Monthly Archives: January 2012

Broken glass

Broken glass
Either someone locked their keys in their car and was forced to break a window to get inside, or the glass on this curbstone is the result of a break-in.

Some people in South Africa have opted to have a special plastic film, that prevents entire windows being easily smashed, fitted to their car's windows. Although this is mostly used as a deterrent for smash-n-grab type theft it may also make it more difficult for the smash-while-you're-away type of criminal.

I can't say that I've ever had my car broken in to in Cape Town. Have you?

DJs aren’t DJs

DJs aren't DJs
Should we still call guys like this DJs? I can't imagine that they, for the most part, carry a stack of vinyl or plastic CDs around. I'm tempted to call them rhythm engineers, or perhaps composers; but then I'd probably get slapped and told that I'm being silly. :)

I took this photo at Vaudeville, a popular dinner/entertainment club in Cape Town.

South African National Art Gallery

South African National Art Gallery
You'll find this building, the South African National Art Gallery, towards the top end of the Company's Gardens in Cape Town (map).  The gallery doesn't only have paintings on display, but from time to time hosts photographic collections, sculptures, and even beaded work.

If you're keen to visit, the gallery's open each day from 10h00 and closes at 17h00.

Not a tree to tangle with

Not a tree to tangle with
Click on some of the thumbnails below and decide for yourself if you'd risk climbing this tree. My guess is that the leaves of this tree are particularly desirable to some or other creature and that these super-pointy thorns server as deterrents.

Speaking of deterrents... while in the Kruger National Park our guide pointed out a bush that defends itself from buck by releasing a bad-tasting chemical into its leaves if senses that too many have been eaten. The chemical is also released into the air (which in turn starts a chain reaction in neighbouring bushes, which in turn release the chemical into their leaves. Sneaky isn't it?

I swear I hid it here…

Squirrel digging in the ground
Places like the Company's Gardens and Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens (where I spent my day at an IT conference) are full of these little fellas.

This squirrel spent at least three or four minutes digging (slightly frantically) in the soil. I assume he'd lost his prize nut. I don't think he found it.

Starfish

Starfish
This starfish reminded me of a well-known charity, Starfish, that operates in South Africa and works to support kids who've been orphaned as a result of the AIDS/HIV pandemic that South Africa is, sadly, known for.

The charity, started by a group of young South Africans in 2001/2002, and is a registered non-profit organisation and as of 2001 are partnered with Global Fund, CIDA, PEPFAR and AUSAID.

Consider supporting Starfish.

Sit, relax, and observe

Hiding
I know it sounds a little stalker, but I really enjoy sitting on the pavement (sidewalk) taking photos of random things and random people.

A friend recently said that a great form of exercise (for a photographer) is just to sit, relax, and observe without a camera in the hand. So, next time you're out taking photos and you feel as though there's nothing interesting to shoot, consider taking an extended break to just sit, relax, and observe - you're sure to find the most interesting photos.

Circle in a bench

Circle in a bench
This particular garden bench in the Company's Gardens (map) must be one of the least used benches of them all. Not because it's in an obscure place, not because it's particularly uncomfortable - no, this particular bench is located just below the perfect birdy toilet-spot. The closest half of the bench wasn't so bad, but the second half was absolutely covered in crusty white stuffs. Yuck!

Crabs!

Crabs!
While walking in the Majik Forest a friend and I came across two 16- or 17-year-old boys who were taking a break from their cycle trip by catching crabs in the little stream that runs the length of the forest. This is what 16- or 17-year-old boys do.

Do you remember catching crabs? Wasn't it fun?

No crabs came to harm during the shooting of this photo. ;)

Stop signs and pointy arrows

Stop signs and pointy arrows
Although it may look that way, I don't think the arrow sign was placed here to draw drivers' attention to the stop sign. :)

And, if you were wondering, those aren't bullet holes - they seem to be old mounting holes. I presume these signs were either moved here from another location or that they were simply remounted on new brackets.

Swim goslings swim

Swim goslings swim
Doesn't the title of this post sound like that of a school reader? You know, those books that taught you how to read? Do you remember Dick and Jane? :)

I found these two and their mom in the Company's Gardens in Cape Town. As I've whined before, it's been exceedingly hot in Cape Town this past week, so don't you think it nice of their mother to take them to the gardens for a dip?

