Remember my post about the garagistes last week? Well, this is one of our very first bunches of grapes. Who's coming to help us squish them when they're ripe, so that we can make wine?
I rushed through to Cloud 9 Air Charters this afternoon for the annual Canon roadshow, "Get your wings". Like at last year's roadshow, Roger "Epic" Machin (Photo Video Product Manager for Canon SA) introduced Canon's new gear, and fashion photographer Clinton Lubbe entertained everyone with his enthusiastically-presented workshop on Photoshop and lighting.
I probably shouldn't be sharing with you that each year Canon SA gives away thousands of rands of equipment at these roadshows... and I probably shouldn't be sharing that you can find out about upcoming events on their website... but now that the proverbial cat's out of the bag, if you're into photography keep an eye out for the details of next year's event.
In case you can't make out what the photo is, it's the propeller of one of the light aircraft that was parked in the hangar where the roadshow was held.
The lights you can see in the left half of this photo are the lights of the Hartleyvale Stadium in Observatory, which is used for hockey and soccer matches. In the foreground you can see part of the Liesbeeck River, and in the background Devil's Peak.
Neither of us has actually ever climbed Devil's Peak - I believe it's quite a hike and you need to be pretty fit to complete it. "Fit" is not a state I'm often in, so this is one activity that's been put off quite a few times. :-)
Few may realise it, but sources tell me that South Africa was the first country outside of North America to which the Ford Motor Company exported its cars. Ford today remains a strong brand in South Africa even though most of the vehicles sold here are far removed from the huge American-style V8s (like the Ford Fairlane in the photo) that we became familiar with decades ago.
I'm sure that the sentiment of the question stated above is a little over-estimated - and I'd have to concede that the sale to South African Arthur Youldon back in 1903 probably played little role in Henry Ford's success abroad. :)
The Currie Cup is a rugby union tournament held each year in South Africa. The final of this year's tournament was played yesterday, and the team from KwaZulu-Natal, the Natal Sharks, beat the Pretoria-based Blue Bulls by 14 points to 9. Even though Western Province (that's Cape Town's home team) weren't playing in the final, televisions and radios everywhere were tuned in and turned up yesterday afternoon - rugby is a big deal here. :-)
By the way, Western Province (most often referred to just as "Province") last won the trophy in 2001.
We joined a couple of friends for a picnic at the Cape Town International Kite Festival today. As you can see from the photo, the clear blue sky over Zandvlei was filled with colourful kites and giant inflatables.
There were food stalls and craft stalls, and of course a host of vendors selling all kinds of kites and wind-propelled toys. Although we don't have kids ourselves, it certainly appeared to be a super way for a whole family to spend some quality time together, outdoors, and away from the TV.
This is the biggest international Kite Festival in Africa, attracting around 25 000 visitors each year.
I've only twice had a stranger step in front of my camera and pose for a shot. Once was at the beach and this time on a railway line. As this little guy strolled over the railway lines he turned to me, posed, I shot two photos, gave the thumbs-up, he smiled, he left.
How strange. It must be a confident person who steps in front of a stranger's camera to be the subject of their attention.
Cape Town, and several other cities around our country, are gearing up for the 2010 FIFA World Cup. Although I don't have any insider knowledge it would appear as though they're making steady progress on the new Greenpoint stadium. The roads leading to and around the stadium have been altered, improving traffic flow around the area.
For those who know the area, the large traffic circle in Greenpoint has been removed and I believe the intention is to raise it above ground level and build some kind of fly-over. Please leave a comment if you know any more about what's intended with the roads around the stadium. It does sound like substantial road engineering is in the pipeline.
If overheard snippets of conversation and an explosion of new wine-making courses are anything to go by, garagiste wine-making has become hugely popular in the Western Cape of late. In case you don't know, a garagiste is essentially someone who engages in the art of home-based wine-making - or garage wine-making.
This vine is growing over the patio in our back garden; I imagine we'll need a few more vines if we want to become garagistes. Apparently 100kg of grapes will give you around 80 or 90 bottles of wine. I estimate we could get about 300g of grapes from our vine later in the season - if we look really, really hard. ;-)
Those of you who know Cape Town and have perhaps lived here or visited on vacation might find it impossible to believe that I've lived here all my life and have never visited Cape Town's Two Oceans Aquarium. Whenever friends say "You know, at the aquarium..." I have to stop them with "I've never...", and then I get a slightly dumbfounded look that seems to radiate the question, "Why?"
