Friday, 18 July 2014

Durban - The Good The Bad The Ugly

Our weekend went by so quickly and it is hard to believe that this time last week we were travelling down to Durban looking forward to the weekend. It really felt like Hello Durban Good Bye Durban and no in between, but there was plenty in between. After our leisurely breakfast that started off very rushed then slowed down to a long relaxed pace, we went for a walk along the promenade. We were bombarded with beggars asking for food and money.  Chad and Mark brought their bicycles with and after our walk on the promenade they went cycling and I went up to the hotel to have a nap. I was quite annoyed, because there was a cleaner in the room when we went up to the room after breakfast and then just after I arrived back in the room a cleaner came barging into the room without first knocking. The safety catch was on, but it is quite frightening when the door bashes open, it is also annoying that they come and clean twice, they should do one room at a time and do it all at once.

Chad said that it is so much better cycling along the promenade than walking, because the beggars don't harass you for money and food. It was so bad walking around on Saturday morning that I was even asked if I would share my ice cream by some woman. "Yes sure you can have a lick and then give it back" - honestly I think they just do it to annoy people. We did come to the conclusion that there is something about Mark that attracts beggars to him. It is not like Mark even exudes wealth and he certainly does not dress the part of a wealthy man, as long as his clothes are washed and clean he does not put any thought or effort into dressing, yet we witnessed people crossing the road and almost running up to him to ask for money.

Proof That I Actually Put My Feet In The Water

I was walking along the promenade and the water's edge taking photos, whilst Chad and Mark were cycling on Saturday morning and not once did anyone approach me for money, but walking with Mark and we are approached all the time. On Friday evening we were walking back from Ushaka Village after dinner and this guy called out to us saying he won't harm us and come close but.............. The but was the start to his long story. He was a young guy around 28, but you could see he was a beggar, very well spoken, but with long hair unshaven and he walked along telling us his story. His name was Shaun Baxter, now ordinarily I would not put someone's full name and surname on my blog, but firstly I don't believe his name is Shaun Baxter, because he looked Indian and the name Shaun Baxter is certainly not an Indian name and secondly if his story is true and he can't get hold of his extended family, because his phone was stolen (his parents are dead) then maybe if they Google him they will read this post and find him on the streets of Durban - His family are from Newcastle. OK I really don't believe all that, but Mark fell for his story hook line and sinker and gave him R100.00 for food and to pay for a night at the shelter. He thanked Mark profusely and walked off with a spring in his step. He then stopped and said that the money gave him power, we must wonder why he was slouched and dragging his feet and now he has so much power in his steps and he proceeded to walk along side us - after saying he won't come close and went on and on about his story. Chad said he would be an excellent Used Car Salesman and I said he could be a motivational speaker. He spoke non stop, fluently and had an answer to all the advice Mark was giving him to get out of his situation. Eventually I said to him that he had every excuse to stay in his situation and no reason to get out of his situation and that Mark gave him the money so he could leave us alone, not to stay talking. I just don't give money to beggars and the reason why not is a whole post on its own.

We eventually ditched him and could enjoy the sound of the Ocean and the sight of the moon reflecting off the Ocean. It is sad that people get into these situations, but you cannot fall for every story and Mark almost always does and then the guilt he feels because he did not give to everyone his another story all together. Shaun Baxter was not the only one he gave to - it was just the most at one time and every ten steps someone no matter the race; colour; creed; language; young; old; male; female would come and ask Mark for money.

With all the beggars; prostitutes; pimps and thieves and ugliness of City Life, I still love Durban and could still see myself living there.

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