Monthly Archives: October 2009


Carrying kids

Stats SA estimate that by the end of the year the Western Cape (the province in which we live) will hold about 11% of South Africa's total population. That's about 5.4 million people! An interesting fact that I've noticed is that many young couples (such as Kerry-Anne and myself) don't yet have kids and many aren't planning on doing so. I wonder if this is a world-wide trend.

I'm dedicating this blog post and photo to all the parents of Cape Town and the surrounding areas who've had kids and are thereby ensuring the circle of life in the Cape. I often marvel at parents' ability to deal with screaming babies, hyper-active toddlers and the plain naughty kiddies. I simply don't know where you find the energy and how you manage to do this - respect!

5-star hotels in Cape Town #1

The Westin Grand

The Westin Grand Cape Town Arabella Quays Hotel is that large hotel that you pass on your left as you enter the city on the N1 highway. It's the glass-covered one right next to the traffic lights that (if you were to turn right) would take you to the Waterfront.

The Westin Grand used to be known as the Arabella Sheraton, and back then (about 3 years ago now) I once had the opportunity to attend a meeting in the building. Even back then the hotel was magnificent, and from the descriptions I've read on the web it seems as though they've even managed to upgrade it somehow!

The hotel is attached to the Cape Town International Convention Centre and is right next to the little canal that leads from the hotel area to the V&A Waterfront. I haven't tried it yet, but you can catch a ride on little taxi boats that will take you to the Waterfront. Anyone else been on one?

Careful with your cash

Careful with your cash

I'm not saying that the subject in this photo is a conman, but I have often seen someone who looks a lot like him wandering around the V&A Waterfront area, apparently asking people for money. I don't think it's common to see this at the Waterfront, so it's kinda weird and unexpected when someone asks you for cash. I think people are often taken by surprise and hand out their money to guys who use this as a regular form of income.

Perhaps it's bad of me, but I've become a lot more skeptical of people asking for money than I previously was, and the internal battle rages on, as I try to decide who's just a chancer and who deserves a break.

Watching people pass on by

Relaxing at the Waterfront

While we were sitting at Java Jive Cafe in the Waterfront, an older couple came to sit down at a nearby table. They stayed for just a few minutes, seemingly to take a break whilst watching all the people walking past.

Do you ever sit in a public place and just watch people passing by? I find it interesting to watch what people do and how they interact. One Christmas eve Kerry-Anne and I spent an hour or two sitting at a local mall just watching the harried shoppers rushing to and fro with grim expressions on their faces. Amidst the Christmas rush it was in a way refreshing to sit down, withdraw from the "mob mentality", and just relax.

Cheap food at the Waterfront

Curry for 28 ZAR

Buying lunch at Waterfront restaurants is normally fairly expensive - not unreasonably so for the most part, but proper meals certainly tend to cost more than at other locations. We discovered a place called Java Jive Cafe, near the Blue Shed, big Musica store and the Waterfront's famous Pumphouse.

Although we didn't indulge in the R28 curry, we did share pancakes and a cup of coffee. Well... no, we each had our own coffee, but shared the two scrumptious bacon, mushroom and cheese pancakes, which left us with a total bill of around R60 - not bad for a quick snack at the lovely Waterfront!

Cape Town drydock


As the title suggests, this photo is of a small drydock at Cape Town harbour. For those who perhaps don't know, a drydock is used to perform ship repairs that cannot be done while the ship is in the water.

Essentially what happens is that the vessel enters the drydock (which is still filled with water). The wet drydock's gates are closed and after securing the vessel, huge pumps pump every little bit of water from the huge swimming-pool-like container. I'm guessing that the process is carried out fairly carefully, as one would have to ensure that the vessels are properly supported as the water is drained. Imagine having one of these topple over in the dock...

Method Man


Clearly I don't know very much about hip hop music. This storefront had me confused, as I had never heard of a shop or brand of clothing called "Methodman". After googling a little I discovered that it was no wonder I was confused - apparently Method Man is the stage name for an American hip hop artist.

