Karoo Roadtrip – Part 3

Finally Rain

Since my last post providing an update on the water crisis we have had loads of rain.  There was a decent rainfall on Monday night with a noticeable increase in the volume of our tank.  Then last night the rain came down hard.  There is a news report showing that in the 24 h till 8 am this morning the local area got between 18 – 30 mm of rain.

It started raining about 3:30 this morning.  The rain fell so hard it woke me up and I struggled to get back to sleep.  One of our neighbors had to pump water out of his garage.  My sister’s husband reported that their dog’s bowls had floated down their garden.  You will have to look closely but you can see tidemarks on the wall.

Cape Town rains

While all this rain is a welcome relief and was badly needed such a heavy downpour does have it’s downside.  One problem is that where plant life has struggled due to a lack of water there would have been soil erosion.  An example of this is a patch of grass near where I live.  Naturally watering grass was one of the first casualties when water restrictions were introduced and a green field has steadily turned brown.  So a lot of soil has been washed into the road.

20180426_130218

The biggest irony is that we have moved from one disaster to another.  According to a local news website 2000 people and 578 structures have been affected.  Sadly many of these will be the poorest communities, those people living in informal structures, in an area known as the Cape flats.  Many of these communities do not have running water and have to collect water from a communal tap. Some members of this community were scathing towards the wealthier communities getting stressed out by day zero.  Day zero is their reality 365 days a year.

Having said that improved rainfall should help the farmers and that is also good news for many poor people.  Low rainfall means, poor harvests, increased food prices and fewer jobs.

Overall the rain is good news for South Africa and I think heavy rain is required in order for the water to find its way to the dams.  It is unfortunate that it means misery for some.

Cape Town water crisis update

I briefly mentioned the Cape Town water crisis in February.  At the time there were a lot of stories in the international news about the possibility of Cape Town running out of water.  Things have since improved so I thought it was time for an update.

Today seemed like an appropriate time to revisit this topic because I stumbled across a blog, written in February which provided some nice details about Day zero.  Then later as part of our water saving plan I attached a new pipe to our drainpipe which diverts rainwater into the pool.  It is a flat plastic pipe which can be rolled up when not needed.  We had a thinner version but it was blown around easily and ended up full of holes.

A flexible plastic pipe attached to a drainpipe

Interestingly one of the towns I visited on my Karoo roadtrip (I will publish the final installment soon), Beaufort West, was one of the first towns whose dam ran dry.  We did not notice any problems while we were there.  It seems they now use water from boreholes and a sewerage purification plant.

The concept of Day Zero is useful to help people realise that the water crisis is serious and everyone needs to do their part although it was somewhat controversial.  Day 0 was calculated on the rate at which the dam levels were dropping and did not take into account any new water projects.  This meant that we got regular news to say day zero was pushed back.

Personally I think there was a point the government went too far with scary messages about Day 0.  News started leaking about half-formed plans for water collection sites. People started panic buying and stockpiling bottled water.  There were a few weekends where people queued for hours to buy water from the bottled water shops.  Till it emerged that most of these shops were selling filtered municipal water.

There were a few weeks where there was no bottled water on the supermarket shelves.  My mother has a few stories about arriving at the stores about the same time as the delivery trucks and managing to get a few 5 L bottles, as they were being unpacked.  I heard a story about one person who realised you could order bottled water online and ordered enough to fill their garage.  The trade in non-potable borehole water is thriving, with water delivery trucks a regular sight around Cape Town.

A truck pulling a trailer full of containers of non-potable water

Then the government went to the opposite extreme and announced that there would be no Day 0 in 2018.  Capetonians have done well with water saving and they have agreed reduced water supplies with the farmers.  The water crisis is not yet over as the tight restrictions remain.  It will take a few years of good rain to refill the dams but in the short term, hopefully the winter rains will be enough to last another summer.

 

 

 

I met a guy offline

After a nearly a year of online dating I was starting to despair of meeting anyone sensible.  There was Import-export guy who showed so much potential and then ghosted.  This was never going to be the last ghosting.  Then there were a few examples of a nice guy but no chemistry.  Then most unexpectedly, I met someone in an offline setting.

I debated even going to the funeral on the Friday.  I had a lot of work to do and I was not sure it was really necessary, especially when it it seemed my sister wasn’t going.  She arrived after the service with her kids.  I knew it was right that Mom should go and the deceased came to Dad’s funeral.

Both Mom and some friends we went with, commented on the fact that the sons cheered up a lot when they saw me.  They told me later that they used to look forward to coming round to our house.  My sister and I were a lot more fun than the children of their Dad’s other good friend.  With hindsight I guess there were additional reasons why the older son cheered up.  I will call him IT guy.

I can’t explain why I asked for his number as we were leaving.  I thought it would be nice to stay in touch and I could not find either son on facebook.  I knew Mom had the email address of the younger brother.  IT guy messaged later in the evening to make sure that we go home safely.  He also thanked us for staying late.  I think it made the situation easier for both sons.

On the Saturday Mom went on a mission to dig out some old photos and I ended up taking photos of a few and sending them to IT guy.  He thought most of the photos of him were embarrassing and laughed at one of his brother.  He mentioned that they were going up Table Mountain on Monday night and this would be followed by a meal.  Would I like to join them.  We had strawberry daiquiris and watched the sunset.  It was a lovely evening.

The following day he returned to Dubai but the messaging continued.  It became more flirty and within a few days he made it clear that he was interested in more than just friendship.  It turns out that he has fancied me since we were kids.  So much for my determination to find someone in Cape Town and avoid another relationship by text.

