Sunday, 2 October 2011

Durban Sand Castle Contest... and a Beach Rant

   On Saturday (despite the gale force winds) we packed the kiddies into the car, and headed off to check out the Durban Sand Castle Contest, happening on Durban's 'New Beach' beach.  
   The first thing that caught my eye was a striking sandbag display (below) spelling out the word "DURBAN" nice touch guys ;o) within minutes we were given Nivea peaks, the girls were given free Nivea beach balls (a real hit) and we spent an enjoyable (windswept) half an hour or more exploring the ranks of Sand Artists.

   We were there only one hour into the contest and so I am sure that the sculptures grew progressively more interesting with time.
   I am sure that they will upload some great photos to their website:
Or, to their Facebook Page:

We enjoyed the clear air, pumping music (courtesy of the Red Bull bakkie and some wicked remixes) and lots of happy faced volunteers. Here are some of the Sand Castles one hour into the contest…

Prepare thyself for some RANT time:
   My only negative comment is this: From the car park to the sand castle lot, one had to pass the children’s new and revamped paddling pools, pass the change rooms, the ‘Pirate Ship’ play area and an “available to rent” Restaurant/Venue which sits atop the very clean and presentable toilets.
   Now my above statement is negative because of one thing: The entire walk stinks.
   People obviously don’t feel the need to use the public restrooms and have urinated all over the dying palm trees, the pirate ship and the walls of the restaurant. The newer simplified paddling pools smell horrific, the grass is littered with chicken bones, shards of glass, cigarette stompies and other bits of rubbish (there are adequate and well marked bins provided.)
   The children’s play area is unfinished – the gravel and builder’s rubble has started to surface from under the layer of sea sand (obviously laid there for the 2010 Fifa World Cup) and there are sharp bits of gravel, concrete, blue stones and glass where the children jump from the height of the ships deck. My daughter climbed the barrels and jumped to the sand – nearly injuring her foot on a sharp chicken bone protruding from the ground.
   When we visited Australia in 2009 I was amazed at how clean the public areas were, no urine smell. No rubbish littering the ground (in the presence of bins) there was PRIDE.
   I ask this one thing, South Africa: When your government takes the time to create a visually beautiful play area, pools, clean toilets, rubbish bins etc WHY do you, as a South African people, ruin it with your mess and stink? The company, Street Scene Tours made a huge effort, gathered sponsors, provided an awesome opportunity for a fun and enjoyable family day, and there was this down side. You know it. You can imagine it if you have ever walked our beaches and parks before, it’s…
…The “Durban Smell”…
 "It kinda smells like the colour brown... your thoughts?" - Flynn Ryder, Tangled 2011

   The beach was clean, I will go there happily.
But, the play area… and paddling pools?
I for one will never take my child there again.

Sandy Bigara

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