Sometimes it’s better to be cold-blooded

Sometimes it's better to be cold-blooded
It's been maddeningly hot in Cape Town for the last three days. Temperatures have exceeded 35°C - and in fact, right now it's 37°C in my neighbourhood! Take a look at our page the lists real-time weather conditions.

I wonder how this tortoise feels about being out in the sun, and if it's perhaps preferable to be cold-blooded on days like this.

Lifeguards in training

Lifeguards in training
I'm not sure about other parts of the world but in South Africa there's a myth that black people can't swim - which is why I was (rightly or wrongly) surprised when I saw the three black trainee lifeguards to the left of this photo.

Now, obviously it's just silly to generalize like that, and even though the myth isn't true I'd have to guess that it holds at least some merit and that a much higher percentage of white people, vs. black, are able to swim.

I'd love some perspective on this from any of our black readers, so please leave a comment below if you have an opinion on the subject.

The Wheel of Excellence

The Wheel of Excellence
It was erected a little while before the 2010 World Cup Football tournament kicked off in South Africa. They said it would only be in Cape Town until the end of 2010. It's still here, and it's awesome.

I guess the fact that it's stayed means that the V&A Waterfront, and the wheel's owners are making a packet of money from the attraction.

Glencoe Quarry

Glencoe Quarry
I've visited Glencoe Quarry twice. We discovered it quite by accident the first time. Back then, as we entered the quarry we experienced a feeling almost like that which Lucy and her siblings must have felt as they stumbled through the wardrobe into Narnia.

The quarry was super-quiet inside and surrounded by sheer rockfaces - there were huge boulders on the ground, patches of neat grass, and a handful of rock climbers practicing their skill quite high up against the rockface. It was quite different to the hiking trail that we'd just been on!

When we arrived this time I discovered a large metal door in my path and this slightly-defaced sign indicating that the quarry had been closed to the public. I also happened to notice a small pathway leading up and around the quarry to a spot that rock climbers (including the one I spotted descending from the pathway) seem still to make use of.

It's sad that the area had to be restricted. I'm guessing that it could have been closed off because the quarry was so secluded that it may have been dangerous for people to spend time inside. It's sad, but the unfortunate reality of having that kind of area near on the perimeter of a large city.

Please don’t feed the seagulls

Please don't feed the seagulls
I watched as a group of people fed these seagulls potato chips. I was really tempted to ask them to stop since everyone knows that feeding them just makes them more of a nuisance. But, as I thought this I instantly realised that my words would make no difference; so I left.

Squirrel in the garden

Squirrel in the garden
One either has to be really fast, or really lucky to photograph a squirrel dashing across a branch. I'm probably really lucky. :)

I found little Egbert (his mom named him after King Egbert of Wessex, I believe), scurrying between trees looking for the best acorn nuts. He, naturally, dashed up the side of a large oak tree as soon as I approached to get a better look. I think he thought I was trying to follow him to his secret stash. I wasn't.

The place where I found Egbert is a small park in Cape Town, over the road from the well-known Rafikis restaurant and bar in Kloof Nek road (map). The little park has two or three large oak trees and is surrounded by a beautiful chest-high fence. It has a few swings, a seesaw, and a climbing gym for kids. It even has a couple of benches where parents can rest while kids work off their excess energy.

It's a lovely little park and worth popping in to if you're in the area.

A silent carousel at the V&A Waterfront

A silent carousel at the V&A Waterfront
This little carousel has been at the V&A Waterfront (near the Clock Tower) since just before Christmas day and will be sticking around for a few more days, until 17 January.

While the carousel looks awesome, we were very disappointed that it lacked that typical carousel music - well, it lacked music completely! Who would operate a carousel without music?!

So, even though it only costs R10 per person the absence of that enchanting music disappointed us so much that we decided to skip the ride. :(

Singing and dancing, African-style

Singing and dancing, African-style
I spotted these singing-dancing men at Eden on the Bay's African-themed restaurant, Moyo. Part of the appeal of enjoying lunch or dinner at Moyo is exactly this, the entertainment that goes along with the visit.