 

Stress related sillyness

It was one of those days where things kept going wrong and in the end I just had to laugh at myself and my ability stress myself out.

Last week one of the project funders requested a meeting in response to our request for an extension.  Of course the boss then asked for a presentation detailing the work to date.  I always find this kind of situation stressful which is not helped by the fact that I am feeling very insecure about how the project is going.  The plan was to put the finishing touches to the presentation and send it first thing this morning.  I drove all the way to work only to discover that I had left my laptop at home.

The reason for being distracted when I left the house starts over the weekend and the new guy.  I will call him IT guy.  I finally started my post about how we met on Sunday.  By the evening I was starting to feel insecure about publishing because I had not heard from IT guy since the Friday evening.  In all honesty that should not really have been an issue, based on what I know of his schedule and where the relationship is.  Nonetheless memories of other ghostings started to haunt me, not to mention messaging issues marking the beginning of the end with Import-export guy.

So take stress about work, mix it with stress about IT guy and add the stress about not feeling in the mood to work on this blog and by the evening you end up with one nervous wreck.  I tried to distract myself but I kept watching the clock waiting for a message.  One thing I have decided, in a similar way to Guy 0 and Import-export guy, I am probably getting too committed to soon.

So I was very bemused to wake up this morning and find that I had a received a few messages last night including from IT guy at a fairly sensible hour.  There could have been a technology blip but I think it is mostly likely that I was so wound up I forgot to actually check my phone occasionally.  Still not sure how I managed to plug the phone into the charger without noticing I had messages.

So this morning my head was spinning with the idea that I let myself get so stressed him not messaging that I missed his message.  That my evening would have been much nicer if we had traded a few messages.  That last year’s ghostings may have affected me more than I realise.

So I decided to grab a decent cup of coffee and a sheet of paper I needed before heading home.  I managed to leave my access card at the coffee shop and had to go back.  I joked with my colleges about a 90 min round trip for a sheet of paper.  They laughed at me when I had to come back for it and told me to be very careful driving home.

On the drive home my thoughts turned to the fact that I bumped into a college at the coffee shop and she sent me a WhatsApp about my access card before another round of panic set in.  That helped me to focus on all the other positives in my life and reminded me that I am more than capable of dealing with this meeting with the funder.

We won’t mention that when I got home I tried to put the coffee cup into an overflowing bin and then had to clean up the spillage. Lol.

Karoo Roadtrip – Part 2

Introduction

I have now set-up an Instagram account to go with this blog although I am still figuring out how best to use Instagram.

I started this as a dating blog but I don’t have many dating stories right now so I thought I would share some details from my recent trip.  Having said that the story behind the trip is relevant to my dating story.  A few months ago I wrote about how a typo with ‘u’ in place of ‘I’ really upset me because I took it to mean the guy I was interested in, at the time, was telling me I needed to get a life.  I realised that I was relying too much on online dating to fill a gap and decided it was time to find other ways to be sociable, which is why this trip happened.

Days 1 and 2 of the Roadtrip

Visiting the Karoo is one of the less well-known tourist options but it is defiantly worth it if you have the time.  It is a semi-desert the size of Germany and makes up a large part of South Africa’s interior.  It is comprised of the Great Karoo and the Klein (small) Karoo.  We used the 4 days over Easter to visit part of the Klein Karoo.

We set out on the Thursday evening after work.  A series of delays and bad planning meant that we got stuck in the Easter traffic going through the Huguenot Tunnel.  We stopped at the Dam Diner and Bar in Worcester for a rest and food and finally arrived in Laingsburg very late.

A shelf full of interesting plates and crockery
We stayed in the rather quaint Laingsburg Country Hotel

After a late breakfast, the next day, we headed for the Karoo National Park.  The Park had a fascinating fossil walk and we were particularly intrigued to find fossils older than the Dinosaurs.  To fully appreciate the park you need a 4×4 because most routes are not accessible by regular cars.  Even the roads deemed suitable for a car were mostly dirt roads and rather bumpy.  Nonetheless the views were spectacular and we managed to spot various animals, mostly various antelope and even a few zebra.

SAMSUNG CAMERA PICTURES

We spent the night in a lovely guest house in Beaufort West, which is just outside the park.  Karoo lamb was the must for our evening meal.  The following morning we took the scenic walk round town looking at various historic buildings.  This included the birthplace of Christiaan Barnard, the first heart surgeon.  We then headed for Prince Albert which is a small dot on the map and were pleasantly surprised by this charming Karoo town.  After a brief stop it was time to take on the Swartberg Pass, deemed one of the most spectacular drives in South Africa.  The drive up the pass was a little scary as much of the road was only wide enough for one car and there were some very tight turns.  Fortunately there were not many cars and most of them were pretty good about passing.  Equally impressive was when we neared the far side of the pass and could see the valley on the other side.  It was very green compared to the dry and rocky landscape we had been driving through.

A view of mountains near the top of the pass
The Swartberg Pass

After crossing the pass we headed for Oudtshoorn.  The main Oudtshoorn points of interest are the Cango Caves and Ostrich Farms.  So of course we had to have some Ostrich.  Then on to Calitzdorp another small town or ‘dorp’ and our stop for the night.

Useful Websites

http://www.karoo-information.co.za/routes

http://karoospace.co.za/category/beginners-karoo/

https://www.theguardian.com/travel/2016/mar/17/alternative-city-guide-the-karoo-south-africa-holidays