As I returned from the vivacious city of Cape Town, Dar seems dull and sleepy on Christmas eve at 8 pm, as compared to the efficacious city.
8pm we would be seated at a trendy restaurant by the Waterfront, enjoying the view of docked catamarans, people sporting fashionable clothes, kids frolicking and innumerable albatross seagulls gliding across the dock by the foot of the majestic table mountains. It would be illegal to miss out mention of bands playing feet tapping Christmas carols and other music. What an evening it would be!
The vibe of the city is contagious, and there is no escaping it. Once you set foot in the city you are entranced by the beauty of the table mountain. I personally feel, it is just the sheer presence of the mountain that rubs onto you. For as far as you can look up, look right or left, and so, so so up close – its the table mountains. Its almost made magical by the sweeping clouds, sometimes light as feather and sometimes dark as the mountain itself. A person like me can sit in one spot and watch this bewitching love ballad for hours at a stretch. Though I’d say, I’d be better equipped with some boozy drink and mesmerizing music, and I for sure, would be a really would be a happy person. The city emanates the perfume of pines, the flowers, the crisp mountain air and a wee bit of the ocean… it is intoxicating, and as I write I wish there was a way to bottle these smells and carry them along with you.
One of my must do essential activities on any travel would be to wake up really early. I wouldn’t want to miss the sunrise at any cost. Day light sets in really early in Cape and therefore sleep got the better off me, and I used to wake up around 5.30. It would be an overwhelming sight to see clouds soar up and around the top, giving way to the forceful rays of sun kissing the mountain top, then the tree tops, followed by roof tops and the streets. Awakening of the city is inevitable – rain or shine. People need to get going, nothing can stop life.
A visit up the cable car to the top of the mountains is definitely worth it. A spine-tingling view of the whole city and the vast fathom less expanse of the silvery Atlantic awaits you at the top. The sunlight caught in the waves look like a thousand diamonds glittering, begging you to loose yourself in them. If the waters were not infested by predators one could still contemplate. I couldn’t dare…oh no, never. If you are someone lucky like me and get the experiences of both a cloudy visit and a bright and sunny visit, I don’t know what you would choose. But I loved being besieged by misty fluffy clouds, a feeling closer to being in heaven catching glimpses of the town below, peek a booing with the clouds. Not to mention the cold winds biting into my skin. It was almost like an expedition to the Himalayas minus the hike. I wish it was possible. Many might say I am crazy….but then that’s who I am.
Someone mentioned that the table mountains are open to a night stay. I wish I could. I would have really spent the night sitting on the hem of the mountain, inhaling air laden with the mountains, the mud, the sky, the trees and flower, and the sea of course. I could spend time counting or not counting stars, and maybe even trying to reach out for them. How big would the moon look from up there, I am sure close enough to touch it. What would it feel like? Mouldy, metallic, or watery? I am sure the wind would be strong and freezing, but I wouldn’t mind that. What a phenomenal sight it would be see the sparkle of the city at night and realize its bustling with life, while you are up there so close yet so far away! It would have been one of the best nights I have spent in my lifetime. Maybe, ….someday, I will.
A visit to Cape without a trip to the wine routes would be like eating a cupcake without the icing on top. We did a visit to the Spier Vineyards. Dating back to as old as 1692. The place had a cheerful warmth to it, not to mention a wonderful atmosphere with young olive trees, immature grapes hanging from vines, happy content relaxed faces (I think most of them were almost inundated with too much wine) The lunch we had was the best I had during this stay, and the sparkly added just the right amount of tongue teasing elan to our palate. The cozy Restaurant called Eight had a fairly quick service and friendly staff, and at the risk of sounding repetitive – finger licking food. The portions were huge….. I was stuffed, but thought it would be shaming if I left even a morsel of the delicious butternut gnochi with spare ribs on my plate. I would regret it for a long time to come. To spare myself of the future pain I pushed every bite down with a gulp of “Secret”.
I’d be ungrateful if I didn’t mention what a soul-stirring drive it was from Cape Town to Spier. Purple Hollandis laced the roads, and high pines lent a warm fuzzy smell in the air, the beautiful Dutch architectural homes were a pretty sight to see and I day-dreamt of sitting on a hanging balcony drinking in sunrise or sunset with a book in my hand. Life is good! There were the occasional horse farms and it was a beautiful sight to see well reared horses majestically sprinting across the fields – “movie like”, I thought to myself.
In between all these beautiful sight came a patch of tin shacks for as far the eye can see. It was called Khayelitsha. It quite moved me to see so much of poverty set outside of the city. A quick chat with the driver enlightened me that most of the poor black people in this region stay here. I wondered how dreadful it would be for these people to find any kind of employment when they are so far away from where there could be possible chances of them finding a job, or how much they would spend on just commuting alone, if they did go to the city to work. I was left thoughtless and couldn’t comprehend the state of these people. So apartheid did exist, and to think of it, they still are outcasts in their own country. Its such a shame. Why must people suffer God ? I questioned – though I don’t know who will answer that. My heart gets gloomy when I still think of that vast expanse of tinned dwelling place. I can really, only pray.
I pondered why the truth always saddens our heart and burdens our spirit. But the fact of life is that while eradicating poverty and pain may not be in our hands, the least we can do is to have compassion towards people, at least begin to open our eyes and hearts to the needs of those nearest to us. I have more often noticed people being highly nonchalant and oblivious to their own surroundings, and I cant find a reason good enough to do so. Huh, I know this little bit is a detour from the beauty of Cape Town, but, like I say, you cant escape the truth, and should you even try to?