Africa, Family & Kids, Life

Twin Dilemmas

It’s a helluva dilemma! Rose has given him R200 for watering her orchids. He can’t keep it, but she won’t take it back. He’s offered a number of times, but she just refuses! What on EARTH can he do?!

Just Keep It, says his Idiot Son. Can you believe it? How can I just keep it? I don’t want it, I just watered her plants. And she was grateful and she wanted to give you R200, so just say Thank You and keep it, repeats the I.S. How can I do that? Well, didn’t you say she underpaid you by R100 000 for the house and you should have held out for your price? Just say Thank You and keep it. Mumble mumble.

And anyway, he has another YUGE dilemma: He has four gate remotes that he won’t need when he leaves and they have four cars and they could use them. But he can’t just give it to them! Do I think he can sell them to them? He thinks he’s going to ask them to pay for them. Just give the remotes to them when you leave, says the Idiot Son. What! Do I know what they’re worth!? Yes, nothing once you leave here and valuable to them. Keep the R200 and give them the remotes. That way you have both done a kind deed to each other, which is a good thing as Rose is still going to be a very influential force in your life at Azalea Retirement home.

Remember: You did not sell your house to Joe Soap. You sold to a person who is in charge where you are going. Keep the R200 and give her the remotes as a gift. This gaans aan for a few weeks. He keeps asking and he keeps getting the same dumb advice from I.S. = NOT the advice he’s looking for. You’d think a son of his would have more common sense.

He revs up his ‘remote dilemma’ again today so I say I told you what I think you should do. What? I repeat it. Oh, yes, he says. But I can’t. She finally took back her R200 last night.

~~~~~ooo000ooo~~~~~

gaans aan – ad nauseum

Life, Motorcars_Automobiles

On Seeking Good Advice

. . and then ignoring it.

I couldn’t believe they wanted R40 000! Forty Thousand! NO WAY!

So I sought advice from someone who really knows cars.

Hi Alan
My VW kombi is a 2005 1,9TDi T5 8-seater – 166 000km.

Repairs needed:
Clutch (R12 800); Brakes (R3 000); Driveshaft (R10 100)
Sliding door not opening; plus 165 000 km service.

I have been quoted R40 537 for the above by Alpine Motors VW.

As a trade-in on a second-hand vehicle (around R250k) they offer me R30 000.

I think I’m ready for a double cab bakkie now. Needn’t be 4X4.

Please tell me what you think. Thanks a lot. Cheers. Pete

(this was in 2012)

=========ooo000ooo=========

Hi Pete.

My value for your kombi: R105 000 less 15 for high kms = 90. Less repairs. So worst case scenario on a trade-in = R50 000.

So their R30 000 offer is taking a chance. You don’t need to give it away, these kombis are very sought-after.

If Alpine sells you another they will do the repairs for half that. Tell them to work a deal and you want 70 as-is on another Kombi.  If not, rather keep it and fix it yourself as the repairs it needs are all wear and tear being the driveshaft, clutch and brakes – not unusual at this mileage.

My advice:
Fix it. That is the cheaper way round. This is not so expensive in comparison to other cars.

Regards, Alan

=========ooo000ooo=========

So: Did I take his advice and spend R40k to get exactly what I wanted?
No, I spent R140k and got a bakkie. Which I didn’t really want. And which I still have and I still don’t really want.

One day I hope to live and learn.

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Travel, Travel Africa

Good Advice in Kenya

Aitch and I went to Mombasa in 1995 and checked in at a hotel on Diani beach. The next day I walked the crowded streets of Mombasa looking for a cheap hired car. Mombasa is quite a place:

Mombasa downtown

While Aitch chilled on the uncrowded beach and pooldeck, no doubt quaffing ginless gin&tonics. She used to do that! Tonic & bitters, ginless! I know! You’re right. Search me. Where’s the medicinal value?! The personality enhancing factor? Still, she loved it.

Diani Beach Hotel

I found a lil Suzuki jeep. Marvelous. I could turn round from the drivers seat and touch the back window! Almost.

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Birding Advice

Back at the hotel I went for a walk, leather hat on my head, binoculars round my neck. An old man came cranking along slowly on a bicycle, swung his leg high up over the saddle and dismounted next to me.

‘Ah!’ he said ‘I can see you are English.’ I didn’t contradict him. ‘You are looking for buds,’ he said, also in a way that made me not argue.
‘There are no buds here,’ he said emphatically. ‘If you want to see buds you must go to the west, to the impenetrable forest. There are many buds there.’ And he put his left foot on the pedal, gave a push and, swinging his right leg high over the saddle, wobbled off. After a few yards he had a thought, slowed, swung off in the same elaborate dismount and came back to me: ‘But in this hotel over here you can see some peacocks in the garden,’ he informed me re-assuringly.

‘Ah, thank you sir. Thanks very much,’ I said, wishing him well and thinking of Kenya’s 1100 species of birds – eleven percent of the world’s total. The USA has about 900, and the UK about 600. He was a character a bit like this:

Kenya man on bicycle

Travelling Advice
We also got pessimistic advice on the roads. We were on our way to Tsavo National Park the next day and we wanted to avoid the main road to Nairobi. We’d heard it was crowded with trucks and buses and we’d rather avoid that, if at all possible. On our Globetrotter map I found a little road south-west of the main road that showed an alternative route via Kwale, Kinango and Samburu.

‘No you can’t; No, not at all; There’s no way,’ says everyone. Even the barman! ‘The bridge has been washed away by cyclone Demoina,’ they all said. This was a bit weird, as Demoina had been in 1984, eleven years earlier, and had mostly hit Madagascar, Mocambique and KwaZuluNatal, well south of Kenya.

Usually I can eventually find ONE person to say ‘Don’t listen to them, the road is FINE,’ but this time I was stymied. No-one would say ‘Yes!’ SO: We headed off along the road toward Kwale anyway. ‘Tis easier to seek forgiveness than permission, we thought.

Aitch, what a trooper, was right with me in adventurousness. ‘We’ll see new places,’ was all she said.

As we neared Kwale a minibus taxi approaching from the other direction did a strange thing: They actually flagged us down to tell us ‘Stop! You can’t go this way! The bridge is gone, Demoina washed it away!’ We nodded, we agreed, we thanked them kindly; then we kept going.

And they were right: The bridge over the river between Kwale and Kinango had indeed washed away. But there were recent tyre tracks down to the river which we followed. Below and just upstream of the wreckage of the bridge we stuck the Suzuki in 4X4 and crossed  the low river. Then we stopped for a break, parking our mini-4X4 under a beautiful shady tree on the river bank:

KenyaTsavo (1)
– The tree above the washed-away bridge (see map) – me birding on the right –

And we were right: Besides being devoid of traffic, the road surface was mostly good, sometimes great:

In places like a smooth highway - only better: No traffic!

THEN: The honeymoon ended, we ran out of detour and got back onto the main Mombasa-Nairobi road at Samburu: Aargh! Every so often a blob of tar would threaten to cause damage. Huge holes had the traffic all weaving from side to side so trucks seem to coming straight at you, but it’s actually quite safe. Its rather like slow-motion ballet. Cars and trucks went slowly, the only vehicles ‘speeding’ – probably up to 60km/h – were big passenger buses with their much better suspension.

Mombasa - Nairobi Highway - THIS is why we sought the Road Less Travelled!

Thanks to Google Earth we can find the place where the bridge had washed away. Here’s the new bridge and new road on the right, with the old road on the left where we crossed the drift  yellow (yellow arrow) and that beautiful tree (red) that we rested under:

– the red scar is a new road and new bridge that wasn’t there back then –

Then we got to Tsavo! I’d wanted to visit Tsavo since I was ten and read books by Bernhard Grzimek and others! Well, here I was, thirty years later!

