Monthly Archives: June 2009

First aid for electric shock

First aid for electric shock victims

This site is where (presumably) high-voltage current, carried from huge electricity pylons and copper wire, meets the earth, heading underground to nearby homes. The signs posted around the fence are supposed to help you with first aid in case you need to assist someone who's been electrocuted.

Of course, it goes without saying that when someone has just been electrocuted, it's highly unlikely that you'll have the luxury of time to read this board or surf the web for an answer. So take a moment, read this article, and do some more research on how to give first aid - you could save someone's life and prevent yourself from getting injured in the process.

Four points that may be obvious, but are key to remember, are:

  1. Switch off the power source
  2. Don't get yourself electrocuted
  3. You may have to start CPR
  4. High-voltage victims may have broken bones and internal damage - be careful if you have to move them

Lego – fun for all ages

Lego, fun for all ages

Come on now, admit it, everyone loves playing with Lego... don't they? After chatting with several friends who have kids I've decided that guys (and perhaps a few girls) have kids only so that they can justify buying Lego. I believe that our stand-in photographer Mandy has no kids and is unashamedly a Lego-lover (which is why we have this photo today!).

An interesting thing that I discovered from the Wikipedia article on Lego is that Ole Kirk Christiansen, Lego's inventor, actually used a patented design by Hilary Harry Fisher Page called Kiddicraft. Kiddicraft was developed in the 1930s, while Lego materialised in the 1940s. Lego (due to its remarkable success) eventually succeeded in purchasing the rights to Kiddicraft in 1981.

Aren't we all lucky that Ole "leveraged" the Kiddicraft design? Were it not for this small part of history, it's possible that millions would never have experienced the joy of Lego!

No apparent danger

No swimming

The area around this signpost is littered with dolosse - big concrete blocks used to break the force of the waves hitting the retaining wall of the V&A Waterfront's parking area.

Even if you were a strong swimmer accustomed to braving the icy water, and even if the ocean looked particularly calm, the small waves ebbing and flowing would quickly crash you against the barnacle-covered concrete dolosse, making your swim at best rather unpleasant, and at worst, fatal.

It's strange how apparently calm waters can actually be very rough seas for humans, when combined with immovable objects like these dolosse. This sort of "apparent safety" is presumably also the reason that I see parents driving with their young kids unrestrained in their cars. If you do on occasion allow your kids unrestrained in a vehicle, imagine for a moment running as fast as you can into a sheet of glass. It takes a lot to make me angry - but this does.

If you're a parent, take a moment to visit the Childsafe website and read the Arrive Alive article on ensuring that your children are kept safe while in transit.

Thank-you to Mandy for helping out with photos, including this one, while we've been touring around the country for the Confederations Cup.

Cannonfire at the Castle

Half-pounder Canon
A friend of mine, Bennie Vivier, belongs to the Tygerberg Photography Society; the society members visited the Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town on an outing - an educational opportunity and a chance to capture some extraordinary photos.

Bennie managed to snap this photo when a member of the Cannon Society fired this half-pounder cannon. I'm surprised not to see the cannonball floating in mid air! :)

Some time ago cannons fell under the Firearms Act, which meant that they were governed by the same restrictions applying to modern firearms. The Cannon Society petitioned the authorities, and to satisfy the South African Police they drew up an official safety handbook, set up a code of conduct, and agreed to training courses for gunners. Today cannons and antique muzzle-loaded firearms have been deregulated and no longer fall under the Firearms Act (although a competency certificate obtained through proper training is required).

Buildings, banners and winds

Banner torn by high winds

Thankfully we haven't been in Cape Town to experience this week's storms, which seem to have been an illustration of why the Dutch at first called the area the "Cape of Storms". Mandy, on the other hand, has been there, but absolutely refused to walk about in the rain taking photos of the carnage! (Which I completely understand.)

As quickly as the storms arrive, they disappear, leaving in their wake blue skies and, in this case, torn banners. Normally, once the storm has subsided, we find that our beaches and seaside roads are covered in foam and debris from the ocean. One good thing resulting from these kinds of storms is that the skies are cleared completely of all the smog that would have hung low in the air, obscuring the beautiful nature that surrounds the city.

Roots Bar in Obz

Roots bar

Roots in Observatory, a bar with its own man-made beach, is quite unlike other bars in the city. Take a look here and here to see what I mean - isn't it awesome when people play with fire?