I believe it's really cool, being an aquarium and all, but I've just never gotten around to visiting it. There's always something else to go and see or do, and rightly or wrongly, I seem to have adopted the mindset of "seen one, seen them all".
But yes, before I get flamed in the comments below, I suppose that's much like saying "seen one city, seen them all". I guess I'm just not that into seafood... :D
This is the inside of a very popular restaurant and lounge bar in Kloof Street, called Asoka. And yes, that is a tree growing right inside the building - a very old olive tree, to be precise.
Asoka tends to be fairly quiet in the early evening (making it a good spot for a relaxing post-work drink), but often fills up quite dramatically later on, particularly on jazz nights.
The weather has begun to warm up beautifully now - we've even had our first swim of the season in our swimming pool! We had lunch at the open-air Willowbridge Mall in Durbanville, where this little boy (watched over and helped up from time to time by his father) was having a fabulous time splashing around in the fountain.
As some of you know Kerry-Anne has something of a distaste for spiders. So, when this one spun its web on the path from our back door to our swimming pool, she was clearly not impressed. This was, however, before she noticed that the spider (now called Chris the Clever) was busy making his way around in a spiral, tacking his web together with dexterity second to none.
So while she still has a distaste for spiders in general, I was instructed not to squish Chris the Clever, but rather to move him to a more appropriate part of our neighbour's garden.
Chris now spends his days at number 15 where he has his own private garden-nook.
For the past couple of summers we've been intending to take a trip around greater Cape Town on one of these buses - just to see what the city looks like from a tourist's vantage point. We've vowed that this will be the year that we do just that. Of course, it does help our resolve that Kerry-Anne's nephew and niece will be visiting us from Sydney for two weeks in December.
The Hop-On Hop-Off buses have two routes, a Red Route and a Blue Route, with the former being far shorter than the latter. The Red Route takes you on a quick tour through the city and then heads on over Kloof Nek, through Camps Bay, all the way back along the coast to the V&A Waterfront, and finally back into the City centre.
The Blue Route is far longer and takes you through the southern suburbs, past Claremont, Bishops Court, Constantia and Tokai, all the way through to Hout Bay, before heading back towards the City via the coastal road to Camps Bay, where it joins up with the Red Route.
It's going to be loads of fun with plenty of great photo opportunities!
For some reason this photo reminds me of whiskey - which is something that at this point in the week I have a dire need for. :) Work-wise the pace seems to have increased for all of us as we head towards the end of the year. It seems as though there's just far too much to get done before December holidays. This brings me to the tag line: just keep walking - it's almost holiday time.
Speaking of holidays, summer has started at last - the weather has warmed up and by all accounts our swimming pool water is warm enough to entertain the notion of taking a swim. It's going to be a beautiful summer, and Cape Town, as always, is ready for it!
It goes without saying that poverty is a large and ongoing problem right across Africa. A government report released recently indicated that poverty was on the decline in South Africa - this is good news, for sure, but it's quite telling when you examine exactly what is meant by "poverty", and when you realise just how many people in our nation are still living in these circumstances.
The percentage of households living below the poverty line decreased from 53% in 1995 to 48% in 2005. The poverty line is set at R322 per person per month. That's the cost of a restaurant meal for two here in South Africa. Read that again. Almost HALF of the people in our country have to cover ALL their living expenses out of LESS than the amount we spend on a single dinner. Sobering, isn't it?
(For our overseas readers, R322 is roughly equivalent to $34, £19 or €25.)
So, what can we do? Well, for starters, how about taking the money you would have spent on a meal at a restaurant and donating it to Breadline Africa instead? They are involved in a number of projects across the continent, including converting old shipping containers into much-needed classrooms and soup kitchens.
To have an impact on an ongoing basis, support job creation initiatives like The Big Issue and Men on the Side of the Road, give to a local homeless shelter, buy beadwork and paintings from roadside traders, and provide casual employment where you can. If you live overseas, but would like to help beat poverty in Africa, set up a debit order to donate money to an organisation like Breadline Africa each month. If you have any other suggestions, please leave a comment and tell us about them.
Today's photo is of Kayamandi, a poor community on the outskirts of Stellenbosch. Overseas visitors are often shocked to find out what being poor means here - while in the USA it might mean living in a small run-down apartment or a trailer park, here it means living in a corrugated iron shack the size of a bathroom, or sleeping on a flattened cardboard box underneath a bridge.
Many years ago my dad worked for SATS (South African Transport Services) at Cape Town harbour. At the time SATS was owned by the government. On 1 April in 1990 a strange thing (IMHO) happened: SATS was restructured and became Transnet Limited, an incorporated company with the State as its sole shareholder.
