Monthly Archives: June 2012

Scooters

Scooters
With the cost of petrol continuously on the rise, and the increased traffic congestion in the city, it's natural that scooters become more popular each year.

I'm not really one for driving about on a motorbike - not because I don't think they're fun, but because I have far too many friends who've spent far too long in hospital because of them. Broken bones, disfigurement, and loss of limbs for the kick of adrenaline and the ability to beat the traffic? I don't think so.

Sunshine though the trees

Sunshine though the trees
I love the way tall trees look when the sun shines though them, like in this photo.

These trees are on the slopes of Signal Hill. What may not be immediately obvious is that the area directly behind these trees has been stripped clean of most vegetation, creating a firebreak to slow the progress of the fires that break out on the hills and mountains in this area each year.

What you may find strange is that, to survive, the fynbos flora that covers our mountains and hills actually needs to burn, preferably in late summer, every 10 to 15 years. Strange hey? Read a little more about this on the Encounter South Africa site.

Graffiti, but not art

Graffiti, but not art
While I admire artistic graffiti that's been applied to public surfaces with skill - graffiti (or tagging) like this is simply vandalism that costs taxpayers money which could have been spent on social upliftment projects.

Finding government information

Dumping prohibited
I wanted to post something useful along with this image - like a map that shows where all the dumping grounds in and around Cape Town are - but, upon finding the information and maps on our City of Cape Town site, I decided that the content quality was too poor and it was just too embarrassing to send you there. Sorry. :(

What I did find was an interesting directory on the Western Cape Government site (operated separately to the City of Cape Town site). The directory appears to list all kinds of Western Cape government departments and services along with contact numbers, addresses, and email addresses and opening times. The site's presentation is (at the time of writing) a little old-school, but the content appears really useful and easy to consume - which is what we want, isn't it?

One-way, leggo

One-way, leggo
Okay, so I never said spelling was my thing. I missed the presence of a second G in the sign and thought that the sticker refered to LEGO. I very nearly made a terrible mistake in this post. To be fair though, the sticker appears to use the same font as the real LEGO does, don't you think? :) For reference, this site lists the word "leggo" as slang for "let's go".

While we're on the subject of LEGO, take a look at the photos a friend shot of Nathan Sawaya's LEGO sculptures and art while she visited Portland in the US. They really are awesome.

Field of flowering oxalis

Field of flowering oxalis
According to Wikipedia, Oxalis occur worldwide (except in the polar regions) but have the greatest diversity of species in Brazil, Mexico and South Africa. I'd never realised previously, but many of the flowers that I'm use to seeing in fields in winter and spring are of the oxalis genus in the oxalidaceae family.

Irrespective of what they're named, and how diverse they are, don't you think they're pretty? Fields, meadows and forests, just wouldn't be the same without them.

African animal spoor

African animal spoor
As you can see from this muddy patch it's been a little rainy in Cape Town. I spotted this spoor while walking on a hiking trail - what kind animal do you think left this trail? Don't you think it looks somewhat like Lion spoor?

No, of course not - there's no way I'd have been walking on the same trail as a lion. This is probably a dog - and a domestic dog at that. I promise, you won't find big cats walking about on Table Mountain. You'll find leopards on some of our other mountains (like the Boland mountains), but certainly not near Cape Town itself. Fortunately. :)

An old old bus

And old old bus
Remember commuting in old buses like this one? No? Well, me neither, thankfully. :)

Have you used the shiny-new MyCiti buses? I unfortunately haven't had the opportunity as they don't yet operate out in the northern suburbs, where I live. The only time I've traveled in a similar one to the MyCiti buses was on a trip to Sydney. Well, not "on a trip to Sydney", I mean in Sydney, of course. ;)

Living near Table Mountain

Living near Table Mountain
Wouldn't you love to live in one of these houses, so close to Table Mountain? This must be one of the best spots to live in Cape Town - the residential border that separates the city center from Table Mountain and Signal Hill. Here, you have the option of walking down to the vibrant city, or taking a walk on one of the many mountain slope hiking trails. Awesome hey?

