Monthly Archives: May 2014

Cutting Edge Tents Muppets

We asked a stretch tent company to put up a tent for us at AfrikaBurn this year. The tent never arrived. This is the story.

A few weeks ago I got a quote from Cutting Edge Tents and we agreed on a price (R7500) for them to rent us a tent, set it up for us at AfrikaBurn and take it down again. Pretty much the same deal as the year before, only a bit more expensive this time.

Our camp paid them a R4000 deposit. I sent them a text message and an email to confirm the size, price, location and day it needed to be up (the Sunday). I also gave Prince (who seems to own the business) and Baron all the details over the phone.

When we arrived at AfrikaBurn on the Monday evening there was no stretch tent at our theme camp location.

On the Thursday (day 4 of the event) I drive back to Ceres to phone the (not so) Cutting Edge Tent people (there is no mobile phone network coverage at AfrikaBurn). After a few calls I managed to speak to Baron who tells me the tent should be up and he gives me the name of the guy who should have set it up. I search on Facebook and track down the guy – let’s call him “Fred” because I know he does not want to be associated with Cutting Edge Tents.

I send Fred a Facebook message. He responds and tells me he has nothing to do with Cutting Edge Tents and I should phone Prince. I phone Prince who again tells me I should talk to Fred. I phone Fred again and he tells me he took three tents to AfrikaBurn, set up two and took one back to Cape Town – because the guys from Cutting Edge Tents never gave him the details of where to put up the tent. He says he tried to phone them on the day he left Cape Town, but they did not answer their phones.

I phone Baron again and I tell him that if he can bring me a tent to Ceres (all tar road to Ceres) within the next three hours, I will take it to AfrikaBurn and find somebody to help us set it up. He never phones me back.

Two hours later I have to start leaving Ceres to get back. I phone him again – he says he could not arrange transport. We agree that he will bring our tent to AfrikaBurn the next day and I should meet him at the gate at 12:00 – again we would have to set it up, he just needs to bring the tent to us.

The next day we wait at the gate from 12:00 to 14:00. At around 12:30 we leave a message at the gate for him. At 14:00 we pretty much give up on the whole thing, but we meet some people at the gate and hang around a bit longer.

At about 14:30 Baron shows up, without the tent. He says the tent is 30km away and he had a flat tyre on the R355. A few people in our camp meet and talk about the situation. We decide that we can’t drive 60km on the dirt road to go fetch the tent. We give Baron two bottles of water. We don’t see him again.

That afternoon we borrow a small tent (3mx3m) just to have some shade, we move some cars closer to support it. This is after a ranger walked by and tells us our theme camp looks pretty bad and we need to do something about it.

xmen

Back in Cape Town, after the event, I phone Prince to try and get our deposit back. Prince insists that we need to meet. We have a meeting and I tell him all of the above. They never delivered, they outsourced the work but screwed up the communication very badly, I tried twice to make things work but they screwed that up too. Barron getting a flat tire is unlucky, but it’s not our problem and it’s a risk they were aware of when they quoted us for the service.

The meeting ends with him saying – how do I know that they received the text message and email I sent them with the details of our camp? This is after I showed them the text message and the email I sent them in the meeting – with Baron responding to the text message conversation with “Thanx”. Prince does not seem to respond to emails, but I’m sure I sent it to the same address I received his quote from.

How do these guys do business?

I phone Prince the next day and ask him to please suggest how he wants to resolve the matter. He says he’ll phone me back, he never did. I send him a text message and an email. He ignores me. A few days later I phone again – he’s busy and can’t talk, he says he’ll phone me back. I phone again a few days later, he says he does not want to talk about it over the phone. He wants to meet at his office in Epping. I again ask how he wants to resolve this.

I phone a lawyer friend who suggests the small claims court in Goodwood. He says the process takes about two months.

I phone Prince and I tell him that if he does not want to resolve things our only option is to go to the small claims court. At this point he gets unhappy and says “well you send me the lawyer papers”.

I phone another tent company and ask them if there is some form of industry body for tent companies which I can ask to help resolve things. Turns out there is nothing like this.

I’m not going to be in Cape Town for the next two months to follow the small claims court process – but I figure I would at least try and prevent other people from having to deal with a problem like this, so here you have a blog post. I hope this helps somebody.

