Monday, September 19, 2016
Durban: the end of a lovely day; poor no more
The sun set a half hour ago. The sky is dissolving from blue to black at the end of a lovely day, after a raw and blustery weekend. This part of South Africa is suffering from a several years’ drought. I cannot begrudge them the rain even if it exposed leaks in GANNET, and had me sleeping beside a plastic container to catch drips from the forward hatch hinge.
This morning I disassembled that hinge and found a gasket folded back upon itself which was the obvious source of the leak. In trying to put the hinge back together I stripped threads, steel screws into plastic. I’ve taped the whole thing over. New hinge parts cost $60. A new hatch $500. I’ll first try for the new hinge when I return.
I am not stupid about money, yet I’ve never made a lot. For unexpected reasons I have become among the wealthiest of men because, unlike greedy billionaires, I have enough and know it.
Yet this weekend found me reduced to the equivalent of $14 US.
South Africa is apparently a country of great credit card fraud. Since arriving I have had my cards denied multiple times, causing at least eight Skype calls back to the U.S.
Yesterday was Sunday. I took a taxi to a shopping center where I was unable to get cash from multiple ATMs. I telephoned my bank and was told nothing could be done until Monday morning. I forwent lunch, carefully calculated my purchases at a supermarket, hoping I would not have to move aside things I couldn’t pay for, and, after taking a taxi back to the marina—the distance was too far to walk—had left the equivalent of $14 US.
I have far more than enough food on GANNET to last the week until Carol comes to my rescue, but I was feeling squeezed. Fortunately today my cards were unblocked and I was able to get cash. I paid a sailmaker for repairs and new mainsail and tiller covers and splurged on a cheese burger for lunch at the yacht club.