Apart from the beach-away-from-the-sea feel, at Roots you can have a few drinks with friends while watching sporting events on a big screen. They also host live music acts catering for a wide variety of tastes, from Reggae/Rock/Fusion bands like Tidal Waves to Afrikaans metal bans like Fokofpolisiekar.

If you're not sure where to find Roots, they're at 96 Station Road, which is right here on the map.

As our holiday in Bloemfontein and Johannesburg draws to an end, thanks again to Mandy for helping us out with our daily photos from Cape Town!

These Four Walls, a fine art gallery

These Four Walls fine art gallery
Substitute photographer, Super Sleuth Watson, attended the opening of the These Four Walls fine art gallery in Observatory. While this was the opening, the gallery is certainly not new, and has in fact been running from a small flat in Woodstock for some time.

The idea behind These Four Walls is for it to be a gallery with a semi-informal atmosphere where "average people" are able to purchase original works of art at affordable prices. What I like about the gallery is that their website's homepage has a link to photos of the works displayed in the current exhibition.

These Four Walls is at 169 Lower Main Road in Observatory, and is open Tuesday through Friday from 10h00 to 17h00, and Saturday from 10h00 to 13h00. Most artists don't paint to make money, they paint to express something for others to enjoy. So, if you find yourself in the area, if you love art, and even if you're not shopping, visit the gallery and stimulate your creativity.

Helicopter combat adventure

An abandonded heliport

Mandy discovered this block of concrete demarcating the location of an old heliport close to the breakwater, just behind the V&A Waterfront parking area. The photo reminded me of an adventure helicopter trip offered by the Huey Club in one of their famous Huey HU-1 military choppers - which we often first hear (they have a distinctive sound), and then see flying over the city. You may remember these helicopters from movies like Full Metal Jacket or serials like M.A.S.H.

Quite some time ago a friend told me of an adventure helicopter trip, called the "Combat Mission", that he went on in one of these choppers. What they do is take passengers on a trip that involves low-flying over the city, Waterfront and up the West Coast. Pilots put the choppers into steep climbs and hard banks... WITH THE DOORS OPEN, to simulate a real combat situation. Thankfully there's nobody shooting rockets or machine-guns at this joyride!

The Huey Club lists the cost of the trip as R1500... but I haven't been able to find out how long the flight-time is. At that price, I can't believe that it's more than about 30 minutes, though.

I need to do this! :D

A safe way to hire a Jet Ski

Jet Skiing in Melkbos

Jet Skiing is one of those sports that I think many people would love to try, but either it's too expensive, or they live too far away from the ocean and its waves to make one of these water bikes a worthwhile investment.

I'm sure many people know that you can hire a Jet Ski for the odd bit of fooling around, but what's always bothered me with this is that jet skis are dangerous and I don't know how to read the ocean - I do know that it's not something to toy with, though. A colleague of mine, who rides his jet ski regularly, told me of an incident where he helped someone who had paralysed themselves by landing incorrectly after jumping the ski... that's not a place I'd like to be!

But there is another option if you're visiting Cape Town and would like to take a tour of the coastline on a jet ski (and want to drive the machine yourself). Bugaloo Adventures have a Seafari jet ski package for R600 that puts you on a jet ski with a guide on a separate ski. The guide rides alongside you, keeping one eye on the ocean and one eye on you to make sure you're staying safe, and helps you learn how to ride the ski. It's a pretty cool idea, don't you think? I'm just waiting for Bugaloo to offer us a free ride, so that we can review the actual experience! :D

To help us out while we're on vacation, today's photo was taken by Bennie Vivier - the guy who, when I started getting into photography, was kind enough teach me about the subtle technical aspects of the art.

Football World Cup logistics, organisation, and the vuvuzela

Greenpoint football stadium

The Green Point soccer stadium, seen here from the Cape Town Waterfront area, looks to be fast approaching completion. There are still tall cranes looming over the empty stadium, but far fewer than you may recall in photos that I posted in 2007 and 2008. Just take a look at the progress made since June 2007!

If you've been following our recent posts you'll know that we're away from Cape Town on holiday for two weeks, and that Mandy J Watson has been kind enough to help out with a couple of photos, including this one.

