Street photography

Where the street has no name

Where the street has no name
It is in the city, but to be perfectly honest, I have no idea which street this was - though I'm sure one of you will recognise the buildings and identify it for me, right? :)

This road reminded me a little of San Francisco. Not that Cape Town is by any means as hilly, but still, I find the rises in the distance somewhat reminiscent of that great West Coast city.

Walk this way

Walk this way
I found these three posters outside a shoe store in St George's Mall. Don't you think that the contrast between the grey colour and old style of the building make the them jump out at you? I guess that was the idea, hey? :)

Red and blue

Red and blue
I found this makeshift corrugated wall of iron separating pedestrians from a building site in Commercial Street, between Buitenkant and Harrington (map). They could have left the wall a dull grey colour, but instead decided to make it look more awesome. Isn't that nice? :)

Espresso Bar in Buitenkant Street

Espresso Bar in Buitenkant Street
This either used to be Truth's espresso bar, or still is. I'm not sure. This photo, taken by @RelaxWithDax only a couple of months ago, shows the Truth name and logo on the front of the building. It is no more... do you suppose Truth has moved on?

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!

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.

The first day of the Football World Cup

Celebrating the first match

I left work at about lunchtime, collected Kerry-Anne from home and headed into Cape Town to join thousands of football fans at the V&A Waterfront to watch the 2010 Football World Cup opening ceremony.

The Waterfront was alive with people excitedly preparing to watch the ceremony and first match. We watched the ceremony at the amphitheatre, very proudly reflecting on what our little country at the tip of the large African continent has achieved in so little time. I don't think any of us really comprehend the amount of effort, planning and expertise that went into organising every detail of this event. From the stadiums and the roadworks to the planning of dance routines, coaching of kids, and preparing to receive thousands of foreign visitors... it's all been executed pretty darn awesomely!

From our restaurant table at Wang Thai, Kerry-Anne and I proudly watched our team, Bafana Bafana (ranked 83rd in the world), play a great game against Mexico (ranked 17th), drawing 1-1 after 93 minutes. We left the packed restaurant after the match, had some coffee at a nearby coffee shop, and then slowly walked over to the Cape Town Stadium for the match between France and Uruguay.

This was the first time that we'd visited the stadium, and I have to say to the team who put it together: wow, you did good! I didn't realise that a stadium could be so beautiful!

Well-hidden entrances

Concealed driveways
This road-sign always puzzled me when I was little. I couldn't understand why they would actually put up a sign to tell us about these "concealed driveways". I mean, surely they'd been concealed for a reason? Wouldn't their owners be a bit annoyed that someone was going around putting up signs alerting everyone to their existence, when they'd tried so hard to hide them? (I've always been a rather literal thinker.)

These signs still baffle me a bit, to be honest, although for a slightly different reason. I presume their purpose is to warn us that people might unexpectedly be turning out of these concealed driveways - but surely it's the responsibility of the motorist doing the turning to make sure that the road is clear before they pull out into it?

Breakfast conversations

At Arnolds in Kloof Street
I've never been a waiter, so never had the privileged of being amused by story after story told hush-hush by patrons. I have to imagine though that (however hard) working in a coffee shop, or restaurant of sorts must have it's entertaining moments.

Kerry-Anne and I stopped in for breakfast at Arnolds in Kloof Street (map). The meal was good, but I have to advise you that, unless you like super-super strong filter coffee, you rather order cappuccino. Gosh - the coffee really was that strong.

Vredehoek, a suburb of the city

Villa Portuguese Restaurant & Pizzeria

Vredehoek, Gardens and Oranjezicht are three old suburbs found just above the inner city on the slopes of Table Mountain, just to the right of Devil's Peak. For me, these three are more or less merged into a single large suburb, and I never know when I'm in one or the other.

You'll see a sign reading "Villa" on the left of the photo. That's the entrance to Villa Portuguese Restaurant & Pizzeria, and based on the restaurant's address (176 Upper Buitenkant Street, Vredehoek), it's safe to say that I took this photo in Vredehoek!

Something cool that I noticed when I zoomed in on the photo (and something that you may like to keep in mind) is that there's a sign posted in the window that reads "Mondays, 50% off pizza, sit down only". We may just have to take them up on that offer... :)

People under the stairs… or the bridge…

People under the Stairs

This photo reveals a little more context around my previous photo. People under the Stairs is an underground hip-hop group from the USA... who by all accounts played at Zula Sound Bar on 20 November. If you're into hip-hop I'm going to guess that you've heard of this duo, but if not, take a look at their MySpace page and listen to a few of their tracks - they have some interesting stuff!

