Monthly Archives: October 2010

The Assembly

The Assembly
The Assembly, in Cape Town's Harrington Street, was once a warehouse, but since late 2007 has been a welcoming host to local musical talent.

Visiting Assembly is plenty of fun. What's awesome is that they have a slick website that's constantly updated with information about future events. As an example of slick, check out the upcoming Discotheque & Arcade: Mr Majestic's Cirque de Fantastic. Doesn't the event description sound just awesome? Did you notice that the page links to the individual artist's respective pages with detailed information and a calendar to let you know on which other nights they're playing? I found this site refreshingly different to the outdated and unmaintained sites I often encounter.

Check out their contact page for contact info as well as a map to the venue.

"In true Arcade fashion you’re invited to enter the world of enchantment where you will experience mischievous wonderment in marvelously epic proportions. The magic will course through your body overwhelming your senses, luring and bewitching you into the world of circus carnival, a world of charm, temptation, charisma and splendor." - Mr Majestic's Cirque de Fantastic

The Flamjangled Tea Party

The Flamjangled Tea Party
Whatever it takes, I have to go to this (somewhat different) tea party next year! In fact, I'm adding 19-20 March 2011 into my (seldom used) Cape Town Daily Photo diary right now. :)

To quote from their website, The Flamjangled Tea Party brings to the winelands of Durbanville "a collection of madcap melody-makers, artists flamboyant, syrupy tea-ladies, freakish party animals, cross-dressing gorilla’s, candy-floss cowgirls, rooibos sippen diva’s, greased-up rockers, disco deviants" and many more wonderfully weird (and some times magical) people. In my mind it's a cross between Alice in Wonderland and Charlie and the Chocolate Factory (Johnny Depp's version), with a bit of a Woodstock-like music festival tacked on just for fun. Doesn't it sound wonderful?

For a little more insight into what goes on at this kind of tea party - have a peek at the photos taken at the one held earlier this year.

Volkswagen aka (Our Beloved) Volksie

Volkswagen aka Volksie
This car is so unmistakable that showing only the corner leaves even the most car-illiterate person certain of the make. Clearly it's a Volkswagen Beetle, or as South Africans have come to know the vehicle, a Volksie.

There were for so long so many of these cars on our roads that it seems a rental company, Best Beetle, has bought up as many as they could afford and now specialises in hiring out these cars for long periods of time. Depending on how long use hire the car for, according to their website, one of these will cost you between R1950 and R1450 per month. The problem is, and I don't mean this about the hire-cars specifically, but the cars are getting on in years and, well, they're certainly not as reliable as the new vehicles you'd hire from, say, AVIS.

That said, there are many privately owned Volksies still running around just fine on our roads and I guess they are fun. Perhaps the reason is that they do have a very beach-going care-free-student feel about them - which does actually have some appeal.

I thought it was a Post Box

Post Box
Since when were these called "posting boxes"?

Don't you just love the sign? It's so bold - almost aggressive. Hell, I'm almost afraid to deliver my post to it... oh, but wait - when exactly was the last time I posted a letter?

I love these traditional round and red post boxes (and hope that they never disappear) but really, who uses them? Do people still post letters? Do they send post-cards perhaps? Who uses them? Do you?

Disabled travel in Cape Town

Wheelchair parking
To me it looks like the sign painted on the tar reserves this huge parking bay for someone who's ready to relax on a strangely-shaped chair, or or oddly-shaped bed. But then, I guess I did take the photo from this reasonably obtuse angle because it looked slightly quirky.

I've never given much thought to how disabled people, or (in this particular case) folk in wheelchairs, get around Cape Town. I'd never thought much about how easy, or perhaps difficult it is to navigate our many tourist attractions, visit our shopping malls, or roll to the edge of a sandy beach (can one ride wheelchairs onto beach sand, and if so, as with 4x4s, do you have to deflate their tyres a little?). :)

I guess now that Kerry-Anne's been making her way around on crutches it's caused me (and perhaps us both) to consider how easy or difficult it is to get around. I've given it some thought and if I think about the places that we mostly frequent, many of them and most tourist attractions in and around Cape Town cater for wheelchairs and people that find it difficult to get around.

I did a little research and found (amidst the sea of tour operators, hotels and B&Bs) two South African companies that specialise in tours for disabled travelers. The first is RollingSA, and the second (Cape Town-based) Flamingo Adventure Tours. Do you know of any more that specialise in disabled travel? Please share them in a comment below.

Reserved for wheelchairs

Reserved for wheelchairs
Isn't it silly - who would reserve parking bays for wheelchairs. Normally the people making use of the chairs need them to get around, so what would be the sense of such parking bays!? ;)

You may wonder why Cape Town Daily Photo is nearly a week behind on it's... well... daily photos. Kerry-Anne recently underwent a hip arthroscopy and has been slowly recovering the use of her left hip joint. So, you can imagine that we haven't been getting around quite as much as we'd otherwise like to have been; and your's truly has been playing the role of the devoted husband, providing for her every whim instead of keeping the daily photos coming. :)

In case you're concerned, the operation went pretty smoothly and I'm pleased to report that she's nicely on the mend and will soon be hopping, running and skipping.

If you're in the Northern Suburbs and on the hunt for a skilled orthopedic surgeon who specialises in hip joints, leave a comment here and I'll send you the doctors details - we'd certainly recommend his services.

Cape Town TV

Transmitter on Tygerberg Hill
Until about a year ago I was completely unaware that an additional television station, Cape Town TV was launched in the Cape Town area. The station, operated as a non-profit organisation, broadcasts completely free of charge - so if you're in the area and able to see this tower on Tygerberg Hill (they use an analogue signal) - then you should be able to receive Cape Town TV!

To be honest, we're not big on television, so I can't comment on the quality of the broadcasting. I quickly scanned the stations website and found a fairly comprehensive television schedule - which lists the time and name, but regrettably doesn't offer much detail around the nature of the program listed.

Tune in - perhaps you'll enjoy some of the programming!

PS. You don't *really* have to be able to see the tower on the hill... seeing the hill will be good enough. ;)

Cricket-season approaches

Cricket-season approaches
The time for sitting on the grass in the warm sun while sipping on cold beer in large plastic cups and eating sauce-laden hotdogs is quickly approaching. Cricket-season in Cape Town is about to start!

Kick off the season by watching the Cape Cobras play the Titans at Sahara Park on 12 November. If you're planning on visiting Cape Town during our summer months - look out for matches being played at Sahara Park Newlands, and visit Ticketpros, a local site through which you can purchase tickets.

The photo was taken just behind a grass lawn called The Oaks at Sahara Park in Newlands during the last season.

The love of jewellery

A stylish puppy
Because of the jewelery this poster reminded me of one of our cats. Allow me to deviate from the norm and share with you an entertaining fact about our kleptomaniac cat:

William (our over-loving and extremely fluffy Syberian kitty) loves shiny things - especially jewellery. Kerry-Anne once lost her wedding rings for a few hours, only to find them in his food bowl - where he's taken to leaving his precious loot. The funniest thing is when we spot him about to take a necklace or arm band. He eye-balls us for a moment, grabs it, and dashes down our passage like a pickpocket would down an alley.

He's naughty - but, like any good thief, too adorable to punish. :)

Us two going to U2

Cape Town Stadium
After last touring South Africa in 1998, the famous U2 will be stopping over in Johannesburg and Cape Town as part of their 360° tour in February 2011 - and this time, we have tickets!

I took this photo of these strange zebra-men at the Cape Town Stadium a while ago (during the Football World Cup), and share it with you today because this, dear friends, is the place where 72,000 fans will arrive to watch the spectacle that U2 is so well known for.

Kerry-Anne and I hate queuing for tickets (it's far too boring!), so we normally take our chances with purchasing from an online ticket booking site, Computicket. I say "take our chances" because South African sites, and I guess this one specifically, are known not to handle well huge volumes of people trying to buy tickets at once, and invariably slow to the pace of a reluctant teenager on a family hike - leading many close to death from pure frustration.

This time around Kerry-Anne paid the $50 registration fee and pre-bought our tickets through U2's website. No mess, no fuss. :D

Durbanville Garden Expo and Open Gardens

Purple flowers
A friend recently told me about the Durbanville Garden Club's up and coming expo and two days of open gardens that will be held on 30 and 31 October. The flowers in my photo are wild flowers and while pretty they pale in comparison to the beauty that awaits on these two days.

Next weekend you could sip tea and eat cake in the gardens, listen to green-thumbed enthusiasts talking about plants, participate in photography workshops, or simply walk around the gardens at your leisure.

Don't miss the outing, it'll be awesome and costs only R20 per person - here's a map. :)

The case of the curious stick

A curious feather and stick
What do you suppose this heap of soil, Guinea Fowl feather and stick would be doing on a path in a field? Is it perhaps a sign of sorts? Could it be a clue to something or a waypoint on a treasure map? I noticed that the soil had been recently placed and carefully looked around the area for footprints - or some other clue as to the presence of someone... but alas, there was none.

Some may be wondering what I'm going on about but perhaps it's clear to others that I've simply just watched a Sherlock Homes movie. :)

The once-endangered Bontebok – right on our doorstep!

