24 January 2013

Small Town Folk make life interesting - Addo Area

It is amazing who one meets whilst travelling.
We visited a pub in Cannonville last night - a local chap came in to the bar and spent ages sprouting at the poor barman - with many "f's" thrown into his Afrikaans and something about security, we were not quite sure what he was on about. But he was certainly very vocal and perhaps not too nice a character with too many beers under his belt! Thankfully, he left before I had to venture to the toilet!
The waiter was very friendly and chatty - it turned out that he grew up in Oudtshoorn - same as myself, although of a much younger generation.
His family moved to Port Elizabeth hence his job in the small town of  Cannonville. There are some beautiful houses along the banks of the Sundays River - most with their own jetties. Relaxed living! The pub, the bottle store and the small supermarket are all owned by one person. This seems to be a trend in these small "dorps" (towns) The waiter is hoping to travel - perhaps to Australia - I sincerely hope he is able to broaden his horizons one day as this truly is a tiny village - even worse than Oudsthoorn!!
Tonight we visited a small restaurant in Colchester called "The Juicy Canvas". Foodwise, a disaster! Apparently, the owner opened in Sept 2012 and has endured staff problems etc so our burgers were not home-made and the salad consisted of tomato and lettuce with 1 green olive. Only ice-cream and chocolate sauce was on offer for dessert so we gave that a miss. However, the waitress was very charming and apologetic about the limited choice which should all be fixed within days. One hopes so!!!! The owner, Jeni is an artist and her artwork adorns the walls of the restaurant. There are other artists on display as well. Jeni loves Addo and draws much of her inspiration from her own photo's taken in the park. She has intimate knowledge of the park which would have been handy to have BEFORE we entered!
Many will remember the horrid event in 2011 when 3 rhino were poached at Kariega Game Reserve, not to far from Colchester. One rhino died and Thandi and Themba had horrific wounds. Themba drowned but Thandi survived with medical assistance. Jeni donated a painting which raised R25,000 towards Thandi's care. A great act of kindness towards the rhino.
Jeni has also done a painting for Jacob Zuma - not sure if that is a good thing or not!!!! Hopefully, he paid with his own money and not that of the South African tax payers!!
Our hosts here in Colchester moved from France a year ago when they bought an existing B&B.  With 3 teenage children, a very brave move and we wish them well! Unfortunately, the schooling here is not as advanced as it is in France, where it is also free. Education levels in South Africa have dropped dramatically which is not in the best interests of anybody in South Africa.  They are a happy couple, full of praise for South Africans and their helpfullness. Whether they stay in SA or return  to France one day, they are making a life here for now and are still smiling!
What a variety of folk in such  a tiny place - it certainly makes travel interesting!
© Judelle Drake

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