Cape Town has had a large hip hop following for many years, but it seems that over the last few years there has been a huge increase in the general popularity of the genre. A fact that might surprise some of our friends: when Kerry-Anne's niece and nephew visited us last year, we listened to so much hip hop in the car that we developed quite an appreciation for it - to the extent that I now own a Flo Rida CD!

Loving the dancing

Love the dance

We made it through to the Blue Shed (that big blue building next to the Waterfront's aquarium) to watch dancers perform at the International Oriental Dance Festival.

These two guys were selling these bright eastern clothes right next to where the ladies were performing - which was lucky for them, as they seemed to be enjoying every minute of the show. While everyone else either sat or stood to watch the performances, these two guys danced along the whole time, donning huge smiles and blowing kisses of appreciation, which it seemed the dancers greatly appreciated. :)

Long and winding road

Red road bus

Have you ever been on a long-distance bus trip? When I was young, I used to go on a lot of school camps, and of course, we were always transported to and from the campsites by bus. Most of these trips were only two or three hours long, but on one occasion we travelled all the way from Cape Town to Pretoria (about 1400km) on a bus - an ordinary bus too, not one of those nice luxury ones with the soft seats, headrests and little curtains.

I guess it's not so bad when you're young, because it's kind of an adventure. Still, I remember it being a Very Long Journey. What's the furthest you've ever travelled by bus?

Spot the typo

Spot the typo

Exactly how is it that sign-writers manage to miss such obvious errors? And perhaps even more oddly, how is it that their clients fail to spot these errors? Of course, on the other hand, maybe Kappa Painters & Carpenters were just using this as a clever marketing ploy to get naive blog owners to market their business on the internet. :)

In any event... I'm not sure that I'd trust their attention to detail!

Making sushi

Making sushi

Raw fish, no problem. Soy sauce, yum. Sticky rice, nice. Seaweed - erm, no, I think I'll pass.

Kerry-Anne loves sushi and I'll eat it if the craving gets the better of her and she really has to go to a sushi bar. I don't know about you, but the sushi I like most is the type with the least seaweed, and since I do enjoy the fish and rice I guess that Nigiri would be my favourite. But I just can't get my taste-buds around Maki (those are the ones wrapped in black seaweed), and I'm just not sure that seaweed was ever meant to be eaten by humans. :)

I'm interested to know... (1) if you love Sushi, do you know why this is, and (2) if you don't like it, what in particular don't you enjoy?

Tractor-rides through the farmlands

Tractor rides

Early morning and sunset tractor-rides through vineyards are the best. I've just discovered how difficult it is to find somewhere (near Cape Town) to go on a tractor-ride. But nevertheless I've managed to find a wine estate in Wellington that does just this. Diemersfontein Wine & Country Estate offers tractor-rides for 6 people at 35ZAR per person - including a glass of wine! At that price the cynic in me says that it must be a glass for everyone to share, but Kerry-Anne's convinced that it's a glass per person.

Check out Diemersfontein's website and consider doing some of the other activities, like perhaps a picnic, horse ride or short hike.

Disclaimer: Diemersfontein didn't ask us to write this article, and, in fact, we've never actually been to Diemersfontein. If you decide to go, and then discover that it sucks (which I doubt), please leave a comment and let us know. On the other hand, if it's awesome, please leave some feedback too!

Longkloof: a mystery no more

Longkloof in Hout Bay

After reading what Paul had written about Longkloof in the previous post, my immediate thought was, "Pah! How hard can it be to find some information about this historical building? Must be all over the web, surely... he couldn't have googled very well..."

I had to eat my words, of course, after paying a visit to Google. Plenty has been written about Longkloof the area, but I couldn't find anything about this building. I couldn't even find a photograph of it online, which surprised me, because I thought it was a fairly obvious subject for a photo shoot. I'm not one to give up when faced with a mystery, though, so I kept on hunting.

