Monthly Archives: August 2010

Faith and The Cape of Good Hope

Faith and The Cape of Good Hope
I found this artwork in the old suburb of Salt River - that's the one just after Woodstock, which borders directly on the City and is named after the (you've got it!) river called Salt River. If you read yesterday's post, you may now have been observant enough to recoignise them in this photo.

Take a closer look and you'll see that today's photo is simply a different perspective on yesterday's one. The main photo from yesterday's post is content of the letter "I" in the word "FAITH".

I have a couple of ideas, but I'm not completely sure what message the artists were trying to convey on this wall. Would anyone venture taking a guess? Please leave a comment on this post if you think you know what they were thinking.

Cape Town media sucks

Cape Town Media

Looking at these headlines makes me think that Cape Town's media really do suck eggs. I took two photos of different sections of this wall and for sensitive visitors posted the one you see above. For just how horridly sensational the media can get, be warned, but click to see this photo.

I know that some may argue that the media aren't being sensationalist, and that this is just news. The thing is that these billboards are printed to sell papers and the sad truth is that this is the news that sells. Should I burn the media for using it to sell papers? Perhaps not - but do you remember, during the World Cup Football, how few news items covered crime in South Africa? Did you at all notice that the media focused on what was big and sensational at the time - the football and everything surrounding it?

I recall becoming aware of this and wondering if the happiness and general euphoria that seemed to pervade our society at the time wasn't at least in part due to the lack of bad news and the media's switch to focus on positive stories - like SA The Good News does. It seemed that at the time that the media focused on the good and positive side. I struggle to believe that crime as described in these photos simply disappeared during June/July.

An old family Bible

A family Bible
I know that it doesn't look that way from the photo, but this Bible is HUGE - measuring about 150mm thick! Imagine carrying this under your arm to church. :D

It may be of interest to you to know that it's an illustrated Bible and dictionary, that appears to have been printed in the USA in the late 1800s. Besides containing a family tree that documents a few generation's of our family's births and deaths the book also illustrates many of the Bible stories in full colour - you know, with those typical Biblical drawings (source).

It's quite the family heirloom, don't you think? Fortunately, unlike Cain and Abel, my older brother and I won't be fighting over this one. :)

Kiss-and-ride

Kiss-and-ride
I can imagine what went through this sign-writer's mind. The Afrikaans version "Groet-en-ry" literally means "Say goodbye and drive away" - although in Afrikaans the statement doesn't convey the same harsh tone as the English one does.

I imagine that, at the time, the sign writer must have decided to go with a softer approach. I'm sure they must have visualised people dropping off loved ones and kissing them goodbye - and I'm guessing that was how the softer "Kiss-and-ride" phrase was born.

Why they never settled for "Drop-n-go" I'm not sure. :)

Accidents happen faster than we imagine

Crossing Over
Even though these signs are posted at each station, and even though people lose limbs and lives each year, many still walk across the train tracks simply because it's quicker and easier than crossing at the footbridge.

On 25 August, in a nearby suburb, a minibus taxi carrying a school kids was hit by an oncoming train at a level crossing. Eight kids died in the accident. According to an eyewitness account, the taxi had overtaken several cars that had stopped at the level crossing. I guess the driver failed to see the train.

This sucks.

Off to work!

Off to work
A very common way of transporting employees to work sites is on the back of a bakkie or on a truck like this one.

I'm fairly sure that at some stage it became illegal to transport people in this manner - but even with several recent tragedies related to this form of transport it remains common practice. I guess the reality is that for many small businesses it's completely impractical and too expensive to have a bakkie to transport goods and materials to a work site and a minibus to transport the workmen.

It's one of those difficult debates to have because I can assure you that if the workmen are faced with a choice to take transport like this, or find their own way to a work site, or lose their job, they'd jump onto the back of this truck in a flash.

The reality is that most people believe that an accident won't happen to them - so they're happy to take chances like this. Call me over-cautious or a wet blanket, but Russian roulette - it isn't my game. :)

Report a running tap or a leaking pipe

A running tap
Many have been ecstatic that Cape Town had such great weather while the world came to visit us this June/July - but now that spring has sprung a little earlier than normal and warmer weather approaches the reality that the rest of the year may be a dry one starts to set in. See the chart on Cape Water Solution's blog post.

Fortunately, contrary to how it appears, this tap isn't actually leaking - I turned it open a little to illustrate a leaking tap and have the opportunity to share with you the City of Cape Town's share-call number (086 010 3054) where you're able to lodge any complaints about water wastage, leaking taps, poor sanitation, etc.

I've been saying it for ages - but I really need to get working on my grey-water solution for summer. Either that, or I need to pave my entire lawn... but it's a catch-22: Pave the lawn to save water while killing off more plant-life that we can't afford to lose. Perhaps the answer is to make sure that my garden consists mostly of indigenous plants!

