Monthly Archives: May 2011

Anchor at Stellenbosch cemetery

Anchor at Stellenbosch cemetery
I recently took a walk through Stellenbosch cemetery. The trip yielded so many interesting thoughts about life, death, and the living's memorial thereof that I've decided to post a few photos that show different aspects of the cemetery.

Don't allow yourself to get all depressed - but do take a moment to reflect on the meaning of life as you view this series of photos.

Flat Stanley Lambchop in Cape Town

Flat Stanley Lambchop
Stanley Lambchop is a character from Jeff Brown's 1964 book, Flat Stanley. Stanley was a normal boy who got flattened when a bulletin board fell on top of him while he lay sleeping in his bed. Stanley survived the near-tragedy but was rendered flat - altered for ever.

Although one may imagine this to be a tragedy, it wasn't all bad because Stanley's flattened state allowed him to travel the world very economically - in an envelope. Cristin (class mom of her son's first-grade class in New York) sent Michael M's flat Stanley for a visit to Cape Town and this photo is from a small outing that we went on to show Stanley Table Mountain at sunset.

On the left, in the distance, is Table Mountain covered with it's well-known table cloth, a sheet of cloud that often covers the mountain. If you haven't seen her up close before, click here to see Table Mountain without its cloudy covering.

To the right of Table Mountain is Lion's Head (so named because from a particular angle it looks somewhat like a lion's head), and a smaller hill known as Signal Hill.

The lion and the water spout

The lion and the water spout
This lion-shaped water spout is found in an extremely popular place - a place that you're very likely to have visited if you've lived in Cape Town or ever been here on vacation for more than a week. Do you recognise the spout? Have you seen it before? Can you guess where it is?

Leave a comment if you have an idea of where I took this photo. Given the background, it shouldn't be too difficult for you to guess! :)

The strangest bark ever

The strangest bark ever
Except for the Scribbly Gum, this must be the tree with the strangest bark ever. The bark was fairly soft (compared to other tree bark, at least) and seemed to be slowly shedding.

Unfortunately I have no idea what kind of tree it is, so please help me out and leave a comment on this post if you know what kind of tree this is!

Winter at the beach

Winter at the beach
We often have beautiful clear weather in winter days, and were it not that on these days the air temperature remained at or below 20°C you'd most likely find this beach cluttered with people.

We do so miss the sun in winter. Even though we have plenty of sunny days, there are still far too many dull and grey days for my liking. Perhaps when I'm rich one day I'll follow summer around the world. Good plan, don't you think? :)

Like Table Mountain

Like Table Mountain
I took this photo from a farm just outside of Stellenbosch while having lunch with family. Perhaps it's just the cloud-cover, but doesn't this range of mountains remind you (even just a little) of Table Mountain?

Mussels and sea stars

Mussels rocks sea
Mussels are really hardy creatures. They withstand the relentless pounding of the sea in the stormiest conditions. However - even though they're so hardy, mussels have the unlikeliest predator - the starfish!

The starfish uses its powerful arms to slowly pull the mussel's shell open. Once the gap between the two shells is large enough it turns its stomach inside out and forces it into the shell and digests the mussel right in its own home! Who would have thought the sea star to be such a vicious foe?!

I took this photo at the beautiful and peaceful Clifton 4th beach.

A different kind of fishing line

A different kind of fishing line
I'm just over 6 feet tall, and almost (very very almost) bumped my forehead into this delightful little surprise hanging near where colourful boats offload their fish at Kalk Bay harbour. Can you imagine anything worse than bumping into a clothes line populated with gooey fish?!

Although I never asked, I imagine that these fish have been set aside to become fish biltong in the cool sea breeze. I'm South African, and I've never had fish biltong. This is something I plan not to change. :)

A shiny metal elephant

A Shiny Metal Elephant
Imagine how long it must have taken to build this elephant. Imagine all the effort that it took to cut and then weld the bits and pieces together... imagine how long it took to shine this enormous metal proboscidea

You'll find this and many other artworks outside the African Trading Post at the V&A Waterfront.

No, I never actually knew that elephants were part of the Proboscidea family. ;)

Like a fish out of water

Fish out of water
These fish had been pulled from the ocean only a little while before I took this photo - so they'd be pretty safe to buy and eat. In fact, they'd probably be very tasty!

This isn't always the case though. Often you'll see run down bakkies (light delivery vehicles) filled with fish and ice parked on the side of the road. You'll usually see two or three guys (who've clearly been fishing for some time) each waving one or two long snoek fish in your general direction. The idea is that you'll be so tempted by the memory of your last snoek braai that you'll immediately pull your car over to buy one or two of their tasty fish!

To be honest though, I've never bought a fish from the side of the road, and this is only partly because I normally see the bakkie far too late to stop. In reality, the reason I don't go to more effort to stop is (a) because I hate cleaning fish and (b) because I've often seen the same bakkie parked for hours in the warm sun at the side of the road. Even though the fish are on ice - by the end of the day the ice is melted and the fish clearly aren't as fresh as they once were.

Call me paranoid - but have you ever writhed in pain after eating dodgy food, and can you say "salmonella"?!

2011 Luxlife Fashion Show

2011 Luxlife Fashion Show
Red Carpet Concepts hosted the 2011 Luxlife Fashion Show at the beautiful 15 on Orange African Pride Hotel. Needless to say - since I guess it's obvious from the photos, Kerry-Anne and I were among the lucky ones to be invited along. :)

The evening started off with us enjoying canap├ęs, drinks (kindly sponsored by Pongracz, Bisquit, Nederburg, and Peroni), and smooth tones from an electric cello - played by the lovely Carol Thorns. As the evening progressed, the music switched to beats produced by DJ Lady M as the models took to the ramp wearing clothes by Stefania Morland, Philosophy, Jagadi Haute Couture and Jenni Button.

If you've never been to a fashion show before, I encourage you to spend the money and do something different. The evening was stylish, filled with beauty, and generally a lot of fun.

Click on the photos below, and visit my new photography site to see more pictures and style from the catwalk.

Breakfast in Kalk Bay

Harbour Pier
When you look back from the end of Kalk Bay's harbour pier you stare straight towards, what could be, one of the most popular breakfast spots in the little town - Live Bait.

I wouldn't say that it's so popular because it's food is significantly better than their competitor's - I'd be more inclined to say that it's because they're perfectly located with a killer morning view of the sun rising over False Bay. Live Bait is certainly a place to visit for breakfast on a clear good-weather day. If you'd like to visit a slightly more posh restaurant, visit Polana (it's sister restaurant with even better views), positioned conveniently above.

Fisherboy fishing

Fisherboy fishing
Even though I don't much enjoy fishing - isn't this the most relaxing sight? Can you remember when you were young and could find time to relax in the warm sun - when you had no responsibility other than doing well at school?

Even if you don't enjoy fishing, perhaps it wouldn't be a bad idea to pick a warm and sunny afternoon to take a beach chair out to the end of a harbour pier and just sit, watching fishing boats sail and seals frolic in the bay.

Fishermen at Kalk Bay

Fishermen at Kalk Bay
Right now, while looking at this photo, I can't think of anything as boring as fishing. I use to fish a little when I was young, but the interest quickly wore off. Even though I, on occasion, went fishing with friends it was always to be social and never because I enjoyed the cold night air, icy spray of sea water, and fishy smell.

I find it so strange that so many guys seem to love exactly that about fishing.

To these particular fishermen's credit, they look as though they're handling their fishing expedition perfectly. Everything looks immaculately clean and tidy - and this scene makes me thing that they're out on the pier for reasons other than the fun of fishing. :)

2011’s International Belly Dancing Day

Belly Dancer
Isn't she just awesome? Isn't she beautiful? Check out a couple more photos in my International Belly Dancing Day album!

I went along to IBDD 2011 to snap a few photos, and ended up taking about 700. The day showcased performances from several dancing studios including The Feminine Divine Belly Dance Studio, The Hip Circle Belly Dance School, Soma, and Rhythm Nouveau Dance Company

If you'd like to attend a show - why not go along to the Feminine Divine Annual Studio Show at Bergvliet High School on 23 July - it's certain to be great fun! :)

Cape Town Fire and Rescue Services

Bar-One Chocolate

"1st call for 27, chest pains, 26 year old... Wondering now... Panic attack possibly? Let's see what awaits us!" - medicnick83

This photo reminds me of that old 1985 Bar-One television advert about how firefighters allegedly prefer Bar-One to coffee... which in turn got me thinking about our fire and rescue services.

Cape Town's Fire and Rescue Services comprise 30 fire stations and are called into action to deal with fire emergencies, motor vehicle accidents - and, well, every kind of emergency situation from underwater to high-angle rescue!

Follow Medic Nick (a Cape Town volunteer medic and firefighter) on Twitter if you'd like on-the-ground insight into the life of the men and woman who we often only recognise as super heroes when we need them.

Report fires by dialing 107 from a landline or 021 480 7700 from a cellphone, or call Fire Control directly on 021 590 1900.

Sweets and things

Sweets and things
A friend grabbed my camera and shot this photo while we were standing in the queue at a local supermarket.

This got me thinking about the times that we've been to Australia, the US or Europe and how even, though we have an adequate array of sweet goodies, folk in those countries have dozens more options when it comes to satisfying their taste buds. It's just not fair! :)

Seeing this photo reminds me of the Mentos and Coke experiments... aren't they just awesome?

Tunnel beneath the rails

Tunnel beneath the rails
Instead of a bridge for pedestrians to cross over the train tracks at Kalk Bay station, there's this short subway that leads commuters below the tracks between platform 1 and 2.

If you catch yourself traveling the "tourist route" from Cape Town to Simon's Town, then you may like to climb off at Kalk Bay to spend an hour or three visiting restaurants like The Brass Bell and Cape to Cuba; or perhaps spend some time browsing the small shops that line the main road, and then wander over to Kalk Bay harbour to see the fishing boats and watch the sea-hardened fishermen offload their catch.

Kalk Bay's a great place to visit and comes highly recommended - even if you decide rather to visit by car (and perhaps stop there for breakfast before heading on to Cape Point).

The blue light that you see at the end of the tunnel isn't the result of artistic photo-manipulation, it's rays of sunlight being filtered through the weather-proof structure that leads from the platform to the stairway. It does look kinda awesome in a photo, now doesn't it? :)

Train with a sea view

Train with a sea view
The metro train route that leads from Cape Town Station to Muizenberg and along the coast to Simon's Town is the most popular tourist train route in Cape Town. Well... I guess that's because none of the other routes are frequented by tourists - probably because none of the other have such beautiful views!

The train itself is crummy inside - nothing much to behold, and it's a little dirty inside and (as you can see) especially so on the outside!

On the plus side, locals and visitors are able to buy a special tourist ticket that costs around R20. The specific ticket is a day pass that allows for traveler to hop on and hop off at any station along the route from Cape Town to Simon's Town. Isn't that awesome!?

A picture from a train window

Train Window
I use to travel by train to work - many years ago - but since our offices moved far closer to home I've taken the car to work each day; and had the pleasure of parking in our building's basement parking garage!

Commuting by car and parking in my company building is a cry from the tiresome rushing to make it to the train on time or the boredom of waiting for it to leave Cape Town station on the way back home in the evening. I'm even more grateful this wintery time of the year when I think of the times that I sat in that drafty train with the ice-cold breeze blowing down my neck and the long walks to and from the train stations. Sometimes, when I get irritated by morning traffic, I think of those days and how much better it is to be sitting in my warm car listening to music. It makes traffic seem a whole lot more bearable.

Incidentally, this photo was taken in the Woodstock area... and the reason why you see so little of the scenery is that some time back Metrorail decreased the size of the windows dramatically to reduce the chance of people exiting the train by unconventional means. And, besides for this, I kinda liked the photo just like this; window an all.

On the Cape Town metrorail

Cape Town Metrorail
What do you say, vandalism or keeping things interesting?

What I noticed about this "LO$ER" sign is that there are two of them, placed almost perfectly on each door of this metrorail train. Isn't it just awesome that the vandal that put them there went to the trouble of neatly aligning them? I can just see the thought running through their mind - hundreds of people jam-packed in the train at rush-hour, with the few standing near the door being made to stare at a sticker calling them losers.

For some reason I find this amusing. :)

Squirrel power – defending the nut

Squirrels on the grass
One of the best things to do on a warm afternoon is to sit outside on the lawn of the Mount Nelson hotel, sipping cooldrink and watching squirrels run to and fro grabbing acorns from the grass and dashing up the large oak trees to hide their treasured possession.

Squirrels, your probably know, hide their nuts in a stash. What you may not be aware of is that since certain acorns contain high levels of bitter tannins, squirrels may at times let the acorns rest for a long while in a place that allows water to filter them, slowly removing the nasty-tasting tannins. Isn't that clever!?

Marine Protected Areas

The Andromeda
The Andromeda is a commercial fishing vessel, moored in a slightly unusual spot, close to the aquarium. My guess is that fish are scarce and the crew have taken to visiting the aquarium to fill their quota. But, that's only a guess.

South Africa has a fairly long coastline of 2798km, so isn't it astounding that about 20% of our coastal areas have been declared MPAs (Marine Protected Areas) - stretches of cost where commercial fishing has been banned?

One day, but not right now, I'll go to the effort of tracing all the areas on a proper map, but for now, here's a link to a page on our government's Marine and Coastal Management website - it contains a terribly-formatted list of all areas marked as MPAs. Sorry. :)

Oystercatcher Way

Oystercatcher Way
Oystercatchers are birds that (to me) look much like a cross between a sea gull and a turtle dove. They're generally completely black, or black on top and white underneath - a little like a camouflaged combat aircraft!

This particular path is a long, narrow, winding set of stairs that lead down to Cape Town's trendy Clifton 4th beach... a buzz of a place in summer but on this clear-yet-cool autumn day, practically deserted.

