Almost end-April 2020, the Easter Weekend has come and gone. Eerily quiet as our superb sun-drenched white sand beach, normally packed with locals and international visitors enjoying the balmy late South African summer, are now… deserted without a soul to be seen!
Diana and I are lucky to be perched on the 8th floor of our apartment block with a view of the mountain and superb white beach. The novelty of observing a very desolate beach from up high has dissipated somewhat, bittersweet shall we say. Beach Boulevard has none of the usual morning traffic with folks from Melkbos and Big Bay making their daily commute to the Cape Town metro.
Our National Lockdown has been extended till the end of April. This news was not unexpected... Our hope would be for normality to resume soon but realistically we (all of us) need to be cognisant of the fact that we (all of us) are currently riding a storm that threatens many vulnerable persons worldwide. We adhere to lock-down instructions not for ourselves but for others!
We echo the sentiments of Michael Moore who admonished a small percentage of people worldwide and especially in his native United States for protesting their loss of ‘civil liberties’ and freedom of movement. I shake my head as I watch a protesting woman complaining vociferously that her right to go wherever she likes and “get my hair done”, have been in some way compromised, that she is a victim of some sort. What a microcosm our lives have become when the millions of people, many on her own doorstep, are suffering and struggling.
“Stupid is as Stupid does” (Forest Gump) …
The good news however was received on Thursday evening, 23 April, nationally. The current lockdown restrictions, experienced over these past 5 weeks, will be gradually lifted allowing some economic activity and movement, exercising outdoors etc.
Back up to the 8th floor and a little bit of our own lunacy. We donned our helmets and played a YouTube clip, straddled a couple of unsuspecting chairs, grabbed a few equally unsuspecting kitchen implements and rode ‘Meiringspoort Pass’!!! Yes, the guttural engine note of a v-twin and parallel twin was heard echoing through the pass, beautifully rendered a-cappella style, loads of fun but once again ‘bittersweet’!
Across South Africa many stories are being told of wildlife moving a lot more freely through the villages, towns and even cities… In Simonstown, a historical naval town (est. 1680) has the penguins moving freely around town as never before. In Kruger National Park, lions are seen enjoying the warmth of tarmac roads around the major rest camps. Similar sightings of Hippo wandering around St Lucia (iSimangaliso wetlands) and Hazyview.
The very good lockdown news is that the W.H.O. (World Health Organisation) has applauded South Africa on taking decisive steps as soon as the extent of the pandemic became evident. As our internal restictions abate, we look forward to welcoming guests on tour again. Our borders will open soon enough allowing flights to land at Johannesburg’s O.R. Tambo International and Cape Town International airports... keep safe all.
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