This evening Kerry-Anne and I were privileged to watch South Africa and Spain battle it out in a Confederations Cup match in Bloemfontein; since this tournament is a trial run for next year's World Cup, and in light of this photo, I thought I'd give you a reportback on my experience from a logistics and organisation perspective.

First, I guess I should state that I'm not a sports fan, so I think I'm able to view the situation objectively without the excitement that allows fans to overlook the negative aspects of the experience.

So, objectively:

  • It was easy to find parking and it took a matter of 5 minutes to get into the stadium, and head up the stairs to our seats.
  • Finding our seats was fairly easy... we just looked at our ticket, consulted the boards, entered through the correct gate, read the signs, and we were good to go.
  • Apart from the signs giving directions, it seemed that at almost every turn there was a friendly official ready to point us in the right direction.
  • The venue wasn't too crowded, and the seating wasn't cramped.
  • The queues at the ladies' toilets were VERY long at half time. This is normal, of course, but that doesn't mean it's okay.
  • I've never been a fan of the vuvuzela (that long plastic trumpet that South African supporters blow at soccer matches), but to be honest, it really wasn't so bad. They weren't too loud and I have to say that they did add to the atmosphere significantly. They are an integral part of South African soccer culture and it just wouldn't be the same without them.
  • The only time that the trumpets did become annoying was after the match while we were walking through the Loch Logan shopping mall next to the stadium. Googols of fans blowing trumpets in a confined space made of reflective tiles and glass isn't good for one's ears!

My only suggestions are:

  • Think about where you will park your car before the time and how congested the area will be after the match.
  • Buy ear plugs from a music store - you'll still be able to enjoy the atmosphere, even if you find a vuvuzela positioned right next to your ear. :)

Tigresse, Africa’s largest catamaran

Tigresse, Africa's largest catamaran

Tigresse, which can carry 60 passengers, is, according to its owner, the largest sailing catamaran in African waters, rivalled only by the Fujicat, a sister catamaran.

At R110 for a one-and-a-half-hour cruise, it's not at all expensive (in my opinion). If I were you however, I'd consider doing the sunset cruise with champagne for R180. Their website notes that they offer a champagne cruise, and even though I know they really mean sparkling wine, please insist on REAL champagne from Champagne... just to make the point! ;)

We're currently on vacation so credit for today's photo of Tigresse goes to Mandy from

Garcia D’Avila, a Brazilian warship

The Warship, Garcia D'Avila
If you read yesterday's post you'll have gathered that Kerry-Anne and I are away in Bloemfontein (for the Confederations Cup). We decided that it wouldn't be fair to stockpile photos before we left and subject our readers to them over the time, so I've enlisted the help of a couple of friends to supply us with photos.

Mandy, blogger, writer, gadget-freak, and owner of kicked off today with this shot of the Garcia D'Avila moored at the Cape Town Waterfront. This warship found its way to Cape Town in support of the Sea Power for Africa Symposium held at the CTICC (but I think they're actually in SA to support Brazil in the Confederations Cup!). Mandy mentioned that the public were actually being allowed to board the vessel for a short tour. We're not sure if they're still giving tours, but if you're in the Waterfront, stop by and try your luck. ;)

If you have a moment, visit The homepage lists article summaries, which link through to the main articles. Unsurprisingly, the first article I read was a review of a silly, yet fun game, Death Dice. (I'm on level 7 at the moment ;) ).

Kulula to Mango

Mango Airlines

Yesterday was the first day of our semi-vacation to Bloemfontein, a city in the the Free State province of South Africa. The plan was for us to catch a 06h30 flight to Johannesburg, then hire a car and drive about 400km to Bloemfontein, with three hours to spare before the Spain vs Iraq Confederations Cup football match being held at the Mangaung stadium.

We stopped packing at about 1am yesterday morning... and woke up at 3am to finish packing. (Note to self: don't catch a 06h30 flight, ever). We arrived at the heavily congested Cape Town International airport, where queues were doubling back on themselves and stretching far out of sight.

Through much running and scrambling we managed to board the Kulula plane on time... and then sat patiently for an hour or so, waiting to taxi to the runway. It turned out that the reason for our wait was that a micro-switch controlling the aircraft flaps had malfunctioned. After much investigation the pilot announced that we were to disembark, as it would take some time to repair! Argggghhhh! Not only was this inconvenient, but the three-and-a-half-hour delay would cause us to miss the football match - the whole reason for our trip!

