SEARCHING SMALL TOWNS – SOUTH AFRICAN ROAD TRIP PART 1

Panga Management has been on a road trip! Through circumstance as much as choice Panga Management has been away from computers. Yes, road tripping the Karoo with two fantastic women Juju and Kiki, more about them later, was much more fun and educational than being connected to technology.

Photo credit: Kiki

So where did we go? We travelled deep into the Binnelands of South Africa through “baked good country “into “big bird country” on the plains of the Camdeboo. The vastness of the Karoo guided us from the Western Cape through the Eastern Cape and finally into the Northern Cape and back again. Every sight, texture and feeling was devoured with anthropological interest as we consciously experienced the “other” (small town people are not like us) and were experienced by the “other” (Small town people are very kind , but we did not always make friends) more about that later.

Photo credit: Juju

The road was long and peppered, not very generously, with small towns and every antique winkel, padstal, slaghuis, monument and museum was explored.  The countryside is vast and beyond beautiful, so beautiful it hurts, so beautiful that the choice of hardship is worth it ,if by suffering it  secures your place within it.

Beauty was often found in unexpected places.  If you every get lost in Worcester (yes its possible in early morning mist) and you find yourself near the Brandwacht Superette definitely pop in, buy some baked goods and use the loo , you won’t be disappointed!

Photo credit: Kiki ( spot the butsoft toliet paper)

Photo credit: Kiki

That’s not to say that every place brought instant highlights to our lovely locks, it would be more appropriated to describe certain towns as “ the 80’s perm ”  a stage you passed through and hope to this day that no evidence exists to prove you were ever there.

While I’m on this point, the only small town without any redeeming factors is Laingsburg, I would suggest giving that place a body suave. The only thing that has happened in Laingsburg was the coming of Christ and the flash flood in 1981 when a whole lot of people tragically perished.

Not to worry though, the people of Laingsburg have found an upside to the tragedy, so much so that they feel comfortable selling flood memorabilia from a Vloed winkle, I jest not, if you wish to own the wooden sole of a dead person’s platform shoe then this is your one stop flood shop. It’s also the best place to buy videos or books on the creationism versus evolution debate / zealous whimper, this side of the Karoo.

Photo credit: Kiki

Yes Panga Management is a bit bitter about Laingsburg, all that was received by passing through, besides a greater understanding of lay of the land which was valuable (so to speak) was a R500.00 fine. It was generously awarded to us “for our own safety” because the word of law states that crossing a white line, even when  done to pass a very very slow truck and when there is no other traffic on the road for 100km either way besides us, the very very slow tuck and the very efficient, helpful yet simple traffic cop…… is very dangerous!

Shame, I’m being mean……… (If the following does not explain the innocence and hoorror of Laingsburg nothing will.) The cop very sincerely believed he was doing us a favour by giving us a fine “rules are rules and they are there to protect you” Bless! Like the fine would protect us from a head on collision with a tumble weed.

Okay, I take it back don’t give Laingsburg a body suave, because if you allow it too ,It will calcify into your bones an understanding about  small towns where “right is right” and “wrong is wrong” and people trying to be good do really twisted horrific things because it’s the “right” thing to do. Oh and yes, giving Panga Management a R500.00 fine counts as twisted and horrific.

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