Tag Archives: roads

Observatory sidewalks

Observatory sidewalks
One of the things that I love about this part of Observatory is the sidewalks and the pillars that line them. I think modern suburbs seem generally to have somewhat less character than these older ones; wouldn't you agree?

I wonder if people 50 years from now will look back at our modern suburb store-fronts and make similar comment about how the character in today's designs has been eroded. Probably not hey? ;)

Gritty Observatory

Gritty Observatory
You may already have worked out that this suburb was named due to its close proximity to an actual observatory - the Royal Observatory, Cape of Good Hope, founded in 1820.

Being so close to Cape Town itself makes this suburb one of the oldest in the province, and the reason for it looking old and worn out.

Similarly to Woodstock, Observatory (affectionately known as Obz) escaped segregation laws of the apartheid era, developing a interesting mixed culture of its own, and when I think of Observatory, for some reason I think of artists, musicians, hippies, crystals, dream catchers, incense, and hipsters. :P

A quiet Lower Main Road in Obz

A quiet Lower Main Road in Obz
This was the first time that I've seen Observatory's Lower Main Road so quiet. I've previously only visited in the late afternoon or evening when the whole road is teeming with activity. It was only just after 8am, but it seemed quite strange to be almost the only person walking along the sidewalk.

Rain at Burnside Road

Rain at Burnside Road
You wouldn't say that it's summer in Cape Town - it's been raining on and off each day for a few days now. I pity folk who planned on a lovely summer holiday in Cape Town this week; what poor luck!

Cycling season is back

Cycling season is back
It seems like cycling season is back. Remember to keep a 1 meter gap between your car and the cyclists you pass - and perhaps give a warning blip on your hooter if you feel they stray too far towards the middle of the road. :)

Brilliant place to skate

Metal road railing
This railing is at the top of Signal Hill road - the one that snakes up to the lookout at the top of its namesake, Signal Hill.

Sadly, while probably an awesome hill to skate, it's not at all very safe - the road carries regular traffic and has far too many blind corners. So, rather follow Sector 9's fourth rule, be safe, and don't traumatise motorists. ;)

Rainy days

Rain on road
After a few sunny days we woke this morning to rain poring from the skies as though someone had shifted our home from its sunny spot to a less-ideal location beneath a giant waterfall. Fortunately there wasn't much wind to speak of, so it's not been that bad, and I'm guessing our crops and dams could do with the odd bucket of rain. :)

Slippery when wet

Slippery when wet
The name of this title reminds me of an album released a long long time ago.

I was involved in a minor motor vehicle accident about two years ago. I'd stopped my car at a wet intersection. I started to pull away once the traffic lights turned green, and at the same time a driver (from the opposing side of the intersection) turned across my path. I planted my foot on brakes as quickly as I could, the car's anti-lock braking system kicked in, but the road was too slippery - I t-boned the other driver's car on their passenger-side door.

Given the relatively low-speed at which I hit the other vehicle, I was somewhat surprised at the impact of the accident, and the amount of damage both vehicles sustained. Fortunately nobody was seriously injured - probably because all involved had been wearing their seat-belts. But, the jolt from the impact made me realise how seriously-hard an immovable object must be when traveling at any speed over 20km/h.

Church Street in Tulbagh

Church Street in Tulbagh
Church Street is really, as far as we could tell, the prettiest place in the town of Tulbagh. The rest of the town is a little run down, but Church Street has plenty of quaint Cape Dutch houses, beautiful gardens, and several restaurants and coffee shops along its length.

On our first night in Tulbagh we tried a small Belgian restaurant, the name of which I can't quite recall now - but no-matter, it's easy to find. :) The restaurant is operated by what appears to be a retired gentleman and his charming wife (whom I believe is the chef), and is about the closest thing to fine-dining that I believe you'll find in a rural town like Tulbagh. It's certainly worth a visit, so if you overnight in the town, do give them a try.

A flat Amstel Lager

A flat Amstel Lager
Although I'm not keen on it, loads of my friends drink Amstel Lager - its generally a pretty well-known beer in South Africa.

When Kerry-Anne and I last visited Paris together we stayed in a little hotel that had a huge Amstel sign outside it's doors. I found it amazing how something familiar, even a sign of a beer that you're not even partial to, helps make one feel a little more settled.

I just hope that some day someone will invent cans with a 1 month half-life. Not because it would encourage us to drink them faster, but rather that we wouldn't end up with cans like this one.

Glass not diamonds

Glass not diamonds
I checked, but alas, they weren't diamonds. They're probably the remnant of a fender-bender or a break-in. Imagine if the glass wasn't laminated - sharp shards of plate-glass would have lain where these relatively-harmless pieces now lie.