Table Mountain’s sleeping giant

Table Mountain's sleeping giant
Can you see the giant's profile? He's lying on his back, looking up to the sky, almost dead center in this photo, just below Table Mountain's upper cable station. See the forehead, nose, mouth, chin and Adam's apple? Awesome heh? :)

Where to walk on Signal Hill

Where to walk on Signal Hill
Isn't it cool how the buildings appear to be rising from beneath the ground? I took this photo while walking on Signal Hill (on Saturday morning). While not exactly the safest area to walk alone, it sure is pretty and I'll be sharing a couple of pics I took while walking over the next couple of days.

In case you're in the mood to grab a few buddies and walk this path, I've drawn a map that starts where I parked and follows a route along a footpath. The walk will take around 30 minutes, depending on how many photos you stop to take. :)

Oil rig rising

Oil rig rising

Yesterday's photo showed the city center, with a large low-lying cloud bank crawling in from Table Bay. I walked along the edge of Signal Hill from the spot where I took that photo until I could see more of the harbour. Well, "see" is a stretch - all I could see was the top of that oil rig (looking a little like an alien space ship) rising up from beneath the cloud.

There are a few great places to walk along the slopes of Signal Hill, but do be careful and hike in groups - I imagine remote spots like these could be perfect for muggings.

 

Cloud crawls in from Table Bay

Cloud crawls in from Table Bay
The Northern Suburbs (where I live) were beautifully sunny this morning, but while driving in to the city I noticed a huge bank of low-lying cloud crawling in from Table Bay, through the V&A Waterfront, and into the city center. It looked perfectly eerie.

I arrived in the city - the mist was thick and the sun shone brightly from above, silhouetting buildings and bridges though the cloud. It was the strangest feeling driving from a place that was sunny and warm (only 25 kilometers away) to a chilly city filled with cloud.

Doesn't the cloud out in the bay look awfully ominous?

Big Delicious

Big Delicious
Now what, do you suppose, this sign is all about? "Big Delicious" - how strange.

If you've seen this before, and happen by some chance to know its history, please do leave a comment. I have a million possibilities running though my mind. :)

GPO Joint?

GPO Joint?
What do you think GPO Joint refers to? I googled GPO and found that it may refer to General Power Outlet - but I'm not sure exactly what it means in terms of this road marker. Do you think it's where the main power exchange, or junction, for the homes in this road lies?

Please don’t park here

Please don't park here
Don't you think it's nice of the owner to place such a kindly-worded sign on their garage door? Signs can often be unnecessarily rude, seeming to accuse the reader of a heinous offence without them even considering the act.

I recently saw a sign pasted on an office printer: "DO NOT PRINT A4 WITH THIS PRINTER!!!". Someone had clearly tried printing in A4 on our communal A3 printer - and I guess that was a big no-no. However, a more appropriate sign may have read "Please don't print in A4 to this printer, it causes bla bla bla.".

Perhaps it sounds strange, but I felt accused each time I walked past the sign. And, besides for that, the piece of A4 paper taped to the front of the printer simply lacked taste and class (in my opinion, of course). Naturally, I removed the sign in an attempt to restore some dignity to the office. ;)

Next time you create a sign, try making it a little more friendly - or if you're able, include a little humour. The world will be a far friendlier place.

Freeze, I’m Fisko, Ma Baker sent me

Freeze, I'm Fisko
In trying to control the availability of firearms the government, a few years ago now, changed law restricting how many guns and the specific type of firearms one could own. An amnesty period was provided in which time people with illegal firearms could hand them in at police stations without fear of prosecution. If I recall correctly, gun owners even had to re-register their firearms and apply for new licences!

Today it's far more difficult than it ever was to obtain a legal firearm. Some people are glad about this (as they believe it reduces the chance of violent crime, or injury and death due to negligence) and others believe that the government is out to undermine their ability to protect themselves.

