A five-year ban? - Days 371-372
Oh dear, will we get a five-year ban? I hope not!
Day 371 was a chillax day, catching up on washing, sitting chatting to Keith, who is delightful. He is very active despite his age which, I imagine, is the late 80s. He had French lessons in the morning and Spanish lessons in the afternoon. Mon Dieu!
Meanwhile, we needed to sort out our South African visa. We popped down to the local Department of Affairs. “No, we cannot help you here, you need to go into Cape Town”. Well, that’s tomorrow planned. In the evening we had another delightful time at Cecily’s chatting about all sorts of things. This has become our regular evening routine.
Day 372 – Keith wanted to drive into Cape Town so kindly took us in and we’d return by Uber. Along the main N2, I was quite shocked at the size of the township leading to the city. Metal corrugated shacks squeezed next to one another, some as tiny as a small shed with no space in between. This is Khayelitsha, the fastest growing township in South Africa. The Apartheid regime, which lasted 26 years, caused the creation of these dreadfully ways of living, yet apartheid ended over 44 years ago. How come these dreadful, crime-ridden places still exist? Further on we saw that some areas had been improved with proper concrete houses built, a few with beautiful art on walls, and others painted bright colours. There is still a lot of work to be done. My heart feels heavy.
We arrived in Cape Town with the iconic Table Mountain on our left and the harbour on our right. Keith dropped us off, and we walked down to the Department of Affairs. Tim popped to the information desk, bypassing the queue, to find out that we needed to go to a different building, half a mile away. Oh well, we’ll get some steps in and let’s hope third time lucky. We arrived at 2 Long Street, signed in, was given a ticket which, a couple of steps later, we handed to another person so that we could go through the turnstile to the lift. Up to the 7th floor, we only needed to wait for a minute before a friendly lady told us the bad news. We may be banned from the country for five years! Tim’s reaction was priceless “Oh! So don’t you want our money for the next five years then?” You may be wondering why South Africa might ban us. That will be for another post.
On a lighter note, earlier in the morning, I had a private message from Mahnaz, a Facebook friend. Mahnaz introduced us to Tim Pare and the Tea Leaf Trust in Sri Lanka, as well as her lovely friend Nazra. She is such a great networker and connector of people. So, today she introduced us to her friend Sara, who comes from London, near to where we used to live, and now works in Cape Town.
We found out that Sara would be back in London when we’re staying in Cape Town in December, so today was our only opportunity to meet up. Funny that if this happened in the UK, I would have perhaps shrugged and left it. For some reason, we go out of our way to connect with people on our travels. Mmm, a good lesson.
We decided to walk to Sara’s workplace, a couple of miles away, stopping off for lunch. As we ventured out of the city, the environment changed. A couple of guys were surveying parked cars; I am sure they were checking which ones to break into. The atmosphere felt uneasy, and I wanted to cross the road. Tim didn’t seem to experience the same edginess as me. We did laugh later, in the comfort of Bones Kitchen & Bar, how Tim could have perhaps been a bit more empathetic. When exploring ideas of how he could have responded, the best one was “I’ll be ok Lindsey; I can run faster than you”. Haha.
Once again, we chose well for lunch. We were looked after like royalty with my chair held for me and pushed in, very attentive staff and the food and juices were delicious. My mushroom risotto was nearly as good as the one I had at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir aux Quat' Saisons, where Tim took me for my 50th Birthday many moons ago.
We carried on our walk. Wow, it was windy, with rubbish being whipped up in a swirl. I thought I was going to be slapped in the face by a magazine at one point! We eventually arrived at Sara’s place of work, Art Africa Magazine, in a groovy converted warehouse. As we walked up the stairs, there was a brilliant Kalidasa Proverb which connects with how we live now. Please do read it below.
Sara so kindly and warmly spent some time with us especially as it was a busy day. She had just finished off the submission for the next Magazine. We had such a lovely chat, hearing about her PhD, a bit about her experience working here, and sharing our travels. She showed us around her office, large, bright and vibrant – a great place to work. We both would have loved to have spent time with her for longer; perhaps another time…might have to be back in the UK if we are banned from South Africa though!
Look to this day, For it is life, The very life of life, In its brief course lie all The realities and truths of existence, The bliss of growth, The splendour of action, The glory of power -
For yesterday is but a dream, And tomorrow is only a vision, But today, well lived, Makes every yesterday a dream of happiness And every tomorrow a vision of hope
Look well, therefore, to this day.