We sat in the airport lounge to drink a depressing cup of coffee, and in the midst of our disappointment and anger at the situation, we hit upon a plan. Kerry-Anne checked online and found that Mango, one of only three operators that fly to Bloemfontein, had an 11h15 flight that would fly directly to Bloemfontein, arriving in time for the match; while I went to find out whether we could get our baggage off the Kulula flight before they started boarding again.

Some quick talking from our side, and quick thinking by Ameen Sabardien (one of the Comair supervisor-type guys), got our baggage removed from the Kulula flight just before it was to depart (in fact, the boarding doors had already closed!).

We purchased new tickets from Mango (at a cost of around R1,100) while Ameen collected and returned our luggage to us and arranged for our car hire to be moved from Johannesburg to Bloemfontein. He was really amazing - when nobody else really wanted to help - he did.

After all the racing we managed to make it to Bloemfontein in time to see Spain and Iraq take to the field. The only challenge that we now face is claiming the R1,100 for our Mango flight back from Kulula!

An interesting piece of trivia is that Mango Airlines brand almost everything in orange - as I guess you're able to see from the photograph. Bloemfontein is a city in the Free State, which use to be called the Orange Free State... which perhaps is why they have Bloemfontein as one of their destinations. :P

Birds of steel for your garden

Birds of steel for your garden
I'm not one to buy curios, furniture, or other goods from road-side sellers. Perhaps I should, but it would be on rare occasions that I'd stop and browse, let alone buy. After taking the photos of the tyre swing seats I wandered over to a lady selling birds made of some kind of metal - possibly copper - hey, possibly copper from old hot-water cylinders!

I found out that the cost for these (what I'm assuming to be garden statues) ranges from R180 for the large, more detailed birds at the back, to R150 for the large, but less detailed ones in the second-last row. The price decreases along with the size of the bird, all the way down to R50 for ones about the size of a shoe-box.

As with the tyre-swings, you'll find this stand just up the road from the Stodels Nursery in Bellville.

Where to buy tyre swings

Tyre swings for sale

At the end of last month I posted a photo of a swing made from an old car tyre. Today I happened to spot a road-side vendor selling these tyre swings pretty close to where I live. Don't you think it's far better to put these tyres to use as a swing than to have them lie about polluting the environment? I just wish that they would make swings for big people. Perhaps some old 4x4 tyres would work nicely... heh, one could even have a premium-class swing made from BMW run-flat tyres! :D

I didn't think of it at the time, but I should have asked the vendor (sitting in the far right corner of the photo) how much these cost. I can't believe that they would be expensive, so if anyone is interested, leave a comment and I'll stop by to find out for you.

If you'd like one for your kids (or even for someone else's), you'll find this vendor just up the road from the Stodels Nursery in Bellville. I've marked it here on Wikimapia.

Why not consider buying two of these and some tough rope, and then setting them up in a field or forest somewhere where someone would use them? You'd support the vendor and possibly make some kids (or skinny big people) happy at the same time... the butterfly effect, you know! :)

Arrive Alive

R300 fly-over the N1

I have to draw your attention to the little story that I've been putting together in the last two posts. The first photo in the series was of graffiti found underneath the fly-over, the second photo revealed where the first was taken, and now this one was shot from precisely the same spot as the first, but with the photo centred on the location in Kerry-Anne's photo on 8 June. So, by now you should have a fairly complete perspective on this particular interchange. :)

While lamenting over the boredom she endured in high school, Kerry-Anne failed to mention that this fly-over is one of her most loved roads in the Northern Suburbs, if not in the entire province! The way this fly-over rises into the air with a perfect crossfall camber, banking 90° to the right, is simply awesome for people who (really) enjoy driving their cars.

Now, don't get me wrong; I'm not suggesting that one needs to exceed 120km/h to take pleasure in the bend, but I do suggest that if you haven't yet driven this route you should give it a try. Take note however that you should keep left as you take the bend, as the roadworks on the R300 extend onto this fly-over and cause the right-hand lane to come to a potentially dramatic stop. Remember folks, be safe, Arrive Alive. ;)

Funk Fly-over

R300 fly-over

The lorry that you see on the left is making its way away from the city along the N1 national highway, about 30km outside of Cape Town. The fly-over that you see rising from the centre of the photo carries vehicles from the N1 onto the R300, one of the major routes used to reach the country's second national highway, the N2, about 20km from this point.