I found this set of notes by Anne Lehmkuhl (definitely worth a read if history fascinates you), from which I was able to deduce that the building was once the wine cellar of the farm Groot Moddergat, and was built somewhere around 1841.

But I wanted to know what the building is NOW. Not content, I kept going, trying a bunch of different search terms, until eventually I struck gold. Or rather... clay. Because, as it turns out, the building now houses... drum roll, please... A POTTERY STUDIO.

It was no easy job to figure that out, let me tell you. And even once I'd worked it out using my superior powers of observation, I still couldn't find a single website to actually verify this information. So how did I know? Well, while Paul was taking photos of the building, I happened to notice the unusual fence adjoining the house, just off to the right of this shot. And when I saw this photo on the Longkloof Pottery site, I recognised the fence and wall immediately.

Now, please don't go knocking on the door and demanding to see the pottery - judging by the lack of information on the web and the lack of signage outside the property, I'm guessing that the talented resident potter, Yogi, would prefer to keep his studio a sanctuary. (And a pretty awesome sanctuary it must be too!) Visit his website to see more of his remarkable work and find out how to contact him.

Longkloof in Hout Bay

Longkloof in Hout Bay

I don't know for certain what this building is, but to me it looks like a homestead built many, many years ago. We discovered it almost by chance while driving down Hout Bay Main Road, from the circle next to Constantia Nek Restaurant towards Hout Bay.

The particular road on which it's located is kinda narrow and there's so much to see that, even though it's right on the roadside, it's easy to miss. I didn't want to scratch around too much, and there didn't seem to be any clues as to what the building was, or had been. Please be so kind as to leave a comment if you know something more about the building, other than that it's found in Longkloof, Hout Bay.

Fun fair

Fun Fair

I'm not afraid of heights. I'm happy to jump waterfalls and do the occasional bridge-swing. But this kind of "fun", on the other hand, is just no fun for me. I mean, does anyone actually enjoy feeling nauseous, and does anyone like turning a paler shade of green?

Kids generally just love this kind of thing, but I remember not really being too perturbed as a kid that my friends got to go on all the rides. I was pretty much content to watch them having fun, from a safe distance.

Oktoberfest at Stellenberg High


Oktoberfest, a 16-day (sometimes 17-day) festival held in a (super) large field in Germany is celebrated in many countries, including South Africa, with plenty of beer, all kinds of traditional German food, a traditional-style band and plenty of dancing.

Stellenberg High School (which Kerry-Anne attended for 5 long years) held their first Oktoberfest celebration this year as a fund-raising event. Given that it was the first time they've attempted this, we'll forgive them for the tiny selection of Bavarian food, solitary brew of beer, and lack of beautiful woman dressed in traditional German beer-lady attire (and yes ladies, the lack of handsome young lads in traditional weird long-shorts and braces too). :)

But seriously, the event seemed to have huge support from the community and everyone there seemed to be having an awesome time. I have a feeling that next year's Oktoberfest is going to be a rocking event. Best make sure that you get there!

A big white door

A big white door

Often when I see an old object like this door I wonder what history it has seen. Isn't it interesting to consider all the people that may have turned and pulled on the door knob? Don't you curiously consider what led it to be removed from its doorway and left lying on this grassy patch?

On a completely different subject... notice the Nasturtium flowers to the left? It was the weirdest thing ever when I discovered one day that Kerry-Anne likes putting these into salad! I guess they do act as a beautiful garnish... but for her it's not only about the decorative appeal - she enjoys the taste too! I wouldn't be surprised if next I find her picking daisies for a quick stir-fry!

Drinks at sunset

Wakame's drinks deck

Cape Town has a way of looking beautiful and stormy at the same time. The angry dark clouds in this photo rolled in below the beautiful pink and blue sky, creating a perfect contrast.

Though slightly on the expensive side of average, Wakame more than makes up for it by having this awesome deck - perfect for sitting outside and relaxing while chatting with friends and enjoying a couple of drinks.

