As unwavering as the annual mass migration of wildebeest between the Serengeti and Maasai Mara, South Africa’s middle classes flock to the coast during the December holidays to soak up the summer sunshine. Available beach sand is packed with umbrellas and multi-coloured towels on which lie bodies varying from shades of pale, through to a lobster pink/red and those like myself, who could be mistaken for ‘Capies’ when sporting a year-round summer tan. ‘Burn baby burn’, the philosophy adopted by many who lather themselves in what can only be described as SPF ‘cooking fat’ in order to squeeze out a tan in the shortest time possible. Dealing with the ‘peel and flake’ is tomorrow’s problem. I’ve taken to applying a factor 50 sunscreen due largely to my age and fear of excessively contrasting with my wife in couplely photos. Continue reading
One of the perks in my line of work is that I occasionally get to visit some pretty interesting places where an airport needs constructing, expanding or fixing. I’ve now been to more countries on the African continent than many other South Africans, including my wife – although she’ll probably agree that this doesn’t speak volumes.
One of my favourite locations to date is Skull Island – a fictional name for the actual island which I concocted in order to protect its location and our client’s identity (it would be a sin if it mutated into another Lanzarote or Zakynthos because of my post :)). The island could quite feasibly have been a filming location in Peter Jackson’s 2005 King Kong movie, but alas I see from IMDB that Jackson used some poxy excuse of an island off the coast of Wellington, New Zealand. I suppose I can’t blame him for missed opportunities; he makes some good films and very few people have heard of, let alone visited the Skull Island to which this post refers.
The journey to the island was a perilous one, with the exception of the initial SAA flight leg from Johannesburg. We landed at a transit destination where our party had a 2 day layover before catching a connecting flight to Skull Island. Due to the innate nature of many African countries, where fortune favours the dirty rotten scoundrel, an escort was organised to assist us getting out of the airport with passports, personal effects and limbs intact and to arrange transportation to and from the airport and our hotel without being hustled. Our troop transport had seen better days – I felt like dialling up duct-tape headquarters to let them know that I had found their perfect marketing tool. The shocks were AWOL, one of the balding wheels on the car I was riding in had three nuts securing it to the hub and judging by driving styles, I’m almost certain that our chauffeurs were part-time African stock car racers. Tear-arsing down the wrong side of a street in order that they could offer a ‘tout suite’ service was second nature to these boys. Seat belts (when working) were a must.
Just a short post to air my disbelief in regard to a particular news article that I heard on the radio on the way into work this morning. I can only describe the guy, a 40-something year old British immigrant to South Africa as a dumbass of note! Firstly, why would you knowingly enter the waters off Fish Hoek beach, noted for being a shark hotspot (and for its famous fish-food) during a period of heightened shark activity, with several sharks being spotted on the day you choose to go swimming?
Secondly, heed warnings! Shark spotters had on the same day (28 Sept 2011) spotted several sharks swimming offshore in clear waters, raised shark warning flags and sounded a siren to ensure people were out of the sea before closing the beach to swimmers. There is no confusing the white flags with black shark emblems for a seafood promotion, but if you didn’t happen to see these maybe being in the only person in the water would be a dead giveaway?