So, how was your Monday morning this week? Were you doing a bit of whinging about work, did the traffic get to you or was the weather driving you mad?
Suffice to say, no matter what was bugging you, your Monday morning was far better than the two families who live on the side of the road outside the apartment I’m staying in here in Cape Town.
The road, which is called Nelson Mandela Boulevard, has four lanes of traffic in each direction, bumper-to-bumper coming into Cape Town each morning and then on the way back out in the evening.
The two families live about 30 metres apart on a thin slice of grass that is just a few feet from the passing traffic. They have no roof over them, just blankets and a couple of mattresses.
They wash their clothes in a bucket and hang them to dry on the sharp wire that surrounds most buildings in Cape Town.
Our apartment has every conceivable mod-con, built recently, with a canal running through the complex where a red tourist boat meanders by each day.
It’s a 10-minute walk to Cape Town’s Waterfront area, with its vast array of restaurants where you can pay anything from €25 to €250 depending on your taste for dinner.
A short distance away from the other side of Nelson Mandela Boulevard is the Cullinan Southern Sun five-star hotel where Munster and the weary Cardiff Blues squad — they had a 55-hour journey coming out here — are holed up this week.
The hotel oozes luxury and there are many similar ones in the district.
Shortly after 8am on Monday a police car pulled up on the side of Nelson Mandela Boulevard outside my building and two officers got out.
With a weary look, they put a traffic cone behind their vehicle to divert vehicles out of that lane.
One by one the sleeping people woke up, started gathering their few belongings and started moving on. The police took photographs of them.
Two of the men put mattresses above their head and crossed the four-lane road carrying them before they disappeared into a car park that’s located between us and the team hotel.
They were followed in due course by all the others once they negotiated the traffic.
The police had a good look at the two areas where the people had slept, then they gathered up their traffic cone and moved away, as jeeps and cars and trucks flew by on their way to Monday morning business in this bustling city.
About 15 minutes later the homeless people emerged from the car park and settled back in their original places.
Their plight illustrates this country of sharp contrasts.
When we were driving back from the Southern Kings game in George on Sunday, we saw seaside summer mansions just a couple of hundred yards from shanty-towns as we travelled through the Garden Route.
On the way into Cape Town from the world famous Stellenbosch winelands, thousands of people live in huts, most made from corrugated iron with endless lines of electricity wire and poles alongside.
A group of women, all dressed immaculately in white, prayed in a grass area between the shanty-town and the motorway.
Security guards prevent beggars from entering areas such as the Waterfront but once you go to areas such as Camps Bay, they are everywhere. But many are just enterprising people, selling a few wares they have managed to get their hands on.
It’s impossible not to be impacted by it all. Why do some people get dealt such a rotten hand in life? Of course, you don’t have to leave our own shores to see the inequality, just here it is so much more stark.
Every single player I have spoken to has remarked about the scenery of this country and, let’s face it, a lot of players are so institutionalised they often don’t notice what’s around them.
The singing of hymns by the Kings players in the dressingroom prior to the match in George last week stunned a lot of players. They are more accustomed to nightclub music coming from their opponents’ room rather than some Afrikaan melody.
The vast selection of food which is available here has, of course, met with approval, while the style of rugby being offered by the South African sides has also presented new challenges.
But there is still a lot of ‘getting to know you’ to be done on both sides. Only a small percentage of rugby people here know anything about the PRO14 — it’s got no impact in Cape Town as the two teams in the competition are about 1000km away in Port Elizabeth and Bloemfontein.
Cape Town is likely to be the base for sides who come out to play the double fixture in the years ahead.
There is so much to see and do here, there are plenty of facilities, and teams have learned that heading to the Highveld in Bloemfontein with its light air is probably best done arriving as close to the game as possible.
There is a huge rugby population to tap into here and in time, the European sides will become better known. But for many, rugby and sport are totally insignificant.
Keeping their home on the side of the road is enough of a challenge for a lot of people here.
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