Also, I'm not particularly fond of sushi, but I have to admit that theirs is pretty good. Although for most people it's the raw fish that puts them off sushi, for me it's a combination of the seaweed and the rice - and Wakame's rice seems far more palatable than any other sushi rice I've tasted. :)

Prime Circle rocked the daisies

Marco Gomes of Prime Circle

I was really really lucky to see two of my favourite South African bands performing back-to-back at Rocking the Daisies. Just Jinjer was fantastically good, and Prime Circle, well, they absolutely rocked the house... or, shall I say, the vineyards.

The dramatic start to their performance built up tension in the crowd, and when Prime Circle finally appeared on stage the masses roared with excitement. The band's unmistakable energy carried over into the crowd, who loved every minute of it. It was awesome to hear their songs live again - the music was precise, and they delivered an excellent performance.

Visit the Prime Circle website for more information about the band, or start the music video below to listen to one of their tracks. However, if you represent a large record company that may plan on signing the band and relocating them to the USA (or any other country), please stop right here. I speak on behalf of all their SA fans when I say that we aren't interested in any offer or contract that you may have. :D

Oh, and don't forget to take a look at the other photos that I shot during their set. Click here to see the albums.

Just Jinjer at Rocking the Daisies 2009

Brent and Art's percussion duet

Just Jinjer are arguably one of the best-known South African rock bands. Unfortunately for us they left our shores at the beginning of the decade, as most really successful SA bands eventually do, and spent time in the UK and USA, recording with various large record labels and touring with bands like Def Leppard, The Goo Goo Dolls, and U2.

Over the +-13 years that they've been around, Just Jinjer (formerly Just Jinger) have become somewhat of a legend back home, and now it would seem, they've returned to settle in Cape Town. Although I guess "settle" is bit of a strong word, as they have several tours lined up that will see them out of the country for more time than South Africans are willing to share them. :)

I could go on and on about how awesome the band is, but rather visit their website - the music will start playing automatically. Alternatively, listen to my favourite Just Jinjer song below... and when you're done, check out my photo album from their awesome set at Rocking the Daisies!

Freshlyground at Rocking the Daisies 2009

Zolani lead singer of Freshlyground

Freshlyground is an Afro-fusion band who found their feet in 2002, when they played their first "big gig" at Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens. They launched their first album in 2003 - their success is evidenced by the fact that they were invited to play at the opening of Parliament in 2004, when South Africa celebrated 10 years of democracy. With both black and white band members originating from South Africa, Zimbabwe and Mozambique, I guess that it's fair to say that Freshlyground is a Smarties box of cultures.

Kerry-Anne is a super-huge fan of the band and was stoked to have seen them live at the cosy Zula Bar in Cape Town before they got really big. We were about 3 metres from the stage (which was more of an elevated platform, really), and the band members were incredibly interactive during the set.

Today they have a huge following both locally and internationally, and (if you hadn't yet guessed) I managed to get up close for a few photos at Rocking the Daisies. Click through to our Freshlyground album, and if you have a moment more to spare check out the other RTD photo albums.

Rocking the Daisies 2009

The main stage
I'd never been to Rocking the Daisies before, and it seems as though I chose the best RTD ever as my first experience! Rocking the Daisies is a music festival held near Darling, about an hour's drive from Cape Town up our West Coast. Although there weren't as many people as there were at Woodstock back in the late '60s, there seemed to be just the right number of people in a happy party-mood.

Although the festival stretched from early on Friday to Sunday afternoon, I only managed to go along for Saturday. Many people spent time swimming in the dam (practically right next to the main stage), while others watched the bands, some were entertained by comedy shows, and others spent time listening to DJ mixes.

My summarised review of the event is:
1. Well-organised
2. Great music
3. Fun environment
4. Sufficient facilities
5. Great food stalls
6. Good entertainment
7. Good and easy parking
8. Great camping site
9. Clean and tidy

I'm definitely going to have to go along to RTD 2010 - this one was an absolute jol (pronounced "jawl", which is South African slang for "freekin' awesome"). :) If you're thinking of coming to South Africa next year, but don't want to come during the World Cup, why not time your trip to coincide with RTD? We'll see you there.

