Wednesday 5 January 2022

En route to the Garden Route

To George to judge

Completely off the beaten track, at least by our own standard, we have strayed away from the ambit of Cape Town to the furthest we have ever been to George, the centre of the famed Garden Route.

Planning for the trip was a bit fraught as we first thought of driving the 5 or so hours from Cape Town, but that would have been Brian alone at the pedals, the gear stick and the steering wheel as I cannot drive and who is to say with his keen sense of direction we are not first in Johannesburg before we get to George? Not worth the risk.

We decided to fly, and the scheduled 50-minute flight lasted just 33 minutes as there are no speeding fines for flying. Though we noticed something quite distressing at the airport, a child for whatever reason was being told by his burly guardian that he would have his bones broken. We maybe should have done something, yet we hope that would not be the child’s lived reality.

What a time ago

George is everything Cape Town is not, quiet, provincial, bucolic and with a definitive colonial feel. The hotel we are staying at backs onto a golf course with the first floor being the first. As you drive in you drive past chalets all with the customary finish of chalk white paint, the windowpanes and doors finished in green.

The veranda of our room and the adjoining ones is deep with a wooden balustrade defining the balcony with a tar-brown coating, the outdoor furniture patterned in cast or wrought iron and painted white. You could feel caught in a time warp with a throwback to the 1950s or earlier.

Before it was dusk, the frogs were croaking, and you can only wonder what else we’ll hear through the night. There is a busy family atmosphere with kids milling around with abandon, not the kind of place we would have chosen with prior knowledge.

Everyone is different

Our neighbour to the left came out with a glass in hand, one leg in prosthetics and after a greeting, we engaged in conversation. His daughter, nice but acting shy might just be so in the presence of strangers. His wife later came out to take in a chair, her right arm in a long sleeve that looked like it was fully tattooed, I had to ask.

Two verandas to the right, a man stepped out to light up, I do wonder how people have not given up smoking in this pandemic. Anyway, the olfactory glands of you know who had caught a whiff of the smoke long before he had taken a puff. Some people would give canines a beating in a sniff test. I am not close by a mile. We retire to hopefully explore this region tomorrow and the day after.

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