End of an era

I’ve been going to the same hairdressing place for several (or more) years now. But no more.
The service has been slipping a bit for a while – nothing really bad – just not as good as it was.
And in retrospect, while the signs were there, I kept going along because there was no one thing that was bad enough to warrant moving elsewhere.

Until today.

A mess up with the online booking system. My stylist running so late that they called me over an hour ahead of time to make another arrangement. But then my original guy was free the entire time I was there and the new guy they gave me was running 20 minutes late. The lady washing my hair fresh in from her smoke break so her breath and hands smelt of fags. The new guy trying to sell me stuff the whole time – NOT FROM THE SALON – FROM HIS HAIRDRESSING SIDE HUSTLE. This included (but was not limited to) prescription drugs that he gets “direct from the supplier”.

Breaking off regularly from his work to chat with colleagues, friends, a passing spaniel called Keith. Michael Jackson’s worst hits (Invincible (2001)) loudly on the music system. A rather poor haircut.

Thankfully, I have the good looks to carry it off.

Wax instead of gel. Rushing me out so he could get his next client in just 15 minutes late.

Ms Fag Hands and the actual haircut itself were enough grounds to find somewhere else but overall the whole experience was just horrible today. I couldn’t wait to get out and I can’t wait not to go back.

I think once you’ve worked in a service industry and dealt with the public, you understand that not everything is going to go right 100% of the time. But you still do your best. You’re still professional, right?
And I’m really not a needy customer. I just want the basics done right, and I know from personal experience that that salon can do it.

Or… it could.

Onward and upward. But just not there.

Somewhere else.

Meridian Coffee Error

Spotted online recently, this:

…which really made my geographical OCD senses tingle.

What? A mildly blurred image of a disposable takeaway coffee cup?

Well, yes. But one which has come from the Greenwich Coffee Company in Greenwich Turkey, and one upon which the 0o Prime Meridian very definitely doesn’t go through Greenwich.

Or Turkey.

In fact, their 0o Prime Meridian is actually very much 18o.


And, if you choose to ignore Stockholm (but then again, why would you?), then the only other major city on this line is right here: Cape Town. Quite why a business choosing to name itself after the accepted home of the Prime Meridian (since 1884, at least) has chosen to put the Prime Meridian going nowhere near… well… the Prime Meridian, is a little baffling.

And it gets even more confusing when you look at the decor in one of their outlets:

What now?!? Another Prime Meridian, this time again ostensibly at 0o, but actually sitting somewhere about 6o east of the actual Greenwich Meridian*, despite the big orange lettering suggesting otherwise.

But maybe there are other clues on that wall. Ireland being joined to Wales and Scotland. New Zealand only having one island. Hudson Bay being Hudson Lake. The easterly migration of Rwanda and Tanzania. And the misspelling of Guatemala.

Perhaps it’s just that they’re not actually very bothered about geographical accuracy. And I guess that’s fine, as long as they are putting a bit more effort into their products and their service. And they do get 5 stars on their one review on Tripadvisor, and that despite the coffee being rubbish:

So the only coffee they bought was crap, but they gave it 5 stars and titled their review: “Coffee [yummy, licking lips emoji]”. This place really is confusing.

For me though, it’s just a bit disappointing that I’m not going to be able to stick a straight bit of metal on my patio and then charge tourists a hefty fee to take photos of themselves standing astride it.

Perhaps I should be considering a campaign – potentially fronted by the Greenwich Coffee guys – to move the Greenwich Meridian to Cape Town. For a while, at least.
Just while they use up the last stock of that bulk order of geographically incorrect takeaway cups, and I get to make some decent money from the temporary rehoming of the big North-South line, thus paying for the therapy I will need from having had to see it come through here anyway.

What a load of BS

I’m not planning to go into the city centre today, and that’s a good thing, because parked up in the harbour right next to that city centre (and right next to the Cruise Terminal, nogal!) is the Al Kuwait: a 190m, 16,110Mt livestock carrier owned by Croatian company Korkyra Shipping and stopping over from Rio Grande in Brazil as she heads east.

And she stinks.

According to Marine Traffic, the Al Kuwait is currently reporting a draught of 8.8m, which means that she is fully laden with livestock. This amounts to 23,474m2 of cattle. That’s about 50,000 studio apartments worth of space. And so it’s no wonder the residents of the CBD are up in arms over the whole situation – it’s not just about the smell, it’s clearly pure jealousy about all that extra space, as well.

