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Wednesday, March 21, 2012

The Clown Council

Some time ago, I received the Council's monthly newsletter, confirming that they supply clean and safe tap water.

One less question to answer, I assumed, from the guests: "Is your water safe to drink?" so I made copies, and prestiked them above the taps.

From a local: "I have never seen notices like this. Are you sure, sure, the water is safe to drink? Find this hard to believe."

From an American: "I was told that African's put stuff in the water to make us foreigners ill. So, I'll just drink tea and coffee."

In February, we also receive the annual refuse removal calendar. All the areas are colour coded, apparently, for our benefit. In April, we receive another one, confirming that the previous calendar was a misprint.

As we are all aware, if a public holiday, and there are many of them, falls on a Sunday, the following Monday is also a day off.

During April and May, many of the householders do not know their arses from their elbows, especially if their calendars have been mangled in the spin cycle.

Others, are vigilant and confirm the removal days on the website, and place their refuse on the pavement the night before.

Sadly, the council workers are also confused with this turn of events, and do not arrive at all, or over the weekends.

Early, one Sunday morning, amid much hooting and hollering, the driver whistles to confirm he is on his way.

"Wait, wait, stop, stop," I bellow, flinging bags onto the pavement. "What is today? Wednesday or Thursday?"

"After numerous complaints, marram, we are now back on track. Do you have a 2litre coke for us?"

On the previous nights, the cats and dogs have had bun fights, ripping refuse, all asunder, which the frustrated residents or gardeners have to clean up, while others don't bother.

If we present a certified, signed affidavit to the Council stating that we had disposed of our own refuse at the tip and request a refund, we would be told, with rolling eyeballs, that 'things happen beyond our control.'

And, that's not all. For four months Ekurhuleni ratepayers have now been additionally debited with - Refuse: Area Cleansing Levy. R5 plus VAT of 70 cents.

DA Finance Councillor, Eddie Taylor, bless him, has tried in vain to have this reversed,
and the MMC Moses Makwakwa, indicated that this 'item had been gazetted in error,' the charges would be removed and our accounts credited, in September. Yay. But, we are now approaching December.

And, the innocent Ekurhuleni ratepayers are also liable for Robert McBride's R7 million legal fees.

We assume the Cleansing Levy will be refunded just before the next Municipal Elections.

A week before the previous elections, I noticed eight workers, in the street where I live, one filling a pothole, while the others leant on their spades and supervised.

"What's happening here?" I asked.

"We're filling the holes."


"Haven't you heard, Marram, there's a Council election next week?"

Thursday, March 1, 2012

I am a Tourist (3)

I step into the shower, turn on the taps and begin lathering my hair.

"Joy, Joy, I need to leave now!"

"Please could you wait ten minutes?"

"No, I need to leave now!!" And, what time is my doctor's appointment? Your shampoo smells nice. Is it the herbal, that I ordered?"

I give Maya directions to the hospital. You can see this from Terrylin. Walk to the corner, down the road, and turn right.

Arms flapping. "Your right or my right?"

"Maya," I ask: "Would you like me to clean your room, and wash the towels?"

"No. I have many items of value in there."

Later that afternoon. "I had to wait for the doctor to see me. Then, I got lost. I am a tourist and I am ill. I also bought some food. If I leave it in the fridge, will anyone else eat it?"

"I have decided to stay another night. Is there discount?"

Jim and Jenni arrive that afternoon.

"Where are all the towels? On your website, it says, that you supply towels."

Maya: "I have them. Joy, you didn't tell me that you were expecting other guests."

The landline rings. Call for Maya. Chat. Chat. Chat.

"Please would you ask your friends to 'phone you on the call box?" I ask, "I need the landline for business."

"I am a tourist. I am ill. My friends need to know how I am. And, your call box is out of order."

After breakfast, Jim and Jenni, decide to catch the Gautrain to Sandton.

"I'm coming with," shouts Maya. Please wait for me."

But, you can't see Jim and Jenni for dust.

Maya: "Where are they? What happened to them? Some people are so selfish...."

I am a Tourist (2)

Around midnight all is peaceful. Then, a loud rapping on my bedroom door.

"Wake up, it's me, Maya. I am hungry. I haven't eaten all day. I have been ill. Do you have something for me to cook? Where are your pots and pans?"

"Maya! We are all trying to sleep," I say. "Please have some consideration."

"But, I am hungry! I am a tourist. I am ill."

The following morning, Graham: "Who was the prat banging pots and pans about in the kitchen, late last night? And, what happened to the soup and noodles, I left in the fridge?"

Maya: "I know. I know. It often happens to me." I have to make a lot of 'phone calls. Do you have coins for me?"

I show Maya, three times how to use the call box. The Masters University Student, then begins.

"I am a tourist. I am ill. I need to cancel my flight. Why do you need my name?. I also left my luggage in storage. Why is that another number?"

Through to storage: "I am a tourist. I am ill. Why do you need a voucher number? I was never given a voucher. Ok, hold on, I'll go and look for it."

Beep. Beep.

"Hello. I have the voucher. Hello, Hello. Shit! Shit!! Shit!!!"

Maya dials again, and then drops her coins. Another operator answers.

"Joy, I have run out of coins, and need to use your 'phone to call the States."

Later. "I need to go out. Please make an appointment for me with your doctor and escort me. I heard you don't walk in the streets of Jo'burg. I also need to buy food as you don't supply any."

Me: "Do you need to leave now, as I would like to shower?"

Maya: "No, no, take your time. Let me know when you are finished."

See (3)

I am a Tourist (1)

I saw a site - Difficult Guests: Please send us your contributions.

Not demented or destructive, just damn difficult.

I naturally assumed, I had heard and seen it all, until I met Maya.

Maya made a booking with the message - Please be there to collect me when I arrive at the airport.

Flight details would be nice, but I received no response to my mail.

The 'phone rings, and so it begins.

"I have been waiting here for over an hour!"

Steven arranges to meet Maya at Terminal A and confirms her mobile number.

Five minutes later, Maya: "I have now been waiting at Terminal B for another half an hour." Different number.

When Maya arrives she kicks off her shoes and drops her luggage at the entrance.

"I am very ill. Where is my room? Please bring my luggage."

The following morning, I am presented with a list of her requirements.

1. Seed-loaf Bread. 2. Camomile Tea. 3. Herbal Shampoo. 4. Cabernet Cheese. 5. Biltong.

"We don't provide this," I say, aghast.

"Oh, you don't. Well, I am not well. I have decided to book for another night, and I am paying for this."

"Unfortunately, there is another booking for your room tonight. The guests specifically requested the 'Pool View'.

"Pool View. There is no pool here. Come, come, show me."

I open the curtains.

"Oh, there it is. I also booked the room with the pool view. You'll have to make other arrangements with your guests. Remember, I am ill, and I am not moving!"

The other guests, bless them, were understanding and accommodating. As I was searching for the pen Maya, again:

"I am using the pen. You'll just have to find another one. I am sure your guests won't mind waiting. Remember, I am ill!!"

See (2).