This rather opulent lounge is in the reception area of the BoE building at the V&A Waterfront. It looked so comfortable and beautiful that I started to wonder whether they'd mind terribly if I took my laptop there on Monday and set up a little temporary office for myself. All the surrounding walls are covered with an eclectic selection of artworks, and just around the corner there are enormous windows offering an awesome view of the Waterfront. My kind of office...
We haven't eaten at this cosy-looking deli on Kloof Street, but I think we'll have to make a point of it - apparently they have the most delicious Italian cheeses, meats, breads and antipasti. The Victorian building is really pretty too; it looks like they did a beautiful restoration job on it. I can imagine that it's a great spot to be on a summer's evening.
I couldn't resist getting a shot of this little car - isn't it cute? I think driving with those wings on might get a little dangerous though - you could take out a few pedestrians' eyes with those things. :)
This is the Cape Town Union Congregational Church in Kloof Street. The only piece of information I could find about this particular church was that it apparently broke away from the rest of the United Congregational Church of South Africa during the apartheid years, due to the denomination's support of a programme to combat racism. You can read about it here.
The last two days have been rather stormy here in Cape Town. I took this shot while driving down Loop Street today in the rain.
Yesterday was particularly bad, with trees being uprooted by the wind and roads being flooded. A few suburbs were without electricity for a couple of hours, because their power lines had been damaged by falling trees and heavy wind.
I don't mind the storms at all, but that's because I have a comfortable brick house, a heater, and enough clothing to keep me warm. But what about the people living in shacks made of corrugated iron and wooden boards? And even worse, what about those who call the street their home? This kind of weather has far greater consequences for them than a few hours without electricity...
These plants appear to be growing in mid-air... They're actually attached to the roof with some kind of rope or cord, but I have no idea where they get their nutrients and minerals from. Rather curious, don't you think? This house is near the top of Kloof Street, by the way.
Colourful houses and cobbled streets are some of the most immediately apparent features of Bo-Kaap. Traditionally known as the Malay-Quarter it is one of the most culturally-rich parts of Cape Town. The area was established in the 17th and 18th century as home to slaves imported by the Dutch East India Company.
I took this photo from a hill in a residential part of Cape Town called Bo-Kaap. I noticed this builder throwing bricks, two by two, up to the next level where his mates were adding them to the structure. I doubt going to gym would add much to this daily workout.
Instead of watching the Rugby on the television, Kerry-Anne and I visited the trendy Arnold's on Kloof for a late lunch (hence the largely empty room). The food was good and the complimentary bottle of vino was a treat!
The Cape Town International Book Fair took place from 16 to 19 June, at the Convention Centre (see yesterday's post).
It was absolute book-heaven. I watched live poetry performances, listened to a panel discussion on writing biographies, heard travel writers talking of their travel experiences, met the editor of one of our leading women's magazines, and got a book signed by my favourite Afrikaans poet.
Amid all this activity, I also got a chance to just wander up and down rows and rows of exhibition stands and enjoy being surrounded by millions of shiny new books!
Almost 50,000 people visited the Book Fair this year. It's really pleasing to see that despite the speed and complexity of our lives so many people still love a good book.
We keep mentioning the Cape Town International Convention Centre, so I decided that it's about time we show you what it looks like from the outside.
The construction of the CTICC started in April 2001, and the Centre was officially opened for business on 1 July 2003. Since then, it's played host to an enormous range of conferences, trade fairs, exhibitions, concerts and other events. Some of those that Paul and I have been to include The Cape Town International Book Fair, Hobby-X (an annual crafts and hobbies expo), The Good Food and Wine Show, the Johnny Clegg concert, a production of Mamma Mia, and the International Shopping Festival.
The Convention Centre is almost always buzzing, and quite honestly, I don't know how we did without it for all those years.
Teenagers may obtain a motorbike license from the age of 16, though the license is limited to only 50cc. With the soring petrol price (currently 7.00 ZAR to the litre) and general traffic congestion, our cities and suburbs may see many more of these lower-cc motorbikes on the street.
Like any boy should, I love bikes - but, they can be really annoying at times, disturbing our quiet suburb by either buzzing backwards and forwards (sounding much like very really loud lawnmowers) or screaming down the road with 1000 cubes of brute force.
I'm torn between loving and hating them.
Thanks to Grant for this photo. He took it while visiting the Little Stream Conference Centre. Little Stream is situated in the Constantia winelands on the banks of Table Mountain. It's a small conference centre run buy the YMCA (a non-denominational Christian organisation). Groups can hire the venue for picnics (in the lush gardens), small conferences and other functions. Kerry-Anne and I, for example, hired the venue some time back for our wedding which was held outside in the gardens.
Oh, "Little Stream" was named such because of the little stream that runs across the property. I doubt that I'll forget the day that Kerry-Anne crossed over the stream's wooden bridge in her wedding dress. She was perfectly angelic.
