Posts Tagged ‘Cape Town’
For the past few years I have driven past the old Oranjezicht Bowling Green on many occasions. The bowling club, which operated for 50 years, closed down leaving this prime piece of city land abandoned in its wake. Wasted green space in a city fast running out of the precious green stuff.
Fortunately local residents, led by Cheryl Ozinsky, saw a future for the plot. They proposed an inner city farm to local city officials, jumped through the necessary bureaucratic hoops and within a month had received permission.
With the help of some generous donations (about R500 000 at last count) led by the Madam Zingara Group donating R100 000; and a group of volunteers, the once derelict land has now being transformed into an oasis of fast greening soil – an inner city organic farm.
This one plot of land won’t change the world, however it shows what can be achieved with a little bit of land, a lot of initiative and people willing to give up their time, energy and in some cases money, for the greater good. This does sound a bit grandiose to be honest but the idea is not to solve world hunger but to use local land more productively and make organically grown veg available to residents without the carbon footprint attached.
It sets an example of what can be achieved with limited space; be it a small balcony or a patch of garden, you can grow your own veg without too much hassle or expense. I have
now started noticing many other disused pieces of land in the City Bowl and Atlantic Seaboard region and would love the veggie growers to get hold of them before the developers do. We do not need more suffocating concrete monstrosities.
My five year old and I popped in to take a closer look. The youngster was keen and quickly entered into the spirit of things, planting protective hedges as well as peas and spinach while chatting up some local talent at the same time. He loved it and spent a healthy and productive couple of hours getting his hands dirty, learning about growing food and generally having a good time. We have returned and he again pitched in, as did mom and dad this time. I have seen many kids there and I think it’s a great way of introducing them to alternative means of obtaining healthy food other than procuring them at the local supermarket. It’s also fun and educational.
The land was originally a farm with a weekly market where they used to ring a bell to call residents to buy. The bell still remains and I look forward to it ringing again when the produce is ready for sale. This is a great way of getting the community involved in a collective project, making unused land productive and educating kids and adults alike.
“I’m going to fuck you before the night is over.”
Hellavu thing to hear from a woman on a gentle summer’s evening out; especially when uttered in a strong Eastern European accent to the gay guy sitting on her other side.
What the fuck am I, chopped liver?
Now I may be in a relationship and not particularly interested in fucking the exotic temptress next to me – but I am straight and at least, technically, on the menu.
Fucking chopped liver I tell you.
Earlier she told the gay dude to feel her tits to prove they were real, he replied that tits repulsed him and he wasn’t interested – so my PIA (partner in action) told me to feel them.
Now, as tempted as I was, it’s not every day one’s significant other tells you to feel up another woman. I had to decline; my days of public fondling are over. Not PIA’s, she agreed to prove the lack of silicon in said European’s breasts – so she copped a feel.
Europa and her friend, a pre-school teacher, who we had met earlier landed up joining us at our table at the Backyard Grill & Lounge on Regent Road in Sea Point; along with gay dude and his friend, an old acquaintance. Said pre-school teacher and Europa were sucking on their Digital Berries like – well let’s just say they were sucking. Digital Berries are the latest electronic cigarettes to hit the market – some sort of fruit flavoured water filler, which, according to the teach, is perfectly safe. Now it well may be a healthier alternative to the real thing, but it clearly was not doing the job as both smokers alternated between regular cigs and their digital versions. “We just got them today” was the excuse given.
Luckily Junior was sitting in the indoor area watching TV, as the table talk got kind of steamy.
Gay dude was browsing gay dating sites on his mobile – checking out dick sizes and G-d knows what else. There was talk of shemales and whether the European woman had a dick or not and I was suddenly put off the piece of boerie that I had ordered.
Junior had no such issues, which was a slight problem as this Backyard Grill is not shy to charge; a pity as it’s a fun place to hang out, informal with an outdoor area conducive to meeting people – all types! Its not often you go to a restaurant and meet a mixed bunch of people – making it a fun evening with some interesting characters.
I like the Backyard’s relaxed setting and will return. Although I found their food tasty, it is expensive for what it is, making it slightly prohibitive to make this a regular hangout.
Naming your burger joint after canine testicles takes…. well balls I suppose. But Nigel Woods’ burgers really are the dog’s bollocks.
This is my kind of place, a driveway come alleyway in Gardens; a few old-style table and chairs, some hot coals and a been-there done-that still-doing-it Englishman making the best burgers in Cape Town.
This is a no-frills burger driveway; bring your own cutlery, if you think you need, your own drink, any kind of drink, unless you want wine, in that case buy 1½l of Nigel’s own brew – good wine and excellent value at R50 for the funky tube. It comes papsak style inside the tube but this papsak is quite o.k. to take to a party.
Then there are the burgers. Choose one from the generous list, considering the no frills approach of the place. R55 a burger or R50 for the plain and you get a tasty large burger with a good piece of meat and plenty other goodies plus your choice of toppings. Pepper mushroom was my choice and delicious but the American 50’s style slider also looked good. Pity @Capetowncandy didn’t leave me a taste. Anyway, I’m putting this burger joint at the top of my burger list and I know my burgers – I was eating them before they became trendy – lots of them.
Nigel only makes 30 burgers a night – first come first served – and late comers might get Nachos if they behave. But you don’t tell people you went to the DB and ate nachos – they give you that pitying, condescending look – like everyone knows you need to get there early and the Nachos are really a consolation prize. Being occasionally helpful people we tried to assist some new arrivals with advice but were told very quickly, “we’ve been here before.”
Who would have thought burgers in a Gardens alleyway would become the trendiest food spot in Cape Town?
He opens at 5pm – don’t try booking. Cash only.
When one of South Africa’s favourite artists plays at one of SA’s most beautiful botanical gardens on a magnificent summer’s day in Cape Town – it’s always going to be a good evening out. Sitting on the sloped lawns, mountains standing majestically in the background, thousands of eager concert goers and a cooler bag full of cold beer, it was a perfect afternoon. Except for one thing.
I acquired a case of severe picnic envy. Not that me and @CapetownCandy – my PIA – partner in adventure (at least those that don’t involve steep ascents and severe drop offs) don’t know how to put a decent picnic together. On the contrary; we are highly experienced picnic-goers capable of doing wildly creative picnic stuff on an almost empty fridge and sometimes empty wallet too. But we don’t always get it together to the best of our ability.
This Sunday was one of those. Even though Provita and cheese, olives, Pringles and peanuts were adequate for our needs – it paled in comparison to what I saw flaunted on the hallowed Kirstenbosch turf. It wasn’t just the sushi platter the couple next to us devoured but the range of amazing looking treats served from perfect looking picnic baskets that got to me.
A trip to the gents took me past so many awesome looking picnic hampers that I had to put my hands deep in my pockets to stop me helping myself to a quick snack here and there. Seeing so much tasty food brazenly displayed does make it feel a bit like a large cocktail party where you are welcome to help yourself – but here it would seem wrong. Bbq chicken pieces cut into perfect bite size helpings, platters of exotic cheeses (well they looked exotic), pies, meats and other goodies which all seem to glow with a robust tastiness – despite the hot sun beating down on it. Luscious fruits, expensive nuts, sweet nibbles and amazing looking sandwiches – it all looked so good. But I restrained myself and made do with our humble offerings and cold beer, which did help ease the envy. One neighbour did share his homemade beer with us, which was excellent; he also informed us about the local subculture of home-made beer brewers developing in the Cape. Check out www.southyeasters.co.za
Food aside – Jonny delivered as always – singing old classics and introducing new songs that we hadn’t heard before. As much as I enjoyed the concert I couldn’t help keeping one envious eye on the mountain as the setting sun made it glow with a come hither look (even though I had enjoyed an awesome morning adventure up Kloof Corner Ridge, and my other eye on the delicious looking food surrounding me. Next time we will be better prepared.
Running up and down Cape Town’s three peaks (Devils Peak, Table Mountain and Lions Head) isn’t most people’s idea of fun – but it is mine. This is kind of strange as I used
to hate running. Well hate is a strong word; I just didn’t like it much. I loved hiking though and found once I got into it that I could hike pretty fast up some fairly steep mountains. Then I saw an article in the paper about the Three Peaks Challenge which caught my interest, but after reading that they start in town near to Greenmarket Square and return to the Square after each peak – I laughed to myself “fucking crazy” and lost interest.
