Norman had a meeting in the city on Wednesday last week and so he came through to meet me and take me for lunch. There is a Kauai just behind my client’s offices and so we met there.
Norm had the Tropical chicken wrap for R59: free range chicken, pineapple, carrot, greens, with thai peanut dressing.
I had the Salsa Quesadilla wrap for R49: white cheddar, red pepper, salsa, jalapeno,
spring onion, coriander.
It was OK, I would have preferred it toasted longer to crisp it up and make it a bit more golden but it was acceptable. I give it 3.5 Kitten Stars.
Thursday was Human Rights Day which is a public holiday in South Africa and is historically linked with the date 21 March, 1960 and the events of Sharpeville. On that day 69 people died and 180 were wounded when police fired on a peaceful crowd that had gathered in protest against the Pass laws. This day marked an affirmation by ordinary people, rising in unison to proclaim their rights.
It was also World Water Day on Friday. This day is to highlight the importance of access to fresh water which is a basic human right. Many people would argue that access to electricity is also a basic human right.
The irony is that both of these precious commodities are scarce in South Africa.
South Africa is suffering from a drought across the majority of the country. Cape Town is no longer in a critical state but many other areas are still desperate for help.
On the flip side of that we have the recent cyclone Idai in Mozambique, Malawi & Zimbabwe resulting in a large portion of areas in those countries being submerged by flood waters and causing hundreds of deaths.
Both sides of this coin are due to climate change.
The load shedding has continued with the electricity being turned off for anywhere from 2 to 8 hours in a 24 hour period across rotating areas of the country. There is not much you can do to amuse yourself in the dark. Well maybe if you are young and full of energy, but not when old and tired from working all day. Us oldies just want to watch Netflix and eat chocolate at night. Our goals are usually achievable with minimal effort.
Norm came up with the idea to play Scrabble during the evening’s load shedding.
He forgot that I am a word junky and I kicked his ass. However it kept us occupied and meant that we interacted rather than just grumpily staring at our phones or squinting at a book (I struggle to read even in the light these days).
The shambles around public transport in SA has continued unabated despite the efforts and successes by the new rail enforcement unit. Recent stats on their new unit’s work was that they have conducted about 588 stop-and-searches, 84 hot spots searched and fines to the value of R8300 were issued. What levels of success they have achieved in stopping the theft of the cables I have no idea.
The ANC-led government manifesto states that it will “invest in rail infrastructure to ensure it is safe, reliable and integrated with other modes of public transport. Rail must be the backbone of our public transport system” however the ANC has had the duty to deliver this promise for the last 25 years. Decades of mismanagement, corruption and a lack of care has directly led to the breakdown of South Africa’s rail system.
Since 2010, 3,642 have died and 15,634 people have been injured on our railways. Between 2015 and 2018, R213,744 million was paid out to victims while a total of R503,552 million has been lost due to vandalism and derailments. Behind the shocking statistics are truly horrifying stories of how the ANC and by extension Prasa has failed both their employees and the commuters.
You can read the full report from Thuli Madonsela who was the previous public protector here.
New trains have been promised to the long suffering commuters which have endured poor service, poorly maintained filthy and dangerous trains as well as risk of attack from arsonists and thieves. Many people lose their jobs due to the inability to get to work on time despite arriving at the station hours before they are due at work. Our train services are a nightmare as was witnessed directly by President Ramaphosa when he took a journey last week which resulted in the train being stuck for 3 hours.
This week a dummy of the new train design arrived in Cape Town. However until they deal with the cable theft and security issues it is just a bandage over a gaping and bleeding wound.
Sometimes I despair at the future of this country and sometimes I revel in the beauty around us and the wonderful people of South Africa. I bounce between these opposing dichotomies often.
For example, it was lovely having Thursday off of work for the public holiday however we spent most of it in the dark rather than doing whatever we wanted.
We decided on Thursday that rather than struggle with trying to prepare food without electricity to just indulge ourselves and eat out. We first went to Tasha’s in Constantia but there was a huge queue for a table so we walked across the car park to the other mall and went to Mugg and Bean. We got the last table there. I ordered my food and the waitress then told us that the fryer is not working due to the electricity shut down so I re-examined the menu and quickly choose the Rancheros Omelette, cheesy chili & M&B salsa-filled omelette topped with chorizo, fresh avocado, baby potato, charred corn & cherry tomatoes, drizzled with sriracha mayo & sour cream served on the side.
