A standing joke in our little town, is that if you want to leave town with a million bucks, you’d better arrive with five. Yet, in about February and March of every year, they arrive.
They have a wide-eyed innocence about them, and start every sentence with, “Hi, we’re new in town…..” As if we didn’t know. It is also obvious that they are dressing down, but don’t feel very comfortable, and definitely look nothing like the “locals”.
I might just stop here for a minute, and define what a “local” is, in the context of Knysna. We have two varieties. Those who were born and raised here (the minority) and immigrants who have survived more than say, 5 Winters.
“Winters”, you might quip, what a quaint old word, why use it to define locals?
Well, as they say in the classics, “What’s long and hard and f$&@s newcomers in Knysna?” WINTER !!
It’s cold, miserable, and there is very little to do. That is of course, if you haven’t discovered the forest rides and hikes and cosy little pubs with fires blazing.
But then again, we don’t tell the newcomers about these winter gems, we just let them freeze to death in their homes. Added to this misery, of course, is that they have probably bought that quaint little coffee shop or curio shop that was buzzing during the season, and now sit despondently, day after day, watching the cobwebs gather over the door.
Yep, it’s a hard life in paradise, but by Spring they emerge, awe-struck, poorer, but starting to “chill”. Sure, they had to sell the big Pajero to cover the overheads, but season’s on it’s way and even the “locals” are slowly starting to recognise them.
The newcomers come in roughly the following forms.
Stressed out Sandton corporate couple. Fall in love with Knysna over season and on a wim, sell up everything, and move down with about 6 months living expenses after settling everything. Buys a Coffee/Curio shop. Survival Index – 3/10.
Business Failure (or scandal) in another town or city. Arrive in the dead of night with their clothes and their car. Let’s make a new start. Survival Index 0/10.
Commuter. Moves the family down to Knysna. Buys a house in Knysna and rents a flat in Jozie. Commutes over weekends. Survival Index 7/10.
Single/Divorcee. Arrives alone or with the kid’s in tow. Immediately takes up a sport or joins a club. Travels to P.E. or Cape Town regularly for a “big city” fix when needed. Survival Index 7/10.
Retiree. Normally an early retirement “Golden Handshake” from a large listed company. Boredom normally sends these packing, but we have the exceptions. Survival Index 4/10 – 7/10 (depending on how much money and boredom).
I intend writing a “Survival Guide” one day and intend expanding on my Knysna Map (on the sidebar of this blog) to highlight some more interesting places.
I leave you with this bit of advice.
If you have an extremely strong relationship, more than enough financial resources, a sense of humour, tolerance, a love of nature and the outdoors, a survival instinct and don’t mind getting your hands dirty. KNYSNA IS FOR YOU !!