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Cosmopolitan Cape Town

Written on: Saturday November 11th, 2006

A journal entry from: The Winter of 2006/2007

  • We played three golf courses during the week, one in the centre of Cape Town, Royal Cape and two others that were in vineyard country areas De Zalze and Steenberg. Royal Cape is an old course which is a bit difficult to get on; the story goes that you're not allowed to take a cart unless you have a doctor's certificate stating that you're incapable of walking the course. At Steinberg we were forced to take caddies so Andres and Patrick joined us for our round. They're both live in the townships and earn 120 rands for caddying a game (about $20) if they're lucky they get to caddy two rounds in a day. We've really enjoyed the golf courses we've played but have found that they're not as cheap as we were anticipating, however Darrell told us that we could have played some decent courses for half the price.
  • Jean and Mike's friend, Arlene, flew into Cape Town from Las Vegas on Friday night. Arlene is the lady who lived in South Africa from 1989 to 2001 and is accompanying us on our safari at the end of November. So Saturday morning we picked her up from her friend Estee's house. Estee lives in a suburb of Cape Town, she's an interior decorator and has a very interesting house. We left Estee to get on with some work after making arrangements to meet her and her boyfriend for dinner that night. Arlene makes a very good tour guide, she's extremely knowledgeable and makes her stories interesting so you don't feel as if you're taking in a bunch of facts all the time. She took us into Cape Town where we parked the car and walked through some of the older areas. Long Street has a number of hostels, funky cafes and night clubs. Arlene showed us an area where only 11 years ago it would have been a totally different scene to what we saw today. She said that just before "the vote" there were areas that you didn't want to go through as there were so many demonstrations and so much violence. What we saw was wonderfully peaceful - it did help that it was a Saturday and there weren't too many people around. We then strolled through the Kompanie Gardens which is named after the Dutch Indian Kompanie who brought native people from Malaysia to work on the east coast of Africa. There were some young black children performing a native dance at the entrance, to the accompaniment of drums and singing by their older brothers and sisters. We drove through the old Malay area where Malaysians still live now, their houses are very small but colourful, some of the areas are now becoming the trendy places to live and some of the older houses are being converted to stores, cafes and restaurants. It was then on to the waterfront and here again we saw the difference between the rich and poor. Even Arlene, who visits Cape Town every November, was astounded at the changes since last year. The waterfront is the area where the fishing and trade boats come in and where the ferry leaves for Robben Island (the island where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for a number of years), it is now also a tourist attraction where a huge shopping area has been built. The stores are very high end, we felt as if we were in Palm Springs or Las Vegas. All around the waterfront are restaurants and cafes and there's a large bandstand where artists were performing. There were also quite a few buskers in the area too. We sat at one of the outside restaurants and had a delicious lunch - see photo.
  • After lunch we drove to Camps Bay which is on the west side of Cape Town another trendy area with a lovely beach. Unfortunately the wind got up so the walk we planned was a short one. Then a drive to Llandudno, an area overlooking the Atlantic with some very expensive housing.
  • It was now almost time for sundowners (happy hour) and we met Estee and Claus at a restaurant where we could have our sundowners outside while the sun set. We felt quite old as the place was filled with beautiful people. Estee said it's the current "in place" to be. It was certainly hard to believe we were in South Africa, we could have been in New with the style and good looks around us. Some of the young guys were gorgeous. Oh yes, I think Roger noticed the girls too.