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Cape Town

Written on: Wednesday June 4th, 2008

By 6.30pm, every evening, the fading light has dissapeared. The distant lights on table mountain descend into a haze, and the clouds that have been weighing heavy over the city all day open up into rain, sending any lingering tourists running for their hotel. This, it seems, is Cape Town in the winter. And I love it.

I've been in Cape Town for a week now, which is the longest I have spent in one place since Nairobi. The city is a real mix of people, cultures and traditions, relfecting it's nature as a melting pot, both inside Africa, and from it's time as one of the most important ports on the planet. And this is well illustrated in it's cuisine. Since arriving I have eaten at a Mexican restaurant (where we slugged back Tequilas till late), a Kurdish bar (but the Belly Dancer was half German) and a Hawaiin health food specialists.

Earlier this week I visited Robben Island, home to the infamous Prison that was used to remove political prisoners (such as Nelson Mandela) from South African society decades ago. The catamaran taking us to the Island was a little shakey (it was a rough day) and the tour itself was dissapointingly rushed at under 2 hours, but nevertheless it was a fascinating trip. Since leaving the island I have become interested in reading up on the stories of some of the other famous prisoners, besides Mandela. It struck me that sometimes their contribution is forgotten when one looks at the history of Apartheid, becuase of the giant that Mandela become. But there were of course many others involved, not least the man about whom I am currently reading about, Robert Subukwe, who was held, without charge, for 3 years in solitary confinement.

After the sober visit to Robben Island I also ventured up Table Mountain, on what has been just about the only clear day so far. The new cable cars feature a device known to strike fear into vertigo sufferers - the revolving floor - which I only discovered after having fixed myself into a position with minimal visibility. Damn technology. Up on the top, the mountain is of course flat, and pretty wide, so you are able to take a long stroll. Until the cloud lands, which it did. Fortunately I was able to reel off a few clear photos.

For the next week I haven't made too many plans. I'm hoping for a hot day with no winds, so that I can go for a shark dive with Great Whites, but we'll have to see.

See you all soon!


From Darren on Jun 5th, 2008

UPDATE: I woke up this morning, pulled the dorm-room curtain back and was stunned to see table mountain, all of it. So, as the sun is out, I'm going to scramble about in my bag to find my sunglasses, pack a bottle of water and take my fully charged camera out on an open top bus to get some photos of the city before the clouds inevitably reappear!