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Reports

Monday, 8 October 2001
--> Tamboerskloof, Cape Town (SA)

My hosts took me around town today, showing me the white beaches until life frooze for a second - not only because of some cold water, but also after seeing this old couple on the street.

The night got tensed, as I became angry because of the aggressive tones of my host Ludo. But anger never stays long when it is talked about.

I had morning breakfast at the Saasveld Lodge, where my hosts Ludo Van Oostende and his wife Juanita had dropped me off for the night.

In my room I was amazed by the view I had on central Cape Town as the sun rose up the sky. I was really in the middle of this historic city and had a view upon the Table Mountain, which just looks like a frozen wave of sandstone, ready to cover the complete city. Thrilling!

As enthusiastic Ludo was in meeting me, even more enthusiastic he was about showing me around town. And if I say enthusiastic, I mean very enthusiastic!

He drove me in his car through the neck of Table Mountain where we visited the popular Camps Bay, where I walked along the white beach with Juanita and where I was foolish enough to almost freeze off my toes in the cold cold water.

South Africa is at its coastline surrounded by two oceans: the cold Atlantic (coming from the south pole) on the east side and the tropical Indian Ocean on the east side. Somewhere south of the Cape Town bays those two oceans meet. They say that is why the water is colder on the Cape Town (western) side, than along the rest of the coastlines towards the east.

We drank soda at the Sandbar along the busy beach road and read the latest worldnews in the newspaper while the sun was desperately trying to hit everybody with its bright layers.

From Camps Bay we drove along the coastline towards the town area again, passing the wealthy areas as Anchor Bay and Mouille Point and ended up at the Waterfront.

All these places I mentioned here are places with high class apartments, comparable with the Spanish Marbella, the French Saint Tropez or the Italian San Remo. No other places on this world could compete with its wealth and high prices of accommodation.

We had a walk through Long Street, an old and nicely preserved Victorian mainroad through the central area of Cape Town. The street is full of backpacker lodges, internet cafés and coffee corners.

Ludo treated me on a lunch in Trisha’s, a very popular but small little tavern in the city centre.

After the chicken curry meal Ludo dropped me off at the Newspaper House where the Cape Argus newspaper is located and where two reporters were figurative fighting to have an interview with me.

I must say it is hard to enter any building in South Africa. I have experienced it almost everywhere. First I had to register myself at the reception desk, where my appointment had to be confirmed. From here I go to the security desk, where I have to fill out a paper slip stating me name, phonenumber (none for privacy reasons), company (none) and person I was going to meet. I even have to say if I carry any weapon with me. When the slip is signed I get a plastic card and I am allowed to enter.

But I now know that ‘they are not liable if anything happens with me during the visit, however they will protect me as stated in the law’.

The first person asking me over won of course, so Lauren Kansley asked me all kinds of questions about my project and the journeys I had. She got more and more intrigued in the story and even told me that she might invite me over at her place and have her mother cook a delicious South African meal for the whole family and me. That is always nice!

After the interview I got back with Ludo again and drove to the Waterfront where he wanted to buy me a ticket to have me sailed to the Robben Island, for over 400 years a historic place of banishment, exile, isolation and imprisonment.

But the last boat had already left without me, so Ludo bought me a ticket for the 11 o’clock boat of tomorrow morning.

While licking ice cream we strolled around the Waterfront, a sprawling area of malls, restaurants and movie theaters. It is interesting to walk through this international cultural melting pot.

I had another nice incident here. A street band was playing funky jazz music and it occurred to me how public life suddenly paused at that spot. It wasn’t because of the musicians, but all eyes where on an elderly couple dancing on the avenue.

Motorcyclists pulled over, people stopped walking and everybody was deeply touched by the joy of this couple dancing together. Everybody was confronted with the love this couple shared and the pleasure they have in life.

Public life was just put on hold for a moment. If I ever make it to that age I hope to be on a boulevard and dance on the music of a street band too.

The afternoon was ending and while Ludo was helping out Juanita with real estate business in their office I had a little nap on a borrowed mattress, places on the empty livingroom floor.

This night we ate out, like Ludo and Juanito do every night, and enjoyed spicy chickens at a Nando’s restaurant.

To get a bit more personal here, I had some difficult conversations with Ludo. I already noticed it yesterday night: Ludo is a very aggressive talker. And with aggressive I mean: very deeply involved in his saying and just looking very distressed with every single word.

We were in a discussion about things that try to make life so much easier, like the South African Mr. Delivery. You order your meals from a book and you get it delivered to your house.

Ludo found that the most brainless thing on earth. I just thought it helps for those who like to eat delivered food.

If there is a Mr. Delivery, there probably also is demand for it.

But a little fly became an elephant and it occurred to me that my relativation was taken so seriously that his responses to any of my opinions were starting to feel insulting to me. Like I am the most redicilous person on earth to get myself involved in Mr. Delivery. Hello!

I got angry at Ludo, especially as he did’t let me or his wife finish our own talking and always had to overrule his opinion. At one moment I slammed my glass on the table and asked for attention.

“Now listen to me, Ludo! There is absolutely no way to become so high-tempered to me about a little thing as a Mr. Delivery or anything like that discussion if you cannot except my opinon or anybody elses. And your aggressive attitude is absolutely no approach to treat any guest of yours!”

Ludo was silenced and didn’t understand me. I decided to go out and smoke a cigarette. I had to because he really touched my senses there.

He later admitted that he is a very aggressive talker, he gets heavily involved in any single sentence, but “I don’t mean it aggressive. That is just how I am,” he said.

“But why do you make such a big issue of any comment going against anything you say, then?” I asked. He looked up with a sight of ‘do I?’
“You don’t let both of us finish what we say or you have to jump on it. I am not having a pleasant evening like this at all! I feel like I should not say anything to avoid deep discussions that are about totally nothing!”

Yep. I was angry.

Juanita had a talk with him and told him to cool down in his talking.

“I think the whole world is rotten. If I could I’d live on a remote island!” he said.
“You can say that, but that is your opinion,” I said. “But you just need to respect opinions of others. And than you do something called communication.”

After he and I had a talk about this seriously puffed up situation, he understood that not everybody is that hard on life as he is. Some people have senses and he was going to watch his attitude from now on.

I don’t want to correct people at all, but someway I felt most uncomfortable during this dinner. It was unpleasant and offensive how he was talking. Everybody is allowed to say his thing on our planet, but use the head too, not only the mouth.

I am not in a conflict with Ludo anymore (before I get emails about this...). We both got to understand each other better as we talked about it.

He learned to have just a little bit more respect to other people during conversations and I learned a little bit more about the differences between people.

This night I slept on the mattress on the living room floor, pretty tired of this evenings’ event. But tomorrow will be overwhelming too, I guess, as I’ll visit the Robben Island.

Good night Tamboerskloof!

Ramon.




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