As promised, here's another photo taken in Joostenbergvlakte. The suburb has an odd mix of large, lavish houses and smaller, less beautiful places like this one.
Did you notice the barbed wire surrounding the property, the dirty walls, the rugged driveway, the old house? Perhaps you did, but I bet you couldn't help but notice the enormously-hugely-oversized Afrikaans name on the gate: "Geenbuffelsmetgeenskootgeskietgeenfontein".
While it may look weird to foreigners, the lack of spaces between words, and the length and make-up of the name is considered rather amusing in South Africa. Loosely translated the name of this property reads "No-buffaloes-shot-with-no-shots-no-fountain". It looks a little weird because it's a play on the more common (yet equally amusing) farm name, "Tweebuffelsmeteenskootmorsdoodgeskietfontein", which translates as "Two-buffaloes-shot-dead-with-one-shot Fountain" (where "fountain" refers to the spring of water often found on farms). Read the Wikipedia article here.
I guess farmers became bored of the traditional names like "Clear Water Fountain", or "Never-ending Fountain". These are some of the gems of the Afrikaans language and culture that we hold so dear. :)
We'd never turned in at Meerendal farm before, so when we did we were surprised to find that the gates hid a farm with a rather appealing part-modern/part-old-English atmosphere about it.
We unfortunately arrived just in time to see the doors to the bistro and deli being shut for the day so I can't really say whether or not the food and produce is any good.
The signpost in the photo points to another, apparently more sophisticated, restaurant called Wheatfields. If the review on Travbuddy is anything to go by, then it sounds like Wheatfields is a restaurant that we'll have to visit asap!
Whoa guys, isn't there a slightly more subtle way of getting the message across? How about "your phone could possibly, perhaps, maybe cause the fumes to ignite and you may, might, could get terribly injured"? :)
Aside from the text and its bluntness, the thing that I found amusing about the photo was the "Serious about service" tagline at the bottom of the sign. Not that I'm suggesting that Total's not serious about service - they're as good as the next filling station; but the contrast in tone is pretty funny, don't you think?
When I was younger there used to be a competition running on television that showed a close-up photo of an object. It was often something obscure like the eye of a fly, or a thimble, or some other "everyday" object. It was invariably very difficult to guess exactly what the object was because without the full picture or proper context the object could be one of many different things.
I don't think it's quite as difficult to tell what this photo is of, but then again, I've already seen the entire picture. If you have an idea what this photo may be of - please take a guess and leave a comment below. :)
How many times have you tripped on a step because you didn't notice the "Mind Your Step" sign? And how many times was that due to the fact that the "Mind Your Step" sign was posted on the step itself, instead of at eye level, where you were most likely to be looking?
Similarly, I wonder how many people notice this sign for the first time when they're inches from the ground, with their feet in mid-air and their arms flailing at their sides. "Oh! It's a slippery pathway! That's why I'm falling!"
I don't know exactly when this sign was put up at the top of Tygerberg Hill, but I'm pretty sure it wasn't there back in 2002 when I was, in fact, pushed up the hill in a wheelchair.
Allow me to take you on a little trip down memory lane. I sustained an unfortunate moshing-related injury at my graduation party in April 2002 - I tore a ligament in my knee and ended up on crutches for 6 weeks (and believe it or not, there was absolutely NO alcohol involved in this incident).
Sometime during those 6 weeks, our friends Nicholas and Chanel phoned us up one Sunday and suggested that we all go up Tygerberg Hill for a picnic. Of course, hiking up the hill on crutches, while not at all impossible, was going to be annoyingly slow and extremely tiring. So, ever resourceful, Nicholas borrowed a wheelchair from one of his family members (yup, apparently there are people who have spare wheelchairs lying around :P), and the three of them took turns pushing me up the hill in it.
It's a memory I really treasure - particularly since we lost Nicholas to a stop-street-jumping truck driver in May 2004. Paul's dad's recent heart-attack scare reminded me once again of how fragile we are, and how important it is to build up a storehouse of memories for the future. What are you doing today to make memories with the people you love?
The reality of the situation, as I understand it, is that the Metro EMS ambulance services are over-extended and unable to respond quickly enough to many time-critical medical emergencies and so, even though my dad's medical aid generally only covers the use of state ambulances, his house doctor requested a private ambulance to transfer him to the hospital. Sadly, some people have no option but to rely on state ambulances, and while they do successfully assist many, in times of crisis they're sometimes simply not able to respond in time.
