Hostage Taking (not really exactly)

P: The first time was at the public bathroom at Muizenberg Beach.  The bathroom locks from the outside.  Apparently you are supposed to tell the security guy that you are going to the bathroom first so that he can let you out when you are done.  Really its code for slipping him a few RAND.  Everyone has to make a living.  But Dictator Patriarch, accidentally trying to save a buck, snuck in and got locked in.  Captive in a public toilet in South Africa. Priceless.

The second time: Sara’s new friend told the two Dictators about a concert being put on to benefit a young fashion designer.  It sounded very Holt Renfrew and they were totally into it until they realized the township where the concert would take place happened to be right next to Mitchel Plains – an off limit area that everyone warned them about.  I (Predator) pushed Herself to go in spite of the proximity to supposed trouble.  I was relentless.  She was being such a baby that when they drove past the place on the first pass she even suggested they call it a night, drive home and go to bed but at that point Sean put his foot down.  They had come this far after all.  I told her to get over herself and to remember that poverty isn’t a crime.

Me again.  I need some way to differentiate from Predator (besides my more refined approach to writing).  Maybe I will use colour.  The concert hall was an old farm house.    At night, it looked menacing with only a bit of light leaking out of a creaky front door.   It sat in the middle of  a dark  field or industrial zone – who could tell? It was pitch black by the time we got there but I knew too well that somewhere, lurking just around any corner, was the forbidden Mitchel Plains.  I was never going to park at the end of the long line of cars only to have to walk across an unlit lot so I suggested we park right in front of the door.  Reluctantly Sean agreed. Once inside, the vibe was immediately friendly and I instantly felt at ease.   This was an intimate gathering of about 100 people.   It was warm and jubilant and we soon saw why — or heard why. There were about a half a dozen performers ranging in age from late teens to mid twenties.  They stepped sheepishly onto the modest the stage.   One said, “I don’t talk too much, I just sing.”  Another, “This is really cool, seeing so many people.”  The next, “Thank you mom for making me come here.” And with enthusiastic and loving applause the first timers belted out song after song after song each of which left us speechless.  Their proud parents and relatives, and their happy bouncing siblings, cheered them on. It was really sweet.

P: I laughed out loud at the Dictators as they tried to keep the beat. HA HA HA HAHAAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHAHHAHAHAHHAHHAHAHHAH. Wow.  And they were in the front row. Too funny.  Why would they choose to sit in the front row? Duh.

It was sweet and awesome at the same time.  I realized, amidst this sea of people, that many of them probably came from that forbidden place around the corner.  I realized that Mitchel Plains is a place with people, most of whom obviously don’t want anything to do with the horrendous criminal acts that take place there.  Before the concert it had been to me, just a bad place to never EVER visit either deliberately or accidentally.  I forgot that dangerous places aren’t  anonymous.  They aren’t faceless.  They are inhabited.  I am embarrassed — it’s not like this is a profound revelation and I feel ashamed even typing such a basic thing down, but there it is.  Apart from the sweetness of the whole event, that’s what I thought.

P: I will say this, even some of her local friends and family were shocked to hear they had gone to an Afrikaner concert in a township.   The Dictators appeared to be loosening the golden shackles that sort of held them captive…



Predator Has Arrived

Grand Theft Conscience

Some of you may have had a brief visual introduction to her on Instagram.

Anyways, she has arrived in Constantia and has decided that my blog isn’t worth reading because it is so “blanched.”  I thought she meant as in, “Blanche Dubois” but sadly that is not the case.  And she is such a dominant cow that she won’t let me write any more for awhile.  What follows is Predator Speak. (She thinks she can write but she can’t).  (She has a foul mouth and she drinks irresponsibly).  (She probably smokes too but I can’t say for sure).  (And she litters).

P: Yo.  I read a blog about someone’s extended holiday somewhere exotic where the slaves are all happy and the owners are all benevolent.  I thought I would puke.  Little context here —  Constantia was designated a “whites only” district in the 50’s or 60’s or something. I don’t really care about details so don’t expect accuracy in that regard.  And that was only after it was farmed by a couple hundred slaves in the 1600’s so when you drink the wine from there it is like drinking blood.   And when you love the white town just remember its been white washed.   Just saying.  Yah, I realize there were lots of slaves everywhere and I’m not saying never drink the wine. Obviously.

Sara and Sean have already put there kids in tennis, water polo, horseback riding and squash and fuck, one of them has a personal trainer. Why not try to do something of consequence you upper middle class privileged pieces of white joy.  Ok, let’s just say, maybe take off the sunglasses for a few minutes.


A Shark In Space

Framing by sara marino

BROUGHT TO YOU BUY NATURE and a nature faker

Camping South African Style

July 8 – 10th, 2017.

From the Hermanus Golf Club we caravanned across beautiful farmland to a park that I don’t think I would have ventured to by myself.

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Annette, Simon, Luke, Kieran and their friend Daniel took us to De Hoop Nature Reserve.   We stayed in self catering cottages – each with three bedrooms, kitchenettes and they had HEATED mattresses.  Yah, not really camping and I liked it anyways!

De Hoop Nature Reserve is at the southern most tip of South Africa where mountains and dunes meet the sea.  There is a staggering amount of wildlife.  The boys thought the eland – the world’s largest antelope (think moose meets elk) were hysterical.  Leo wondered aloud about the “giant hairy ball sack” on its neck. Nice. There were ostrich, zebra, dassies, and baboons.  The baboons were problematic.

Coco squealed with fear / joy as she watched one break into Janet and Rob’s cottage.   I think Janet was in the shower (paralyzed by nudity and fear).   Simon, charged in running after it carrying a dishtowel (or maybe a doily) like a matador and screaming like a banshee and the baboon was scared sh*tless.  Literally.  Fortunately Rob documented the mess (see below) before he cleaned it up.  Then to make matters worse, another baboon scoped Simon’s pad and whilst he was away, dashed in, grabbed a loaf of bread from Annette and exited the rear window.  Skillfully,  the Aylward/Marino clan managed to keep the non humans at bay — probably because of all of our bickering.

Baboon Poo.


We had a braii – which is a South African version of a bbq – lots of meat and Annette made a spectacular vegetarian dish too.   The kids stayed up and roasted marshmallows and everyone was content.      The next day was a hike to the aquamarine beaches on this part of the Indian Ocean and tall white sand dunes for as long as you can look.    I have seen beaches and dunes before but I think I am on the cusp of an epiphany and just realized it this weekend while whale watching from those dunes.

Every year over a hundred Southern Right whales can be seen just off the shore between May and October.  We saw many.   It was spectacular to see these animals — not from a tour operation, but from a respectful distance somewhat afar.  It was very un-National Geographic.  I liked how I felt with this distance between us.  The majesty of the whale seemed more in focus to me than ever before.

I’m still trying to upload photos from the dunes but here is what I have so far …

DeHoop Nature Reserve