Wednesday, December 03, 2008

"Season" starts

On the lower south coast of KZN, there is a clear distinction between holidaymakers and locals. You're either "one of them" or you're "one of us". That's not to say we don't love the holidaymakers, we do.... (usually). Without the holidaymakers most of the businesses on the Lower South Coast (LSC) would fold altogether - so we love the holidaymakers because we have to love them; without them we wouldn't be here! BUT for a couple of weeks in December, I have to confess that I find the holidaymakers a little ..... hard to handle.

If you come to the LSC in November, you are bound to hear locals discussing "Season". You'll hear snatches of conversation along the lines of: "So, what do you think the Season is going to be like this year?", "Are you all ready for Season?", "Stocking up for Season, eh?" You might wonder what on earth they are talking about? Let me explain: the LSC relies mainly on tourism for it's existence. The holidaymakers that come here are largely South African, although there are some foreign tourists too. We have 3 main "seasons" - Easter, Winter (those who come to see the sardines) and the really bumper season - Christmas.

In the Christmas season, roughly 100 000 holidaymakers will descend on the LSC in a 3 week period from early December to round about the first week in January. You cannot imagine what 100 000 extra people travelling on our roads/visiting our beaches/shopping in our malls looks like unless you have actually seen it with your own eyes! Why anyone would want to come down here at this time of year and fight those crowds I truly do not understand! But fortunately people do, and they come back year after year.

This year should be particularly interesting as The Powers That Be have decided that the roadworks they started waaay too late in the year will now NOT be finished in time for the seasonal traffic jams......

If you live on the LSC you learn how to cope with season. This week I went to the library and took out a HUGE pile of books and had the librarian give me an extension - I only need to return the books at the end of January. We do loads of eating out in November because we won't be visiting our favourite restaurants again until January (well that's the theory, but we always end up going out a couple of times over season anyway) Some people do an enormous grocery shop, with the intention of not shopping at all during Season. I can't do that, I'm a mall rat. I live within spitting distance of two big malls and I have to shop or I get withdrawal symptoms. Quite honestly, I practically reside inside Woolworths! (closely related to the UK's Marks and Spencer) I cope with shopping in season by arriving at the mall as the shops open, when the holidaymakers are hopefully still sipping coffee in bed. The beaches are a complete no-go in season as far as I am concerned. Picture towel-to-towel crowds........hmmm I don't think so!! Traffic is the biggest problem - the whole area becomes gridlocked with streams of cars, it's hideous - we use the toll road if we have to go out of our immediate area and spend more time at home than we usually do.

Season is crazy, but we get through it and it is quite entertaining in a bizarre kind of way. In fact I make a point of going and sitting on the verandah at the Keg in Margate at least once in season, just to "people watch". I have a friend who goes and sits on one of the benches in Shelly Centre (yep, she's the crazy one you saw, just sitting there ;-) for the same purpose. You have to find some entertainment in the spectacle or you'd go quite mad!!

11 comments:

Rox said...

I hear you totally!

In Cape Town, especially in the city bowl where I live, season is mostly from around November to February, and while it's busy most of the time anyway, during summer it gets crazy.

Trying to do Christmas shopping in our little mall is tricky when there are suddenly huge crowds of Germans, Americans, Brits and just about every other nationality, and then a few locals.

Still, it has a certain vibe about it that makes me feel amped that it's summer, and that Christmas is around the corner.

Tamara said...

I remember season well. Now I enjoy it from Jhb, seeing the whole city empties out to invade your coast, leaving us traffic-free up here ;-)

addie said...

I particularly avoid KZN during the "season" cos I can't handle crowds ... good luck to you guys!!!

Rambler said...

I love Joburg in "season" - completely dead. Even the restaurants close for a month... and I was "one of them" last year and hit the coast. This year I'll leave you to laugh at the others.

Enjoy!

Kitty Cat said...

My word, when the hell are they going to finish that damn road? And like everyone is saying, are they going to pay for all of us to have new tyres and shocks? I am like you, I am in spitting distance of the two malls, and shop almost daily thanks to a fussy husband and pets. I should try that, sit on a mall bench and people watch.
I'm new to the coast, but the traffic IS horrendous this time of year!

The Jackson Files said...

That sounds like FUN. Jackson and I are vacationing in our back yard this year.

Trish said...

We don't have the Season but we have very Sunday LOL

I wish you a very fun and pro$perou$ season ! with lovely touri$t$

allie said...

We in the "Deep South" ie Muizenberg through Simonstown have exactly the same problem as you in THE SEASON.

I grew up with a humungusly bad attitude towards the 'Vaalies' because of the scenario you talk about.

Later, I came to realise that anyone who has to live in Jbg all year, deserves a couple of weeks in our world.

(And if THAT doesn't get all the Vaalies going, I dunno what will :-D )

angel said...

heh heh... it sounds a little like those little "villages" that are huge tourist attractions!
i like lsc in june/july, thats the only time i can stand the heat...

Tammy said...

You must live in a fabulous place to have a "season." I'm not a fan of crowds but being disabled has its perks with mall parking. ;)

Hope all is well with you!

supermom said...

Good luck with that! I SO wish I lived at the coast, so that I could sit with that problem

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