For reference, there are two Moyo restaurants near Cape Town - this one, at Eden on the Bay, and another at Stellenbosch's Spier Estate.

Grassy beachfront

Grassy beachfront
Eden on the Bay's lawn is a brilliant spot (map) to relax in the sun - when the wind isn't howling.

Unlike the beaches on this stretch of coastline, the beaches that back on to Table Mountain have nooks that are perfectly sheltered from the wind, so there's always a spot to sunbathe in peace - even with Cape Town's infamous wind gusts across the peninsula! :)

Kite surfing at Big Bay

Kite surfing at Big Bay
Big Bay, west of Cape Town, is a popular kite surfing spot. I'm not a kite surfer, but I'd guess that the patch of shallow water just below the Eden on the Bay complex makes learning a little easier.

I wonder how regular beach-goers feel about having surfers wiz past with pointy boards at break-neck speeds. I'd probably rather find an alternative spot to swim. :)

The thirsty hydrangea

The thirsty hydrangea
While the hydrangea's large and bright flower heads are extremely pretty to have as decoration in one's garden, I know first-hand that these babies are super-thirsty plants.

We had a few at out previous home, and even though their large leaves were kept out of the direct sun it seemed as though I could never water them enough! They ultimately passed away - it was sad. :(

An owl at Boschendal

An owl at Boschendal
While visiting Boschendal wine estate's open-air Le Café restaurant for breakfast, one of my keen-eyed nieces spotted this owl sitting high up in a large oak tree, not far from where we were sitting.

While the visit to Le Café was pleasant and not too expensive, the service was only alright. It wasn't 4 or 5 star quality - something that I would have expected from this well-known premium estate. The omelets and coffee that we enjoyed was good, but we found it strange that the omelets excluded cheese - something that I thought all omelets would contain.

The open-air setting below large oak trees is very pleasant and relaxing, so even though our Le Café experience wasn't what we would have expected, it's still worth the visit.

The largest sailing catamaran in Africa?

The largest catamaran in Africa?
With a maximum capacity of 60 passengers, NK Charters claims that it's sailing catamaran, Tigresse, is the largest in Africa. On this late afternoon we enviously watched the Tigresse leave the V&A Waterfront with a large group of guests on a sunset campaign-cruise. It would have been nice to have been aboard her, rather than on the old boat that we ended up choosing. :(

If you're not sure what a catamaran is - well, it's quite simple. A catamaran is a boat with more than one hull (generally two hulls). What makes this kind of boat perfect as ferries, or sunset cruises, is that the double-hull design makes this class of boat faster and far more stable than its single-hull sister.

Ocean cables and cable ships

Ocean cables
Have you ever wondered how telecommunication cables that connect continents get laid on the sea bed? The CS Chamarel, and other cable ships like her, are built for purpose with large cable sheaves (which guide the cable into the ocean) extending over the ship's bow. Cool heh?

You may find it interesting to read a little more about the history of cables ships and the laying of the first transatlantic cable here.

Atlantic Adventure’s high speed ride

Atlantic Adventure's high speed ride
We took a trip on a super-fast jet boat in Sydney - it was amazing! This one, operated by Atlantic Adventures, looks like it's probably just as much fun.

I considered the trip (instead of the deathly-slow Steamboat Vicky trip) but we wanted to take our two nieces out on a ride and this one (while cheaper and longer than the Australian Thunder Jet) was more than we could spend on the trip.

Take a close look at the back of the boat - see the guy with his arms raised? Looks super-happy hey? :D

Were pirates insane?

Pirate ship
I've written about the Jolly Roger before so I'll spare you the detail about pricing and where she can be boarded. :)

Seeing this ship reminded me of the movie Pirates of the Caribbean, which in turn reminded me of how much I enjoy Jonny Depp's acting. But, before I get too distracted from my point... imagine how crazy men aboard pirate ships must have been to willingly sail rough oceans (in dodgy ships with few supplies) picking fights with other vessels miles from dry land.

How insane.

It’s a new year!

Table Mountain
To those who joined us on our 2011 photo journey, and to those who will join us during 2012, we wish you a year of happiness, love and fulfillment. This year, do more what makes you happy and less of what doesn't. :) Happy new year!