Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Feeefaaa {Fo Fum} ....





***12 paragraphs long***
{I am leaving this post up for a while as I am sending my pc in for repairs this week & it could take a while so if you're short on time you could read this post in 3 0r 4 installments}


I came across this post while reading Lynette's blog so hopped on over... Here is the offical Fifa Destinations site for you to peruse, but more specifically this is the area with which I am more familiar, 4 years down the line...I'm not sure if it's the same everywhere else in the world, but here in South Africa there is definitely a code of conduct & certain things you do & don't do {based on your own personal safety - our local township of Kwamashu apparently having THE highest murder rate in the world} & cops & robbers getting played out in the city & surrounds on a weekly basis.

First up let's take a quick look at the Profile:-The "golden mile" of beaches - we relaxed on one on our very first weekend in Durbs 4 years ago & lost everything:- credit cards & cash {all we had} even though we wrapped it all in Cami's little hat & buried it in the sand under our towel {clearly evil eyes were watching...}. We know now that you DO NOT take A THING to the beach that cannot go into the water with you &, better still, you take a "guard" in the form of an extra person {like me lol} who doesn't mind not swimming & frolicking, to be on permanent possession watch. This is an easy one to learn but costs a lot in your first loss & would definitely RUIN a holiday.

There are certain safer beaches such as Umhlanga & Suncoast
{where you pay a small fee for your peace of mind & that keeps the criminal element down} but YOU NEED TO KNOW ABOUT THEM & that takes years of mixing with the locals & hearing everything "via the grapevine" because times have changed a lot in 20 odd years & crime has increased aplenty...


Next up:- The Moses Mabhida Stadium


It is absolutely beautiful, breathtaking...a total feat of engineering...although the only photograph I could find of it was this, which I don't think is actually a photograph - looks more like an artist's impression to me, as there is no way you can get a photograph of the stadium looking like this IMO, as this looks like an aerial shot as opposed to a side-on shot. I drive past it regularly from this side & don't think there is any possible way that you would see the sea this close up in the same frame. One could be forgiven for thinking that the stadium was virtually on the beach - separated only by some lovely green rolling lawn!
I could go on about the big question of whether or not this was money well spent, bearing in mind that HIV+ victims here need to have a CD4 count of below 200 - meaning they already have full-blown AIDS before they qualify for affordable {or free under special circumstances} ARV's, but, as I said, I'm not even going to go there...


Now to "the Facts":- Average Durban Temperatures are 16 - 25 degrees all year round - apparently!!! Perhaps this is factual based on Kwa-Zulu Natal {in other words the entire far-flung province} temperatures all year round. Summer here runs from about November to April so by June {when the World Cup is taking place} temperatures are definitely cooler - but don't be fooled, this place is HOT. HOT beyond anything I have ever experienced in my life...and, during the long summer months, temperatures are easily over 3o degrees {32 degrees today for example - & the weather reports tell you to add 5 - 10 degrees for humidity...serious humidity...so I am surprised to say the least, that the average temperature range is 16 - 25 degrees, sounds idyllic & it most definitely is NOT!!!} Bearing in mind that the inland {as opposed to the coastal} areas are a lot cooler & less humid & the fact that temperatures do drop in winter, but generally not to anything much below 10 degrees this could be correct, but the stadium where the matches are taking place is very much coastal & humidity is a way of life here, even in the cooler months, except perhaps for those born & bred here who are acclimatized. 4 years on & I feel it daily...even in the winter...

This would most certainly affect my choice of accomodation & air-conditioning is ESSENTIAL here - it would be nice if these "touristy" websites could actually tell the WHOLE story...offer up safety advice & realistic precautions against the crime that is a way of life here, aswell as sensible tips concerning the climate here, that is indeed the best in South Africa, but that is not saying a lot, as many parts of South Africa experience regular awful weather similar to the UK, the entire Cape Province for example.

Now onto the funniest:- "48 hours in..." This is part of your itinerary:-"Spend your morning dining in one of the restaurants along the beach. Afterwards, a tempting option will be to take a walk along the beach while experiencing the beauty that this city has to offer. This will also afford you time to explore the beachfront Promenade." Tempting as it may be, I certainly would never advise it in the city...in the northern suburbs fine...but along the main beaches definitely not...

