Thursday, September 8, 2011

I’m sure my relatives in Perth, Australia and our friends in Melbourne will be delighted to know that their cities top the list of the most liveable in. Melbourne comes top, beating Canada’s Vancouver for the first time in ten years and altogether three Australian cities are in the top ten, the third being Adelaide which comes in in the number nine spot. I have visited both Perth and Melbourne and although I liked them both, I preferred Melbourne, a really beautiful city with everything to recommend it.

Adelaide I saw the railways station at six o’clock on a still dark, freezing cold morning while I waited for my connection to Melbourne. I love trains and decided to travel from Perth to Melbourne that way and loved every minute of it. There are still train journeys in the world I would like to take but alas I don’t think that is possible any more.

The cities were assessed in five categories: stability, healthcare, culture and environment, education and infrastructure. Out of 140 cities assessed London was ranked 53. I thought Hamburg a very liveable in city.

I wonder if an African city will ever enter the top ten. Cape Town would I’m sure if it weren’t for the crime.

My sister, who lives in South Africa for those of you who do not know, sent me a collection of photographs – ‘Oh Africa.’ Yes, some are weird and wonderful and can only be African; a man cycling with a paint pot on his head in lieu of a helmet, the handle underneath his chin. I should imagine if he came off his bike that paint pot could do an awful lot of damage. A man wheeling a bicycle laden with seventy six bricks, no wonder the tyres were flat, a ramshackle old truck laden with fifteen or more men riding on the back, some hanging on for grim death, an even more ramshackle old car with hands of green bananas overflowing from the boot and piled four feet high on the roof, no wonder its tyres also looked in pretty bad shape, never mind the bursting doors. There is a picture of a donkey with, a BMW emblem on its forehead, a man wearing a pair of trousers so long the waistband is across his nipples, a man walking along a road with a loaded wheelbarrow on his head, and a raggedy barefoot ancient with a lap top sitting by the dusty roadside, some women so gross they are deformed and the deformity isn’t even funny. But amongst all the pictures the one that made me really sad was the photo of a long cart with four people sitting in it, a roof but open at front and sides; the driver seated under his little canvas canopy and the whole contraption pulled by oxen. There are two in the photograph so I don’t know whether it is a full span or not, not that it would go any faster, and painted along the side is the word AMBULANCE and the Red Cross symbol. I hope none of the four passengers was in immediate need of medical assistance because by the time that vehicle reached a doctor or a hospital they would more than likely have expired. Now seriously that really is so very sad. There is a well-known South African poem, one line of which is, “the pace of the ox is steady and slow but he gets there just the same.” I wonder how long it will take for the African ox to catch up with the rest of the world.

No comments: