So… since February… we’ve been living in Cape Town.
Well – not Cape Town city… but rather, the Cape Peninsula… otherwise known as “The Deep South”… otherwise described as “living behind the lentil curtain”.
Life is very pleasant behind the lentil curtain.
Our first apartment was in Noordhoek on Beach Road… a few hundred metres from the beach. Noordhoek is a very kid-friendly, dog-friendly, horse-friendly, bike-friendly place. In fact – if I had to sum up the Peninsula, it would be Kid-Dog-Horse-Bike place. Seems like everyone in Noordhoek has kids, dogs, bikes and horses. Lots of fit people too. Jogging about all fit-like.
This sometimes made me feel guilty (about my sad level of non-existent fitness)… but the feeling quickly passed.
Stuff I loved about Noordhoek, Misty Cliffs, Scarborough and Cape Town in general:
- The epic beauty of the Cape. Cape Town can not be beaten for it’s natural beauty. The mountains, the sea, the vineyards… it is just so, so beautiful. The natural beauty of Cape Town just does something for me.
- Living a few steps away from the beach (many afternoon & evening beach-walks and rock-trotting)
- Cafe Roux, The Food Barn, Imhoff Farm and all the other places that offer great coffee, good food and wonderful kid-friendly play spaces (Cape Town is very family-friendly).
- The yummy Thursday Evening Food Market at Cape Point Vineyards.
- The trees, the green-ness… the big open fields at Noordhoek Common where horses graze and fit people go for jogs.
- Kirstenbosch Gardens. We kept going back – it’s that beautiful.
- Bob’s Bagel Cafe in Kalk Bay (and the park opposite). Lovely, sheltered spot for kids to play and adults to quaff coffee & bagels whilst reading magazines.
- The penguins in Simon’s Town (just one of those must-do Cape Town experiences)
- Vergelegen Wine Estate (for many reasons… the giant trees… the kid’s play area at the restaurant… the museum… the forest…)
- The chocolate makers at The Spice Route.
- The interesting creative stuff happening in Woodstock at places like the Old Castle Brewery, The Old Biscuit Mill (housing the Neighbourgoods Market) and The Woodstock Exchange.
- The general cleanliness of the city (not to mention the lack of potholes!)
- The wonderful… breath-of-fresh-air… LACK of advertising and newspaper headlines plastered on every street lamp-post (ala Joburg).
- Our ridiculously wonderful beach house in Misty Cliffs…
- Slankop’s wonderful iron lighthouse… just down the road from us.
- Cape Point (for the magnificent views and beauty… but not for the overpriced food at the overpriced restaurant!)
- Chapman’s Peak Hotel in Hout Ball still makes the best calamari. Ever.
- Chapman’s Peak itself offers views to gulp down greedily.
- The hidden “Discovery Room” at the South African Museum of Natural History.
- Free-Range play-places for kids. The Peninsula is full of playgrounds that I would have loved as a kid. You don’t find bulky, plastic “safe” playgrounds (ala McDonalds) on the Peninsula… instead, there’s tree houses, rope swings, piles of wood, kid-sized nests (and so much more). The whole place offers a wonderful outdoorsy, lifestyle for kidlets.
- Proteas, proteas everywhere! My favourite flower!
- Best steak I think we’ve ever tasted at the Hussar Grill in Camps Bay.
- The new friends I made… specifically Meg & Charise. Who I am now going to miss horribly.
- The chilled lifestyle. I mean… we watched whales frolic while we took a shower! Living on the Peninsula felt as though we were on a long-term summer holiday. Nick often mentioned that working there didn’t feel like *work*.
Stuff I wasn’t too fond of:
- Flies. With lots of horses come lots of flies. And Noordhoek has more than it’s fair share of flies.
- Dog poo on Long Beach. So. Much. Dog. Poo. On. Long. Beach…. because everyone – in this very dog-friendly place – walks their dogs on the beach and, lo! the dogs seem to find the beach an irresistible place to squat and push out the biggest, stinkiest, steaming turds. And everyone’s like: “Oh well”… and they just nonchalantly shrug and look away whilst Rover does his business… and on they all stroll, without a care in the world.
General Comments about Cape Town:
I will always have a deep nostalgia for Cape Town.
I was born there. I spent my first years eating the beach sand at Blouberg. Cape Town will always have a special place in my heart.
Clearly the Cape Town Government is on it’s best behaviour with something to prove (the topic of who they want to impress the most is an argument for another day). I deeply appreciated the general lack of litter… and pot-holes (which Joburg is renowned for)… and (my absolute favourite thing!): the LACK of advertisements and billboards and newspaper headlines stuck to every lamppost.
On the slightly political side of the coin… the Peninsula (at least) seems to be very white.
If you visit the food market at the Cape Point Vineyard, for example, it’s like 98% whities. Whities just like me. Middle-to-Higher-Income whities who live in the suburbs with 2 kids, 2 cars, 2 jobs, etc… Much (although not all) of Cape Town doesn’t seem very racially integrated – especially in comparison to Joburg… a lot of it still smacked of old-time colonialism and that makes me feel uncomfortable.
I miss (and crave) diversity… and a healthy integration of people, belief systems and cultures.
As I mentioned before in this post – I don’t only want to hang around people who are the same as us… (whether the same culture / class / religion / political outlook / economic bracket / race / sexual orientation / whatever….).
In fact, as soon as I start having uber-high doses of sameness (in any of the aforementioned contexts) – I start getting antsy and itchy-feet’ish and start searching for newness and diversity to make me feel human again. I want to meet and connect with people from ALL flavours, colours, cultures, backgrounds and social contexts. I don’t only want to mingle with people who are sorta like me.
One my most oft’ repeated phrases (and I wonder whether people truly realise how much I mean this)…. I LOVE DIVERSITY!!!
So… the one thing that I didn’t really like about the Peninsula – was that there wasn’t a wonderful, healthy mix of diversity. Not saying that it’s “wrong”… (let me add this disclaimer, because I don’t want anyone to get their knickers in a knot and to think that I’m saying that it’s “wrong” for people to hang with their own-kind. After all – it’s a very natural, human thing to do). No – I’m saying that in MY ideal world… and MY ideal life… I would prefer more mingling, integration and diversity. I don’t only want to be hanging people who are like ME. I want to connect with people who are not like me at all.
For me – it’s what makes life so interesting: human diversity!
Okay. Enough about that.
On to new things. We have now left Cape Town behind us. I miss it already. But new adventures are calling….