day, but I was immediately conscious of the fact that I was some 50 yards from the next person, not that I quickened my steps, for there were other such designated areas. We can assume we are safe for now.

I ask for 3 kinds of Italian Ice Cream, bubble-gum flavour did not pass the muster, but pistachio, strawberry and vanilla became a hefty 6 scoops. The calories I had burnt in completing 10,000 steps were to be replenished with what might require another 20,000 steps today. Let’s indulge with no regrets.

Salvation from the waves

Out on the sea he paddled in a canoe whilst below him lay many wrecks and watering graves, though it is quite too sunny for the lighthouse, it stands as a beacon to maritime history and safety. My view is then momentarily obscured by a big house, she like us all was rolling everything and more accentuated than we could ever attempt. Let’s not talk of fitness, but my friends appear to carry around a bit more than their wallets.

As I was quite far from home, I called an Uber to take me back and my driver’s profile was as spiritual as they come, not that I was blessed as I boarded nor regaled by gospel music from the mouth of angels playing instruments that would take you right up to heaven, but he had this much to say all the way from the Democratic Republic of Congo, “I’m a Christian, I strongly believe in Christ.” For those of us still weakly believing, we have many more beaches, seas, and lands to cross.

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