For interest's sake, this photo was taken in Gardens, where Maynard Street crosses under Mill Street (the M3). The area is an awesome place to just wander around and take photos. While it's not an unsafe area (and perhaps I'm being over-cautious), I did notice a few loitering people around, whom I avoided. So, if you do take your expensive camera on a walkabout, just keep your eyes open and all will be well.

When books go out the window

When books go out the window

Besides the fact that this photo was taken outside a book shop in Cape Town, my story today has little to do with Cape Town itself. I love technology, and devices like e-readers and Amazon Kindles are awesome (I want one!), but won't it be sad when humanity eventually stops cutting down trees to print books?

Okay, yes, I know that it's a bit of a catch-22 situation - I'd support the saving of our forests, but on the other hand, a printed book is just so much better than a cold and generic electronic device. Apart from the touchy-feely part that makes real books cool, photos in particular simply look better in print - and I do wonder if digital would ever supersede the beauty of a printed photo.

P.S. I really have to find a publisher - I printed an 8x8 trial book a few weeks ago, and as I said, printed photos just rock!

Pimped-out Citi Golf

Pimped out Citi Golf

In my previous article I mentioned the end of an era, the end of the Citi Golf Mk1, as well as how the Citi Golf is loved by many, and pimped out by many. I found this Golf parked near the one in my previous article - the rims were so awesome that I just had to take a photo! :)

Do you see what I mean about people loving their Citi Golfs? I mean, who would do this to a Fiat Uno, Honda Jazz, or some other small car? Probably very few. In Cape Town you'll often find guys driving Citi Golfs that have been uniquely customised. When I see these cars, I catch myself thinking, "why not just buy a nicer car instead of spending so much money on pimping out your Golf?". I've however come to believe that it must simply be a matter of perspective, the sense of unique identity that it gives, and a love for the car that causes people to spend thousands of rands adding these kind of trimmings to their Citi Golf.

Astrologers and Herbalists

Astrologer and Herbalist
I find it fascinating how many people subscribe to advice given by the likes of astrologers and herbalists - it just seems so weird to me. I'm fairly sure though that one could argue this point for several traditionally more accepted belief systems - but let's not get into that whole debate. :)

However, one thing that I have to say is that the kind of astrologer that consults from a dimly-lit, run-down office such as this one scares me just a little. ;)

Goodwood in the ’70s

Voortrekker Road in Goodwood

As a comment on my previous article, Jonathan suggested that Voortrekker Road is reminiscent of something out of the 1970s... and I do believe he's right. Were it not for the more modern cars in the photo you'd easily mistake this for a photo that my mom or dad may have taken.

I mentioned previously that I have lots of memories of Voortrekker Road - one of these is that I bought my first car from "Lekker Lieg Motors", which is just a little further along this road, on the right. "Lekker Lieg" is our interpretation of the letters that make up the name of the dealership. Roughly translated, the Afrikaans word "Lekker" means "Nice" and "Lieg" means "Lies". Put them together and I'm sure you get the idea. ;)

Voortrekker Road, Goodwood

Voortrekker Road, Goodwood

If you live in Goodwood, or perhaps did at some time in your life, I hope that you'll forgive me for saying that it's not the prettiest suburb.

I have lots of memories of the area, though, from visiting girlfriends and skateboarding with my cousin to going to see the annual Christmas-time parade in this, Voortrekker Road. Today the area just looks old and run-down, and from Monday to Saturday during business hours you'll always find the area heavily congested.

However, even though Voortrekker Road in Goodwood isn't the prettiest place to be, it sure is filled with an assortment of interesting small shops (and FAR too many used car lots!). If you don't live in Cape Town and find yourself here on holiday some day, and if you'd like to experience a little more of what tourists often don't see, pick an afternoon and take a drive down Voortrekker Road. Don't expect to drive fast, remember to keep your cool in the traffic, and I guarantee that you'll see plenty of interesting things. :)


Carrying kids

Stats SA estimate that by the end of the year the Western Cape (the province in which we live) will hold about 11% of South Africa's total population. That's about 5.4 million people! An interesting fact that I've noticed is that many young couples (such as Kerry-Anne and myself) don't yet have kids and many aren't planning on doing so. I wonder if this is a world-wide trend.

I'm dedicating this blog post and photo to all the parents of Cape Town and the surrounding areas who've had kids and are thereby ensuring the circle of life in the Cape. I often marvel at parents' ability to deal with screaming babies, hyper-active toddlers and the plain naughty kiddies. I simply don't know where you find the energy and how you manage to do this - respect!

Careful with your cash

Careful with your cash

I'm not saying that the subject in this photo is a conman, but I have often seen someone who looks a lot like him wandering around the V&A Waterfront area, apparently asking people for money. I don't think it's common to see this at the Waterfront, so it's kinda weird and unexpected when someone asks you for cash. I think people are often taken by surprise and hand out their money to guys who use this as a regular form of income.