Muppets.

Update: it seems there was at least one more person who had big problems with these guys at AfrikaBurn.

Update: looks like our theme camp will be following the small claims court process to get the money back.

Quick Update

The Fish Eagle project and a Cederberg weekend…

Cederberg
Cederberg
  • Monday, took a walk around Oranjezicht with Georg, took the MyCITI bus to TwentyFifty – it was at least 20min late (45min to travel 5km – not great), took the bus back, sunset walk in Oranjezicht and around the Gardens Rugby Club, watched the end of 2001 Space Odessy, Georg made an awesome lamb and veg roast, great bottle of Merwida Cabernet, watched Cosmos.
  • You would think that after 20 years Vodacom would have good signal in the whole Cape Town city bowl. Seems we’re just above the beam width of the nearby towers, yet walking up Table Mountain just behind us there is good signal again. Seems they have 8 open support tickets for our road.
  • Tuesday, admin, gym, TwentyFifty.
  • Go read Ernst’s AfrikaBurn post.
  • Wednesday, meeting in Durbanville, TwentyFifty with a community lunch, back to Durbanville (DD docs), drove to the arts and craft shop in Somerset West, found arty stuff and printed some photos for a 3D poster of a Fish Eagle for Mia’s show and tell presentation – her mom and her had two weeks to prepare and they leave it for the last minute, took Mia out for an early supper to help her prepare for her presentation, drove back to Cape Town and had a drink with Wouter at Alexander Bar – nice place, I should go there more often.
  • Assholes and rules… I was reminded again of this bit of wisdom: “The modern world has lured us into individualism and individual enrichment. The price that we have paid is losing the connectedness with each other. The two big fruits of this status quo are assholes and rules. An environment where you are not emphatically linked to the people around you will naturally lead to assholes. And rules are bound to come about to curb these assholes and make life bearable for the majority of people. And so, we take assholes for granted and we are grateful for rules. Afrikaburn, in my opinion, is a way for us to revisit this ancient way of interacting. It’s a cultural experiment to see what we can be when we remove ourselves from this stalemate, from the assholes and the rules.”

  • I recently bumped into my old boss from 2002 days (IOL / SA Property) at Love and Light. Seems he regularly goes to trance parties these days. Cool guy.
  • Thursday, sense of humour failure, Naulene didn’t let Mia practice her presentation, gym, swim, sauna, sense of humour failure again – traffic on the N2, I missed most of Mia’s hockey match – dead pedestrian about 30m away from a pedestrian bridge in the fast lane, cop van parked in front of him, but they don’t want to move the body just 5m for traffic get going again, watched some hockey… they lost 2-1, dropped Mia at art class… seems her presentation went well, caught up on email at Fred and Max, fetched Mia, sports shop, Strand beach walk… had a long chat about how the planets and sea (Goldilocks zone) and moon were formed, pizza at Giuseppe’s… very good, dropped Mia at Naulene’s, drove back to Cape Town, Van Hunks with Georg and Janey – we met this guy (again), Janey managed to get her car wheel clamped – so we gave her a lift home.
  • Friday, a quick Table Mountain walk with Georg, admin in the print shop, fetched Mia from school, 4 hour road trip to the Cederberg with Mia and Georg… Georg showed Mia a series of Leon Schuster videos – mostly making fun of traffic cops… very funny, stopped for a sunset photo at the Piekenierskloof pass, we arrived at the farm after dark – a bit of an adventure finding the house… 4×4 and air suspension was useful, braai.
  • Saturday, a pretty cold morning walk with Mia and my camera to the Protea plantation, I made an 8 hour lamb stew (they were out of oxtail at the butchery), chilled by the fire, some reading, fetched some cold Chardonnay from the stream in front of the house, wine tasting at Cederberg Wines, Mia opened her first few farm gates, lamb stew and red wine, 12 hour sleep.
  • Some classic Leon Schuster videos: “Maak soos ‘n blou lig.“, Rookie fireman, “Boetie, weet jou ma jy’s hier?
  • Sunday, bacon and eggs, we picked some flowers for Naulene, spent a few hours at The Baths (hot springs near Citrusdal), Mia drove (steered) the car for a while – her first time, pizza with Mia and Georg at Pomodoro, dropped Mia at her mom’s house (after she managed to drive back from “Hermanus” in about 15minutes), drove back to Cape Town, watched Evan Almighty… pretty good, while doing some photo processing.
  • Great weekend. This really is the best time of year to visit the Cederberg, not too warm, not too cold. A bit of winter time is actually very nice right about now.
  • “From now on, let’s keep the surprises to a maximum of, say, none.” — Evan Almighty.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

