One of the things people have been asking me is what I will miss about South Africa when I leave. Before I went to Redmond in June, I used to say, “I won’t miss any places, I will miss the people and times past”, but once I was in Redmond I realized that there were indeed quite a few things to miss. UCT’s upper campus. Rondebosch main road, Observatory’s lower main road, the Cafda bookshop in Claremont, Vida e Cafe coffee, Minato’s sushi, the weekly scoffing at Top Billing, and a bunch of others. But to be sure, there are some things I will not miss about Cape Town. So allow me to get ridiculously cynical for a minute, as I present you a brief selection…
1. The Eagle’s Nest guest house
I have not stayed at this place, but the thought that it even exists makes me cringe.
Ok, so this is the Eagle’s Nest guest house. Nice name huh? It’s on top of a hill, it’s a big manly name, it evokes nature or something. But the name is oddly reminiscent… wasn’t ‘The Eagle’s Nest’ the name of one of Hitler’s holiday houses? And oddly enough, this one is owned by a German family, so I really would have thought they were aware of that little tidbit of trivia. What a great way to attract visitors. “Where should we stay for our holiday this year? At the Rustenvredekaasnaam B&B or that Hitler place?” Nice thinking through there.
2. Screw you, I need more security
There is a lot of crime in South Africa, and people have, as you would expect, responded by increasing the security around their homes. I can understand that – we got a burglar alarm and a sliding security gate on our balcony door after there were some break-ins at our building. Unfortunately, people have taken this a little too far. Two flavors of this which drive me nuts are the battalions of armed goons belonging to private security companies that drive around the richer neighborhoods, and then the live, high voltage, electrified fences:
Electric fences. They are fairly common and very often badly positioned. Often they are atop a five foot wall, and partly obscured by vegetation, so that you could easily zap yourself by accident if you were just walking past. I don’t know if they make you more secure or not, but as a rational person I would think that the cost of such a fence (random innocent pedestrians getting zapped) outweighs the benefit (lowering your insurance payments a little). But if you are the middle class whitey, this is irrelevant, because, screw you, I need more security. I used to think the idea was so crazy that the fences had to be fakes. But then one day, passing one in the rain, I heard it hum and crackle. Cross to the other side of the street….
3. Not sure what to call this one
Wandering around Vredehoek, I spotted this:
A car chained to a lamp post. Yes. Chained like you would a bicycle. I don’t know what to say about this one. Is it perhaps a secret great idea? I would have thought painting your car that shade of surgical scrubs green would have been protection enough.