An unconventional use for diesel

A diesel pump
With spring weather arriving on our doorstep a week or two ago, flowers starting to bloom and trees starting to sprout buds - the Evil of the Garden has also arrived. This evening I spent half an hour rushing around my lawn with a weed popper after work in a vain attempt, I fear, to ward off the raging stampede.

While observing the destruction that was occurring on my paved areas I was reminded of a dubious weed remedy shared by someone (whom for their sake) I'll keep anonymous. This person told me that diesel fuel is the best weed killer ever - and it's way cheaper than herbicides you'd buy at a nursery.

How do you think your husband, wife, or neighbour would feel about you spraying diesel all over your driveway? Awesome idea? I don't think so. :)

The building industry

Price sign
I was at first confused when I saw this sign, but then on closer observation noticed the bag of cement in the top left-hand corner. Perhaps it's obvious to builders what the sign is for, but I have to admit that to us photographers, it's not as much the case.

Speaking of builders though - I don't know what it's like in other countries, but I've honestly only once heard of someone who's been happy with their builders. I've heard many terrible stories of poor workmanship, slow delivery and breaking of promises - all of which I experienced in my only building projects!

Have I and all the people I've spoken with about renovation and building projects just had bad luck or do you think it just seems this way because we only talk about these things when we have a bad experience?

The Old Paarl Road

Old Paarl Road
The Old Paarl Road starts in the suburb of Bellville and runs parallel to the N1 national highway, through Brackenfell, Kraaifonten, and other suburbs all the way to Paarl - and beyond in fact.

I wasn't around at the time, but at some point I was told that the Old Paarl Road was the main route that one took to get to Paarl (a farming town about 60 kilometers from Cape Town) before the N1 was built.

That’s some attitude

That's some attitude
I waited for the train to stop and for people to start disembarking. While I was down on one knee (not "down on one knee" like that though) the guy to the left stepped out of the train onto the platform, keeping his eyes fixed on me all the while that the train stood still. I, of course, doggedly pretended not to see him.

I wondered at the time what he may be thinking. I could just imagine that it was something like "WTF? Crazy white boy!". (Said in a BA Baracus accent of course.) :D

Failure is just an early attempt at success…

Station graffiti
Isn't this just the coolest piece of graffiti? The statement is impressively profound - compared to what one normally finds scrawled on walls... or indeed finds scrawled on the rest of this wall.

I'm using this photo as a desktop background at the moment - it's somewhat different as far as desktops go. :) Why not click on the photo to see the large version and then download it as a desktop background for your own computer? Just leave a comment on this post if you're unsure how to do so and I'll try to help you out.

Cargo coaches

Cargo coaches
I did say in my previous post that diesel trains pull many (many) coaches. Although the train whizzed past I swear that I'd have had enough time to finish a tall cup of coffee while it passed by.

According to southafrica.co.za, 87% of freight is transported by road whereas the remainder is the small percentage transported by rail. The interesting thing is that rail transport is apparently between 30% and 50% cheaper than transport by road!

I wonder why more people don't make use of rail transport. Could it be because not enough of the country is covered by heavy-duty railway lines, or could it be because of logistical problems with freight rail?

How loud is a diesel goods train?

A diesel goods train

I hate these trains. Allow me to explain why:

These trains aren't electrically operated, like passenger trains. They have huge diesel motors that are powerful enough to pull the many (many) heavily-laden goods coaches. Now, with (what seems like) hundreds of heavy coaches in tow you can imagine that there's no way that the driver could ever hope to stop the train in the event of an emergency. So, what do they do to compensate for this, to make things a little safer? They put a HUGE horn on the front of the train. I swear if you were to listen carefully, and if there were air in outer space, you'd hear this horn on the moon.

Anyway, one warm summer's day I was returning from a long day of lectures. I had the sliding window all the way down (yes, they could do that in the '90s) and was drifting in and out of sleep while the wind from the open window cooled me down just enough to make the dozing comfortable.

You see it coming, don't you? Well, I didn't. While I was dozing and in a state of absolute relaxation one of these diesel trains was closing in on my train at a speed that was too fast for me to hear its large diesel engines in time. The first time that I realised it was there was when it was only 15 metres from my window, diesel engines roaring and blowing its moon-horn for all it was worth.

Let me just say that I'm really glad I'd visited the little boys' room before I left Cape Town. My response to the blast must have been one of the most amusing scenes ever to watch. :)

All stations to Cape Town

All stations to Cape Town
As I said in my first post about this train station - the journey from Brackenfell to Cape Town station is an extremely monotonous one when taken every day. I pitty the poor souls who travel from Wellington to Cape Town each day.

With the exception of one or two, rush hour trains (which I guess are the ones between 06h30-08h30 and 16h00-18h00) stop at every station along the way! Each time that they stop the doors open and, at this time of the year, in blasts cold winter weather like that which we're experiencing right now.

