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Captivating, Tantalizing, Cape Town

December 30, 2009

(It would appear that the off-line blogging isn’t working that well. I’ve been trying to sort images out for this post for a few days now, so now I’m giving up, in a bid to actually publish the words at least! I have plans for photos, so keep watching this space, in the mean time… here’s something I prepared earlier…)

I’ve never done anything like this before – come on my own to a strange* big city, not knowing anyone here.  (I know my fellow EEP is here, but she’s only been here for a few days herself.) I can’t decide if I feel brave for doing it, or ridiculous for not having done so before!

First impressions?

I’m struggling to describe Cape Town… It’s big. It’s green. It’s clean, very clean actually. There’s a lot of building work going on for the World Cup. There are contrasts. Table Mountain looms overhead and waves pound the rocks on the shore. There are huge expensive modern high rise buildings in the centre, beautiful villa-esque homes on the slopes and shanty town shacks by the airport.

On the way to the hotel, the shuttle bus driver pointed out the areas we were passing – including the infamous Block 6.

Three things struck me as we drove

I am freaked out by how strange it is to be somewhere so hilly. I can’t believe how quickly I’ve become used (again I suppose) to the flatness of Botswana. There’s something foreign and exotic about the heights of Cape Town.

I am surprised by how good it is to see the sea again. I’ve long felt there’s something comforting about it, something healing. Like the feeling I spoke of when you spend time in the bush. I knew I would miss it, I even went for a walk along the shore before I left home. I hadn’t realised how much I was missing it already though. It’s really reasurring. If I had to choose only the sea or only the bush for the rest of my life, I’m not sure which one I’d pick. I suppose some Eastern thinking would say I need both.

Maybe that’s part of why Cape Town is so special. Because it is. That was the third thing that struck me. Our driver loves his city – deeply and passionately. He was born and raised here. He’s visited other places and seen a fair bit of the world. He’s lived through some of the terrible things that happened here, but he’s also see the amazing parts – like sun rise from the top of Table Mountain. And sun set.

Maybe I’m just being young and excitable on my first day in the big city, maybe I’m buying into the ‘2010 Fever’ a little more than I realised, but I don’t think so. There is something about this city, this place at the foot of a  mountain, at the edge of the sea, and so close to the bush… I can’t wait to get to know it!

*as in unfamiliar – not as in odd

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. January 3, 2010 9:55 pm

    Fortunately we have the coverage of the cricket from Cape Town at the moment, so we can see how good it looks (even better when England are taking SA wickets!).

    On the day of the World Cup draw, Radio 5 had some of their programmes from Cape Town, and spoke to some of the ex-pats in the city, and the feeling that came across very strongly from them was that they were equally in love with / awe of the place (lots of comments along the lines of came, saw, never left, never looked back).

    It is something I am looking forward to experiencing in June 🙂

  2. oneredsock permalink
    January 3, 2010 10:12 pm

    I’m totally falling in love with the place… and planning to come back! More to come as soon as I can get it online.

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