The last time I took a holiday, it went on for five months. Now I can only afford to go away for one night. I spent my 24-hour vacation in Sea Point, requiring a road trip all of 40km.
At home in Kommetjie, I fall asleep to the sound of the sea. When I lived in Sea Point 15 years ago, I’d be kept awake by the sound of breaking bottles and women screaming. In a way, I’d missed it.
After a high-speed run across Chapman’s Peak, I talked my way through a roadblock in Hout Bay and swept through the magnificent curves that hug the Atlantic all the way to Camps Bay, the land of milfs and money.
The strip had changed since I was last there. More glitzy. More extortionate restaurants looking out over the beach. Finding parking on Victoria Road on a Saturday is like finding a genuine patriot in the Patriotic Alliance, but I spotted a Ferrari bursting out of a bay like a SAM-7 missile and pulled in.
It was opposite a restaurant called Mantra Cafe. It had elevation, which suited me nicely. The higher off the surface of the planet, the safer it is. I’m not talking about Mars, obviously. That’s Elon Musk’s dream, the dirty Putin-loving Commie bastard.
Halfway up the platinum-plated stairs, I could hear my credit card whimpering. “Have you gone mad?” it whispered. “Shut up,” I hissed. “We’re on holiday.”
Seconds after sitting down, the waitress commented on my “lovely blue eyes”. Nice try, lady. Talking nice won’t stop me from burning this place to the ground if I have to. I ordered a Bloody Mary, heavy on the Mary. When it comes to holidays, it’s important to set the tone right from your first breakfast.
I’d booked an Airbnb in what I remembered to be the bad part of Sea Point. There was barely a good part in those days, but it got steadily worse heading south, and then, with no real transition, turned into a billionaire’s playground. Even today, if you stand outside the dark and dangerous Brian’s Pub and throw an empty beer bottle, you’ll hit a property worth R10-million.
My residence was savagely overpriced for the size, but I was full of Bloody Marys and didn’t give a damn. It looked onto Lion’s Head but I don’t care much for mountains and never took any notice.
If you’re not in Sea Point looking for drugs, you’re probably there for the promenade. So that’s where I went. To the prom. Not to look for drugs. At my age, drugs have to come to me. I’m done with making all the effort.
As far as proms go, it’s not bad. Could be wider to accommodate the maniacs who feel the need to jog, cycle or speed along on e-scooters. The only ones taking an amble were me, the very old and the very fat.
My plan was to walk to the Waterfront but I couldn’t make it past Mouille Point. Apparently, 2.6km is my limit. I collapsed into a chair at Lily’s and the staff ignored me. Judging by the clientele, it should be called Lily Whites. I went over to Bobo’s, where I was in the minority, as it should be.
Two young guys were sitting at the table next to me. Back in the early days of democracy, they’d have been described as “black diamonds”, but then the stampede for wealth really kicked off and now they’re a dime a dozen. One wore a Polo shirt, Gucci loafers, a pair of carefully distressed denim shorts, Bulgari sunglasses and braces on his teeth.
Like most white people, I felt they should be wearing orange overalls rather than designer ensembles that cost more than my car. See, now? That’s what state capture has done to us. Also, generations of racial conditioning. But mainly state capture.
I heard one say, “I think we just got lucky. We were in the right place at the right time.” This suggested a lack of premeditation, so I gave them the benefit of the doubt. Then I had another beer and reckoned a cash-in-transit van had crashed outside their house.
Later, when the sun went down, I trawled Main Road hoping to be dragged through a window of opportunity and into the experience of a lifetime. There’s no optimist like an old optimist.
I found a club called Lost Angels Lounge. It sounded promising so I googled it. Optimally designed seating? Strict dress code? I walked on and came across a sprawling indoor food court on steroids.
There was a German band playing. The trombonist wore lederhosen. When the crowd sang along to Ein Prosit, I felt like I was tripping and got the hell out.
In the morning I returned to the prom, bought three samoosas and sat on a bench next to a gentleman huffing glue from an empty Simba packet, laughing violently and arguing with invisible friends.
It seemed like a fitting end to my holiday.