After descending the many steps to the clean white sand, I decided to leave my shoes in a particular spot in order to collect them on my return. Unfortunately, on my return, they had mysteriously grown legs and walked off. I first though that someone had stolen them, but then later realised that since I'd wandered out of sight, it's completely plausible that someone in need of shoes found them and assumed that the owner had abandoned them... the beach was after all pretty deserted!

I needed new shoes anyway. :)

Jet ski ban around Cape Town?

Jet Ski
I've read in a few places that the use of jet skis around the Cape Peninsula has been banned. One source mentioned that they're not allowed to be used for commercial purposes and I'm now unsure if the ban is only on commercial usage since I recently saw this jet ski in Table Bay.

Do you perhaps know more about this? Please leave a comment if you do!

The Radisson and Granger Bay

Granger bay
Just to the left of where I took this photo is the five-star Radisson Blu hotel. One of the nicest things to do this time of the year is to absorb the suns warmth while sipping tea (or cocktails if your taste prefers) and eating cake at Tobago's Bar and Terrace.

While visiting, be sure to take a walk along the breakwater (to the left of the photo) - and, when you're tempted to step out onto them, be extra careful not to slip and fall down between the dolose. I did so once - it sure was painful - I shall not repeat the incident.

Flower among the needles

Flower among the needles
I took this photo close to the where I shot yesterday's one - on the slopes of Lion's Head.

Often in life we come across unlikely victories, or turns of fortune, where even though the odds are stacked so greatly against a particular outcome the unlikely scenario prevails - much like this flower springing up from under a thick bed of pine needles, amidst the dark shade of a giant trees.

This happened at least once in our history - in 1994, and on 18 May we again take to the polls to make a mark in our municipal elections. Wish us well. :)

Forests to walk in

Forests to walk in
While staying in Cape Town, and if you find accommodation close to the mountain (or Signal Hill and Lion's Head) you'll find plenty of easy-going hiking trails within walking distance. It's especially awesome to take an early-morning walk among the pine trees while the sun is rising and the air is crisp and cool.

However, don't walk alone - for many reasons it's just not safe. The first is in the event that you injure yourself (which likely if you suffer from dyspraxia :P ) you'll have a buddy to help you, and the second reason is that (although the chance is remote) you may come across someone with ill intent.

Don't go overboard now, I walk the trails without ever worrying about this problem, but Cape Town is a city with it's bad elements - so best be safe and not ruin your vacation.

I took this photo on the slopes of Lion's Head, just above the Round House restaurant that overlooks the Atlantic Ocean and Camps Bay. If you drive there, you'll find a few places to stop and park your car so that you can take a short walk amidst the smell of fresh pines.

Aluminum cans, wood, and paint

African Art
Isn't it awesome what can be done with a piece of chipboard, old aluminum cans, and a little bit of paint? If I understand it correctly, these pieces are mostly made by Zimbabwean immigrants and refugees who struggle to make a living in our country while paperwork takes it's course through our government's systems.

Even when the paperwork is completed, and even though many are highly educated, they struggle to find full-time work and are forced to continue making a living by selling artworks like these, watching over parked cars for tips, and by doing other menial jobs ill-fit for their education.

If you'd like to purchase one of these items, I always see the guys selling them at the turnoff to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens on the M3. They're not expensive, so unless you don't have the money, rather pay full price and smile. :)

The Cape Quarter

The Cape Quarter

This is one of the entrances to the Cape Quarter. If you're visiting, or new to the area, you may be confused if you're unable to find this entrance, or the friends who promised to meet you. If this happens, the reason could be pretty simple - there are essentially two areas (separated by a narrow road called Dixon Street) that make up The Cape Quarter.

This photo was taken at The Piazza, the open-air square (map), and if you can't find your friends, it's probably because you went to The Square (which, by the way, has fairly cheap underground parking).

As a tip - the Piazza is definitely a place to visit when here on holiday; and if you're in the mood for some great, and affordable sushi - visit Aqua Restaurant, they have half-price sushi from 12pm to 5pm! :)

White Lions – a tragedy

Female White Lion
We visited the Cape Town Lion Park, "Home of the White Lion", and left feeling a fair bit depressed. While clean and well fed, the lions are kept in sterile-like enclosures with little shade and little to keep them distracted from the blandness of the environment in which they find themselves.

We paid our R70 entrance fee and walked the short distance to the enclosures to see the lions. Our visit lasted about 30 minutes, and the above aside, I can't say that it was worth the entrance fee - and can safely say that we won't feel the need to visit again.

Just to clarify, I fully support rehabilitation and conservation projects - even those that preserve animals who could never be reintroduced into the wild. However, I found no information on Cape Town Lion Park's website, besides for a reference to "education" to indicate that they were involved in conservation.