Apart from being short-staffed, all ambulances continuously have to deal with other drivers (unbelievably) doggedly standing their ground, refusing to let ambulances pass in any kind of hurry. I often see drivers not paying attention to emergency sirens, and I've honestly seen drivers on occasion just not make an effort to open a path for ambulances. Unbelievable? Believe it.
Thankfully we haven't been in Cape Town to experience this week's storms, which seem to have been an illustration of why the Dutch at first called the area the "Cape of Storms". Mandy, on the other hand, has been there, but absolutely refused to walk about in the rain taking photos of the carnage! (Which I completely understand.)
As quickly as the storms arrive, they disappear, leaving in their wake blue skies and, in this case, torn banners. Normally, once the storm has subsided, we find that our beaches and seaside roads are covered in foam and debris from the ocean. One good thing resulting from these kinds of storms is that the skies are cleared completely of all the smog that would have hung low in the air, obscuring the beautiful nature that surrounds the city.
I only read this sign only after I played on the "play equipment". I think I'm in trouble... but shhh... don't tell anyone. :) I was driving past this field and noticed a guy standing more or less in the middle, whacking stones as far as he could, baseball-style. Technically I guess he's allowed to as it seems only golf is prohibited.
I wonder how many times a Metro officer has argued with a member of the public over technical interpretations of what's allowed in play parks and what's not. Technically, one is allowed to sleep in the park during the day, ride a motorbike as long as you don't wheelie and let your dog run free as long as they have a leash attached. I'm in no hurry to test the point, but if I had been challenged on the point of not being under 14 I may have considered arguing the point that I'm certainly under 14 inches. :D
The quote "You are what you do" appears to originate from Jean-Paul Sartre, a 20th-century French philosopher. This particular sign can be found obscuring the view from my office, which lies somewhere between "the" and "exceptional". :)
I understand that the view held by Sartre was that you are responsible for who you are, and what you do dictates the person you are - which is a fair statement, I think. So, I guess that the message today isn't as much about Cape Town as it is about deciding to be awesome.
So, go ahead, do the right thing, be exceptional! ;)
I meant to post this photo when I took it (on 3 May), so I hope you don't mind a slightly older photo. I just liked this one for some reason - perhaps it's the angle, perhaps the slightly-out-of-focus scooters in the background.
Seeing the sign reminded me of the only yard sale (often known as garage sales here) that I visited many years ago out of curiosity. Clearly the event left me rather pessimistic about the chances of actually finding anything of interest at these sales. The items I browsed that day were really nothing more than junk for which I wouldn't really have ever had any use.
I do think, however, that I should give it another try. I imagine one could find some really interesting things hidden among people's white elephants. Perhaps, if you're a tourist, it would be an interesting thing to do too... visiting a yard sale. You may find something interestingly different to buy, and you may meet some interestingly different people too. For your own sake, though, be a little cautious; this is a city, after all, and we have our fair share of unsavoury people too.
Oh, and remember that a yard sale is often called a garage sale - so don't go to a garage sale expecting to come home with a new garage. ;)
Locals (particularly those who haven't travelled overseas) are often surprised to find out how much cheaper property is in South Africa than in many other parts of the world.
Of course, we have very high interest rates compared to many other parts of the world, which pushes the actual cost of property up for us somewhat, as very, very few people can afford to buy property without taking out a mortgage bond. But nevertheless, it's still a whole lot cheaper to buy an average suburban home here than it is in Sydney, for instance.
According to Global Property Guide, Cape Town is the 53rd-most expensive city in the world in terms of property - their comparison is based on the average purchase price in US dollars of a 120-square-metre apartment in a prime inner city area.
Our property market has seen quite a slowdown in the last two years or so (after a massive boom in the four years before that), but it does seem to be slowly (very slowly) starting to pick up again - at least in certain sectors of the market.
As a kid I remember my parents going out to shows at The Baxter fairly regularly. Although, I guess "regularly" to a child could have meant twice a year. :) They don't do too much of that these days, but wait for my next post to see what I have rigged to get them out to town...
The Baxter Theatre was built by the University of Cape Town with financial aid from William Baxter, Cape Town's mayor in 1906, and thus holds his name today still. As the second-largest performing arts complex in Cape Town, The Baxter seemed to retain a large degree of political freedom from the apartheid government in years gone by, due to its status as an academic theatre. Being an academic theatre, I'm guessing (although I was too young to know) that the performers (mostly students I guess) freely challenged views held by the government (which was a big no-no back then).