Does your government restrict the ability to buy firearms, and if so, do you support this? (If you leave a comment, please indicate which country you're from, if you own a firearm, and try your best not to rant. This can be a fiery topic. ;) ).

Along the harbour pier

Along the harbour pier
I couldn't see exactly what these folk were looking at in the water, but I imagine it must have been a frolicking seal, or perhaps a studious school of small fish.

Last Sunday I spotted a small group of dolphins splashing about in the water outside of the V&A Waterfront, near the entrance to the Granger Bay harbour. A little while after I spotted a whale (perhaps a hundred meters further into the bay) splashing about, having a whale of a time (go figure, right?).

After reading an article by David Hurwitz (who, last month, captured photos of orcas hunting dolphins in False Bay) it stuck me that it's possible that the whale I'd seen was in fact an orca (aka killer whale), and that the dolphins may not have had as much of a fun time as I'd previously imagined they were!

Landini 5500 tractor

Landini 5500 tractor
I've never had the opportunity to drive a tractor - but it must be awesome, don't you think? The only change that I'd like is for the tractor to be converted to a 4x4 and have way larger wheels fitted in front. That, I'm sure, will make for heaps of fun!

Peeking lamb

Peeking lamb
No, I haven't misspelled the title of this post - there's no way anyone would make Peking Lamb from the little lamb. Surely?

From what I can tell, these are Dormer sheep, a cross between Dorset Horn rams and German Marinos. Together the two names make Dorset-Marinos, or Dormer for short.

The Dormer was specifically bred to be a mutton breed capable of adapting to cold and rainy winters, such as what we're currently experiencing in Cape Town! (It really is very wet and very chilly today, by the way!). Apparently the reason for having lambs at this time of the year is because of the abundance of food in winter, and the lack there of in summer.

It’s lamb season in the Cape

Lamb drinking milkshake
Our nieces (who live on a farm) excitedly informed us that it's lamb season in Langebaan, where they live. Lamb season invariably leads to one or two abandoned lambs - which, as you can imagine makes said nieces extremely happy. Not because their mothers abandoned them, but because they get to take care of the little ones.

This photo is of Kerry-Anne (also really excited to be playing with lambs) feeding one of the babies a strawberry milkshake. Nice hey?

For what it's worth, it wasn't actually a strawberry milkshake, it's a special formula that the farmer provides to feed the abandoned lambs.

Petrol price at R777.70?!

Fuel pump
This is fortunately an old, now unused, pump!

Remember when we could buy 97 octane petrol? If I recall correctly, we even had 98 octane - which is somewhat more awesome than the 95 and 93 varieties that we have access to today.

South Africans are all a little happier today because the price of petrol will drop by 55 cents tomorrow, 6 June. Take a look at this useful table for a view on the historical price of fuel in South Africa.

Also, if you're interested, take a look at this document - it has a list of fuel prices per country. Pretty awesome, hey?

Backyard broken boats

Backyard broken boat SW56A
This broken old fishing boat isn't exactly what you'd expect to find in a typical Capetonian's backyard. Really, I promise. We prefer to keep cheetahs - they're far more placid and are wonderful as watch... err... watchcats. :)

On the right side of the road

Car with a left hand drive sign
It's true, South African cars are normally designed to be right hand drive vehicles; which makes sense since we happen to drive on the left hand side of the road - well, most of the time. ;)

I once saw someone driving along the N1 highway in the fast lane - in the direction wrong direction! Fortunately they realised their error before it was too late, and pulled off the road.

Killarney racing!

Killarney drag racing poster
As I guess you can see, this isn't a new poster. Given the age of the wpmc.co.za web domain, probably between 1 and 11 years - and I'd have to guess closer to the latter.

The Killarney Motor Racing Complex (map) opened it's doors, or rather, circuit, in the late 1940s. Since then it's hosted various motor racing events, from drag to stock car and supermoto races - even the odd Formula 1 race!

Visit the Western Province Motor Club's website for more information about racing events, or for how to get involved in motorsport.