'Agree With Everything - Deny Nothing - Embellish All

Saturday, August 06, 2005

Nature versus Nurture: The West Coast of South Africa Part One

For the last 4 days mesel and RW and our mates Scouse African Steve (SAS) and his Minder Jane (MJ) have been touring the West Coast of South Africa in search of ‘the Daisy’. When I say ‘Daisy’ I actually mean millions and millions of daisies. For a few weeks at this time of the year, after the first rains of the Cape Spring the desert blooms. Wordsworth would have had problems writing Daffodils if he’d seen this lot first. The first hurdle was that we were perhaps a couple of weeks early and second they’d had the wrong sort of rain. In addition the infrastructure is not good: few towns, few roads (quite a lot of them sand or dirt) and to be fair the locals make little attempt to exploit the ‘wild flowers’. You can actually drive past what appears to be a ‘sand expanse’ or a huge field full of ‘a crop’ without realising that the crop is actually miles and miles of wild flowers.

The wild west coast of SA- a strip approx 700 miles long by 150 miles is sparsely populated and badly developed. Interesting sentence? … wild west….badly. I was going to change badly to poorly but … the natural beauty of the place: beaches, deserts, mountains, sunrises, sunsets…. Happily overawes what man has done and sort of makes you blind to the pylons, fish-factories, steelworks and cement plant. OK there may be only one steelworks … but it’s a big one, somehow in a threatened sandveld bio-diversity park. Although it looks a little like the Taj Mahal – it isn’t!

The Scouse African Steve and Minder Jane were determined to pay us back for the use of our house and the trip to the Wild West was the answer and we had to pack in everything on offer for the 4 days we could get at their time share at the Port Owen development at Veldsdrift (population 8432) .. fish factory… 1 hotel…. 3 very bad fish restaurants….. the Cerebos Salt factory and a coffee bar. SAS organised a bird watching river trip with Jonnijester, a coloured guy who spoke impeccable English and sported a fake gold Rolex. His employee - ‘Skipper’ was a white Afrikaaner (yes this is the new South Africa) spoke no English and had no fingers on his left hand… probably lost stopping that fan thing at the back of the boat ..suggested SAS. Skipper Andy's one contribution to the trip was, to sort of wave his stump in the direction of about a 1000 obvious flamingos.

There's more - Les Delices of the SA West Coast - there are none! and 'Nana' .... just wait while I draw breath.


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