I did not read the ingredients that carefully as I was rushing to choose something that came without the elusive fries or hash-browns and did not notice that the omelette contained chorizo which I only like if it is sliced thin and fried til crispy, I also forgot about my stomach issues and the prospects of pain from eating chili. I do love chili but it is not my friend at the moment. I chucked the chorizo onto Norm’s plate. However I will not let my own shortcomings contaminate the rating of the food and I will give it a good 4 Kitten stars as it was very tasty, just spicy AF.
Norm had the California Omelette: omelette filled with cheddar, mozzarella & fresh basil. Loosely topped with fresh avocado, back bacon & Danish-style feta, drizzled with a basil pesto mayo & served with pan-fried rosemary cherry tomatoes. He enjoyed it.
After we finished eating we walked back across to the main building and had a wander around the shops. Norm needed to buy a data dongle as he is struggling to work without access to the WiFi during the power outages. We tried to buy another lantern but the shops were all sold out as expected.
We then headed back home and enjoyed the beautiful afternoon.
Pixie has been so tolerant of her cone of shame and has even mastered being able to use the cone to scoop up her ball to get it into her mouth. She is a clever wee thing. She needs to have someone scratch her face for her though as she is unable to manage that.
Her little leg is all healed now and so we took the cone off of her yesterday and she is not chewing herself so I think she is A-OK now thank goodness. I love that little ball of fluff, and cannot bear the idea of her being in pain or unhappy.
On Thursday night we went out for dinner during the second period of electricity shut down and we chose to go to Papino’s in Hout Bay. We arrived just as the sun was setting and the owner brought out large silver candelabras for each of the tables which gave us enough light to see. I wanted something easy to manage in the dim light which was also not too spicy or heavy for my constantly sore tummy and so I chose the Flammenkuchen which is a German variation on a pizza. I had never eaten one at Papino’s but I have tried them at various German restaurants and had expected something similar to those thin and crispy styles, but this version was more like a tomato-less cheesy pizza. It was good but it was a bit heavy and salty for my tastes. I do love Papino’s pizza bases though and next time will stick to a traditional pizza.
Norm chose his favourite dish from Papino’s, the Hollandse Beifstuk which is a pan fried steak with a brandy butter mushroom sauce. He was told in advance that they were not serving any starch dishes so it came only with the vegetables.
Apologies for the standard of my pics but they were taken by candlelight so please cut me some slack. The electricity came back on just as we were leaving so we were able to pay our bill and we headed home to enjoy some rare TV time and relax before bed as I had work the next day.
On Friday the load shedding was from 6pm to 8pm and so Norm nipped out to get us take aways for dinner and I chose to have sushi from K1. They do a 2 for 1 special for the same ‘colour plates’ as their dishes are classified by plate colour. I chose the prawn salad which was minimal prawn, chopped cucumber and avocado and topped with sesame seeds. The other dish in this bracket was the salmon sashimi. It was nice and fresh but cut a bit thick for my liking. I also had cucumber prawn roses & salmon roses as my other 2 dishes. It was R129 for all 4 dishes and I was pleased with my choices but probably will not order the prawn salad again.
On Saturday I had plans to meet my friends Bronwyn and Melody for breakfast at 10 am at Hout Bay Manor. I arrived first and the waiter sat me in a shady spot by the fountain.
I tried to take a group selfy of the 3 of us once the ladies arrived but I failed miserably. I did get Bronwyn and Mel in it though!
I ordered the El Pixo for R75: sweetcorn fritters made with feta, chili & spring onions, served with slices of avocado, streaky bacon, 2 poached eggs, grilled baby tomatoes, fresh coriander, chili, olive oil, lemon zest & a wedge of lemon. I asked for soft eggs and crispy bacon and the chef delivered on both points. It was delicious but I forgot I am supposed to be avoiding chili and ended up suffering a bit after and trying to drown the burn in gallons of water. However I cannot blame the venue for my stomach issues and I give this dish 5 Kitten stars as it was delicious.
The girls both ordered the Dippy Eggs and Buttered Soldiers for R65: 2 soft boiled eggs, 2 slices of buttered toast, blanched asparagus with hollandaise & tarragon, sea salt & black pepper.
They asked that the chef make sure that the eggs were soft as you cannot dip your soldiers into hard eggs. The food arrived but the eggs were too hard and both orders were sent back. The second time was much better.
We stayed so long that we ended up ordering cake and another round of coffees. Bronwyn had the orange cake and I had the chocolate cake which was rich and divine.
