Jun 27, 2006

STEELY-EYED WOMEN
CAPE TOWN, South Africa –  The city wraps around a working port, which delights me. I miss much of breakfast, photographing cranes and containers.

"What were you looking at?" one of my companions asks, puzzled.

"I used to live on a British narrowboat," I confess. "I have this thing for rusty hulks. Um ... shall we call it industrial chic?"

She turns and blatantly begins another conversation. About shopping.

Oh dear. Wrong answer. For this crowd, at least.

***

But I can't leave well enough alone. A few minutes later, I grab her arm. "Look at the sandwich board!"

A man strides past the hotel's conservatory, flashing a grin and a sign: "All hail Sir Richard Branson, savior of the South African people?"

"What does it mean?" I ponder.

"Who cares?" she digs at her Eggs Benedict.

One of guides puts me out of my misery. "British Airways and South African Airways just canceled the only direct route to the US," Sandra explains. "Now they're stonewalling Branson, who wants to fill the gap with Virgin. But he's fighting hard and we South Africans love him for it.

"We need the ties to the outside world, to stronger economies, for conditions to improve here."

2 comments:

  1. I would have been with you!! That container port was my first entrance into the African continent.

    I hope Virgin makes it into S.A. A bit shorter trip than 15 days on a freighter, and cheaper too.

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  2. Isn't all that rusty metal just gorgeous?

    Sigh. Wish you HAD been with me. Even if the tramp steamer days are over...

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