More artwork .. this rhino in The Watershed building in the V&A Waterfront is part of a public art exhibition campaign to save the rhinos. There are fewer than 5,500 black rhinos and 22,000 white rhinos left on the planet and poachers are still killing them at an alarming rate.
The Zeitz Museum of Contemporary Art Africa (MOCAA) opened in September 2017. The art collection is housed in an old grain silo complex at the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town.
There is a big lawn at my guesthouse, and early in the morning a few hadada ibises are out foraging for worms. Amazingly, the lawn is still a little green in spite of the drought, and they have to work at it with their beaks, but they do find an earthworm or a bug now and then.
The 54th National Conference of the African National Congress (South Africa’s ruling political party) is set to start on Friday at an exhibition center near Johannesburg. The event is more or less the equivalent of the national party conventions we have in the United States before a presidential election. By Sunday, the ANC will have elected a new chairperson, and it is very likely that this person will become South Africa’s new president as an outcome of the 2019 national elections.
Even though Cyril Ramaphosa served as deputy president of South Africa under President Jacob Zuma since 2014, many (most?) South Africans hope that he will prevail over his rival Nkosazana Dlamini-Zuma, ex-wife of Jacob Zuma. It is time to pay serious attention to South Africa’s economic challenges and clean out the worst of the vast corruption and cronyism in the Zuma administration. Ramaphosa has tweeted that he wants to address infrastructure challenges, and wants to target a 5% growth rate for South Africa’s developing economy (currently at about 1% annual growth).
It drizzled a little bit today here in the far northern suburbs of Cape Town (68 °F/ 20°C). I am sure the precipitation did not add even a fraction of a percent to the water level in the dams here, though. At the current dam levels (34.2% full) and water usage, city officials estimate ‘day zero’ to be May 18, 2018. Day zero comes when dam levels have dropped to 13.5%. At that point there will be no more water coming out of faucets, and residents will have to collect water from some 200 collection sites around the city.
I arrived in Cape Town! The connection in Charles De Gaulle airport involved a long walk to the departure gate. I didn’t mind: good to get one’s circulation going after sitting in an airplane. And, I could check out some of the better insides of the departure terminal (which was not the case last time).
There are signs everywhere in Cape Town airport, and at the overnight hotel, that implore visitors to save water. ‘Every drop counts’. I will try to.
I am at Frankfurt Airport. I checked into an airport hotel on Monday night. My flight to Paris is early Tuesday morning, and there I will catch the Air France flight to Cape Town, South Africa.
My movements on Monday were curtailed by persistent, soaking rain! I postponed my trips to the Geldmuseum (money museum) and Schloss Höchst (castle Höchst) until my return stop here, and spent some time in the Galleria Kaufhof, a classic department store with seven floors.
It seems the ravages of Amazon has not yet hit Germany, or at least not this store in particular. The store is a great experience, and besides – total square footage of department stores in Europe is roughly half that of the square footage in the United States. So: they may be safe for now.
I made it to the Frankfurt Christmas market on Sunday night. The biggest one in the city is at the Römerberg, the public square in the old town, and seat of the Frankfurt city administration since the 15th century.
It was cold! .. but by evening the snow had stopped. Later, when I was already back in the hotel, a heavy downpour of rain later washed away just about all of the snow on the ground. I hope the stalls for the Römerberg vendors stayed dry inside!
I arrived in Frankfurt without incident. I had a short connection stop in Reykjavik (clear, 26°F/ -3°C). On the plane, we waited just a little bit for other connecting passengers, and to get the all-clear from Frankfurt. Snow was starting to fall as we arrived in Frankfurt at noon (32°F/ 0°C).
I’m at Seattle-Tacoma airport .. boarding my Iceland Air flight now.
My bags are packed – more or less – for my departure on Saturday, for my journey down south to South Africa. I am making a two-night stop in Frankfurt on the way, and will end up in Cape Town by Tuesday night. Weather permitting (there is snow in the forecast for Frankfurt on Sunday), I will go to the Christmas market there on the Roemerberg, the old town square.
.. no, not a pastry that you can eat – the kind you can read. I got this little first-grade reader book at a second-hand bookstore for a few dollars. For now, I don’t intend to learn Danish. I just like the o with the streg (ø) and the a with the overring (å). So foreign.
‘Søren and Mette’ was first published in 1954. The authors were teacher Knud Hermansen and psychologist Ejvind Jensen. The artist was Kirsten Jensenius. An updated version of the book is still in use today.
We went to a pub called ‘Standard Brewing’ tonight, in Seattle’s Central District. It’s been there a few years, but it was my first visit.
The beers on offer are brewed on site, and I had a Helmut: a Munich ‘Helles’, a medium- bodied lager with a full malt presence and a clean finish.
‘I have a bone to pick with your President Trump’ said my friend from South Africa on the phone today. (She is an enthusiastic outdoors person). Yes, I said: I think I know what you mean.
From the New York Times: Trump sharply reduced the size of two national monuments* in Utah on Monday by some two million acres, the largest rollback of federal land protection in the nation’s history. The administration shrank Bears Ears National Monument, a sprawling region of red rock canyons, by 85 percent, and cut another monument, Grand Staircase-Escalante, to about half its current size.
*National monuments are lands that are protected from development by law. They are roughly analogous to national parks, but while national parks are created by Congress, national monuments are created by presidents through the Antiquities Act.
Observers say this order by Trump will precipitate a legal battle that could have far-reaching implications for the course of American land conservation, and for national monuments.
There was a thick fog hanging in the city this morning, but it was dry, and the sun came out later.
Deadlines have to be met, and time costs money – so construction on the new downtown Seattle buildings soldiers on, regardless of the season. The crews do take a break on Sundays, and then I can go check on their progress. Here are two buildings near Westlake Avenue and Denny Way.
You know with love comes strange currencies -from the song ‘Strange Currencies’, R.E.M. (1995)
Also: with travel comes strange currencies. I sorted through my stash of foreign banknotes today, keeping the crisp new ones for my little amateur collection. I will exchange the others for Euros or US dollars at the airport, during my upcoming trip to South Africa.
I thought for sure, that by now the Hungarian forints that I got in Budapest in 2008, would be of no use – replaced by Euros – but no: they’re still good. The Hungarian government is in no hurry to adopt the Euro, apparently. I have Danish, Swedish and Icelandic krona notes as well, to exchange.
Today, Michael Flynn* pleaded guilty to lying to the FBI in January (about meeting with the Russians). Doesn’t sound like a big deal? It’s a very big deal: a felony, a serious crime that can send the offender to jail for 5 years. Flynn will be a convicted felon, after all is said and done. Harry Litman writes in an opinion piece in the New York Times that Flynn will testify as a witness for special investigator Mueller, and that this ‘portends the likelihood of impeachable charges being brought against the president of the United States’.
*Former Director of the Defence Intelligence Agency (2012-2014), former National Security Advisor to President Trump, resigned after just 26 days in this role on February 13.
Here we are again, watching the Senate Republicans doing their best to press into law, as quick as they can, without proper debate and hearings, an immoral law that will touch every American. (The Republican House had done their part already). The monstrous tax-cut bill that takes money away from students, teachers, hard-working middle-class people – and healthcare from sick people – is about to get voted into law. At the 11th hour on Thursday night, a few Republicans balked at the $1 trillion (at least) that it will add to the budget deficit, but it will probably pass on Friday.
As Republican strategist Steve Schmidt says in his tweets (below): if you are a generation X-er, you should be aghast at what the Republican septuagenarians and octogenarians in Congress are doing in the name of politics. They are beggars for donations from corporations and billionaires, and they are making all of us pay for it.