Moonlightmass…

Kloof Street
Kloof Street
  • Monday, Earl Grey tea, freshly squeezed juice and poached eggs at Carlucci’s with Georg, took a walk past the Governor’s mansion – it’s like something out of Monkey Island, sunset walk around Oranjezicht, 2 for 1 steak deal at HQ – we sat at a table 3m from where I had my first seared tuna steak at Strega in 2001… good memories, the Orphanage Martini at Orphanage with cucumber sandwiches – great service.
  • Tuesday, gym, swim, sauna, meeting with Werner, some paperwork in the print shop, 2 for 1 pizza night at Sgt Pepper with Nick and Georg, Van Hunks… the friendly waitress’ name is Tania (sp?).
  • “Trapped under something heavy?” — the standard text message I send Naulene when she does not answer her phone for most of the day.

  • Nick actually found a girlfriend on Tinder.
  • Deckard is Gaff.
  • Wednesday, a quick walk to the 7Eleven for electricity and a MyCITI bus card, took the bus to the ~office, gym, swim, sauna, TwentyFifty, took the bus back (right on time), walked to Higgovale and back (how cool is Trek road), added some lights to my bike and cycled to Green Point, Moonlightmass, Van Hunks with Georg (bike got a lift home).
  • Moonlightmass was fun, but every few 100m the traffic cops stop everybody and you have to wait ~5min. Anyway, happy I did it.
  • Georg now has the biggest smartphone in the known universe. After a power failure at home we discovered that his new Nokia phablet does not have a torch.
  • When last did you do something for the first time?… HQ, Orphanage, MyCITI bus, Moonlightmass.
  • Top 4 roads in Cape Town: Leeukloof, Beta, Trek, Nettleton.
  • Some of my photos made it into a blog post on AfrikaGeographic.
  • Thursday, Stellenbosch visit, Mill House, Mxit visit, watched Mia’s hockey match vs SWPS – she scored 6 (of the 6) goals in the game, hot chocolate at Manuka with Naulene – she seems pretty happy with spending some time in London this summer with Mia, scones, red Cappuccino and homework with Mia, swanky BNP wine event at 15 on Orange (probably not the worst hotel in the world, but I don’t like it), good fun, best wines of the evening: De Wetshof Bateleur and Mischa Merlot Cabernet, a Tanqueray and dry lemon at HQ with Paul while Candice played a few tunes.
  • Mia lost two milk teeth this week.
  • Friday, breakfast with Georg, Sparkup! afternoon and evening session, Van Hunks, Power and the Glory with Camilla, Bianca, Velma and Georg, failed attempt at making conversation with two girls about Wes Anderson movies and Blade Runner *sigh*.
  • Saturday, whole day at Sparkup! (8:00 to 20:00) at UCTGSB Solution Space (cool venue), Werner joined for the morning sessions, photo processing.
  • “There’s a rush to be second among investors.” — Permjot

  • Sunday, another full day at UCTGSB with Jan, failed pitching session, they changed the pitch time limit – so I never pitched, at least I upgraded Mia’s laptop to OSX 10.9 (~7GB download).

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

AfrikaBurn, done and dusted…

IMG_4965

  • Monday, a last cycle around AfrikaBurn while Paul finished packing, we visited the post apocalyptic padstal for some curry and rice… hit the spot, Ceres for a Steers burger, dropped Paul off in Stellenbosch, drove to Cape Town, took two baths and a shower, crashed into bed.
  • Mild “I did not take enough photos at the Burn” regrets, not as bad as last year. I managed to get (keep) 262 photos vs last year’s 40.
  • “An itch. It is small and it is fragile and it is the only thing in the world worth having.” ~- V for Vendetta, actually that’s not the real quote, I changed one letter, but I like it more.

