Monthly Archives: September 2011

Coca-Cola’s red-crate robot

Coca-Cola's red-crate robot
Coca-Cola had this red-crate robot built just over a year ago, around the time that the 2010 World Cup football tournament was held in South Africa.

I think the robot is pretty awesome, but can you imagine how much the company must be paying the V&A Waterfront to advertise their brand with such a huge 3D billboard?

Did you know that the Coca-Cola company is 125 years old and that soft-drink was originally sold as a medicine?! Isn't that just crazy?!

Green ‘n gold Clock Tower of the Rugby World Cup

Green 'n Gold Clock Tower
The V&A Waterfront's well-known red Clock Tower got a fresh coat of green and gold paint in preparation for the 2011 Rugby World Cup.

A fresh coat of paint for a rugby tournament? In case you were wondering, yes, we are a rugby-crazy nation.

I far prefer the red version of the clock tower, but one can't deny that to paint the building in our national sporting colours is a great symbol of support for the national team. That said, I do hope that the tower returns to its traditional red colour after we win the World Cup, again. ;)

Champion Trees

Oak tree leaves

Our government's department of agriculture, forestry and fisheries published a government notice last month that contains a list of proposed Champion Trees - trees that will be given special protection under country law.

The trees mostly have some kind historic or cultural value, or in other cases are simply so old,  large, or remarkable that they deserve being protected from casual removal, or irresponsible felling.

Read the notice and if you believe that a particular tree that you know of should be protected then do your civic duty and contact the department to let them know. There's a little more than 30 days left to comment on the proposed list!

Seesaws and playparks

Seesaws and playparks
I found this beautiful little fenced-in park very close to the popular Rafikis restaurant, at the base of Kloof Nek Road (map). Judging by the look of the old tyre, this seesaw must surely have been here for many years.

If you're ever in the area, stop for a moment to check it out - it has the most beautiful, huge trees - and in some way reminds me of Paris. It's not quite the Tuileries or Jardin du Luxembourg, but still, it's a very pretty part of the city.

Cafe Caprice for lunch

Cafe Caprice
Without intention Cafe Caprice has become one of the restaurants that I frequent most when in Camps Bay. I was alone on this particular visit and grabbed a table in the outside section where I was able to watch passers-by as I enjoyed my lunch.

I've been to Caprice several times for breakfast (the French toast is great) and for lunch a few times. Even though their burgers are acceptable, I'd recommend trying something else on the lunch menu, and I'd definitely recommend the breakfast menu. Besides for these, Caprice is the perfect place to enjoy drinks with friends on warm summer days.

Beach chairs and ice-cream sticks

Beach chairs and ice-cream sticks
We've had a few warm days lately - but the full-swing of summer hasn't arrived and it sure can't come quickly enough for me. Cold is certainly no friend of mine!

Have you ever hired beach chairs? I never have - but I think I'll be doing so this summer! I can just imagine lying under an umbrella, on a beach chair, holding a well-laden ice-cream stick and sipping on a cold cooldrink.

Malawian art at Camps Bay

Malawian art
I tend to be taken for a tourist when walking around Camps Bay beach (with my bulky camera) and immediately attract the attention of a gentle stream of informal traders selling their arts and crafts.

Jake, the Malawian artist in the photo, commented in me taking photos and then quickly proceeded with his sales routine. I wasn't in the market for paintings - but since I wasn't in a particular rush to get anywhere I didn't mind listening to his story.

Jake and his brother are from Malawi and came to Cape Town (like many other foreign nationals) to seek a better life. I don't know if he's found the better life, but he spends his days near the sea selling paintings and at night goes home to work on more stock - which doesn't sound too bad, right?

Unfortunately, often these guys can't afford good accommodation, so they often don't live in the very nice conditions. Given this, and given the wealth of Camps Bay that they face each day, I find it extremely admirable to see how jovial they seem; on the outside at least.

For reference, before negotiating Jake will offer you a painting at R180 (which isn't a bad price for art, actually). If you don't have the money on you, he's fully prepared to negotiate the price - but don't be too stingy now. Ok? ;)

Keep walking

Keep walking
I'm not sure exactly how long these Camps Bay beach showers have been here, but I'm fairly confident that they could be 20 or more years old.

I find it interesting to imagine the lives of all the people who've used these - from top executives and wealthy stock traders to the poorest of people, living in informal settlements. The people using these showers live such diverse lives and yet, at the beach, they shower at the same place.

Wouldn't it be great to see an hour-long stop-motion video of this vantage point over the last 20 years? I sure 'aint standing there for 20 years, but still, it would be an awesome movie clip.:)

Swimming flags and seagulls

Swimming flags and seagulls
If you're anything like me, even though signs like these are fairly prominent you've probably never read them - and in this case would be confused when lifeguards start waving at you as you bob about the ocean beyond the marker flags.