The following year, 2002, the Three Peaks reared its beautiful three heads again and a friend, a Celtics runner at the time, told me to phone fellow Celtics runner Gavin Snell, the organiser of the event. As sceptical as I was I soon found myself chatting to Gavin who told me about the event, showed me some pics and hauled out his shoebox of memorabilia including the hand carved trophies of the Three Peaks that every finisher gets. The trophies are made by Don Hartley, founder and co-organiser of the event. All well and good I said but I don’t run. Don’t worry said Gavin you’ll be fine. Far from convinced I decided to give it a bash and entered.
I started doing some running, completed my first half marathon in the process, and on the first Saturday in November, 2002 I found myself lined up in Long Street at 5am with a bunch of other nutters. About 8 ½ hours later I completed my first challenge, had the best time and was hooked – not just on the Three Peaks but on trail running in general.
November 2011, nine years later, I have completed my 10th Challenge. Those years have seen me become a seasoned trail runner who now loves running and has his own shoebox of Three Peaks memories. I have watched the local trail running scene explode into a main stream sport with many roadies finally seeing the light and now stretching their legs regularly if not exclusively on the mountains. Where once there were a handful of trail events there is now one almost every week.
While the trail running scene has changed I’m glad to say the Three Peaks Challenge has not. The organisers are the same, the atmosphere is the same, and the entry fee kept affordable, unlike many events which charge almost 3x that amount for far less, and you still receive a hand carved Three Peaks trophy if you finish. More importantly I still love this event. I have roped in many an unsuspecting runner who landed up running next to me at some run or another, burning their ears with tales of this special event – some of them completed their 5th challenge this year. The one difference is that nine years ago you could phone Gavin the night before and get an entry – that is no longer possible.
Thanks Gavin, who has not only organised all 15 events to date –read the history of the event here – but has run every one as well – and thanks Don for starting this event in 1997, 100 years after it was first completed. Looking forward to no 11.
With Cape Town experiencing a mid winter summer paradise, tourism authorities finally have something to celebrate as the Mother City looks to steal Durban’s winter thunder by becoming South Africa’s best all year round destination.
“Everyone knows that people only go to Durban in winter because it’s hot but this global warming is turning things around.” said a Cape Town Tourism official from Clifton Beach today. “We know Cape Town rocks in summer, now it rocks in winter too. We have never needed to effectively market this city, and wasted millions not doing so. Now the weather is on our side and we have all-year-round summer. Our strategy worked – nature is on our side.”
With tourism officials and hospitality players recently bemoaning the quiet season – this opportunity has come at an excellent time for the city. What was once the secret season is a secret no longer as Cape Town looks to market itself as the city with an endless summer. Lifeguards and umbrella custodians have been woken from their winter slumber and rushed to beaches around the Cape to cope with the expected influx of beachgoers. But while the few lucky tourists who are here have rushed to the beaches, Capetonians have stayed away, not believing their eyes and sweaty armpits and steadfastly refusing to hit the beaches until December.
Premier Helen Zille was quick to jump on the overheated bandwagon. “The Western Cape is now not only the best run province in the country but now also has the best weather and any attempts by the ruling party to control the weather will be met with fierce resistance.”
Talk of water shortages and rain-starved farms were put aside as the sun continued to shine. A shirtless Capetonian, sunbathing on Long Street, said: “Hey, if this is what global warming is all about – bring it on. Ya, it may not be PC to celebrate rising temperatures but it sure is lekker.”
In the 90’s start-up IT companies dreamed about been bought out by Microsoft, and many were. In the 0’s internet start-ups dreamed about been bought out by Google, and many were. Today’s start-ups, apparently, dream about turning down Google. And that’s what Groupon has done – the group buying giant from the States has reportedly turned down an offer of $6 billion from the search engine giants; this for a business that was started in November 2008.
Who and what are Groupon and what do they do? Groupon is the largest collective buying or group buying site in the States, and I imagine, the world. These sites secure group deals with companies, whereby the deal, which is offered at a discount from between 20% to 90 %( depends on the site and the deal), only kicks in when enough people buy it. The site acts as a conduit between the supplier and the public, offering the supplier publicity, marketing and often some much needed business.
South Africa has about 20 group buying sites and it looks like this year will see Group buying really take off in South Africa. Groupon have made their move and bought local guys Twangoo and there are a number of guys staking their claim in this potentially lucrative industry.
The more the merrier I say, and although I have been slightly under-whelmed by the deals on offer – my low-maintenance self doesn’t do beauty treatments – this should definitely improve as the industry and awareness grows.