I'm still busy processing and uploading photos to our photo album, but in the meantime check out what's there already.

An old car?

On old car

We found this old car on the De Vallei wine farm's grounds. At first I thought that perhaps someone was trying to refurbish it, but on closer inspection I noticed the roll cage inside the cabin and realised that it may be used for stock car racing!

When I was in school, friends often spoke excitedly of the stock car races that they'd been to. I've never been to a race, but Kerry-Anne on the other hand seems to have been something of a regular visitor - dragged along to the noisy events at the Goodwood Showground (which no longer exists) by her mom and dad. She swears it was loads of fun.

The Tygerberg Raceway, a proper oval dirt race track, is still in operation and in fact will be hosting a race on 17 October and 7 November this year. Contact details and information about the events seem to be fairly scarce on the web, but if you're interested in attending a race, this page has a contact number that you could call to find out more about dates, times, and cost.

Horses are mean

Really big horse face

Can you see the way Big Mike was trying to stare me down?

The first (and only) time that I risked climbing on a horse, the beast in question turned out to be an obstinate animal with a mind of its own, refusing to listen to my gentle (and later, extremely firm) tugs on the reigns. My animal dragged its hooves, keeping a good 50 metres from the rest of the group, and when I dug in my heels it ignored me like a cat being told not to jump over a wall.

If you have more luck than I do with horses (or cats) then check out Horse Trail Safaris - it was some years back, but I think they were the ones who took us on that beach ride in Hermanus.

Cape Town opera shows with Encore

Opera Shows

We were invited to the launch of Encore, an "opera appreciation club" created by Cape Town Opera to promote opera (and other performing arts) among 20- and 30-somethings. Don't you think that the posters for "Dead Man Walking", "Cunning Little Vixen", and "Requiem Mass" all look enticingly appealing?

We spent the evening listening to several young, stylish and talented singers and musicians perform in a style that I'm not accustomed to, and while I'd have to admit that I'll never be a opera junkie, the performances were pretty darn good and definitely worth making a part of your "night on the town".

Joining Encore is a matter of paying a R100 fee per year, which gives members access to several benefits - you can read about them right here. If you'd like to go out regularly, have the chance to dress up a little, enjoy some sophisticated entertainment, and perhaps meet other young people with similar interests, give it a try - I think it's certainly worth the R100.

Zapiro’s ZA NEWS puppet-show launch

ZANews Launch

Jonathan Shapiro (second from the left), better known as Zapiro, is famous for his no-holds-barred cartoon portrayal of prominent South African figures, and politicians in particular.

Kerry-Anne took this photo at the launch of ZA NEWS, a brand-new satirical news show created by Zapiro and Thierry Cassuto (far left). The show, which will be broadcast only on the internet, features satirical "news" snippets acted out by rubber puppets who look and sound remarkably similar to some of our politicians...

I just watched the first couple of episodes, and they were really entertaining. Granted, to catch all the jokes and innuendos you may need to be familiar with some SA history and recent news, but even if you know very little about our political situation I'm sure you'll find it entertaining anyway. :)

I've embedded the launch episode below, but click though to the ZANews or Mail & Guardian sites for more shows (a new show will be produced every day).

In this episode you'll see, among others, President Jacob Zuma, Helen Zille, Julius Malema, Nelson Mandela and Desmond Tutu.

Robby Kojetin: 17th South African to summit Mount Everest

Robby Kojetin, talking about his Climb of Hope

What's the most challenging thing you've ever attempted? I'm half ashamed to say that the most daunting thing I've ever done (voluntarily, anyway) is probably going on a kloofing expedition down Suicide Gorge. I've never run a marathon, or done the Argus, or been on a hike that lasted for longer than a day, or climbed anything higher than Table Mountain.