~~~oo0oo~~~

Family & Kids, Life

For You Guys When I’m Not Around

For You Guys When I’m Not Around

Like, if I was on an island in the Okavango Delta sipping champagne out of cellphone reach and you can’t ask me for advice or money?* Then read this . . .
Love – I love you guys more than you’ll ever know. And I’m very very proud of you and so very very pleased I am lucky enough to have you as my children.
Kind – Be kind. Especially to the poor, meek and timid.
Help – Where you can. Help yourself, be kind to yourself (and hard on yourself as far as getting things done) but also help others wherever you can. It feels good, and it’s rewarding.
Do it for you – When you help people, don’t expect a reward; When you greet people, don’t expect a reply; Do it for you.
Work – When you’re at work, work. Work honestly and deliver. If you’re unhappy, don’t leave. Plan first. When you have your alternative ready, leave on your own terms, without rancour. If no alternative pans out, and where you are is really bad, then leave anyway, and work honestly and deliver on the next job. When you’re unemployed, you still have a job: Finding your next job. Work hard at finding it: Plan, prepare, talk to people, work at it.
Religion – Look into all religions. Understand their origins and the holes they were meant to fill. Know that we know far more now than they did then (even as recently as the 1950’s when L Ron Hubbard started his religion (called Scientology – hidden behind the recruiting front called Dianetics); Hell, we even know more now than in 2005 when Bobby Henderson started one of the kinder, more rational religions, The Church of the Flying Spaghetti Monster. Learn about how many Gods there are (hundreds) and what each one of their followers believe. Take the time to really understand religion. And when you have carefully worked out why people dismiss all gods other than their own, you will start to see how ALL gods have actually been created by humans. In their own likeness. To fill a need.
If learning about the world and how it works doesn’t satisfy your need for “why are we here”, and you feel you need to be a something, then become a Humanist. Read here: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Humanism – and when you have time to read slowly and read over & over, read here: http://infidels.org/library/modern/fred_edwords/humanism.html – its just 8 pages, well worth reading and re-reading.
Even better, DO something: Become a scout leader, a coach or a dance teacher.
Teach – Be a teacher. Even if you don’t become a teacher, still be a teacher in your life. Right near you there are children who need guidance and support and fun. If you have a car and they don’t, just take them to the beach once a month. Or take them fishing with you. Teach them how to attach a hook and cast. Teach them how to use a computer. Or to play a game. COMMIT to once a month.
Laugh – Laugh lots. Laugh with people, not at people.
Be scientific – Require evidence. When someone asks you to trust them, ask them to do you the courtesy of giving you proof, evidence, a link – or at least their statement in writing, signed by them (a lot of strong adamant statements evaporate – or at least dilute – when asked for in writing). “Trust me” is used by too many dishonest people to trust it. Look for evidence. And always get a receipt (remember my mantra “slip and change”!?)

Love again – Love people. Love them. Be gentle with them. Sure they can irritate you and frustrate you, but they’re great, all in all.
Mom – Mom loved you fiercely. She loved you with her whole heart – and was awfully proud of you. Same as me.

Well, we weren't married yet . . . .

.
Oscar Wilde said: Advice is great stuff – in the giving . . . .

*or if I have shuffled on . . .