The most extraordinary change I've seen on many visits over four decades to this most beautiful part of Africa, Cape Town, stared me in the face tonight.
|Girl in a magical setting ... this young lady climbed down to be beside the South Atlantic, where just over the horizon it joins the vast Southern Ocean. The scenery wasn't required to watch the birdie, though. The smartphone-camera snapped away with many very close-up selfies instead.|
On one side stands astonishingly high mountains topplingly close to the sea - Table Mountain, and the eccentric jutting Lion's Head, and the lesser peaks that add enormously to the fabulous beauty of the region.
|It's international ... Dancers very far from the Cape Town's corner of the South Atlantic pause for a selfie. Photo by Quinten de Graaf on Unsplash|
With such stunning scenery - perhaps the most beautiful and most extraordinary in the world - you'd imagine eyes peering into the phones-come-cameras sweeping from left to right, and back, and dizzily right round.
Click-mad touristsClick-mad tourists were certainly clicking away quite madly in their droves, seemingly from almost everywhere in the world, even though it is winter here, and Cape Town very far from anywhere.
But the phone-cameras were not swinging from side to side, taking in the extravagant scenery.
This is 2019 after all. The tourists, the walkers, most of the population on the path, showed that they were as transfixed by what's become the favourite action of smartphones.
Their gadgets were turned immodestly back-to-front for selfies.
Some were on eccentric selfie sticks, most were held out for back-to-front snapping, some presumably new to the selfie trick were in the hands of friends, and all of the selfie subjects wore very odd expressions indeed.
Apart from the very odd immodesty, the strangest thing is that the phones were photographing what they could just as easily have been snapping at home, albeit that the tiny border around the subject wouldn't be of Cape scenery.
However, no mountains for background edging, please.
The sun sets at about quarter to six these evenings, and rows upon rows of people line up to photograph the mighty orb sinking into the Atlantic.
Smiles for the camera
The sun smiles for the cameras, the smartphones, in every part of the world. Yet this is the somewhat eccentric choice, and not by one selfie-fan, but loads and loads of them.
As we might have guessed, most of the space is filled by the grinning 'selfie', with a little of retiring sun as a little bit of edging.
The internet tells me that 1.43 billion smartphones were bought last year and 1.51 billion the year before.
Just as well the inventors only got active in recent years or the very pricy gadgets - and the nutty craze - might well have meant unemployment rather than famous careers for the genius of Leonardo da Vinci, Raphael, Michelangelo, brilliant Titian, and the amazing Jan van Eyck, plus rather a lot more.