Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Durban Mini Town

This morning I was left to my own devices WITH A CAR.   Dad has headed off to Joburg for his booksellers event, Ingrid was at Cleopatra's in the Midlands and David was at business meetings.   Ansellia and Orion were at school and uni respectively.

I decided to take the kids to Mini Town.    Mini-town is a miniature city inspired by Durban.  As a child I remember my visits there and had told Frost about it.   Nobody believed it was still here - Ingrid was sure it had been demolished and Ansellia had never been but it remains, a relic to the 1970s beachfront tourist zone.
The New Face of Mini Town 

 We arrived at 9.30am, just as the gates were opening.    A man climbed into the little booth overlooking the 'city' and turned on the train, harbor, airport and music (which blared in an over-amped exhausted distortion).

Wren and Frost in front of Durban City Hall -
their great-grandad was once mayor.  You can see
the real hotels of the Golden Mile in the background.
Wren's favorite part of mini-town was the train which runs on a track around the whole perimeter and snakes in past the amusement park and harbor.  He liked to run along chasing the train rather than following the path designated by arrows.   Another popular destination was the car accident.   Either my memory has faded or mini-town has changed in the new South Africa.   Regardless, the kids thought it was very entertaining. I don't recall this as a child.  Perhaps there are more accidents now, or the artists have more creative license.

Look, there is a man climbing out of the car by the CorobriK factory.
Another part that I don't recall is the mosque, featuring women in hijab.   Frost thought they might be in mourning.  I thought they might be ninjas.   There are many fabulous hindu temples and muslim temples around Durban.  I shall take the kids to the Hindu Temple this week.  I think it is dedicated to Shiva.  There used to be a temple to Hanuman but I can't find any record of it.  Wonder why not?

Mourners?  Ninjas?  Hijab?
Durban Harbor at Minitown.  Frost said
"Take a picture of me to send to Alex."
The harbor is a big part of Durban - the port has a huge sugar terminal and many ships are lined up across the horizon which we can see from Dad's window.   The ships at minitown move along tracks underwater into the port.

The Crocodiles and huts in the 'country' 
I don't recall the Crocodile Creek and hutted village where people farm cows, goats and pigs by patches of real red earth.  Wren is on a crocodile theme at the moment and both boys wanted to go and visit "the Crocodile Farm" which I think is the point of sponsorship of specific exhibits for advertising.    The website for the Crocodile Creek shows kids petting crocodiles, girls holding crocodiles and a man riding a crocodile.  In light of the Dog Bite Experience yesterday (all recovering well from anxiety and Frost holding no grudge against Charlie) I think we shall avoid petting fanged beasts.

Speaking of beasts, a vast real live Egyptian Goose was enjoying Durban Harbor in minitown. Wren saw it and was very excited.    Here he calls out to me to look at the Real Live Duck.

"Look Mummy - by me, a real live duck is come!"
Frost making a "tasty" pose outside the Sugar Terminal building.
We hope to tour the sugar terminal later this week.

After we had done two circuits of Mini Town, I bought a lovely woven grass basket to use while we are here.  I may try and stuff a few in our suitcase.     Then it was off to UShaka Aquarium.  More on that later.

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