Windhoek Lager

Windhoek Lager
I don't drink a huge amount of beer, but when I do, it's normally Windhoek Light. The bottle in this photo is its big brother Windhoek Lager, both children of Namibia Breweries and named after Namibia's capital city, Windhoek (translated literally as "wind corner").

Oh, and by the way, nope, that wasn't my bottle! :)

Parked cars and narrow roads

Parked cars and narrow roads
Green Point is a fairly old part of the city, so its roads tend to be wide enough - most of the time. I've noticed though that areas developed in the last 10 or 15 years are sometimes so narrow that it's actually not possible to park a car in the road with enough space for another to pass by.

Fortunately Kerry-Anne and I live in a suburb that was built when 1000 square metre plots and super-wide roads were the norm. I'd hate to live in modern security estates with their narrow roads and uniform housing.

Sidewalks, pavements, and roads

Sidewalks, pavements, and roads
Even though both South Africans and Americans claim to speak English we would argue that Americans speak American, an English dialect. :)

In South Africa we'd call the place where pedestrians walk a pavement whereas Americans would call it a sidewalk. What makes it even more confusing when South Africans and Americans converse is that Americans use the word pavement to mean road! So, my American friends, when a South African traffic officer asks you to walk on the pavement - really, he's not meaning in the road. Promise. ;)

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?

Sir Adderley’s Adderley Street

Adderley Street
This is Adderley Street, Cape Town's main road that runs from the harbour area, past Cape Town train station, and up to the Company Gardens. You'll see the tiny canal that I showed in my previous post to the right of this photo.

Alex commented on yesterday's post mentioning that the mayor of the day named the street was named after Sir Charles Adderley in 1850 to show honour to him for successfully convincing the British government not to turn Cape Town into a penal colony - like they did Australia.

Big-up to you Sir Adderley! :)

Power outages and load-shedding

Power outages and load-shedding
A couple of years ago South Africa was hit by a barrage of power outages, and Eskom (the national electricity provider) was forced to implement a rolling load-shedding strategy. Over weeks and months many neighbourhoods had their power cut according to predefined schedules.

Seeing this picture reminded me how load-shedding seems to (at least for now) be a thing of the past. This year I recall having only a single outage lasting a couple of hours - but then, I suspect that was an unplanned outage. :) Our friends up north may not have been so lucky unfortunately.

Although I haven't heard confirmed news of load-shedding in Gauteng I've heard rumblings of outages and found these load-shedding schedules on Eskom's site.

Cat’s eyes on the road

Cat's eyes on the road
I find it awesome that a simple invention like this has saved so many lives. The concept of a reflective road stud being used to help guide drivers at night was invented by Percy Shaw in 1934 - and even though it's design has been improved on over the years, essentially it the same device.

A long country road

A long country road
One of our readers, a Capetonian and ship's Captain stationed in South East Asia mailed me to say how much he enjoys seeing the photos that remind him of home. He also mentioned that he'd have preferred my previous photo without the Mini Cooper spoiling the view.

I'm curious to know which photo you prefer - this one, or my previous one?

Wet roads and sunshine

Wet roads and sunshine
In yesterday's post I mentioned how dangerous slippery and wet roads can be. Something that this photo illustrates is how dangerous it can be to drive when the sun comes out after the roads have been rained wet.

I find it a little stressful to drive in unfamiliar places when the sun's glare on the road completely obliterates the markings and forces me to squint. Similarly, driving at night on unfamiliar wet roads into the bright lights of oncoming traffic is another thing that I really don't enjoy.

Don't you just hate driving in conditions like this? Wouldn't it be awesome if the rain would leave the roads alone and stick to falling on mountains, fields and in our gardens?

Remember to be smart and drive slower in poor conditions and when you can't see road markings clearly. Be safe and arrive alive.

Slippery wet streets

Slippery wet streets
I drive a rear-wheel drive car with a fairly powerful engine and no traction control. Even though I've been driving her for some time now, on wet days like this I'm still caught off guard by how easily the car's wheels spin when I pull away from a dead stop on a wet road.

I realised again a few days ago (when I took advantage of a normally-safe gap in traffic) that it's actually incredibly dangerous to momentarily forget that roads are slippery when wet. Fortunately I knew to reduce the power, gain control and re-accelerate - and fortunately the car coming at me from behind was actually going slower than I at first thought it was.

Who recognises this town? It's not too difficult, click to zoom - there's huge clue right there in the photo.