At the time it was said that SATS was being "privatised", but this made no sense to me since the State owned all the shares. If you happen to know the rationale behind this action, please do let us know.
Okay, so where I was headed with that story was simply that this diesel goods train belongs to Transnet Freight Rail, a division of Transnet Limited, and formerly (last year) known as Spoornet (which translated means rail network).
If you're planning to visit Cape Town around this time next year, and if you enjoy rock music, then make a point of taking an afternoon and evening out of your diary to head to Lente Lawaai - you certainly won't regret it.
Prime Circle's lead singer and guitarist Ross Learmonth (pictured here) wasn't the only one who swept up fans with his band's rocking music at Lente Lawaai on Saturday. A number of awesome bands played throughout the afternoon and evening and we were fortunate enough to be around to snap photos of a few of them; the photos are now available on Cape Town Daily Photo Extras. In order of appearance:
Well, we're still wading our way through all the photos we took at Saturday's Lente Lawaai concert in Stellenbosch - we're up to 97 photos processed, and counting...
In the photo above you can see Jeremy, lead singer of the very popular Cape Town band The Dirty Skirts. Have a look at the band's pages on Facebook and MySpace, and if you don't know their music, have a listen while you're there.
The Dirty Skirts are making a name for themselves all over the world, having performed at SXSW in Austin, Texas earlier this year, and in London last month. Saturday was the first time I'd seen them perform live, and I have to say, it was a brilliant show. (Also, it doesn't hurt that their lead singer is decidedly hot. ;-) )
We spent the day watching several bands play music at Black Bull's open air venue in Techno Park, Stellenbosch. While many extremely talented bands spent all their energy on stage the final, and arguably best, performance was by our old favorite, Prime Circle.
If you're a fan of the band and don't know it yet, they've just released a new album, All or Nothing. While we only heard a couple of the new songs tonight, if they're anything to go by then the album's going to be a huge success. In fact, if you click through to their website you'll be able to listen to samples from the album.
We're still processing our photos and will be posting them in the next day or two. As for now, we're both all partied out and heading off to sleep.
In case you don't speak Afrikaans and are confused by "Lente Lawaai" in the title of this post, it's very easy. The bands played mostly rock or heavier music, so the name "Lente Lawaai" is an apt choice of words meaning "Spring Noise" directly translated, but interpreted means "loud music in spring".
Cape Town has South Africa’s second-busiest container port, after Durban. The Port of Cape Town handles a range of commodities, from fresh fruit and fish to petroleum products and steel. Cruise ships, oil tankers and fishing vessels all call in here from time to time, and the port is a hive of activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
An upgrade project to the container terminal was started in January; the project, expected to cost around R4.2-billion, is due for completion at the end of 2012 and will nearly double the capacity of the terminal. Part of the project involves deepening the Ben Schoeman Basin from 10m to 15.5m; in addition to this, new cranes are being installed, old buildings are being demolished, and modern specialised equipment is being brought in. All of this refurbishment means that bigger vessels will be able to enter the port, which should be yet another boost to Cape Town's economy.
If you've ever been lost at sea around the stormy Cape Town coast, that may have been the first time that you gave the National Sea Rescue Institute (NSRI) a second thought. The Cape of Storms, as the area was once known, is no misnomer, and if tragedy were ever to strike I would be darn glad that the Society of Master Mariners decided to donate a rescue craft to a handful of volunteers way back in 1967.
The NSRI's 840+ volunteers respond to emergencies 24x7x365 and if they were to have a tag line, I believe it would read "We will respond" - they always do. I happened to notice today that the institute is raising finances to purchase satellite-based tracking devices for their boats, which could save the lives of the volunteers and the people they're out trying to save. If you feel prompted to support their initiative, read more about it on their website, or click here to download the PDF for more details.
I didn't have a photo of one of the NSRI boats handy, so if you haven't figured it out already, the rescue sign above was on the side of an aeroplane... but I'm embarrassed to say that I failed to take note of exactly which aeroplane it was. :o
I was extremely jealous when I heard that a colleague, Ettienne, actually had the opportunity to visit the USS Theodore Roosevelt as part of a media tour. I unfortunately can't take credit for his superb photos - you can see one of them above, and the other four are posted to our CTDP Extras blog.
If you've been following the reports and news you'll know that the SA Navy, SA Government and US Navy went to quite some effort to make this visit possible. The basic problem, as Ettienne explained to me, was that since the USS Theodore Roosevelt is nuclear-powered, South African law required certain legal liability to be accepted by the US Navy.