So, when visiting beaches like Camps Bay, keep an eye out for the marker flags, and try staying between them. And remember, if you're looking for a hot date with a hot, well-built lifeguard - swimming outside of the markers isn't the way to get one. That stuff only works in the movies. ;)

The idyllic Camps Bay beach

The idyllic Camps Bay beach
I've so often posted photos of the Camps Bay and Clifton beaches that I sometimes feel like I'm cheating you out of seeing other beaches around our peninsula. I promise, I'll make this up to you in Summer. :)

Besides for the lovely beaches and trendy restaurants you may be surprised to know that Camps Bay hosts one of the nicest theatres in the Cape Town area, Theatre on the Bay. The venue is fairly small, but the limited seating means that no matter where you sit you're close enough to see the actor's expressions and to, in some way, feel part of the production.

Theatre on the Bay is a great little venue and a must-visit if you're keen on live performances.

Nay, not Devin, it’s Jon-Peer playing with fire

Devin The Juggler playing with fire
Jon-Peer's mom clearly never told him not to play with fire. I watched JP from FireTribe perform is fire-rope act at Vaudeville, and I have to say that it was entrancing.

Us humans are so enchanted by fire - have you ever stood at a fire and just stared into the flames? That, and wonder, were more or less the feelings that I had while watching the burning ropes flash across the stage.

If you ever have the opportunity to see Jon-Peer's fire act - you shouldn't pass it up. :)

Edit: In case you're wondering, after publishing this post I realised that I had mistaken Jon-Peer for Devin The Juggler. Consequently I've edited this post to correct the information. I've seen Devin's crystal ball act at a corporate function a few months back and it was freegin' phenomenal - visit Devin's website for information and bookings.

French showgirls at Vaudeville

French showgirls at Vaudeville
Guys are such suckers for girls singing French songs. I kept an eye on the appreciative guests while these showgirls performed at Vaudeville. I watched smiles broaden and swear that I could hear hearts beat a little faster as the three ladies descended from the stage to walk among their new fans - click on the last two photos below to see what I mean. :)

Where in the world is Phileas Fogg?

Where in the world is Phileas Fogg?
As mentioned in my previous post The Global Party's theme was based on the around-the-world adventure undertaken by Jules Verne's fictional character, Phileas Fogg.

Even though I was dressed well enough, I still felt somewhat underdressed in comparison to many of the other party-goers who had dressed in perfect old-English style. Something that caught my eye was The Little Hattery's table where those who felt slightly under-dressed could spruce up their look with hats and head accessories. Don't you think this one would have suited me just perfectly? ;)

The Global Party – a charity event

The Global Party - a charity event
Cape Town hosted one of the 80 international Global Party events - said by the creators to have been inspired by Phileas Fogg (from Around the World in Eighty Days). The stylish event is run around the world over a two day period, and I had the privilege of attending Cape Town's party at Vaudeville's Fez Club.

The Fez is renowned for its performers - so over the next day or two I'll bring you more photos to give you a taste of what happened at the party. For now, check out the couple of photos below!

Down the garden path

Down the garden path
One of the coolest things about this garden was how it appealed to my appreciation of neatness and order (neither of which necessarily being qualities that I'm particularly known for ;) ). I just loved the neat wooden walkway.

Green ponds and lilypads

Green ponds and lilypads
I wrote, in my previous post, about the Meulwater Wild Flower Reserve (map) just above the town of Paarl.

This is the little pond that leads into the small wild-flower garden. The actual flower reserve stretches out far beyond the formal garden, but we decided that since it looked as though it could rain any minute that we'd stick around in the garden - not too far away from the shelter of our car. :)

Isn't the reflection on the water beautiful, and isn't this the perfect vista just waiting to be painted in watercolours?

Meulwater Wild Flower Reserve in Paarl

Meulwater Wild Flower Reserve
You're absolutely right - this photo doesn't look like a flower reserve. That's a little green moss on the left, and Kerry-Anne on the right. :)

We took a drive around the back of the little town of Paarl and along a dirt road to the Meulwater Wild Flower Reserve (map) that overlooks Paarl. The reserve has a small parking area with a spot for people to picnic and even has a few formal braai spots.

In my next couple of posts I'll show you a few more photos taken in the reserve's small well-kept garden.

Fountains in Paarl

Fountains in Paarl
Paarl (map) is a town of such contrast. The guesthouse that we stayed at was leafy, green, and beautiful - but just down the road the town's main road was unappealing and looked as though it was stuck in the '70s.

This really is a beautiful town, but if you travel the 60 kilometers from the city, don't expect to be wowed by the main parts of town. Rather look to the pretty places off the main road and on the outskirts of town. :)

Overlooking Paarl

Overlooking Paarl
Paarl, a town of 200,000 inhabitants in the Cape Winelands, is the third oldest European settlement in South Africa. It's located about 60 kilometers from Cape Town and is known mostly for its fruit (and especially grape and wine) production.