Perhaps it's bad of me, but I've become a lot more skeptical of people asking for money than I previously was, and the internal battle rages on, as I try to decide who's just a chancer and who deserves a break.

Watching people pass on by

Relaxing at the Waterfront

While we were sitting at Java Jive Cafe in the Waterfront, an older couple came to sit down at a nearby table. They stayed for just a few minutes, seemingly to take a break whilst watching all the people walking past.

Do you ever sit in a public place and just watch people passing by? I find it interesting to watch what people do and how they interact. One Christmas eve Kerry-Anne and I spent an hour or two sitting at a local mall just watching the harried shoppers rushing to and fro with grim expressions on their faces. Amidst the Christmas rush it was in a way refreshing to sit down, withdraw from the "mob mentality", and just relax.

Filling up, are we?

Petrol birds

Let's stick with the petrol station theme for one more post, shall we?

I've never been much into ornithology - I don't have a particularly lengthy attention span, and let's face it, for the most part birds just aren't that exciting. Guinea fowl are different, though. While I find the average sunbird or robin pretty and all, a flock of guinea fowl actually has the capacity to entertain me.

They always look so purposeful. I mean, take this lot for instance. They're going to the petrol station, aren't they? Not wandering about aimlessly on a lawn. They have "things to do". Also, they always appear to be having meetings. There's something bizarrely anthropomorphic about this species.

I once spent ages watching a big group of them taking turns to jump off a concrete water reservoir. (Yes, I said "jump". Guinea fowl don't fly unless they absolutely have to - say, to get up onto a water reservoir.) They formed an orderly queue and slowly jumped off one by one. And I could have sworn that the braver ones, who were already on the ground, were teasing the scaredy-birds about being too afraid to jump.

Fortunately for me, we have one or two large flocks of guinea fowl in our neighbourhood, and they seem to make their way up the street systematically over a period of weeks, stopping in at a different garden each day. When they're visiting our garden, I usually call the cats and then all three of us spend a few minutes watching the Enormous Birdies through the window.

It's the small things... ;-)

It’s a hair salon, not a barber

Vivacious Hair

I have the impression (right or wrong) that guys in many other countries visit "the barber" to get their hair cut, beard trimmed, and nose-hairs snipped (*eeuw*).

For a few reasons, I've never visited a "barber". The one is that the thought of having a stranger who's a guy so in my personal space is a little weird, and the other is that there are very few men-only salons around these days. Apart from these reasons, given the option of a guy tending to your needs versus a beautiful woman... erm, don't you think the latter wins hands-down?

Kerry-Anne and I have our hair snipped and trimmed by Mariechen-scissorhands, the owner of Vivacious Hair in the Willowbridge shopping mall. What's cool about Mariechen is that she's down-to-earth, unpretentious, and snappy with the scissors. :)


Small Poison-apple

As I walked past this car I had to smile at the sticker on the rear window. The word "gifappeltjie" can be translated as "small poison apple" - which I guess could refer to the small car on which the sticker finds itself, or perhaps even the driver.

What I found interesting about a "gifappel" (of the genus Solanum) is that it's known by the names "Apple of Sodom", "Devil's Apple", "Poison Apple" and a variety of others. Some sites indicate that it's a treatment for all kinds of ills, while others claim it can be used to poison arrows. I even came across articles claiming evidence that it can be used to fight skin-cancer.

It seems as though the exact effect is determined by the species of Solanum. So, unless you know exactly what you're doing, I don't suggest that you go experiment with the medicinal properties too readily. ;)

Fish and “slap” chips

Fish and Chip ship
One of the most fantastic we-don't-have-time-or-inclination-to-cook-a-meal foods is freshly battered and deep-fried hake with a huge pile of "slap" (pronounced "slup" and meaning "limp" in English) chips.

Do you know the kind that I mean? The kind of fish and chips that you just can't buy in a restaurant. The kind of fish and chips that comes bundled in large pieces of newsprint paper. The kind of fish that's covered in a crispy batter with the kind of potato chips that are soft, thick, salty, and laden with vinegar.


Careless litter

Field of litter

I took this photo while walking back home after leaving the Kwikspar (mentioned in my last post). Whilst the field's not a complete litter dump, I found it annoying that every now and again I came across of a piece of careless litter like the one presented in the photo.

Even as a kid I would never have dreamed of throwing my chocolate wrappers on the ground. Even if they fell by accident I'd pick them up. Even if the wind blew them beyond reach, I'd chase them down. Why is it that some think it's okay to not take care? Do you think it's that they simply don't think about what they're doing? Do you think that they believe that someone else should chase after their rubbish because they're too awesome to have to deal with it?