One of the local contenders, Ubuntudeal.co.za is just four months old but is already making a name for itself; I spoke to internet entrepreneur and Ubuntudeal
group-buying specialist, Jess Green.
Do you think this is the year for collective buying to take off in South Africa?
JG: I think it took off in 2010, but this year we’ll see a phenomenal growth in the industry.
There are probably 20 sites in SA at the moment – what sets you apart from the others?JG:
Quality, not quantity. Firstly, our deals are always at least 50% off. No other group buying site in SA has adhered to this at all. It’s easy to ask for 25% or 40% off. Hence, we have had fewer deals, but they’ve given the consumer a bigger and better deal. Secondly, our site is the best by far. We’re the only ones to have film/video on every deal, who have an updated blog, who have a scalable site that can hold millions of users, if and when it comes to that. We are also very strong on customer-service; something the group buying industry is notorious for being bad on. We have our 0861 UBUNTU number – we’re a real company out there, not a one man band like many SA group buying sites.
I see many of your deals are spa and treatment related, what other kinds of deals will there be?
I think on all group buying sites there are more spa deals than others, but we still have one of the best spreads in terms of deals. Just look at our Underground Cape Town adventure, our yoga classes, restaurant deals, t-shirts and much more.
I see Groupon have bought Twangoo – your thoughts
Yes, they did. Twangoo grew quickly due to getting deals on the one hand, which I applaud them for. They also got subscribers abnormally quickly, mainly through spam, which I, well, don’t applaud them for. Groupon doesn’t mind if you’ve grown due to spam, they bought a Brazilian site too which had even had court action against them for spam. It’s an unfair method of growing quickly, but I suppose it’s worked for them.
Do you know what they paid?
No, and I don’t think this is important. What is important is how they were bought. I see that the owners are now on contract for three years for Groupon. That tells you they weren’t just paid a lump sum, and were probably tied into what Groupon usually does – a revenue sharing offer. This could be the right or wrong choice for them.
How do you feel about these guys entering the market?
How many banks are there in South Africa? How many car companies? I’m elated – the group buying industry worldwide will now look to SA. LivingSocial and BuyWithMe are coming too. The world is now watching us much more closely.
How many people are you at UbuntuDeal?
Including the whole team, 12 people.
Where do you see UbuntuDeal in two years time?
That’s a tough question, because in our industry, two years is a very long time! UbuntuDeal will probably have been bought by then, but our quality focus will always be there. We’ll be sure to still have the best deals and service.
The pretenders have gone home, the party continues and we’re down to the final eight. Who can win it?
Netherlands V Brazil
A classic in the making with both teams unbeaten and looking very strong, if unspectacular, so far. Sure, we get the odd moment of brilliance but both teams seem to be playing within themselves and hopefully this game will see an exciting and attacking clash between the yellow and orange. Brazil in particular looks a fit and athletic side and while England were the epitome of dead legs the Brazilians always seem to get multiple yellow shirts behind the ball, whether in attack or defense, and seem to have plenty in reserve.
This game has the potential to be a classic; Holland has a proven match winner in Arjen Robben and Brazil have a few with a rested Kaka a real threat.
Uruguay V Ghana
The heart says Ghana, the head says Uruguay. Ghana, with the entire continent behind them will be feeling the pressure. I don’t think they think they can really win this thing – beat Uruguay and they may think differently.
Uruguay are a good team with two excellent, and more importantly, in form strikers in Suarez and Forlan. They lack the skill and panache of other sides but are disciplined and a far cry from the Uruguay of old, once known as the dirtiest team in South America.
The teams look evenly balanced and I think the more attacking team will prosper. That might look like the South Americans at the moment but if the Ghanaians get an early goal, then anything can happen. This could be an important moment in soccer history, no African team has ever made the semi–finals before. It’s time.
Argentina v Germany
The two form teams of the tournament so far and should on current form be meeting in the final but one of these powerhouses will have to bow out before the final four.
I thought at the beginning of the tournament that Argentina can’t possibly win the tournament with that nutter, Diego Marradona in charge. Don’t get me wrong I love the guy – he’s a living legend and a complete loon but you can’t ignore him. He provides more entertainment than all the other coaches put together. He’s either carrying on like a six year old with a new bike when his team scores or saying it like it is at the press conferences, insulting whoever is necessary on the day.