  • Tuesday, unpacked the car, omtelette, 6th conference call / interview at Wembley Square, dropped off the rental van, btw. support kibarentals.co.za.
  • I’ve managed to reduce salads to only three essential ingredients: avo, tomato, protein (tuna).
  • Wednesday, up early, elections holiday, spent about an hour writing one email, breakfast at Caprice – two poached eggs and a big omelette… protein craving, voted at the Camps Bay Club, fetched Mia and Francis, spent most of the afternoon on Strand Beach… soft serve, a walk, finding and playing with Hermit Crabs and drawing on the sand, dropped the girls off, red wine and photo processing.
  • I took four cameras to AfrikaBurn – the photo processing took a while.
  • Thursday, theme camp photo processing, moar AfrikaBurn cleaning, fetched Mia from school, cold and windy hockey match vs Beaumont – they lost their games, Mia played defense for the first time… which is no fun for the photographer, but it was an exciting game to watch – it may have been Naulene’s first time at one of Mia’s hockey matches, birthday party gift shopping, epic scones and Chai lattes while doing homework and talking hockey strategy, took Mia back to Naulene’s house, drove back in a crazy rain storm singing along to Ben Harper’s Amen Omen about five times – beautiful song, photo processing.
  • “I still hear you saying: all of life is chance, and is sweetest, it is sweetest when at a glance.” — Ben Harper, Amen Omen.

  • Friday, still cleaning up and dusting stuff after he Burn, last minute Sparkup entry (more about this next week), a phone call from NY – good news, red wine and pizza at Johann and Victoria’s with Janey and Tasha – they showed me the first aquaponics farm… very cool.
  • The Friday after AfrikaBurn seems to be pretty lucky – last year we won Seedstars World Cape Town. This year we get to visit London in the summertime.
  • Saturday, fetched Mia from a sleepover party in Erinvale, a quick visit to Lourensford and Morgenster, a late breakfast at Stables at Vergelegen with Dirk… we bumped into Will and met the twins (Olivia and Thomas), a long walk around Vergelegen taking photos… dreamy afternoon, fish and chips at Trawlers in Gordon’s Bay, fetched Mia’s AfrikaBurn camera from Naulene, back to Cape Town, we took a walk around the (pretty empty) Molteno reservoir, photo processing, bath, aquaponics reading, sleep.
  • Sunday, Kalk Bay outing with Mia and Georg, Nutella crepes for breakfast, a Lion Heart Lager (Kings Craft beer) at The Brass Bell, walked to the lighthouse, fish and chips at Kalky’s, some random window shopping, took Mia to her gran’s house – so she could give her mom all 11 of her Mothers’s day gifts… including a Sweet Love Cinema Tshirt from AfrikaBurn, Nougat and 3 cards, burger special night (and Jack Black – nice pairing) at Van Hunks… the very friendly waitress was there again, photo processing – pretty happy with the weekend’s photos.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

