"We barely get the time to go out there to enjoy the outdoors. We rush from one place to another while the tranquil beauty of the city becomes a blur." Picture: Armand Hough/African News Agency(ANA)

I am grateful for the challenges I have had to overcome during the past few months. It made me realise how small I am in the puzzle called life. I have learnt to be very mindful when I interact with others and also where I spend time. I learnt that not everybody has good energy toward you.

One can never get enough of our city. Beaches, forests and Table Mountain (you will have to climb) are places to spend time at, even if you’re broke. 

On First Thursdays one can visit art galleries for free and sometimes even meet the artists. It is educational and something new to me. 

The city brings out one’s creativity and it inspires you to become more aware of the nature we are blessed with. Issues such as recycling, the well-being of our bees, etc, is close at home. 

You can step out of a high-rise building and 10 minutes later you can be walking in a forest. Children can enjoy the many options the outdoors have. Swimming, hiking, etc.

Let us now jump into reality: We barely get the time to go out there to enjoy the outdoors. 

We are stuck in traffic, can never find parking. Public transport is late most of the time. 

Children are glued to PC games and their smartphones. Gone are the days where they could go out and play. We are held hostage by a small group of thugs and thieves lurking is our neighbourhoods.

We rush from one place to another while the tranquil beauty of the city becomes a blur. 

While we’re on the subject of blur – the retail climate in our inner city is dodgy. 

The smaller individual shops in and around Cape Town, strangely enough, don’t have prices on most merchandise. 

It must be impossible to know all the prices of products. I tested a few of these shops in Long Street and found it to be true. 

I asked randomly about the price of certain products. On return a few hours later, the price was not the same. Coffee sachets one moment cost R3; later the same day, they cost R5.

Some expired stock is sold at a lower prices to get rid of it. Most is way past its use-by date. The areas where they work with food such as fried chips are not hygienic. Some staff handle cash and later the food without using gloves. Pies in the display cabinets are not under temperature control; surely a health risk.

To counteract possible rip-offs there should be a law that all items must carry a price tag. 

Some tourists don’t speak English and it can be confusing to them.

A few months ago, a tourist at the waterfront wanted to take a meter taxi to a garage in Green Point. He was quoted R350. How insane is this?

Tourists have been taken for a ride. And in the long run, it will damage the image of our city. 

* Danny Oosthuizen is the #TheDignityProject ambassador. In his weekly daily column for the Cape Argus, he tackles the struggles homeless people face. Connect with Danny on Facebook and on Twitter @masekind3213 or via email: [email protected]

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Newspapers.

Cape Argus