Pity help the passengers of the Azamara Pursuit

…who have paid a ridiculous amount of money to sail into the Mother City and experience the fresh, clean Cape air, only to be parked next to this stinking floating farm truck (seen here under her previous moniker, Ocean Shearer – named after the Newcastle United football star’s daughter):

And now social media is alive with the cries of people desperate for the SPCA to board the vessel and check on the wellbeing of the 23,474m2 of cattle, as if this were the first time that a livestock carrier has ever docked in SA.

There are dead, decomposing animals on board

suggested one commenter, with absolutely no evidence whatsoever.

Aren’t human beings just the worst?

decried another keyboard warrior, who only found out that cows went on ships when a smelly boat parked up near her flat last night, but now thinks that the entire thing is terrible and must stop immediately.

Which is all fine, but is also such a kneejerk reaction which you can bet will likely be forgotten by tomorrow, by which time the Al Kuwait will be well on her way to her next port of call, taking her stench with her.

Bit of a moan – Pt.1

Part 2 may follow tomorrow. It may not.

But I’m fully aware that this is a moan. It even says so in the title. I’m not expecting anything to happen about this moan, although it would be nice (and really weird) if anything did.
Sometimes you just need to have a bit of a moan. Get things off your chest. This is one of those times.

Tourism. The lifeblood of the summer economy in Cape Town. Love them or hate them, tourists are plentiful and vital to keeping this country going.
This isn’t the first time I have lived in a tourist heavy city. I was in Oxford for almost a decade and that gets ridiculous numbers thanks to its proximity to London (and the whole of Europe). It’s also about 30 times smaller than Cape Town, so things can get very chaotic very quickly there.

Locally, comparative statistics are a bit difficult to gauge at the moment given the effects of the recent pandemic, but it does seem like the numbers of visitors this year will break all the previous records for people arriving to enjoy all that the Mother City has to offer.

I absolutely recognise the need for tourism as a valuable contributor to our economy.
But that doesn’t mean that I have to like it.

Still, as with any touristy place, if you avoid the touristy areas, you can avoid the tourists.

Just about…

There are two particular tourist “attractions” here that are seemingly unavoidable, incredibly intrusive and make life all a bit crap for the local residents.

The first is the Red Bus. Yep. I know you get them everywhere and they are a lot of fun. I’ve even done a couple of tours with the kids myself. But wow. Things have exploded recently. I mean, not literally, but…
Our roads are made for getting people from one place to another. When those roads are populated by any number of big red buses going around their two routes – here’s a shot from their “live bus tracker”:

Ah Jesus…

And of course they are deliberately driving at 20kph to give the visitors a nice leisurely view of the city and surrounds: on our suburban roads with 60 or 80kph limits. It causes a lot of congestion and a lot of frustration. Hugely disproportionate to the number of tourists actually using the service.

But that’s really nothing compared to the helicopter tours. Sure, they don’t cause traffic jams or delays, but could there be a more invasive, less eco-friendly way to annoy the local population? When the weather is good, there are no fires and the tourist season is on, we can get one every few minutes, coming over our back garden at (at best) a couple of hundred metres.

I’m not sure at what point the repeated noise, irritation, disturbance and greenhouse gas emissions:

would constitute a “hazard” as in (2)(a) there per se, but wow, if you not only want to have a look at the mountain, but also piss off everyone in the Southern Suburbs while you’re at it, then a helicopter flight is absolutely the way to do it.

Ironically, there’s one going over the house right now as I type, but then, that’s not very unusual.

There is even the double whammy, whereby you can book both these excursions on one single site.
A veritable synergy of local infuriation, at a discount price.
Who wouldn’t go for it?
No, I’m not providing a link.

So. Moan over. Did it turn into more of a rant? Does it even matter? Will it make any difference?

I’m off for a nap. If I can keep the noise out.

Lily QP

I’m hopefully somewhere up in the hot, dry North, so here’s a moister, more verdant image from a beagle walk last weekend:

For all that the weather is on the turn, Cape Town is still pretty soggy underfoot. The beagle went knee deep into the mud, but that was ok, because we didn’t take my car down to the Green Belt for our wander.