New adventures with bicycles…

Painting with light
AfrikaBurn 2014
  • This post is late. It’s for the week of 28 April to 4 May. There may be some signal/noise issues with this post – some of it reconstructed from photos.
  • Monday, packed the rental van with all our AfrikaBurn stuff and two bicycles, Mia and I got a few last minute items like a light for her bike and some things for her backpack, drove in convoy to AfrikaBurn with Ernst and the Joburg gang, had a long chat with Mia about all the things to expect and see at AfrikaBurn, a burger at the padstal, we arrived just before sunset, Mia banged the first-timer bells at the gate, I did not spot the “welcome home” sign, but I’m sure it was there somewhere, we set up our tents – minor snag: no stretch tent.. muppets, Mia and I went for an evening cycle, she had a few minor falls and saves, but we kept going, she was just that excited about cycling around.
  • I phoned Naulene recently, asking if Mia can cycle. She said: Yes, sure, tip-top. Turns out this was her third time cycling without training wheels – so she was a bit nervous. In the end I’m actually happy that her first long cycling experience was at AfrikaBurn. Good memories. By the following evening she was a very confidently new little cyclist going for fairly long rides on her own.
  • Tuesday, cycling around the art projects, Paul and Ben arrived, we built some cubes from wood, sunset shower – Mia had her first camping shower experience… pretty cold, Mia watched Mary Poppins at the Sweet Love Cinema camp, some painting with light with Ben (long exposure shots), Paul misplaced his new (unmarked) bicycle – sadly, it was not seen again.
  • Lesson from the Burn: living in the desert is so much easier if you have good routines and rituals and you are generally well organised – putting stuff back where you found it, for example. I’m hoping that’s something Mia will remember.
  • Wednesday, more cycling with Mia, photography, more theme camp construction, Mia went exploring with Frieda and later watched Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.
  • Thursday, Mia took a ride and took some photos from inside L2H2 (~R2 droid), we drove back to the Western Cape, Naulene feched Mia in Ceres (thank you Naulene), Steers burger… my office for the afternoon, figured out the story (mess) with our stretch tent, got some water and supplies and a chocolate for Ernst, video conference to London, standing in the Ceres post office… seems post offices are still useful – and quiet and right next to the town’s 3G tower, drove back to AfrikaBurn – mostly in the dark (meeting was at 5pm), not so smart in hindsight, listened to the Alt-J CD three times on the way back (concentrating on the 2.5hour mostly dirt road drive), only upside was stopping to take a leak and appreciating the stars and clear night sky, more painting with light.
  • Mia says she wants to stay 5 days next year. We’ll have to find the really quiet zone. I think she loved the Burn. She may have enjoyed the cycling a bit too much – did not really want to do much else, other than watch the evening movie at Sweet Love Cinema (thanks Julia).
  • “Did you bring your big kid pants?” — Paul

  • Friday, Ernst, Wouter and I had a bit of a gate jam – waiting for the stretch tent muppets to bring our tent, the guy actually arrived about three hours later – but the tent was 30km away with two flat tires, after a quick meeting we made peace with not having a stretch tent this year, general theme camp mayhem at sunset – probably the best night at our theme camp bar – medical scrubs, rabbit masks and Tequila in syringes.
  • “Ain’t nobody got time for that.” — this line was used more than once to express frustration with the stretch tent muppets.

  • “So many levels of contentness.” — Paul, master of the euphemism.

  • Saturday, the long queue for ice with Wouter, cycling around and exploring, taking photos, a few gin and dry lemons (with ice) and a gas braai, sunset theme camp bar, watched a burn or three, Groovenator, I remember insisting that Christina watch Rushmore.
  • Physical activity levels at the burn are so much higher than in default life.
  • Sunday, dust, dust, next level dust storm, long queues to leave so we cycled around a bit with dust goggles on, at this point only Paul and I stayed (from our camp), we got some photos with L2H2, cycled around (Paul on Mia’s bike), foam party with Christina (pretty much the only remaining party to be found), beautiful sunset, we watched a silent burn that evening – pretty powerful moment… one of maybe two parties I can remember thinking – if I die tomorrow I’ve had enough fun for one lifetime.
  • After all that effort – the van’s clock was out by a few hours!
  • How did I manage to get sun burnt on the back of my knees?
  • “I got you, ponytail.” — Paul

  • “Ahhww yeah, yeah.” — Groovenator.

  • “I’m so f$%^ing happy right now.” — Paul

  • AfrikaBurn 2014 – thank you. I’m happy we participated this year. I guess there will always be that feeling that you want to do more. I’m happy it put me outside my comfort zone. The Burn culture (virus / drug / religion) is spreading. I’m hoping it’s challenging people… be that guy, be a better man. Read this post.
L2H2
L2H2 (from Paul’s camera, thanks to the guy who took this.)

Have a fun week, crazy kids.