Alice asked us to tell our lightning tale, so here goes:
It happened a few years ago. The day started out as a clear blue Saturday morning (much like it was today, actually). We joined Mark (a friend of ours) and a few others for a walk on the slopes of Table Mountain. We started walking the Pipe Track from Kloofnek Road, heading around to Camps Bay side.
Mark developed a need to go over the mountain - ascending from Camps Bay side and descending on the Cable Station side of the mountain. Kerry-Anne and I (the more sensible ones) voiced our concern at the oncoming clouds, and the distant rumble of thunder.
For reasons unknown to us now, we decided not to split from the group and instead to climb the mountain. About 100 metres from the summit we realised that the lightning (which had been moving in ever closer over the sea) was actually striking the mountain - not far from us either. We felt how the air became charged with electricity, and could smell the sulphur. At that point, everyone knew that it had probably not been a wise decision to climb the mountain. There was absolutely nowhere to take shelter; by then we were so close to the top that it was easier to just climb to the summit and descend the other side.
It was raining, and the top of the mountain was covered in cloud. The cable station was closed - naturally. We lost our way a few times on top of the mountain (it's not quite as flat as it looks in photos), but eventually found the pathway again. Our hike down the mountain was rather speedier than usual, and as I recall, the weather cleared pretty quickly as we descended.
Thank-you Mark for an unforgettable tale.
And tourists, this is a prime example of what NOT to do. Rather take the cable-car. :)
I dropped Kerry-Anne off at the Cape Town Book Fair at the Convention Centre this afternoon and then took a drive up into the suburb of Oranjezicht, just above Cape Town city centre.
Oranjezicht, a Dutch word meaning "View of Orange", lies at the foot of Table Mountain, where property prices are at a premium. On pristine days like today the suburb boasts superb views of Cape Town and Table Bay.
About twenty years ago my parents took my siblings and I up Table Mountain in the predecessor of this cable-car. It was a far more rickety ride than the one in this photograph. I remember standing on the edge of Table Mountain, looking down at clouds below and having a strange feeling that I wanted to jump down into them - they looked like so much fun. I wonder how many people get that feeling when looking down on clouds?
The cable-way underwent a complete upgrade in 1997. The first time I took a ride in the new cable-car was a few years ago when Kerry-Anne and I joined a few friends to hike up the mountain. By the time we reached the summit it was getting later in the day and some of our party didn't feel up to the climb down. We bought one-way tickets down the mountain. The ride down was much quicker than the climb up! The 360-degree views from the rotating cable car were awesome.
We have other more exciting stories about climbing the mountain in the rain and lightning... but let's leave that for another day, shall we?
I've resolved that this will be the last post in which I mention Tyger Falls. I thought that it would be fitting to end off with a photo of the waterfall of Tyger Falls.
Normally only slightly more than a stream, the rain has coaxed this waterfall to pound the rocks below. I keep wondering if the apartments to the left of the waterfall have those noise-reducing windows. Can you imagine trying to sleep with the sound of rushing water? I'd be too scared to drink anything at least six hours before bed time.
There's apparently going to be a temporary shortage of certain brands of beer until new stocks of imported glass arrive in South Africa in July. As you can imagine, this has disturbed quite a lot of men (and a few women too, I'm sure) - especially since we're in the middle of the rugby season, and most South African men cannot watch rugby without a good supply of beer and biltong (we'll tell you about biltong another time...). Personally, I couldn't care less, because I really don't like beer at all. :)
Peroni (pictured here) seems to be the fashionable thing to drink here at the moment - what's the drink of choice in your city?
We went for ice-cream to the V&A Waterfront in Cape Town last night. The air was icy cold and, alas, some of our party insisted that we sit outside.
Fortunately a large LP gas heater was in close proximity and the restaurant had kindly left a few small blankets on our chairs... for the ladies naturally - us guys are far too tough for blankets ;). Even though the restaurant sported this classical Coca Cola advert nobody would be drinking Coke that night.
Remember this post of construction work being done at Tyger Falls? For today's post I snapped some shots of guys, at the same site, erecting a crane.
The process was awesome to watch - especially in the notoriously windy and wet Cape Town weather. Can you imagine standing on the edge of this crane like the two men in the photo were doing? Even though I could see that they were wearing harnesses - I'm not sure that it's something I would do in windy Cape Town ;).
As you can see, the orange crane is assembled using a portable crane. I tracked the portable crane's owner down by virtue of their name printed on the rig. Take a peek at the gallery on Target Crane's website - they have some truly remarkable vehicles.
Click on the photo if you'd like to see a larger version.