Clearly this was all resolved in the end and the American carrier slipped into Table Bay very early on Saturday morning. Read a little more about the USS Theodore Roosevelt and her arrival in this article, written by Ettienne.
The Theodore Roosevelt Strike Group left Table Bay yesterday morning and is headed up our East Coast, I believe. I have my suspicions that the Group may be headed up to the Somalian coast to "play tag" with pirates terrorising that area's waters.
If you've not yet had the pleasure of watching penguins up close then best make some time to visit Boulders Beach on your next visit to Cape Town. They are really one of the funniest animals to watch... they always seem to remind me of a picture out of one of Gary Larson's books.
The weather has been fantastic this past weekend. According to WeatherSA the temperature peaked at a spring-time high of 30 degrees Celsius today.
With warm weather like this and a huge aircraft carrier parked in Cape Town's back yard drawing everyone's interest, I'm not sure that an awful lot of work is getting done. Luckily for our economy it seems as though it's going to be cooling down considerably tomorrow, with even a possibility of rain!
TICT - This is Cape Town.
With over 200 cases of maritime piracy reported each year, naval vessels (like the USS Theodore Roosevelt) are indispensable in protecting the innocent and keeping our loved ones at sea safe from the modern-day-missile-launching-gun-wielding pirate.
As many of you will already know, this aircraft carrier was invited by the SA Navy and our government to visit Cape Town and meet with senior naval and governmental officials. The reason for the visit (apart from experiencing our beautiful city) is to foster better relations between our respective navies and to discuss matters of maritime security.
I'm not sure what the Americans were up to today, but we watched for about half an hour today as helicopter after helicopter left with some sort of cargo suspended below. While helicopters are cool and all, to be honest, I'm waiting with excitement to see if any of their F18 fighter aircraft take to the skies. :)
The nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS Theodore Roosevelt arrived in Table Bay today on a courtesy visit, amidst some controversy. Both Earthlife Africa and The Anti-War Coalition had said they intended to stage protests at the V&A Waterfront today to express their concern about the arrival of the ship. This is the first time a nuclear-powered vessel has visited Cape Town since the German cargo ship the Otto Hahn docked here in the 1970s.
The Big Stick, as the vessel is known, is 332m long and carries over 5,000 crew members. Read more about this mind-boggling beast here and here, and see a Google Maps image of it here. There is apparently a 2-nautical-mile No Fly zone around the ship, by the way; and I figure it's probably a good idea to heed that. ;-)
You can see a few more shots of the USS Theodore Roosevelt on Cape Town Daily Photo Extras. The ship is docked far out in the bay, for security reasons, so bear in mind that we had to zoom in quite a bit...
Friends of ours were kind enough to treat us to our first dinner at Mr Chan Chinese Restaurant in Sea Point.
The first thing I noticed about the restaurant was how many Chinese people were already dining when we arrived. My dad always tells me that if I'm looking for an authentic Chinese restaurant that I should watch to see where the Chinese folk eat - they know the real-deal. And, I hate to admit that he was right (only kidding), but he was - the food was absolutely yummy!
Oh, in case you're unable to make it out, that's a flower floating in this cup of tea. Apparently the tea does wonders for digestion - or so we're told. ;)
From about June or July (but mostly at this time of the year) our bays come alive with whales, until December, when the water becomes uncomfortably warm. The most common of these visitors is the Southern Right Whale.
Most will know that between the 11th century and the mid 1900s whaling claimed the lives of many of these peaceful animals. What you may not know is that up until 1937 recorded killings alone had amounted to a shocking 93,300 whales - nearly rendering the Right Whale extinct.
Between 1980 and 1984 legislation was introduced into South Africa to ban harming the animals in any way, and according to simonstown.com, it's even illegal to be within 300 metres of a whale (with a watercraft)!
Thanks Brad for stopping off in Kalk Bay to bring us this photo of a Southern Right Whale. Brad told us that there were plenty of whales frolicking in the bay yesterday.
We took this shot at Darling a few weeks ago. Over roughly the past 30 years, railway lines around the country have been refurbished, and timber sleepers (apparently known to our American readers as "ties") have been replaced with concrete or steel ones. These wooden sleepers have been retrieved, and are used to make sleeperwood furniture.
There are 164 blogs taking part in today's theme day. See how the theme has been interpreted around the world, by clicking here to view thumbnails of all the participating city daily photo blogs.
If you prefer, you can click straight through to the blogs you'd like to visit:
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