The centre of this photo is where I shot the photo in yesterday's post. I have to say that I had an eerie feeling listening to (and feeling) cars, trucks and huge lorries whizzing by only metres overhead. It kinda reminded me of climbing up the Sydney Harbour Bridge (which carries a highway as well as a metro rail system!).

Off the beaten track

Funky graffiti
I found this piece of graffiti at a spot that locals often pass by but would never know is there unless they derailed whatever day-to-day activities preoccupied them and explored places that they would normally not.

Whether you live in Cape Town or in some other part of the world, look around you as you travel the same route that you travel most days, and identify the places that you've never explored before. They may take you off your beaten track and they may waste a few minutes of your day, but you'll never again wonder "what's behind that wall?", "what does that store sell?", or "what does that suburb look like?". Heck, perhaps you'll even start your own {mycity}!

I'll be darn impressed if any of you know where this photo was taken. All will be revealed in the next exciting instalment of Cape Town Daily Photo. ;)

The mystery of traffic

Highway traffic

I imagine every city has sections of road like this one. No, I don't mean sections of road with a breathtaking view of the mountain - we can't all be that lucky :P ... I mean sections of road that have frequent and utterly inexplicable traffic jams.

This is the N1, near Bellville (one of Cape Town's northern suburbs), heading in the direction of Cape Town. The left fork is the offramp that leads to Durban Road, Bellville CBD and Tygervalley Shopping Centre.

For some reason that continues to elude me, traffic on the small section of highway from this offramp to the corresponding onramp that joins the N1 on the other side of the bridge almost always slows down to a crawl. This photo happens to have been taken on one of those rare occasions when it was relatively free-flowing.

And it's not that there's a bottleneck because of the cars coming from the onramp - there are more than enough lanes on the other side of the bridge, and the traffic is always free-flowing by the time I get level with that onramp. It's utterly bizarre - all I can think is that people must sense some kind of weird voodoo in this dip and therefore instinctively slow down...

Whisky tasting at Sinn’s Restaurant

BenRiach whisky tasting glasses
I mentioned in yesterday's post that we spent a great evening tasting BenRiach whisky, but I didn't tell you that the event was held at Sinn's Restaurant at Wembley Square. (You might recall us blogging about Sinn's in the past).

It was the first time we'd eaten a meal at the restaurant - previously we'd only been there for snacks and drinks (very good snacks and drinks they were, though!).

Our food was absolutely excellent (French onion soup, filled chicken breasts on a bed of mushrooms, and malva pudding with koeksuster/Amarula ice cream were a few of the options on our set menu), and the service was great. The waiters were incredibly polite and very efficient, and the portions of food were impressively generous.

If you're a fan of value for money, then don't miss their winter specials - R99 for a 2-course meal or R125 for a 3-course meal, both including a glass of wine. If you're looking for a cosy but stylish spot for dinner, I can definitely recommend Sinn's.

I'm sure it will amuse you to know that when we were leaving Kerry-Anne and I spent five minutes trying to work out why on earth the pay-on-foot parking machine wouldn't take our parking ticket, till we realised simultaneously that I was, in fact, trying to put the parking ticket into the automatic teller machine, conveniently located next to the pay-on-foot machine. And I can't even blame the whisky - its effects had long since worn off. :D

BenRiach Whisky

Benriach's 16-year old Cape of Storms whisky
I'm not sure how many of our readers drink whisky, but if you do, then you'll understand when I say that our evening out at a whisky tasting was fantastic... especially when the BenRiach guys served up, amongst others, their finest 20-year-old!

The BenRiach Distillery in Scotland was first established in 1898, and only 5 years ago purchased from the Chivas Brothers by three entrepreneurs, two of whom were South Africans... which is how I imagine this bottle of 16-year-old gold received its name. In total we tasted five bottles, ranging from the 20-year-old, to a fine 10-year-old (which I actually enjoyed more that the 20 year old).

