Tuesday, 19 May 2009

Bo-Kaap, V&A and Rick's Cafe

Last week (12th May) we went to Cape Town for the day to do some admin, explore a little and meet up with some of Elaine’s old school friends for the evening.

First up on a fantastically warm and sunny autumn day (a nice change from rain) was a visit to the Traffic Department for Elaine to deliver a letter claiming against her traffic fine of R500 (£35) for running a red light near Strand a few months ago. Incidentally this is her third fine since we’ve been here compared to my 1 very minor speeding fine! Having seen the photo accompanying the fine I can safely say that she is guilty as charged! Elaine though (of course) does not agree, claiming that yellow (amber to us) means GO and not STOP if safe to do so! We will keep our fingers crossed that the fine is reduced or withdrawn but I for one am not holding my breath!

Next we decided to spend a little time exploring the Bo-Kaap neighbourhood of Cape Town, nestled on the slopes of Signal Hill on the edge of the City Centre this area was founded by the Muslim slaves brought to the Cape by the Dutch in the 1700s. The area is home to the first Mosque in South Africa and is known for its brightly painted buildings, vibrant atmosphere and welcoming locals, the ‘Cape Malays’.

We drove up the cobbled streets until we could go no further and enjoyed the panoramic views of Cape Town and Table Mountain. This truly is a stunning city, you can see Table Mountain from just about everywhere and the natural ‘bowl’ (hence City Bowl?) it creates between its foothills and the sea are the perfect location to live. For me this goes a long way to explaining the special energy that Cape Town has and the relaxed attitude of the locals (obviously speaking in general).
Next we drove back down into the narrow cobbled streets of Bo-Kaap and spent some time walking the streets, photographing the buildings and speaking to some of the friendly locals.

The whole area has a creative feel, compounded by the fact that Carol Boyes (Elaine’s favourite cutlery manufacturer) has her studio there as do the amazing wire artists of Streetwires. If anybody has a spare R1000 (£65) we like this one from the Nguni Cow range!

After exploring Bo-Kaap we went to the V&A Waterfront for a bit of shopping (though not at Gucci, Prada or Jimmy Choo obviously) and some lunch. After wandering the shopping mall and having a long and fascinating chat to Steve Bull (originally from Bournemouth, UK) at The Waterfront Woodturners in the Red Shed Craft Centre we decided on a seafood platter for two at Ocean Basket, giving Elaine the opportunity to pretend to use Table Mountain as a real table!

Having achieved far less than intended on our day in the ‘Mother City’ it was soon time to head to the other side of town and the Casablanca inspired Rick’s Cafe to meet up with some of Elaine’s old school friends for a bit of an informal reunion. Fortunately for me there were some familiar faces in the form of Flippie, Lise, Jurg and Liezl as well as a few unfamiliar ones!

We had a great night, even though Elaine and I found it difficult to eat anything at all after our not so light lunch! The restaurant was great with good food (Moroccan influence) and cool staff. It was also interesting to see the huge Balthazar’s of red wine (12 litre bottles!) that were being used for decoration!

After a very enjoyable few hours we headed back to the ‘Bosch around midnight very tired but very happy!

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