Yesterday was Valentine’s Day. It was also the day that South African President Jacob Zuma gave his State of the Nation speech in Parliament. No connection for me, of course, since love and Zuma do not go together in any way. But wait! Turns out there was a connection after all – an unpleasant, taxing and stressful one that ruined the evening for a helluva lot of people in the greater Cape Town area, including me.
Our parliament is in the centre of Cape Town (the legislative capital of the country). For the politicians and dignitaries to arrive and leave in a secure environment and with no other traffic on the roads to impede them, many roads were closed off. Not just in the vicinity of the centre of town, but for about a 20 km radius extending way out across the southern suburbs. The resulting traffic jams were like something out of a postmodern vision of hell. South Africans in general tend to be impatient and arrogant drivers (rules of the road? what rules? or, even sometimes, what road?) and the hold-ups put many people to the ultimate test of composure.
To cut a long story short, our Valentine’s evening involved spending over three hours in the car (in my own suburb!) trying to find a restaurant that wasn’t full of happy couples doing their thing. Seems that Rob and I are the only people in Cape Town who are too slack to actually make a booking for the 14th! (Serves us right, I know, I know). The only place that could have taken us had an outside table, in the wind right next to the pulse of the traffic jam on Main Road. Plus it was full of students. Oy.
Ended up with cheese on toast for supper, in front of the tv. Old Showerhead was still on SABC1 speechifying away. Thank goodness for MNet.
To be continued…