The most interesting things that I learned from the evening were (a) that a "single malt" is a whisky that comes from a single distillery and is made from a single type of malted grain, and (b) that most of BenRiach's casks (the barrels in which the whisky matures) are second-hand bourbon casks purchased mostly from the USA (thank you, Jack Daniel's!). :)

Die Burger, Naspers and The Borg

Newspaper Salesman

Die Burger, first published as long ago as 26 July 1915, is a super-popular print newspaper read mostly by Afrikaans-speaking South Africans. The name is essentially a direct translation of The Citizen, which I would imagine to be a popular name for newspapers all around the world.

Die Burger is owned by Naspers, a large corporate that owns other well-known print brands such as Huisgenoot (and YOU), Drum, Fair Lady, City Press, Shape, Daily Sun, City Press, Beeld, etc. Many years ago Naspers formed a pay-television company, M-Net, and a television signal-distribution and communications company, MultiChoice. The company expanded in later years to create a large Internet service provider called MWeb, then launched the Media24 division (with it's *24 brands), and in more recent years started buying stakes in hot-shot digital startup companies like MXit and Blue World Communities.

People have often referred to large software companies such as IBM and Microsoft as "The Borg" due to their strategy of buying out the competition's software to add to their growing portfolio of solutions. It's become apparent to me that, due to their size and pervasiveness in the market, in some ways Naspers is becoming South Africa's own Borg of the media and publication sector...

National highways and fly-overs

National Highway

I used to have a perfect view of these fly-overs from my classroom when I was in high school. During exam time, we were seated in alphabetical order according to our surnames - this put me right over at the window, which suited me perfectly. I've never been able to sit and do nothing for very long (my record is about 3 minutes, and I was all worn out from the exertion afterwards), so whenever I finished an exam early - which was fairly often - I'd have to invent elaborate mental games to keep myself from going crazy with boredom.

These fly-overs over the N1 were a godsend, as you can imagine, because they meant I could keep busy by counting cars. I would keep a tally of how many cars of a certain colour went past in each direction, how many trucks went past, how many motorbikes, and so on. Yes children, when we were young, back in the olden days, we didn't have fancy computer games or iPhone apps - we had to make our own fun.

Talking about fun, the latest episode of The Digital Edge podcast is available - download it here. (The Digital Edge is South Africa's best podcast, and I'm totally biased, because I'm in it.)

The Blue Peter – not rocking on a Saturday night

The Blue Peter

The Lower Deck Bistro at the Blue Peter has never been one of my favourite spots in Cape Town, although it seems a lot of our friends like it - I know this because we keep getting invited to things there. :) Usually these "things" are informal lunch-time meetups or sundowners, but this time it was an evening birthday party.

Although the birthday party itself was lovely (we got to see a whole lot of old friends we hadn't seen in ages), the experience pretty much sealed my impressions of the Blue Peter as A Place I Don't Want To Go To Again. As you may be able to tell from the photo, there weren't a lot of other people at the venue. In fact, there weren't really any other people at all. In fact... yes, I think you get the picture. This struck us as rather odd, given that it was a Saturday night.

Apparently the first members of our party to arrive had been told (at 6pm, before they'd even placed their first drinks orders), "Last rounds are at 21h45... as long as you know that." An odd start to the evening, wouldn't you say? By 20h00, after we'd finished our pizzas, it had become clear that the manager and his waitrons were rather keen for us to move the party elsewhere. We were obviously the only customers there by that time, and they'd presumably decided that getting an early night was a better option than wasting their time serving just one table. They hovered near the entrance, glancing over at us constantly, and the waitress passed a remark at one point that she was "just worried, because no-one's drinking", which wasn't true, of course - we just weren't drinking much alcohol. ;-)

All in all, it became pretty weird and uncomfortable, until we eventually left at around 9pm; and Paul and I certainly won't be going back if we can help it. If you don't mind being watched by the manager while you sip your latte, or having the waitress raise her eyebrows in disbelief when you order your whiskey without ice, then you'll probably enjoy it more than we did. :)

Willowbridge Slow Market

The Slow Market

The Slow Food movement is a non-profit organisation that's represented in some form or another in about 130 countries. The open-air slowfood market at Willowbridge started trading in December and has been thriving ever since. The idea of a slowfood market is that goods are sold in a fashion similar to how one would have expected produce to have been sold a thousand years ago... fresh, and by the farmers, bakers and chocolatiers themselves. From what I can tell the food is sourced locally from small producers and sold fresh. Products on offer include organic dried fruit and nuts, a range of sausages, biltong, Belgian waffles, lemon curd, schwarmas, and plenty more.