Quick Update

The week before the Burn…

Lions Head
Lions Head
  • This post is very late, for good reason. The week of 21 to 27 April.
  • Monday, public holiday (Family Day) with Mia and Francis, Waterfront to get an iPad cover, we tried the whole range of Tom Ford fragrances, I got a new pair of (green) sunglasses, green tea Myog (frozen yoghurt), Peter’s House for a short film screening – meetup for kids going to AfrikaBurn, a quick visit to Burnside Road Park, dropped Mia and Francis at Naulene’s house, bumped into Tammy at the 24h Engen (the centre of Cape Town), a drink at Van Hunks with Georg and Henk.
  • Not a revolution yet, but seems the weekly update idea is getting around.
  • Mia asked if she can move to Cape Town. Naulene does not seem to like the idea – not until Grade 8.
  • Tuesday, up early, photo processing and blogging, sent the photo iPad via PostNet, visited Werner – fetched Mia’s laptop (for EV3 programming), Stellenbosch gym, sauna (pool was full – grr), dropped off some docs, failed Lions Head walk with Henk – too windy and cold, but got a photo of a rainbow (see above), AfrikaBurn planning at Sgt Peppers in Long Street with Paul and Ben… pizza special night (2 for 1) – very good pizza.
  • “Can you rent a tree?” — Ben

  • I’ve noticed I get pretty grumpy if I don’t swim or walk up a mountain for a few days.
  • Tune of the week: Walls, Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers.
  • Wednesday, gym, swim, sauna, Twenty Fifty visit, bought Mia an AfrikaBurn ticket (for all of R23), The Pot Luck Club with Cath… the Blood Orange sorbet with Campari was pretty special, listened to Pachelbel’s Canon at top volume driving up the hills of Oranjezicht (a recording I picked up at Artscape the week before – a bit faster than the version I really like, but it had to do), a Campari and some dark chocolate at home.
  • Note to self: invite Cath to the next ballet outing.
  • Thursday, gym, swim, sauna, green smoothie, dropped off some money for our AfrikaBurn stretch tent in Epping, watched Mia’s hockey matches against Lochnerhof (in Strand), she played for the A and B team and scored two goals, we went shopping for AfrikaBurn camping gear and clothes – got her two onesies, dropped Mia at Naulene’s house.
  • How many startup ideas in your notes? I kinda have 14 – added two this week.
  • I think my primary AfrikaBurn project this year is… taking Mia to AfrikaBurn.
  • Friday, mild AfrikaBurn planning panic, Wembley square – managed to get a fair bit of admin done, got an entry level 29inch mountain bike with disk brakes from Action Cycling in Loop street (my first bike since Aug 2010), went for a sunset walk around our back yard – down Rugby Road towards Higgovale, big Chinese supper at Royo on Kloof with Georg, Van Hunks – seems we now have private parking next to Asoka.
  • Studio Ghibli 8-Bit Tributes – so cool.
  • Georg recently told me a story about Anton not having a TV as a child. His dad brought home a microwave oven one day and the children were so excited about getting a ~TV. He felt so bad that he went back to the shop and got a TV. Since then, when I work with Android devices I think about that microwave.
  • “You are in a maze of twisty little passages, all alike. Before you looms one of the most complex and utterly intimidating systems ever written.” — The Linux Installation and Getting Started guide. We used this on the brochure for the 1st LUG meeting we organised in Stellenbosch. I was reminded of this when packing for the Burn (“is it a virus, a drug, or a religion?”).

  • Saturday, AfrikaBurn shopping session with Georg, New School Grand Cru Chardonnay festival at Moreson (yes, the bubbly was also Chardonnay) with Georg and Paul – awesome afternoon, nice light for sunset photos… happy I took my 85mm, good to see Nikki – it’s been too long, she introduced us to “The Nikki Zippo”, soundtrack to the drive home: Pachebel, Groovenator and Alt-J, photo processing while Georg played his latest mixes.
  • Paul has a bag of over the counter meds in his car that will make any hypochondriac feel right at home at AfrikaBurn.
  • Theme for the last few weeks: focus on one investor, opportunity or girl, at a time.
  • “With the truth so dull and depressing, the only working alternative is wild bursts of madness and filigree.” — Hunter S. Thompson

  • Sunday, Georg gave me a lift to Obs to fetch a Hundai H1, quick AfrikaBurn planning meeting with Ben and breakfast at the Spur in Somerset Mall, more last minute shopping, got Mia a purple Casio watch with a light (as requested) for AfrikaBurn… every geeky kid needs a Casio watch – good memories, Strand beach walk, fetched Mia and her bicycle, drove to Cape Town and did some packing for eight
    days in the desert.

Have a fun week, crazy kids.