Our ‘breakfast’ ended up lasting until 4pm! We had not even noticed how long we were there as we were chatting up a storm. It was all so effortless to communicate with these ladies, there were no awkward silences or talking over each other, the conversation all just flowed smoothly. I love these ladies, I feel like I do not have to put up defenses or false pretenses, I can just be me. That is not something that happens often in Cape Town, there are a lot of false and superficial women who only care about what car you drive, where you live, what gym you attend, how much money your husband makes and where you get your botox injections. I make my own money and do not inject that shite into my body so it can make small talk with some women quite challenging as what matters to them quite often matters not at all to me. It is so refreshing to find women whose views are more aligned to mine despite the vast differences in where and how we were raised.
Bron and Mel shared with me what it was like growing up in South Africa during the apartheid era, something which many of us westerners cannot even begin to comprehend, especially those of us who are white. Friends and families were torn apart due to the Immorality Act. Whites were not allowed to have a relationship with anyone who was not also white. Non-whites were not allowed to go into restaurants or public spaces, even onto the beaches. People of colour were not allowed into any ‘white’ residential areas unless they had a ‘Pass’ which gave them permission to enter an area due to their employment. The girls told me about the police driving around in large vehicles called a Casspir or a Black Maria. The police would search for non-whites and arrest any who did not have a pass authorising them to be there and would throw them in the back of the van. Unfortunately this mentality has remained with some white people in SA, they phone the police as soon as they see a person of colour walking along the road minding his own business. It can take generations for the damages of the past to heal.
However the current ANC government is doing little to better the lives of the people who were damaged so badly by the apartheid government. Corruption is rife and I see so little progress in creating better living conditions for most people.
I had a conversation with Caitlin last week after I gave an African man on the street some coins. She said to me ‘he will just spend it on drink’ and I said she should not be so quick to judge someone based purely on their physical appearance. He was shaking and yes that could be from DTs due to needing a drink, it could also be due to Parkinson’s or other neurological condition. There is no way to know that without having a conversation with him. Even if he does have a drinking problem, we have no idea what demons he may be living with which drive him to use drink to numb his pain or trauma. He was an elderly man and so he would have been victim to the atrocities of apartheid and we cannot imagine what damage or abuse he may have been subjected to. We may all be just one trauma away from a similar state of poverty ourselves. If I lost my job I am but a few months salary away from financial trouble. I am lucky to have a house, but there is no guarantee I would be able to sell that house in a timely manner to support my lack of income. We do at least have pensions and some savings, however minimal. Some people do not even know where their next meal is coming from. I do not pretend to be able to understand the challenges the poor have to endure.
I am not suggesting that we are obligated to give money to everyone we encounter who extend their hands, there are so many desperate and needy people in South Africa that it would be an impossible goal. I limit the money I give to the elderly or to women as I know that they often suffer the most indignities and are the most vulnerable.
After our hours of chat at the manor, setting the world to rights and discussing our retirement options we realised the time and we wandered off home to our husbands. It was a very hot day but it was lovely in the shade by the pool at the manor. I found a cool corner in my house and relaxed as Norm was busy working.
Later that night we had load shedding again and so we decided to go to Massimo’s for dinner. We managed to nab the last table outside on the balcony.
I had a lovely view of both my darling hubby and an amazing pink sky as the sun was setting.
I wanted to avoid anything acidic or spicy. I chose the Granchio pasta dish: real flaked white crab meat, prawns, mascarpone, a hint of chili & garlic. The chili is so minuscule that it cause me no harm. It was light and creamy and the prawns were beautifully cooked. This is my favourite of their pasta dishes. It gets 5 Kitten Stars.
Norm chose a dish from their specials menu, the Pork and Beef Meatloaf for R135. It was meatloaf topped with a creamy mushroom sauce, served with oven roasted potatoes and seasonal veg. I was impressed they managed to conjure up potatoes as none of the other restaurants have had a back up plan for potatoes as even with a generator the fryers use too much electricity. This dish looked yummy. I love the roast veg that Massimo’s serves as it always includes roast beetroot.
Today we are having a lazy day, Norm made us a late brunch of eggs, preservative free Richard Bosman bacon and avocado. We will go for dinner at the pub later on.
I have an appointment to go to a gastroenterologist on Tuesday about my stomach pains. I am really struggling to cope, the occasional heartburn is now pretty much constant and the added dull ache has me a bit worried. I wanted to wait til after my current client contract ended but it has been extended a month so I cannot wait any longer, particularly if I do have an ulcer as I suspect I may have. Wish me luck please!
Until next time, Kisses from the Kitten x0x0x0x0x