Bontebok buck
In the 1800s farmers regarded these antelope as pests and very nearly wiped them out completely. Apparently, were it not for a number of people in the small farming town of Bredasdorp, the Bontebok (baun-te-bauk) would likely be extinct today. A few farmers in Bredarsdorp created a reserve and bred the remaining 84 buck into 800 that were relocated to various parts of the country.

In 1992 there were about 2000 of these animals across the country, and today I guess there are many more. I came across this young Bontebok on Tygerberg Hill (at the picnic spot I mentioned) lying in the long grass - close to its mother. Mom got a little nervous as I approached, eyeballed me for a little while, and then must have signaled to her baby that it was time to leave. I can't say that I was too upset - those long horns looked pretty intimidating!

I never realised that we still had wild buck on the hills among residential areas in the Northern suburbs! Pretty awesome, heh?

Cannon on a hill

Cannon on a hill
After a few years of using a particular brand of camera I find it difficult to spell the word "cannon" correctly. :)

Don't be fooled - this isn't Cape Town's Noon Day Gun. (You know, the cannon on Signal Hill that's gone kaboom at noon almost every day since it's placement in 1902). To be honest - I last visited the Noon Day Gun when I was a young kid. In fact, I can actually hardly remember the visit! Since then Kerry-Anne and I have made two attempts to see the cannon fire - the first was on a Sunday, and the second on a public holiday... the two days on which the Noon Day Gun takes a break!

This particular cannon is found on Tygerberg Hill and was presumably used as a signaling cannon to alert farmers as to the presence of new ships in the harbour.

Cape Town’s strange weather

Beautiful beach weather
The weather the past week, or more, has been extremely topsy turvy. It feels almost as though winter and summer have struck a deal and agreed to alternate sunny and warm days with cold and rainy ones.

Fortunately, we struck it lucky this weekend with both Saturday and Sunday holding the most beautiful weather suitable for relaxing at the beach and sipping on sundowners, or spending the day at the swimming pool and braaing in the sun.

This is Cape Town folks. :)

Free parking in Cape Town – really?

A silly sign
I wish someone would park on this spot, and when the owners attempt to fine them point out that the sign really does say that "illegally parked cars will be fine". If you've seen the sign and done this - please report back your experience as a comment below!

The number of professionally printed signs hosting incorrectly spelled words, or ambiguous writing, is simply astounding. My spelling isn't very good - but this is why I use a spell checker. So the question is; is there an excuse for sign-writers? Signs are short and professional sign-writers should surely notice incorrectly spelled words or sentences that clearly don't mean what was intended.

In this case, I wonder why the commissioner of this sign, or owner of the property, or in fact, anyone involved hasn't notice the clear problem here. This sign has been up for years. How strange...

Trees, shade and views – the (almost) perfect picnic spot

A picnic spot with trees
I wrote a little about Picnic Hill (a name given to this place by myself) a few days ago, and then yesterday showed you a photo of a young couple enjoying each other's company while watching the view.

This photo presents the scene near the top of Tygerberg Hill. Isn't it simply beautiful? Can you imagine how peaceful it is up on this hill? The only thing lacking from this place (which would otherwise make it the perfect picnic spot) is a small stream of water gurgling in the background.

Find the Black Label

Empty beer bottles
Part of our tour at SAB in Newlands was a round of beer appreciation whereby each person in our small tour group was presented with three glasses of beer. Based on the criteria that sets it apart from the others the challenge was to identify which of the three was Carling Black Label.

Previously we'd learned that Black Label is super filtered so the beer has a very clear and clean look about it. Many beers are fairly bitter, but we learned that compared to others Black Label isn't very bitter. (If I recall correctly it's because the Black Label recipe uses less hops than other beers). The final thing that I recall is that Black Label has a distinctively fruity smell.

Even though I took careful note of Black Label's signature properties - I regrettably failed correctly identify the beer! I immediately and correctly discarded the first beer, but ultimately failed to identify the correct glass. In my defence though, I still think someone mixed up my glasses! ;)

Click here to find my little album of photos taken while on the tour.

65,600,000 Bottles of beer on the wall

Bottles of beer
Do you remember that song?

"99 bottles of beer on the wall, 99 bottles of beer.
Take one down and pass it around, 98 bottles of beer on the wall....

The cellars at SAB in Newlands are capable of holding over 21 million litres of beer (about 65 million bottles) at any given time! I'm guessing that the writer of that song sure was lucky not to have been standing in front of this conveyor belt!