"exploring the beachfront Promenade"
is exactly what I did when I first arrived 4 years ago & in BROAD DAYLIGHT a man walked straight up to me & wrestled my cellphone OUT OF MY HAND & ran off with it, in full view of everyone. I phoned the Police, who told me they had run out of papers so it would not be possible for me to file a report...The reason I was on the phone in the first place was because I HAD just spent the morning dining in one of the restaurants along the beach...only to return to find my car doors wide open & my steering wheel on my seat with my dashboard ripped open & all the wires pulled out!

More sage advice follows:- "Suitably refreshed, spend the rest of the day shopping at world-class stores at The Gateway Theatre Of Shopping or the Pavilion Shopping Centre - or visit the numerous markets in and around the city. As evening falls it's time to think of food and partying. Durban has a wide choice when it comes to both. If you're not sure what you fancy for supper, get yourself over to Florida Road, Durban's restaurant row (with a few nightspots thrown in for good measure). Here, trendy eateries and pavement caf├ęs offer something for all tastes. The SunCoast Casino, Sibaya Casino also offer nice restaurants and places for nightlife."

Boy you are certainly going to have a busy time & spend a fortune on taxis, going from the centre of town out to Gateway or the Pavillion Shopping Centres & then back into town again for dinner, especially if you "pop off" to Sibaya, about 20 km's from town bwahahahaha!!! As for visiting the "numerous" markets in or around the city - In my 4 years here I don't know of any that you are going to find operating at any time {unless they change their schedules especially for the event} I have a strong suspicion that they are referring to the central town markets that cater to the lower classes selling fruits & vegetables, etc & are DEFINITELY not an advisable place to visit with a handbag over your shoulder & earrings in your ears or a gold chain around your neck...nooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo!!!

Florida Road is great, but in this day & age one needs to be SENSIBLE & AWARE in such an area...avoid the "spilling out onto the pavement" appeal unless you want street children & beggars constantly hassling you & be VERY CAREFUL with your vehicle {visitors would be better off using taxis than hiring vehicles - not sure what the procedure is if said vehicle is stolen - something that has happened to just about every person I have ever met in this province} & even more careful when it comes to appr
oaching your vehicle & ensuring that you are always in a group & in a well-lit area & have your wits about you...too much alcohol is soooooo not a good idea under the circumstances.

The absolutely funniest, most ludicrous suggestion of all is this "Then the afternoon should be dedicated to more adventure. And, there is no better place for that than the Drakensberg or uKhahlamba, as it is known by the Zulu-speaking people from Durban. As the night dawns, make your way back to near township like uMlazi and look for the nearest ‘sheeben' or a ‘tarven' where you will spend your evening.
"

You're looking at a 200km drive EACH WAY to get to the Drakensberg so you are going to need one loooooooooooooooooooong afternoon!!!!!! And anyone absolutely insane enough to spend their evening in a "tarven" {???!!!} which should read "tavern" / shabeen {read local beerhall} - the closest possible to a township such as Umlazi - read "high-density housing area catering to the masses" - IMO has a high chance of it being their last...




4 comments:

Vicki said...

I think I'll be giving this event a miss, thanks! LOL

Helen Tilbury said...

New Zealand are playing after a 28 year break apparently so you should come! None of the matches are in Durbs though but rather in the other provinces!

Lynette said...

LOL! Now if they had to read your version...nobody would come and that would be no good...Yes?

Helen Tilbury said...

No...I think that the public should be honestly informed & there are still ways to very much enjoy Durban without risking one's life at inner city markets & shabeens...very short-sighted to only think of getting people here - rather we should be thinking about getting people here & ensuring they want to return, which means doing our best to educate them on safety & appropriate behaviour so that they stay alive with all their possessions in tact. We were clueless when we first arrived here - due to all the tourism brochure suggestions such as these - & suffered 7 instances of crime in 6 months as a result. Looking back God really protected us because we did such {retrospectively} STUPID things - but we didn't know better - WHY? Because nobody told us...