I certainly don't miss the days of commuting on the train, but perhaps I do miss the 45 minute snooze that I sometimes managed to squeeze in on those big blue vinyl seats. :D

Train to Kraaifontein

Train Station
Continuing with my theme of train stations and tracks, this is a 180° turn from my previous photo, with the next stop in this direction being the small station of Eikenfontein (Ache-en-fawn-tain), followed by the next major station, Kraaifontein (Cry-fawn-tain).

In case you're interested, here's a Metrorail route map.

Train tracks and barbed wire

Train tracks and barbed wire
What you see here is one of the train stations along our Northern Suburbs rail route.

For several years I'd find myself, early in the morning, taking a 20 minute walk to the station followed by a short (or sometimes long) wait on the platform and then the most monotonous 45 minute 25 kilometer ride to Cape Town station, with nothing more to look forward to than a 15 minute walk up to Cape Technikon and a day's worth of tinkering with computers and sitting in the most boring accounting and statistics lectures. To crown this all, once I completed my studies this continued as I started working for company in the Cape Town city center!

It's all worked out pretty well though - I now don't have to wake up too early and work only 10 minutes away from home. I sure do have it good! :)

The naked trees

The naked trees
This photo was taken on the same day as my second last post where I mentioned that I took my car to Supa Quick to get it's shock absorbers replaced. Considering this there are two things that you're able to learn from this photo.

The first is that even though a few bushes and trees in my garden have started sprouting leaves, flowers and fruit, by the bareness of these trees it's clear that it's still winter in Cape Town. We're having great weather at the moment, but it is still winter.

The second thing that you're able to learn is that when you take your car to have shock absorbers replaced, ensure that you arrive early to be first in line. Even though Supa Quick have several bays - I ensured that I was there just after 8am to be sure that I wouldn't have to wait in line. :)

Security services

Man and his dog
Working as a security guard must be one of the most stressful jobs. On the one hand it's probably mostly metronomically monotonous, and on the other hand you never know when you're going to face off against a criminal that possibly has less than you to lose, and possibly less regard for your life than a Cinderella's step mother did for her's.

This guard (I forget his name unfortunately) stopped me as I walked past and asked if I could take his photo. He said that he'd look up Cape Town Daily Photo on Web so that he can download his pic. Here's hoping that he does just that! :)

Supa Quick for shocks

Supa Quick in Brackenfell
I normally take my car to another "fast" exhaust, tyre, and shock absorber fitting company - but on recommendation this time took it to Supa Quick in Brackenfell (map). I was so impressed by their service that I decided to snap this photo and write a short review.

Let me say that I never shopped around - so I don't know if R2686 was a good deal for 4 shock absorbers, but I'm so tired of poor service, and figured that since my dad (a demanding customer of note) recommended them, I was almost assured to be happy.

And, I was. The professionalism and courtesy of both the sales and technical staff was something unlike what I've become accustom to in their industry. I normally have the feeling that I have to watch over peoples shoulders when they work on my car but I felt so comfortable with these guys that I spent the following two hours walking around the area, taking photos. :)

For the record, I realise that it may sound that way, but I haven't been incentivised to write this review - I'd just like to give credit for a job well done.

Pakalolo in Hout Bay

Pakalolo in Hout Bay
After enjoying an awesome dinner with friends at the you-have-to-book-far-in-advance Kitima restaurant in Hout Bay we headed down to Pakalolo (a local bar) to meet up with friends.

The bar (seen through the arch) has a beach/Mexican d├ęcor and atmosphere and often hosts live music and comedy shows. Pakalolo serves a variety of food, but appear to specialise in Mexican cuisine. I can't say that the evening entertainment grabbed my attention, or that the bar and atmosphere was my scene - but I can imagine that it's an awesome place to sit back, relax and enjoy snacks and a couple of drinks after spending time on Hout Bay Beach.

I'd pay it another visit during the day - for sure. :)

Inside Torino Chocolate House

Inside Torino Chocolate House
Following on from my previous post - this is the inside of Torino Chocolate House on Kloofnek Road (map). On a whim I decided to pop in and discovered the inside of the shop to be this relatively small room, with a relatively small granny as the Guardian of the Chocolate.

I considered (in true Robin Hood style of course) pushing her over, filling bags with chocolates and running into the street to distribute them to those who couldn't afford these delectable delights. But, fortunately for the dear old granny, she was far too sweet to justify such an act - no matter how noble it may be. Come to think of it though, perhaps the sweetness was due to the chocolate she'd been eating... in which case...

