My Town: Part 2 ~ Online auction sales mean posting, the new shop, urban degeneration
In Part 1 I covered the onerous and tedious visits to the Police Station and Municipal building. I decided to use the day to accomplish as much as possible. I live in Northern KZN, South Africa and since I have lived in my town of Newcastle, I have witnessed many changes.
Central town, once, well, the centre of town, has become a place where whites don't go. Unfortunately I have to refer to race here, as South Africa is still defined by racial issues. My husband and I have had a business in various locations of central town for 24 years. I don't have .a problem being in town. Yes, criminals are rampant, but you have to be aware of this. Don't wear gold jewelry which can be snatched from your neck, don't carry a handbag, which can be grabbed from your shoulder Walk quickly and purposefully. Don't drive with your doors unlocked and any valuables on the seats of the car. I did stop to take many photos, but I checked my surroundings before taking out my phone, and I didn't linger.
After the Doctor's offices (https://steemit.com/story/@onetree/my-town-part-1) I made my way to what once was the most popular shopping spot in town, but now is pretty dreary. (Yes, that word again!) In the supermarket building is the Postnet branch I usually use to send my priority post items. We have 2 Postnet branches in town, and the other one is at our brand new Mall, which obviously is the "now" shopping area. Since I am based in town, the Postnet branch in town is more convenient for me. Additionally, I loathe malls. Postnet is privately run, unlike our South African Postal Service, which is government run. Postnet shipping is more expensive, but only by about 30-40% more, and is becoming an increasingly popular postage option. It is safer and faster.
My parking spot! It always seems to be waiting for me. In front is a huge shop which has just become empty. It will have to be subdivided into much smaller shops if it is to have a chance of being let out again.
A view across the road.
Inside the supermarket there is a queue going the opposite direction through a till point. These people are collecting government grants (social welfare) as they don't have bank accounts into which their grants are paid. This is a common sight at many supermarkets around town.
I usually leave my parcels for the Postnet staff to process while I go shopping. Ironically, this supermarket was built on land where we used to live when I was young. We had to find alternative premises to live due to this supermarket being built, about 38 years ago.
We have various Post Office branches around town, but I posted my other parcel at the branch in town, as I had parcels to collect as well, and my parcels are sent to that branch. Even a few years earlier I would have never have found a parking spot in town centre on a Friday. Lately it hasn't been difficult at all to find parking in town. The only problem are the very dodgy car guards. Their self-appointed function is to prevent your car from being stolen. In fact, if you do not tip them you risk serious verbal abuse and/or damage to your vehicle.
The Post Office building is old, but was built really well, and doesn't show it's age, except regarding to style. A few years ago I would have never been able to go to this Post Office branch due to the queues, which is why many satellite branches were built. Our South African Post Office has been basically going bankrupt, and many products and services they previously offered are no longer available.
Some pictures taken from my parking spot before I went to the Post Office. This street is Town Centre. Our very first tiny shop was in an arcade coming off this street. The water in the gutter is alarming, as we have had no rain in over a month. Our sewerage and drainage infrastructure is basically finished. (But a fancy glass monstrosity of a Municipal Building has been recently built. See my previous post!) We had heavy rain a few months ago coming off a long drought and for weeks the town literally smelt like shit.
From the Post Office I went past my old shop, vacated totally on Wednesday. I had no sad feelings at all. I was actually on my way to check out a space for my daughter's yoga classes, as she has been advertising for premises which can be rented hourly. Ironically the space (a choice of 2 conference rooms) was in one of our old shops. The shop is very neat, but the area is awful, so we will have to think about it.
These were our shop's premises from 2004 until 2013. After we vacated, this stationery shop moved in, as their previous shop burned down! The surrounding area has deteriorated a lot.
None of these photos could be perfect, as it is not advisable to be flashing a phone for too long in this area. Next stop was to re-fuel!
After that I paid the new shop, which is in the process of being set up a visit. I also had to pay wages.
Many of the shops in this centre are vacant. There are disadvantages and advantages to this. But we do have more negotiating power over rental costs as well as more parking for our customers, which was an issue at the old shop.
A little way down the road is the back of a centre in which at one stage we had 3 shops (though none at the back pictured here.) On this same road is a small block of flats which was the very first home of my husband and I. We could walk to work and it was awesome! The centre looks awful now! I parked on this road near the other main road which runs from the highway through the middle of town on my way to my next stop. See Part 3!!!
Thank you for reading! Please follow me @onetree