Goodbye 2016 and Hello to 2017.

All good flights HAVE to start with a Wimpy meal of some description
and their world famous “milky coffee”.
Not the greatest meal, but it is quick and the quality is consistent.
Chips at 06h15 is not really what I wanted, but neither was a salad.
If I am to be truthful, I did try a couple (well several actually)
of the chips.
Leaving Johannesburg and saying goodbye to 2016 at the same time.
I flew out of ORT on 31 December, 2016
and would only be returning in the new year.
A cloudy but clear sky as the plane headed down to the coast.
My first sighting of the ocean in several months.
Seeing that I was born and raised in Port Elizabeth,
I do have an affinity with the ocean.
The reason for this very quick (28 hours) trip
was to work on a New Years eve party at the recently
completed Hartenbos Seefront complex.
I found it hard to believe that one member of our TV crew
had NEVER been on a plane before!
Growing up, she and her family would either use trains
or cars to get to their holiday destination.
She handled both of the flights like a true professional.
We found this outside the venue where the TV show
we were working on was going to take place.
Not one member of the crew was prepared to endure the ride.
Was is it with small children and water?
This water feature in the middle of the Seefront,
seemed to attract children of all ages.
For the more adventurous adults,
there was paragliding.
Not something that I would never consider doing.
I, together with to other members of the production staff,
were staying at a guest house about 10km from the venue.
Luckily we had Saturday afternoon “off” and the beach was only 200m
from our accommodation.
For some reason, this collection of food trucks
reminded me of the movie Point Break.
A variety of eats on offer and given that the temperature was in the high 20’s,
ice-cream was the best choice.
Decades ago, corporations were drilling for gas off the South African coast line.
This is the exploration platform and not the drilling rig.
I was led to believe that that is about 80 km out to sea,
and therefore not visible from the beach
I watched in trepidation as
the skipper on this craft
tried to get through the surf.
It took him the best part of 20 minutes,
but he eventually made it past the breakers and headed out to sea.
This time of year there HAS to be a brass band of some description.
Most of them play really badly, and this one was no exception.
But the members were enthusiastic.
Not a full moon.
The dying afternoon sun as seen through the smoke of the
veld fires that are currently burning in the area.
This is what I was really here to do…
Floor manager for this fun-filled Afrikaans music show
Our mobile TV studio was set up just outside the hall
from where the event would be broadcast.
Let the countdown begin!
The show would be live from 22h30 until 0h30.
The ride that I saw earlier looked less scary at night.
But the screams emanating from the swings,
amplified by the night air,
only confirmed my earlier resolution about NOT getting on.
Time for a small but effective fireworks display.
And lots of “Happy New Year” greetings between strangers.
Our show continued until 0h30 with the revellers that had
returned from the fireworks display.
I got to bed at 02h00,
but I was up again at 05h00 to see the sunrise,
And I was not disappointed.
By 05h35, it had risen sufficiently for me to decide
to head back to the guest house…
and a sleep before breakfast.
I was not alone on the beach.
This fisherman had already cast his line for the first time in 2017.
After breakfast, I headed back down to the beach.
Not to frolic in the surf, but to people watch
from the comfort of my air-conditioned rental car.
Although the beach stretches for many km’s in both directions,
this spot seems to be where everyone wants to be.
As you can see from the photograph, there is still space available.
So I was rather taken aback when I heard a woman say to her friend:
“It is full”!
I was uncertain as to what their description of FULL was…
but they had wandered off before I could enquire.
Back when I was a child,
my family went to the beach with an umbrella and some towels.
The families that arrived here came laden with gazebos, chairs,
cooler-boxes, towels and toys.
By the time they unpacked and set up,
it was ALMOST time to head home again.
Say this word out loud…
Then you will understand what it says…
If you understand Afrikaans!
Homeward bound through the smoke of the nearby raging veld-fires.
It was not near enough to affect our flight,
but it was visible from my window.
Almost time to land back in Johannesburg.
I left at the end of one year and returned on the first day of the next.
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