Anyway, Robin-Hoodism aside, I never expected the shop to be so very red inside - but I guess it adds to the romance often associated with fine chocolate. I picked about 8 chocolates filled with whiskey, cream, amarula liqueur, and the like - and as I said in a comment on my previous post, the chocolates were great, but more because of the fillings and less because of the quality of the chocolate (not that there was anything wrong with the actual chocolate). I'm not a connoisseur, but in terms of chocolate, I'd vote for masses of plain chocolate over filled chocolate capsules any day. :)

Torino Chocolates

Torino Chocolates
Assuming you don't know the shop, and without looking up the address - where have you seen this bike parked? Every time Kerry-Anne and I have driven past either the shop's been closed or we've always been in too much of a rush to visit.

I'll share with you a view of the inside tomorrow, but alas, I can't share with you what I bought... :)

Winter on the beach

Camps Bay Beach
It was a beautiful day, but I assume that from the look of the beach you'd guess that it's still winter in Cape Town. Although we have the occasional warm day, the air is generally still pretty cool and you certainly won't find beaches packed with people.

I can't say that the lack of winter rain hasn't started to concern us because either we're going to have torrential downpours (and possibly even some flooding) in the next couple of months or we're going to have an exceptionally dry summer... neither of which is a particularly great prospect to look forward to!

Lion’s Head

Lion's Head
I know that it doesn't look much like a lion's head from this angle, but trust me, from a particular angle, a little further away - this hill looks just like a lion's head.

One of the coolest experiences in Cape Town is to hike up Lion's Head during a full moon. It's not too dangerous as there's a pathway that leads in a spiral all the way around the hill, right the way to the top. Once up there the city lights, the boats in the harbour and in the bay, and the stars of the sky look simply awesome.

If you're concerned about your safety - don't be. On warm summer evenings there are dozens of people making there way up to the top, so you don't have to be worried about being stuck alone on the top of a lonely hill. :)

Karaoke in a pub

Karaoke
I took this photo a little while ago, while visiting The Crowbar. While I've never participated in a Karaoke evening - can you imagine doing this with a group of (mostly drunk) strangers in a bar? How insane! Isn't it amazing what just a little alcohol can allow one do? :)

I'm sure the evening was plenty of fun - I'd love to have been there (to watch). Although, on the other hand, a lot of intoxicated people singing like Bryan Adams? Erm, on second thoughts... ;)

The mural’s on the wall

Mural on the wall
If you saw yesterday's post about the SHOUT SA campaign, you'll recognise this photos as being from the same area - in fact, the corner that you're looking at is the same one in yesterday's photo, except this is from a different angle.

Wouldn't it be awesome to have all the walls in this part of Waterkant Street decorated with this kind of art? Click here to see exactly where you can find these murals.

Shout against crime

Fan photo
This picture reminds me of the SHOUT SA campaign launched earlier this year. If you're not in the country then you may have missed what it's about, so allow me quickly to explain:

Two notable South African musicians established a trust fund, called SHOUT, with the idea that monies collected by the fund would be donated to anti-crime organisations, like Crime Line and Business Against Crime. They then got together with a few more notable musicians to record a modern version of the Tears for Fears track called Shout. The track is currently for sale at several prices from R20 to R1000 - the amount that you pay is at your discretion. Visit the SHOUT SA website to hear the track and for more information on how to donate.

A barber for ethnic hair

African Barber
Traditional African hair, I believe, can be a tough job to style. From what I've noticed, ethnic hair tends to be tougher and more resiliant to styling than than European hair... and I guess that it stands to reason that this is the case - back in the day, tough African hair was needed to withstand the tough African sun. :)

I found this barber that focuses mostly on ethnic hair, in the Picbel Parkade shopping mall - only a little way from the Pick 'n Pay food store. A few years ago the Picbel Parkade was one of the dodgy areas that I would have avoided, but upon my last visit I noticed that it appears to have been cleaned up nicely.

Surrounded by mountains

The mountains of Stellenbosch
I mentioned in my previous post about the gorgeous view that one has from Stellenbosch Lodge Country Hotel's Blaauwklippen conference room. Well, this would be it. And, as I said, can you imagine the view during summer when the vineyards are green and laden with huge juicy grapes? :) It must be absolutely beautiful!

Conferencing in Stellenbosch

Stellenbosch Lodge Country Hotel
Kerry-Anne and I were invited to breakfast at Stellenbosch Lodge Country Hotel - just outside of the Stellenbosch's busy town centre a little way off the R44 to Somerset West (directions). As you may expect from a lodge, we enjoyed a hearty full English buffet breakfast - not to mention some of the best coffee that I've had in the area.

Besides for being a regular lodge, catering mostly for business travel, the lodge has a couple of large conference rooms, with the one in the photo above (Blaauwklippen Room) opening up onto a veranda that overlooks vineyards and the gorgeous mountains surrounding Stellenbosch.

While the vines were leafless on our visit, I can imagine it to be a most spectacular and relaxing view in the summer months.