Last night we spent an incredible 2 hours listening to Johnny Clegg and his band playing live at the Convention Centre, as part of his One Life tour. Paul managed to sneak this shot with his cellphone, from our excellent seats in the 4th row. :)
Johnny Clegg is often called the "White Zulu", and if you see him dancing, you'll understand why. He has the most incredible energy on stage, and his performance is even more impressive when you realise that he's just turned 54! Most of his songs are a mixture of Zulu and English, although last night he sang us his very first Afrikaans/Zulu song too. Seeing young people of all races dancing together in the aisles to his legendary songs made me realise once again that despite our different cultures and skin-colours, all of us who call this country home have something in common: Africa is in our blood.
I know that Johnny has performed in Europe and North America as well - have any of you been fortunate enough to go to one of his concerts?
After taking yesterday's photo, I took a few steps forward, and turned my camera to the left to take this one.
I remembered the boat in the foreground from the day we went to Robben Island - it left the harbour just before we did, and took a group of schoolchildren out to the island. They seemed to be part of some kind of orchestra, but we were rather disappointed that we didn't hear them playing anywhere on the island - no doubt they played a special concert for a few select VIPs. :)
It's hiding behind that thick grey cloud...
This is what the weather has been like for the last few days - very cold and grey, with plenty of much-needed rain. There has been some flooding in a few of the country towns, but it hasn't been too bad in the city - the traffic has been heavy though.
Remember this post? Well, today's photo is taken from almost the same angle, after I had lunch at the same restaurant. :) Can you spot the blue Victoria & Alfred Hotel on the other side of the harbour?
Wouldn't you love to have such a large swimming pool, especially one in such a beautiful setting? We found this home outside of the town of Paarl about half and hour before the sun set. The air was just starting to cool - it was one of those beautiful Cape Town winder days.
Building of new homes seems to have increased several-fold in the past few years. There's a continuous supply of new houses springing up where ever we look. As one gets closer to the city of Cape Town, the frequency of small, new homes increases dramatically.
Houses in these new areas look very similar and are smaller and more closely packed together. It's very refreshing when we get out into the country and see homes like these - though the building may be run down, the people who live in them live in an area far more beautiful than most.
This impressive 28-metre-wide artwork adorns the main foyer of the Cape Town International Convention Centre (Cape Town's main venue for hosting big exhibitions and conferences). It was based on the linocuts of a San artist, Tuoi Stefaans Samcuia, who sadly died of tuberculosis in 2003, before he could see his work displayed here. The linocuts were translated into metal relief sculptures by Brett Murray.
I rather like it - the colours and the simplicity of the shapes appeal to me. What about you? (You'll need to zoom in to see the artwork clearly, although of course it's far more impressive when you're actually standing in front of it...)
And on the other side of the road from yesterday's post, Paul spotted these cows (actually, the cows were spotted before he got there, but anyway...).
Jules asked yesterday whether the grass was really that green, and yes, it most certainly was! It was getting close to sunset, so the light was quite unusual and really emphasised the luminosity of the grass.
Paul likes cows as much as I like sheep, so perhaps we should consider having a dairy and wool farm one day. :)
Just past the flying club (in yesterday's post) we found the farm, Groot Phesantekraal, host to these sheep (Kerry-Anne's favourite animal).
In doing some writing work for the farm, Kerry-Anne's learned that the land was originally part of the land given to Oloff Bergh by Simon van der Stel, first Governor of the Cape of Good Hope in 1679 and the person after whom the town of Stellenbosch is named.
I believe that every boy, perhaps most men (and a few women), would love to be a fighter pilot... not to make war, no, but just to feel the power of the plane at your fingertips and, well yes, to blow things up :).
The Tygerberg Model Flying Club takes the few who can afford it closer to this dream. You'll find this club outside the town of Durbanville on the road to Klipheuwel and Malmesbury in the middle of a huge open field - and if you happen to be in the Cape Town area on 18 November, you'll find the sky full of little model aircraft at their annual airshow - I'll make sure that I'm there!
Oh, did you notice the windsock to the left of the building? Does anyone know what the origin of the windsock is? According to Wikipedia it was a Chinese/Japanese symbol for good luck and longevity.
Yesterday's post was from Du Toitskloof mountain pass. This photo was taken from one of the many viewing points on the pass. Can anyone spot Table Mountain in this photo? Yup, it's there in the distance.
The day was rather hazy and Table Mountain was sticking out from under a layer of low-lying clouds, so I'd forgive you for not finding it among all the other mountains. It's easy to forget how many mountains and hills are in the Cape Town and surrounding areas; but when I get the opportunity to view the landscape from a high point, I find it always strikes me how beautiful our country really is.
Baboons are one of the most common animals to be seen among the mountains surrounding Cape Town. Kerry-Anne and I stopped on Du Toitskloof mountain pass to take a photo of this mom carrying her baby. Click on the photo for a clearer view.
To get a closer shot would have entailed climbing out of the car, but with the rest of the troop in close proximity... I thought it not a good idea. However cute and human-like they may often seem it's wise to remain mindful that these beasts truly are beasts (and ones with huge fangs at that!).