The market closes at 14h00, and, as you may have noticed from the photo, we arrived a little late - although just early enough to buy one or two yummy treats as stalls were packing up. Our Saturdays are generally hectic, so with a fair portion of luck we might get there early enough to do some shopping next Saturday. If you're not sure how to get to the market, take a look at this map - it's easy enough to find. :)

City Parks – The City Works for You

City Parks

I only read this sign only after I played on the "play equipment". I think I'm in trouble... but shhh... don't tell anyone. :) I was driving past this field and noticed a guy standing more or less in the middle, whacking stones as far as he could, baseball-style. Technically I guess he's allowed to as it seems only golf is prohibited.

I wonder how many times a Metro officer has argued with a member of the public over technical interpretations of what's allowed in play parks and what's not. Technically, one is allowed to sleep in the park during the day, ride a motorbike as long as you don't wheelie and let your dog run free as long as they have a leash attached. I'm in no hurry to test the point, but if I had been challenged on the point of not being under 14 I may have considered arguing the point that I'm certainly under 14 inches. :D

A tale of contrasts

Girl in the water

Some of our suburbs have beautiful dams such as this one dotted around. To be fair, the beauty of this dam is a little out of the ordinary as it's located on the Bellville Golf Course! Generally the dams kept in shape by the municipality receive only the bare essential maintenance, and to be honest, they've been deteriorating over the past few years - presumably due to a lack of funds as well as the water shortages our province experienced a few years ago.

If you look carefully at the people in the photo you'll see that the little girl, dressed in red, fell down into the dam! She'd been playing at the water's edge, trying to get close to the ducks, when I guess she lost her balance and plopped over. Don't worry, she was fine - her dad picked her up and the family sat quietly in a little huddle comforting her for a few minutes.

The only crying that I could hear was that of some other annoying (very annoying) kid breaking the silence, screaming something at his grandparents that sounded like "No, I don't want to...!" I guessed that they wanted to leave and he wanted to stay at the dam.

The scene was one of such contrast - a peaceful dam and a quiet family versus a rowdy and rude kid. :-/

Yola: Synthasite rebooted – the ftv launch party

The Yola launch party at ftv

You may recall us mentioning Synthasite, a Cape Town Internet startup company making it big in San Francisco. Passing the 2 million user mark, and comfortably heading to 3 million, Synthasite has outgrown its name and was recently rebranded as Yola... a free platform on which novices and pros can comfortably build websites from scratch (well, not actually from scratch... rather using the online tools and building blocks made from scratch by the Yola developers!).

The party was plenty of fun - we saw loads of people that we hadn't seen for some time, met a few people we hadn't met before, ate a few snacks and drank a few drinks, danced for a while and generally had a pretty good evening. If you have a spare moment, visit our gallery section where I posted a few extra photos taken at the launch. :)

Houses of Welgemoed

Houses of Welgemoed

Welgemoed is a wealthy suburb of Cape Town, just on "the other side" of Tygerberg Hill, facing the Boland Mountains. If you were to stand on top of Table Mountain, overlooking the City Bowl, and allow your gaze to extend further, over the city, then Tygerberg Hill is the hill that you would see in the distance, about 20km from Table Mountain, and Welgemoed is just on the other side of that hill.

We took a drive around the suburb, and the strange thing was how isolated everyone seemed to be. High walls barricaded each propery, and it felt like people were peering from their windows suspiciously when we stopped our car to look around.

The property in the photo seemed different. Firstly, there were no large walls to be seen, only fences, and secondly, there is far more open space around this house than other houses in the area. Also, the abundant trees, garden and green rolling hills seem to give the home less of a densely-packed suburban feeling.

Friends and babies

Hospital cot

In the early hours of Sunday morning, friends of ours welcomed their first baby - a girl, named Mieke - into the world. Mieke arrived in the middle of the night, a day or so before she was expected, making their gynaecologist rush from a peaceful sleep to the delivery room in only a couple of hours.

After doing a bit of research I found that there seems to be a trend in South Africa - a few more male babies than female are born here each year. It's interesting, because I thought that there were more girls than boys! The latest stats that I could find were for 2007, and what I found fascinating in the report was that our province, the Western Cape, is responsible for just over 10% of the births each year! Go Cape Town! :)