As far as location is concerned, you'll find the theatre in Rondebosch, a leafy part of Cape Town's Southern Suburbs, not too far from the city. Keep an eye on their website for upcoming shows, and do yourself a favour - get out there and have some fun!
A week or two back we posted a photo of a rather creative piece of street art in Green Point, bearing the name "Hake". One of our readers, Michelle, commented that she'd seen a number of his tags around the southern suburbs too, so presumably he's fairly prolific.
It seems he has an enemy, though (look at me, being all sexist and assuming that Hake is a boy... tsk tsk), if the writing in this photo is anything to go by. I spotted this as we were driving around Vredehoek, and made Paul screech to a halt so that he could get out and grab a photo. By a happy co-incidence the man in the background entered the frame just as Paul was busy composing his shot - I think he adds an extra bit of interest to the photo, don't you?
I doubt that there's a South African alive right now who is not familiar with the phrase "Umshini Wami". It's the name of an old struggle song sung by Umkhonto we Sizwe during the apartheid years. More recently it's become famous (or notorious, depending on your perspective) as the song sung by president-elect Jacob Zuma and his supporters at ANC rallies. The main phrase repeated throughout the song is "Khawuleth'umshini wami", which is Zulu for "Bring me my machine-gun". This probably goes some way towards explaining my use of the word "notorious" in the previous sentence...
The posters you can see on the wall here, designed by advertising agency Young and Rubicam, are a clever twist on this piece of South African culture. They read "Awuleth'umshini wakho", which means "Bring me your machine gun". The posters were put up in February as part of a campaign to persuade citizens to hand in their unlicensed firearms. I have no idea whether they've been effective or not, but they're certainly eye-catching.
You can read more about the campaign and see a photo of the full poster on Marklives!com.
The air has turned cool, the sky has turned grey, and the first significant rains of the year have started to fall. Millions of South Africans will be heading to the polls to vote in our national elections on Wednesday, and fortunately it seems as though the weather will start clearing in preparation for that.
Political parties have been advertising on lamp posts, and several times each day on radio stations. I'm not sure how political radio ads are dealt with in other countries, but here the station has to play a standard message before each ad, along the lines of: "The following message was paid for by the political party concerned and does not necessarily reflect the views of this radio station." I guess we should give the same message before this photo: the views of the ID and ANC aren't necessarily those held by CTDP. ;-)
Voting in South Africa is tricky. We have one very large party (the ANC) and several much smaller opposition parties. The chance of one of these opposition parties coming into power is zero, but in theory, if the ANC doesn't win an outright majority, the smaller parties could join together and govern as a coalition. This has happened at provincial level in the past. Which brings me to the next point: we don't vote only on a national basis, but on a provincial basis too. This means that we could vote for party A at national level (perhaps because we believe in their ideals) and for party B at provincial level (because we believe they will be more efficient at running our province). Or we could vote for the same party in national and provincial elections, of course!
Wednesday's going to be an interesting day. I'm keen to see if the tide has started to turn against the ANC's two-thirds majority win of 2004. Personally, I don't think it's a great idea to have one party (any party) with complete power, so let's see what happens this time around. Let's go and vote, people!
We used to have parking meters in the city, but now we have real, living human-beings to receive our parking money and make sure that we don't stay longer than we should. Which is much better, I think, because, try as I might, I could never get a smile out of those parking meters...
If you come to the city and hire a car, look out for people wearing bright yellow bibs, and carrying hand-held parking machines and bags of change. They'll tell you how much you need to pay, depending on how long you plan to park for. Oh, and do be nice to them - they're out there on their feet all day, every day, and I suspect they have to deal with a lot of grumpy, unfriendly people. ;-)
Today marks an interesting sporting anniversary: 120 years ago today the very first cricket test match was played in Cape Town. The match was the second of a 2-test series; the first test was held in Port Elizabeth earlier in the month, and the second hosted at our very own Newlands cricket grounds. South Africa unfortunately lost both tests and the series to the then-better ;-) English team.
Union Avenue and Paradise Road are both part of the M3, a route normally taken by most people going to watch cricket at Newlands. The M3 is the major road leading from the City through the southern suburbs of Cape Town. It can be a little confusing, as sometimes people will talk of De Waal Drive, or the Blue Route, and mean exactly the same road. Let me clear up a bit of confusion by listing the various names given to parts of the M3. Starting from Cape Town's side of the M3, we have: Buitensingel Street, Orange Street, Annandale Road, Mill Street, Jutland Avenue, De Waal Drive, Hospital Bend, Rhodes Drive, Union Avenue, Paradise Road, Edinburgh Drive and finally, Simon van der Stel Freeway (colloquially known as the Blue Route). Got that? ;-)
To be honest, I've never seen this brand of coffee before, but I'd bet that if I asked my parents they would remember it from many years ago... possibly before I was even born!
