Breaking paradigms is often a good thing.
I have always had a soft spot for the poor and needy in community, and had in years past been privileged to go into areas where poor people lived and worked and raised their families. I had always come away humbled and grateful at the same time.
I realised that it would take a mind shift to go from poverty to progress, even prosperity, and that it was a long road. Governments and policies can change, but having a poverty mind-set will keep communities in poverty.
Over the years I have come to know that there are levels of poverty, and there are levels of wealth. That is the way of life. Secretly I have always had an inclination to regard the rich with a bit of disdain. Why I do not know. Perhaps it is a wrong perception, perhaps it was unfair judging of those who think they have it all, but more often than not, have the arrogance to match it. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy. But it brings with it a lurking arrogance, that can morph into greed, and that will stealthily steal from man’s character. Few can wear wealth well.
But then I suppose, there are degrees of arrogance in all of us, whether rich or poor or somewhere in between.
In recent years I have had the privilege to live among those who seemingly have more than enough wealth. It is good to live in an area where money can buy and maintain a beautiful environment, – necessarily so for the many wealthy tourists who come to visit, and spend their money in our ‘little village’
Umhlanga Rocks has an interesting history. The Oyster Box Hotel is one of the oldest, and one of the beautiful hotels where the rich and famous reside when they visit our shores. The iconic Umhlanga Light House is right on the beach in front of the hotel, which makes it that more special.
In years gone by, the hotel was first a shack, then a tea garden, owned by a brother and sister. Later, it became a restaurant.
In 1954 the hotel was built, and has grown into a five-star status hotel.
It has always been a little dream of mine, to one day, have afternoon tea at the famous Oyster Box Hotel. Well I can tell you that dreams do come true.
My son Gareth and his friend Kerry came for a visit. Now Gareth has an inclination to spoil, and Kerry loves cake, as I do ! He decided to arrange for Kerry and I to have High Tea at – the Oyster Box !!
Near the stairway, in the lobby, was a stunning floral arrangement. At first glance it looked like a giant pineapple. It was made up of bright red, and costly Antirrhinum flowers.
It was a fascinating experience. Just walking into the hotel is an assault on the sense of opulence. It speaks of bigger, better and brighter. The lobby had, within it, an alcove surrounded by mirrored glass. Glass table tops and white furniture gave the impression of a transparent but secret meeting place.
In The Palm Court, the palm pots were bigger than usual, the ceilings higher with many fans cooling the air, and the palms grew high and large, to give a sense of tropical fullness.
A man was playing a piano in the Tea room, as we were ushered in and shown our reserved table. The tea cups were of fine porcelain, with a pretty pink flower design. A white starched napkin, was unfolded and placed on my lap by a friendly hostess.
You could choose your tea of preference from a box of assorted teas that was presented to you with a gloved hand. Boiling water arrived in a little glass tea-pot, which you could pour when you were ready to do so.
The cake and savouries, were all arranged on a centre table, that were literally loaded on all sides, with all kinds of everything delightful and delectable. A feast for the eyes and the palate.
My words could not do justice to the charm of the day, so I hope these few pictures will give you a better appreciation of the opulence I touched in the Palm Court of the Oyster Box Hotel, one sunny afternoon in Umhlanga Rocks, situated this side of paradise !
An old song I once heard, went something like this ‘ You gotta have a dream to have a dream come true.’ So dream on, it may come along quicker than you think.
And thank you to Gareth and Kerry for making my dream come true !!
Go and break some paradigms, and extend the horizon of your appreciations.