What Did We Do?

Dennis and Jenny Hacker's Sojourns in Africa

Life in Cape Town, with the Hacker’s

July 16, 2019

We’ve been here now for 6 days and it’s like being at home. Oh, that’s not to say that everything is great. Being a Sunday, everything around here is quiet because no one is working. The birds have begun chirping and singing again. Jenny got about 9 hours sleep last night whilst I got about 7. Not bad overall.

We have decided, after an email conversation with Jenny’s therapist, that moving is going to be essential for Jenny’s health. This morning, we started looking for somewhere else to reside until December. We asked the realtor with whom we had acquired this flat to begin looking for other places for us. Although she agreed, she has never been punctual on contacting us about anything. We are looking for other agents to help us find a place. We’ll see.

As there is a workout room right next door to our current flat, there is no reason we can’t get a workout in today. As we’ve already walked 19+ miles this week, we decided to take it easy today. We’ll see. More later, Ciao.

I found that not having ridden a bicycle in years made getting on an exercycle a winding experience. I set the resistance at ‘4’ and time at 30 minutes. After 15, I decided to cut it off at 20 minutes. I was worn out. Oh, well, I found out I’m not 40 any longer.

On quiet nights, like last night due to the rain which is occurring quite frequently. The rain keeps the noise down.

We went out to look at two flats today. The first was very nice but somewhat smallish. It did have a great view of a working harbor and a nice balcony which would be very grand for having sundowners on. The second was larger, but absolutely no view. That one’s a “NO”. Thursday, we will see a couple others.

Tonight, we are going to a wine taste at Hillcrest Estate. Timoth is picking us up at 5:00 PM.

 

Several days have passed. We again visited the flat we looked at in the Waterclub to see if we could stand it. Nope! Four jackhammers were cutting the concrete floor to put in plumbing and electric lines. This is to be noisy for at least 2 weeks. The whole project is expected to last up to 4 months! We could stay where we are and the noise would be less, or so we thought. We returned to our current flat only to find that a gang of jackhammerers were at work across the street. WE’VE GOT TO MOVE, but to where? We now have 3-4 realtors working on finding us a place.

Below is a bit about the van-taxi drivers in Africa I wrote:

Modern kamikaze pilots

You’ve seen them in the movies: young men staring straight ahead and wearing goggles over their leather helmets. Crouched behind the instrument panel. Ready to take off into the wild blue yonder to attack American ships and aircraft. Perhaps going on a suicide mission. Now, here in Cape Town and other African towns and cities, they are hunkered behind the wheel of their van/taxi. On the left side, a helper is present whistling and calling out their destination so more people will be stuffed into the vehicle. The taxi horns are not like regular car horns but are pitched higher like a dog bark. A cacophony of horn, whistles and calls.

The taxi drivers are fearless. If they were kamikaze pilots, they’d be high on sake. Here, it is probably dagga, alcohol or speed. They have guns in the door panels of the vans if needed, and it sometimes is. There have been running gun battles down the N-1 and N-2 highways. Drivers and passengers have been shot and killed. Last night, the police pulled over a taxi and found a stolen police gun on the man. The serial numbers were filed off. From 1991-2015 over 20,000 police weapons have been sold to the public by dishonest police!

When I say the drivers are fearless, I mean recklessly fearless. They make their money by getting their passengers out to the settlements and townships as quickly as possible. We have watched as taxi’s have taken a highway exit ramp, get halfway up the ramp only to pull off the right-hand side of the offramp and come down the dirt embankment and back onto the roadway just to move 20 meters ahead of another taxi. It is comical and fear-inducing to watch. I just wonder how it is to ride in them. As a couple of white people, we’ve been warned not to ride in them. No worries there. I don’t have a death wish.

The drivers want a full vehicle so, if they drop off several passengers and only one person is left, they might turn around, go back into the city and get more passengers regardless of who’s on the taxi and where they were going.

As in many places in Africa, these taxis are a necessity. They’re cheap and get you where you need to go. Unfortunately, it seems like maintenance and tires are foregone ideas.

When the drivers have a strike, and they do go on strike, it is to keep other drivers (Uber and taxicabs) away. That’s when shootings start.

I can just imagine the grit and determination that these drivers display. The riders also need a carefree attitude. Just like the kamikaze pilots of old, any ride could be their last.

Peace! D

 

FILED IN: This and That

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