I've been posting photos with the word yeast in them over the past two days. An interesting thing that I learned while on the tour was that SAB add on average 3 tons of yeast to each fermentation tank and that six day's later they remove three times as much - that's 9 tons of yeast! Isn't that just crazy!? Don't you wish that your bank could do the same with your money? :)

I think this was the last bit of useful information that I remember from the tour. At this point in the factory I (for some strange reason) become so thirsty that all I could think about was the beer tasting at the end. But, hold on there, allow me to keep this short and tell you more about that tomorrow!

Yeast pitching agitator?

Pitching the yeast
One of our readers correctly pointed out that yesterday's photo must have been taken at South African Breweries in Newlands. SAB produce many different beers and other alcoholic beverages in their seven breweries located in six provinces across the country, including Carling Black Label - the first beer I remember taking a liking to!

After visiting the main control room at SAB we headed down to a huge room with a maize of impeccably clean stainless steel pipes that seemed to head in every which way. While the rest of my group was lectured on the process followed in this room, I took the opportunity to capture a few pictures that I'll be sharing with you. This brings me to today's photo - a series of important-looking red buttons that appear to control something called a Yeast Pitching Agitator.

I know precious little about brewing beer (yes, perhaps I should have paid closer attention) but from the little bit of reading that I did it seems as though "pitching the yeast" refers to the process of adding the yeast to the raw and bubble-less beer (known as "wort"). As for the agitator - it appears as though its role in the process is to activate the yeast in the wort by means of physically stirring the mixture.

Do you know how agitators in breweries work? If you do, please leave a comment to explain it more completely! :)

Don’t worry mum, it’s only a little yeast

Yeast in a pipe
Yeast is one of those ultra-important additives to many of the yummy foodstuffs that we enjoy. An interesting fact is that archaeologist's discoveries in Egypt have proved that the use of this fungus in the baking process goes back thousands of years. I wonder who discovered that mixing this particular fungus with dough would cause the bread to rise. Isn't that just an odd thing to try doing?

During my last couple of day's of vacation (of which today is the last) I took a tour of a certain establishment. Based on this photo where in the world do you think I found myself?

Picnic Hill

Going to picnic
I faked a walk-by and then sneaked up behind these four waking up the Tygerberg Hill for a picnic under the pine trees. Warm and sunny day's like today are perfect for taking the short walk up the steep tared road to the top of the hill.

The entrance fee to the reserve is R10 per person (and I think R5 per child). The top of the hill is wonderfully cool on hot summer days and the reserve provides sturdy tables and benches for you to sit at while enjoying your picnic - free from ants and other insects who may otherwise conspire to rob you of you rations. :)

If you're unsure of how to find the reserve's parking area - in this post I've added a link to a Google map that illustrates the path to the top of the hill.

Why we love Wembley Square

Sinn's Restaurant in Wembley Square
Perhaps the reason for all the fuss around Wembley Square stems from the trendy style that the small centre with it's restaurants, coffee shops and boutique shops oozes. Or, perhaps it's because of the natural light that streams through the glass ceiling and doors that gives the square it's outside feel, but keeps it protected from the enthusiastic wind and rain that our fair city is known for.

Personally, I think it's both of these, plus that S-Bar (part of Sinn's Restaurant) has comfy couches and low tables that friends can gather around to enjoy drinks and tapas. Whatever the reason - the spot remains a great place to relax with friends and soak up the City. :)

Spring specials at Sinn’s

Moroccan Spicy Chicken Salad

Sinn's Restaurant in Wembley Square (map) is a favorite for many of Cape Town's inhabitants. I was recently invited to visit to try their R50 spring lunch specials - and oh, what a treat it was!

On arrival I was unsure of which dish to try, but Thomas Sinn (owner and, from what I can gather, head chef) had a special smaller serving of five of the six dishes lined up me to try out. What you see in this photo is the Moroccan Spicy Chicken Salad - harissa-coated chicken with lettuce, chick peas, cherry tomatoes, and a toasted sesame seed dressing. I have to say that it was indeed pretty yummy!

This treat was followed up with Chicken Korma (perhaps my favorite), Cajun Chicken Burger, Fried Black Mussel Noodles, and finally Black Lentil Bobotie. Even though I had reduced portions I'm sure you can imagine I practically rolled out of the restaurant - very satisfied. :)

As mentioned, the Chicken Korma was my favorite, but the seared taste of the cajun chicken was a pretty close second. While I don't normally eat mussels (I don't like the fishy taste) the Fried Black Mussel Noodles, I have to admit, was pretty awesome - none of that nasty fishy taste! And, the last course, the Black Lentil Bobotie? Well, I don't eat bobotie but even though I was pretty full by the time this dish arrived, I very almost finished it (especially after a vegetarian friend emphasised how healthy lentils are!). :)

Paid parking in the Cape Town CBD

Paid parking
Previously Cape Town had parking meters into which you'd drop your coins. Traffic wardens would walk around and check if folk had put money into the meters, and if not (of if the meter had expired) attach a traffic fine to your vehicle.

