Monday, July 12, 2010

Proudly Port Elizabethan

So the rest of the world now know what we Port Elizabethans have always known - Port Elizabeth is a fabulous place to be. It took the World Cup to get the rest of the planet to recognise this, but we are not a city to shout about our treasures too loudly.

Johannesburg, the city of gold, has the attitude of a capital city, confident, cocky and it possesses all the vulgarity and Kitsch of the nouveau riche. Johannesburg is a blur and best taken in at high speed - not stopping to take in the tawdry detail.
Cape Town has the arrogance and snobbery of old money combined with the flamboyance of super rich who love to rub shoulders and name drop with each other. A thriving and symbiotic relationship in a city dominated by one of the most famous mountains in the world. Visitors are given the impression that they are so fortunate that Cape Town is prepared to share this vast monument and allow them to witness the luxury lifestyle of the fortunate.

Port Elizabeth is like the poor cousin impressed but intimidated by their better off relatives, and yet quietly content that their lifestyle is somewhat simpler, ordinary and more authentic. We are happy with our lot, but because the people who live here have settled for less financially, doesn't mean to say that what we have isn't valuable. It is valuable beyond measure.

So what is so fabulous about living here? Apart from the people, we are only ten minutes away from great beaches, historical buildings, a harbour, an airport and great shopping malls and eateries. We are only an hour away from the elephants and lion parks and luxurious game reserves. We have a climate to die for and winter is just summer with a few short cold snaps. Our beaches are magnificent, unspoilt, uncrowded and our region is teeming with natural beauty.

Our people are content. We all seem to know one another and if we do encounter strangers, it is only minutes before we know someone who knows someone who knows them! I often joke that you have to go further than Jeffrey's Bay to be disgraceful! OK we are not the most go-getting, dynamic, fast tracking, purpose driven bunch, but we do have our shining stars here and we are proud of their success - not jealous of it.

Perhaps we should be blowing our own trumpet a little more, maybe we should capitalize on our friendliness but it's just not our nature. We love our lifestyle, we love people and we love Port Elizabeth and that is the secret of our success.