I ♥ CT

It’s 13 years since I was last in the ‘Mother City’. And just like when you’re growing up and someone who hasn’t seen you for a long time typically says, “my, haven’t you changed”, so have I reacted to Cape Town. It’s like CT’s Big African Mama has finally kicked the city into shape. And just in time for the 2010 World Cup being hosted by South Africa!

There’s a joke that it’s called the Mother City because it takes 9 months to do anything in Cape Town. But I’d be inclined to disagree. It only took me two emails, one phone call and a visit to a shop in the city centre to find a bike I could borrow to take part in Cape Town’s Critical Mass last Friday. The guys at Fixed Gear Cape Town are doing a great job of bringing fixie culture and city cycle style to Cape Town.

I’m not sure what I expected to find on coming back here. I have hazy memories from January 1997 of the backpackers’ hangouts on Long Street, climbing Table Mountain because the cable car was out of service with a hangover (mine not the cable car’s), getting sloshed in Stellenbosch on a wine tour and being surprised by the chilly sea waters on the Atlantic coastline.

All of that is still here, although the cable car works and I’ve drunk considerably less Hunters’ Gold this trip. But there is so much more now too. A shiny new stadium built for the World Cup which Capetonians are really proud of. It hosted its first match just the other day. Lots more security and police presence. Arty suburbs aplenty with great creative spaces and lots of seriously great designers. A small but growing bike culture. A blooming green scene – the first article in Cape Town’s Time Out is all about “going green in the Mother City” citing the city’s first green shopping arcade, local organic markets and a green cab company. A retro vibe from all the vintage cars and second-hand clothing stores. And my personal favourite, a cafe culture with divine coffee, cakes and croissant. “Lekker” as the locals say.

It’s almost as though Cape Town has done a London. From a structure-less city it’s become a series of areas with their own identities, like the idea that London is really just a collection of villages each with a different vibe. There’s even an imaginary dividing line known as the ‘lentil curtain’ that separates the hippies from the townies here!

As far as I can tell in 10 days, the main areas and the character of their inhabitants are:

Observatory (or Obs) for the hippy-arty crowd

Woodstock for the eco-arty-foodie tribe

Sea Point promenade (a la Miami boulevard) for the highly-toned fitness fanatics

Camps Bay for the Riviera beach set (more St Tropez than S Africa)

Clifton for the wannabe-seen scene

Bo-Kaap around Cape Quarter for the true flag flyers of the Rainbow Nation

Long Street/ Kloof Street and Gardens for the they-think-they’re-trendy Alpha types

Kalk Bay for the literary-arty lovers

♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥♥

More to come about CT and its ‘capeability’ soon.

I just know that I ♥ the city whose tourism slogan is “Live it. Love it.” Exactly my motto.

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2 Responses to “I ♥ CT”

  1. Henry Says:

    Great blog. Well jealous. Hurry up and move there so I can come and visit!

  2. georginacombes Says:

    Thanks Hank, I’m trying!

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