A few years back this all changed - I suspect because, at night, people started stealing these little treasure chests on poles. Today we have officials wearing bright yellow and green bibs manning (almost) each street in the CBD. When you park, they ask you how long you expect to be staying and bill you on the spot for the amount of time that you estimate. On your return, if you'd overstayed your quoted time you pay up the difference, or get a refund if you were under time.

I normally quote the shortest time that I think I may need, take my receipt, and pay the difference upon my return. Most often I overpay and leave the difference to the official - who normally gladly accepts the difference with a smile. :)


I found this little guy poking around between the weeds in our grass. I'm certainly not an ornithologist, or even a bird-watcher, but based on the look of this bird I'd guess that it's a Woodpecker of sorts.

Please leave a comment here if you know exactly what kind of bird this is.

Macarons, they’re so good they must be bad


It's embarrassing yes - the sign "Parisian Macaroons" spells the name of this delicate French biscuit (of sorts) incorrectly. It's not macaroon (phonetically ma-ca-roon) it's macaron (phonetically ma-ca-raun). You won't believe how many people get the spelling and pronunciation wrong. Macaroons are in fact something completely different to these lovely macarons - see the photo on the Wikipedia article on macaroons.

Kerry-Anne bought a few of these lovelies when visiting Ladurée in Paris earlier this year - later to discover that Daniela's in the Cape Quarter sells macarons that (to me) taste exactly like the one's that she babied on the flight from Paris to South Africa!

If you haven't yet tasted one of these - visit Daniela's and spend R10 to buy one - you'll love 'em!

The King Protea, South Africa’s national flower

King Protea
The King Protea is the largest of all Proteas and extremely prolific in the Western Cape - which I guess may have contributed to it being designated as the country's national flower. Isn't it just a work of art?

An interesting fact is that the King Protea isn't only grown for export in South Africa, but also in New Zealand, Australia and even Hawaii! If you're interested in reading more about Proteas - or in fact about South African flora in general - visit the PlantZAfrica website. The site's pretty dated, but if you'd excuse it's '90s design there's plenty of information that you may find very useful. :)

Things that money can buy

Bathroom mirror
While it's true that in itself money can't buy happiness, I think you'll find many people who have a lot of it would argue that it can help enable happiness. For example, if you find yourself hating cooking and cleaning day in and day out, being financially able to hire someone to do this for you allows you to enjoy your true passions; the things that make you happy - like painting, biking, or hiking perhaps. Perhaps, in the same way, having beautiful things your home helps enable happiness - that is, if you enjoy beautiful things of course.

I'm not saying that money, and the beautiful things that one's able to purchase or do with it, can change unhappy situations (like a bad marriage or a crummy job) into happy ones. What I am saying is that while money can't fix unhappy situations it can, in some way, buy happiness.

If you're wondering why I'm being so philosophical - this is the thought I had after visiting the beautiful Victoria Bathrooms shop that I mentioned in my previous post. :)

Mariage Frères – Paris in Cape Town

Victorian Bathrooms

After being chastised by the owner of Voila (a restaurant at The Cape Quarter) for taking photos of his cake display we moved on and discovered the most delightful bathroom shop in The Cape Quarter that eroded my annoyance at first sight.

While modern bathrooms are nice, the Victorian bathroom accessories sold by Victorian Bathrooms are just so much more. Kerry-Anne and I fell in love with far too many items in this beautiful shop. The only problem is the price tag that comes with such timeless quality! However, if you're able to afford it you have to visit! (Even if you simply want to enjoy looking - the shop assistants are fantastically friendly, so pop in to take a look.)

Something that we were delighted to discover is that Victorian Bathrooms sell a special (and hard-to-find) brand of tea that Kerry-Anne fell in love with in Paris - Mariage Frères. I'm guessing that the rationale for selling this tea is that it draws discerning clients to the shop - and this quality French tea is a perfect fit for the bathroom accessories found at Victorian Bathrooms.

Taken from the Mariage Frères website:

Mariage Frères has turned to an almost
forbidden fruit, candied chestnuts,
to compose its 'Red Autumn' tea.

Notes of noble chestnuts candied with sugar and Bourbon vanilla are sustained
by a mild, grassy green tea, creating
a new chapter in the history of taste.

Too good to be true - but true!

Doesn't that sound wonderful?