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_________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________________ Marcy home Walvis Bay Angling Club club AFASyn Ushuaia Marcy and crew

Sunday, March 15, 2009

Last days in Cape Town

We're getting serious on Marcy now! The jib is on, the new African propane tank has a new box to protect it from seas, the engine oil and filter have been changed, and most importantly the canned goods and staples are bought and stored. But, this is Africa, and as with everything else the way some of those things got done wasn't easy.

Take for example the propane box. The plywood needed to be painted. We heard about a hardware store a mile away so we walked over there the other morning to get some paint. It was a pretty good hardware store, decent stock and fairly busy. That's good news when you're buying paint because it means the paint isn't old. But, there's always a catch. They only had one liter of base paint left on the shelf. The rest was due any minute - they were just waiting for the delivery truck. So, we got the one liter and decided to walk back there another day for another liter if we really need it. We've learned new supplies can be 10 minutes away or 10 days away. On can never be sure.

Then there was the big grocery shopping day. It's a short walk to the closest store but too far with a month's supply of cans and staples. We called the customer service manager who we'd met at the Royal Cape Yacht Club delivering food for Mike the sindlehander. Several messages were sent by email and left by phone - with real people. Finally we went in person and learned that the customers service manager we'd been trying to reach had been out of the store for the last 5 days. So, we arranged with the store manager that we would come in on Thursday morning a van would be available to deliver our groceries in the morning. Before leaving we asked if she would be in on Thursday. She realized that, in fact, that would be her day off, but she would let the manager on duty Thursday know the plan. Thursday morning at store opening (8AM) we arrived to start our shopping. We stopped by the manager's office to make sure there was a driver available. Of course, they knew nothing of this plan and no there was no van or driver immediately available. We finished our shopping by 10A and were assured that they would deliver the groceries before noon. These purchased groceries were left sitting in two shopping carts outside the managers office and we crossed our fingers that we'd actually see all of our groceries again at the boat. We rushed back to the boat to meet some friends who were due to arrive at 10:30 and the waiting game began. As it turned out our friends were delayed and arrived at 6P. The groceries were a bit more troublesome. There were several phone calls placed to the manager who was apologetic but unable to get the drivers to deliver. Finally just after 4P the groceries arrived.

The soft fuel bladder that we got in Australia was another story altogether. We will need it in Chile and thought this could be a good place to get hoses for it. We dropped it off at a shop and after a week, 3 visits and numerous phone calls we finally were able to pick it up with all the parts. For a mere 700 rand or $70USD they provided us with food grade hose (which could disintegrate when in contact with diesel), hose clamps that are too big and won't close enough to clamp the hose and a deck fill fitting as a fuel cap. Rather than argue that a child could do better Peter paid the bill, added the hose to our assortment of hoses and we'll try again in Brazil. Maybe we'll have better luck communicating our needs in Portuguese.

Ginger's birthday day at the spa (the first of our voyage) was a similar disaster. It started with her standing on the sidewalk for ages waiting for the "complimentary shuttle" that never seemed to show up despite several phone calls assuring her that it would arrive "just now." It ended as badly as it began with a "shame - we so wanted to make sure you got that massage" and she won't attempt this "advanced tourism" move again soon.

Despite minor frustrations, we love South Africa and hope to return. The every day challenges with getting things done are just part of life here and aren't really a bother until time gets short and things have to be done before departure. So, our last two days in Cape Town find us caulking the toe rail to hopefully keep out the salt water, shopping for fresh produce and clearing out with the officials. We're not going to try for any more fancy appointments or arrangements!

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