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Saturday, 01 May 2021

Cape & Town, South Africa

Written by Richard Taylor
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In England, as the saying goes, one can experience four seasons in a day. On the South Africa cape, theyve economized somewhat.

Three seasons,the residents will tell you, and since the standard African calendar is divided into wet or dry, it bolsters the argument that Cape Town is a place apart somehow. Africa, but not really. Different vibe from the continent. Nevertheless, I wondered how that elusive third season manifested itself, even just for the day.

Cape Town, according to the folks who compile such lists, is routinely slotted as one of the globes loveliest cities. Its certainly that, and judging from my airport cabbies rapid litany: Dutch rule…British rule…Boer Wars…Nelson Mandela spoke here…Christian Barnard operated there…” has seen its share of history. 

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The inner city is a handsome center of glass and steel with an upward sweep toward Table Mountain and a downward spread to the Waterfront, the latter a bright festive carnival, dominated by a giant Ferris wheel. Selfies and family pix are snapped by the large yellow rectangle framing the city.

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Vibrant paper mache rhinos line the harbor, recalling those cow sculptures Id seen back in ’06 in Buenos Aires, the ones celebrating Argentinas beef industry. What were the rhinos promoting? Did they eat rhinoceros here?

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A dog adoption office was located near the Ferris wheel, the canine hopefuls roped off in a small square, panting and licking the faces of prospective owners. Closer to the harbor, long queues boarded the ferry to Robben Island, the atoll now maintained as a museum, where Nelson Mandela spent his imprisonment. A gold statue of a man, looking like a Vietnamese farmer for some reason, was gazing across the sailboats. A few minutes later, he was cutting a little two-step and I gave him a couple of rand for fooling me so completely. We bumped fists.

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Afterwards, I sucked on a good lime milkshake, watched the seals swimming by the ships, bought a few postcards and returned to the city proper, following the steep grade to the clean pastel houses of the Bo-Kaap district. Here there were art galleries and cafes, very dignified, very chic and after the bustle of the harbor, a little too quiet.



At the corner of Church and Long, a film director was instructing a tall blonde to skip across the street to her sports car. If there was an ensuing chase scene, I missed it. Certainly Cape Town, with the Frisco-like sweep of its streets, would make a stunt driver’s mouth water.

In the evening, I channel-flipped through the local fare: soccer, cricket, American Idol, indigenous soap operas, and was struck by the latter’s mix of tongues, the characters switching from Afrikaans to Zulu and then a final blurt in English, Get out! I never want to see you again!

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Last modified on Saturday, 01 May 2021

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