So you can imagine that I felt mildly inadequate having a conversation with Robby Kojetin (pictured above). Because, like, HE'S CLIMBED EVEREST. Right to the top. Just three years after breaking both ankles and spending eight months in a wheelchair. And apparently he plans to do it again. (Everest, that is, not the wheelchair thing.)

I met Robby at a World Lymphoma Awareness Day event at the Mount Nelson last month, where he told us about his experiences and about what motivated him to do the climb. Robby lost a friend and mentor to lymphoma several years ago, and a number of other people close to him have been diagnosed with cancer through the years; so he undertook the Climb of Hope in order to raise funds for CHOC (Childhood Cancer Foundation), and to raise awareness around cancer, and lymphoma in particular.

Lymphoma is frequently misdiagnosed, because its symptoms are similar to those of illnesses like influenza and tuberculosis. The sad thing, of course, is that it's very treatable if diagnosed early. Take two minutes to read about the symptoms and treatment of Non-Hodgkin's Lymphoma.

When Robby was telling us what it was like up on Everest, he said something that really stuck with me: "You're there. You can't hit 'Escape'. It's a lot easier to face something if you know there's a way to back out when the going gets tougher than you thought it would, but it's quite different when you have no chance of escape, and no option of stopping for a rest either. And that's exactly how it is for those living with cancer, isn't it?

Gimme some of that weed

A toothy horse

We stopped over at the Durbanville Wine Valley Season of Sauvignon 2009 festival on Saturday. Although Jimbo here wasn't part of the festival, he kept a keen eye on the proceedings while munching on ground-greens. I plucked this juicy, yummy-looking weed from my side of the fence and handed it over.

After only a few nibbles, Jimbo's connoisseur's tongue rejected my offering, and he instead demanded a couple of life's simple pleasures: nose-strokes and head-pats. Horses are so easy to please.

GeekDinner at Cappello

Butternut Soup

Well done to everyone who braved the excessively high winds in Cape Town to attend GeekDinner! I spent a few minutes outside Cappello to capture a few night shots of Cape Town and found it impossible to keep my hand steady enough to take the shot. Eventually I leaned up against a seemingly-sturdy pole to steady the camera, but alas, this was even worse - the wind was rattling the pole like a jackhammer rattles the stout construction worker holding it.

For many people, the word "geek" still conjures up images of socially awkward people interested only in chemistry, physics, astronomy and computers. This is not the case at Cape Town's GeekDinner meets. Also, over the past few months I've noticed an interesting shift in the gender distribution at GeekDinner events. Even though the guys still clearly dominate in numbers, it seems as though there are more and more women at each event... which, believe me, is something that I'm confident the guys are extremely happy about.

Lettuce farming

Lettuce Field

This is the second last photo from our series about Joostenbergvlakte, and a photo that I'd considered using for yesterday's theme day, titled "Contrast".

If you're used to living in a large city then this kind of scene probably seems quite unusual. What's cool about Cape Town is that farms and smallholdings like this one aren't too far from the city centre, which means that within half an hour you can move from the inner city, through leafy suburbia, to wide-open farms.

What I found interesting about this little field is that the farmer has planted green lettuce in between his two rows of red lettuce. It doesn't seem particularly practical - I mean, surely all the red lettuce will be harvested together? All I can think is that he has a bit of an artistic eye, and likes to keep his fields pretty. :)

Theme Day: Contrast

A zebra

Today is the City Daily Photo Theme Day, an event held on the first day of each month to encourage you to visit some of our sister City Daily Photo blogs. We haven't taken part in Theme Day for several months now, but as I type it's 01h05 in Cape Town and can you believe it, we've actually managed to get an appropriate photo to suit the theme day topic and we've managed to post it on time! We so rock this month!

Browse through the thumbnails of other participating City Daily Photo blogs - there's a whole world of contrasting cities out there for you to explore!

P.S. Africa's known for its wildlife. Don't you think Mr Zebra's contrasting colour scheme is perfectly suited to today's theme?