The word "Raadsaal" means "Council Hall" if you translate it directly... which I guess is an odd name for a brand of coffee. Strangely, if you zoom in you'll be able to read that the manufacturer of this traditional-Afrikaans-sounding coffee brand is an old British company, "Brooke Bond Tea & Coffee Co".
This aside, the funniest part of this poster is the phrase "Sterk Koffie!", which means "Strong Coffee!". If you zoom in you'll notice that the coffee consists of 62.5% chicory and only 37.5% real coffee... which, in my opinion, isn't very strong at all! :)
It's really strange to me that the City Council has to place stickers on bins in an attempt to persuade people not to leave their rubbish lying around.
I remember many years ago being astounded at the way a fellow passenger dumped her empty soda can half absent-mindedly out of the train window. So I guess there's my answer - it's for these "absent-minded" folk that we pay taxes to have stickers asking them to be nice and not litter.
Oh, and then don't get me started about the plethora of cigarette butts you'll find lying around public areas... heck, we don't even smoke and one of our outside plant pots has become a resting place for many discarded cigarette butts - thanks guys. ;)
I must be honest, I'm not too sure how you'd enter if you wanted to - the holes in that fence look pretty tiny to me. But still, nice of them to warn us that it's a construction area... because I'm not sure that the cranes there in the background were quite enough of a clue on their own. :)
By the way, if you're in Cape Town and you'd like to get a closer look at the stadium, visit the Green Point Stadium Visitors' Centre website to find out about the tours and experiences that are available. Paul and I will definitely be making a turn there ourselves very soon...
In South Africa we have several names for a convenience store. A cafe (pronounced ca-fee), a superette and a corner shop are all small convenience stores selling everything from sweets and milk to detergents and candles. Prices are normally a little inflated - irrespective of what Tahiera has written on the wall - and as a rule, we NEVER buy meat from this kind of store (even if it is an emergency) as one can never be sure how long the meat's really been in that fridge! :)
Since our last two posts were about the Argus Cycle Tour I hope that you're just itching to get out into nature, away from all the traditional tourist spots. If you're keen, then read on.
Dirtopia is a mountain bike event and hiking trail construction company. While we haven't yet attended one of their hiking or biking events, I've known about them for ages. I happened to notice that they've organised a full-moon hike from DelVera (near Stellenbosch) for tomorrow night, 11 March! We'd love to go, but unfortunately won't be able to make it tomorrow - but if you're free and want to get out, meet people, and experience hiking at night, I'm certain that you'll have a truck-load of fun.
The cost is R40 per person, they leave the Delvera Trail Centre at 18h00, and you can call 021 884 4752 to make a booking.
We haven't been in contact with the Dirtopia guys yet, so if you do go, please be sure to report back on the experience. Kerry-Anne and I will tag along on a hike some time and let you know what it's like. Heading in the direction of Stellenbosch, DelVera is located about 10KM from the N1 highway, along the R44 towards Stellenbosch.
I learned a fascinating thing about wine-making in South Africa recently.
Winemakers press the same grapes several times. The first pressing gives the best quality wine, and the last the worst quality (much the same as "extra virgin" and "virgin" olive oil). The interesting thing that the winemaker I spoke with said was that by law he is not allowed to throw any wine away - all wine produced has to be sold.
My first thought was one of admiration for the law-makers, as I figured they must really appreciate the value of a good bottle of wine. This naivety was quickly dashed though, as the winemaker elaborated, explaining that it's not for any environmental or other good reason, but because the government wants as much tax money as possible.
A wry smile what all I got when, in an effort to save us all from bad wine, I asked why the last pressing of poor wine wasn't simply skipped. From his response I gathered that plenty of very juicy grape skins are disposed of each year. :)
While Kerry-Anne watched another Standard Bank Pro20 cricket match at Sahara Park Newlands this afternoon, I spent some time reading IT strategy documents in between sips of coffee (and beer:)) at the little restaurant at Montebello. The document, discussing strategic direction, was coincidentally in line with today's City Daily Photo theme of Paths and Passages. I spotted this signpost just as I was leaving, and thought it would be an interesting take on the theme.