Another thing that the town will always be remembered for is that it hosts the old Victor Verster Correctional Centre - the prison where Nelson Mandela was held before his release in 1992.

I remember the day that he was release - it was the day that our family was returning from our holiday in Wellington (a nearby town). I vividly remember how the national highway was lined with thousands of ANC supporters - awaiting the release of their beloved Madiba. I remember it being both exiting and scary to be in the midst of the thronging crowds. I won't forget that day.


Isn't it cute? If you've never met a squirrel in real life you'd be surprised how protective they are over their nuts. Have you ever seen any of the Pixar animations with Scrat, the saber-toothed squirrel? This little fellow behaved just like Scrat when I approached to get a better photo. It dashed away as quickly as it could before I could even think of wrestling that yummy nut away. :)

Unusual protea flowers

Unusual protea flowers
When I think about proteas I either think of the King Protea or this variety (I'm not sure of the name). In fact, I'd say that those are the two most popular export proteas in South Africa.

Based mostly on the plant's leaves I believe today's photo is also of a protea - although I'd say that it's a slightly unusual variety (in my non-horticultural opinion). I love proteas for two reasons - the first is that they're such hardy plants (they survive with extremely little water, and seem to flourish just perfectly in our sandy soil). The other reason is that there are so many varieties and so many different flowers that one could have the most awesome garden made up only of proteas. Do a Google image search for the words "protea flower". I think you'll be surprised at how many different type there are.

Get smarter and paint with light

Paint with light
Don't you love the reflection in the water? The photo looks to me like it should really have been a painting - perhaps a Monet - don't you think? :)

Sitting on the banks of the small dam at the Majik Forest (map) was one of the most tranquil moments that I'd had this whole year. The air was cool but the sun was warm, there wasn't a breath of wind and I wasn't distracted by thoughts of having to be elsewhere. It was perfect.

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Spring blossoms

Spring blossoms
Even though our flora got a little confused this year and started blossoming just a little early, now that it's spring our countryside, gardens and parks are filled with even more blooming blossoms.

The subject in the photo above is a small tree that stood about four or five meters high. The tree had very few leaves but was covered in the little pink blossoms that you can see in the photo. I have no idea, but do you perhaps know what kind of tree it may be? Please leave a comment below if you do!

Silver Strand, Robertson

Dam fishing
The scene in this photo reminds me of the many holidays that our family spent at the Silver Strand caravan park in Robertson. For reference, Robertson is a small farming town about 150KM from Cape Town - deep in wine country. :)

The camping site that we called home for 2 or 3 weeks each year was built just outside of the town, along the Breede River – and the particular spot that I use to fish from looked almost exactly like the spot in this photo.

Browse the Breede Adventures photo stream on Flickr. It looks to me as though some of the photos could have been taken at the Silver Strand park (map).

Just to ensure no confusion, I took this photo at the Majik Forest in the Durbanville area - quite far from Robertson. :)

Freshwater fishing in Durbanville

Freshwater fishing in Durbanville
One of the few places in Durbanville to relax for an afternoon with a fishing pole is the Majik Forest. It's difficult to see the young boy's fishing pole - but if you look really closely you will see it. He seemed to have been sitting there for quite some time waiting for a fish to bite, which to me is extremely impressive. I'm bored after 5 minutes of watching the float bob on the water's surface!

Running in the Majik Forest

Running in the Majik Forest
The Majik Forest mentioned in my previous post is used by dozens of mountain-bikers, hikers, and runners every day.

The trail through the forest is a narrow one that most often doesn't allow for two people to walk side-by-side, and often results in runners or hikers quickly scrambling to the side of the track as high-speed bikers weave their way along the designated MTB trail. :)

Read a little more about the Tygerberg Mountain Bike Club and the history of the forest on their website.

Bicycle barrier ahead?!

Warning, barrier ahead
After being incredibly lazy for a few years I've decided to start being a little more active and get into running - trail-running in fact. Well, at the moment it's more like trail huffing-and-puffing, and it's only once a week - but it's a start at least. :)

I try to take my camera along wherever I go, and taking it along on a run has the added benefit of giving me an excuse to stop running; to take a photo while catching my breath. Sneaky hey?!

I took this particular photo at the beginning of a popular mountain bike trail in Durbanville. Even though we all know what the sign means, I still found it amusing that without a comma after "warning" the sign I could interpret it to mean that a warning-barrier in the shape of a bicycle lay ahead. :D

A checkered perspective

A checkered perspective
We don't often participate in our City Daily Photo community's monthly Theme Day - I normally only realise a day or two after the first day of the month that Theme Day has come and gone!

Today's theme is "perspective", so take a little time to tour the world by visiting our fellow City Daily Photo sites. Click here to view thumbnails for all participants

For interest - I took this photo outside a lovely little coffee shop called Kikka in the town of Paarl - some 60 kilometers outside of Cape Town.