Hey, Argentina could win it on his passion and enthusiasm alone. While they struggled to qualify for the finals they now look a happy and very entertaining team, unbeaten and probably the real form side at the moment – pity they have to play the Germans so early on.
The Germans are like a breath of fresh air compared to their teams of years gone by. They almost always perform well in major championships but in the past they have relied on a strong work ethic, discipline and a good physical presence. This time they can combine all that with attacking flair and lightning fast counter attacks, which cost England so dearly. Manager, Joachim Loew seems to have the right combo of youth and experience and the team is clearly enjoying their football.
Spain v Paraguay
I think this is a mismatch. Paraguay finished top of their group with victory over Slovakia and draws with the very poor Italy and the not so bad New Zealanders. They needed penalties to get past Japan and have acquitted themselves well but lack the class and skill of the Spanish. They have already made history by reaching the quarters for the first time, I don’t see them going further.
The Spanish are a class act and improving with every game. They can string dozens of passes together and deny the other team possession for long stretches of a game. Just ask the hapless Portuguese who chased shadows for most of their second round game with the Spanish. Get Torres firing and this team could go all the way, while David Villa has been one of the players of the tournament so far.
Prediction: Spain by three
That’s it – my C on a B. Bring on the soccer already, I’m having withdrawal symptoms.
Last year the Ocean2Ocean was run twice. Once in April, under very hot conditions, and once in June when it was cold, misty, wet and windy. This year was perfect, blue skies, a warm sun, a slight cooling breeze and views in every direction. Nice.
The O2O was originally conceived as the Real Two Oceans, a tongue in cheek reference to its more famous and popular long distance cousin, the Two Oceans Marathon, the 56km tour of duty for any road runner worth their sweat. It was originally also run on Easter weekend (although not on the same day as the marathon) and on some occasions runners have run the 56km tar version on the Saturday and then the 50km off road version on the Monday. This year we ran a week after Easter so the tar bunnies had a week to rest up and get their mountain legs in shape.
The run, now called Ocean2Ocean, is led by my mate, Dirk. I had run the 50km twice with him before finding myself at the back of the back in 2008 and in no mood to catch up. At the first seconding table at Silvermine, fellow runner Winston and I decided we weren’t going to play catch up all day and we would do our own route, a slightly shortened one to the finish, and so we did. The next year I suggested to Dirk that we offer a 42km (approximate) route to those who don’t want to go as far and as fast, he agreed and the shortened version was born.
We ran the 42km twice last year and once this year on April 10. Make no mistake the 50km is the tougher one, its longer and faster and comes with the added bonus of being a Puffer qualifier. The Puffer, for the unaware, is the grand daddy of Cape Town trail races. It starts at Cape Point and takes in 80km of mostly mountains (barring the chunk of tar at the start and bits here and there) ending eventually at Ferrymans at the Waterfront.
Dizzys was our target for this year’s run. Dirk led 20 runners on the longer route and I had nine in mine. I had five pullouts in the week prior but a small group works well. We started at Muizenberg and ran along the dark and empty beach, the tide low and the wind still. We made our way to St James where we headed up through the sleepy suburb and onto the mountain. We ran/walked through plenty Fynbos, an indigenous forest and some single track before hitting the jeep track back to Ou Kaapse weg, crossing the road and running via the River Trail to the waiting snacks and drinks at the Silvermine car park.
With the sun warm but pleasant we headed up to Noordhoek Peak, along the roller coaster route that is the skyline
panorama before stopping for a rest at the Hout Bay lookout. We spotted Dirk and his crowd well on their way up to the Constantiaberg mast but we headed down and around passing the abandoned manganese mines and stretching our legs on the flattish slightly undulating path before going up and over Vlakkenberg to our next seconding stop at Constantia Nek.
Having refueled it was a hop, skip and a jump over Table Mountain to
Camps Bay, where we enjoyed cold beers and pizzas at Dizzys. 10 hours and some change to cover about 42.km (and some change) but its not about numbers, nor speed, its about spending a day out on the Cape Mountains enjoying nature at her finest and Cape Town at its best.
The 50km crowd arrived an hour and a bit later looking tired but happy and the following week Dirk led another 50km run which I joined from Constantia Nek to sweep the last leg. We might run another this year – watch www.ocean2ocean.co.za for details.
I completed my fourth Cape Argus Pick n Pay Cycle Tour on Sunday (14 March). I rode a PB (personal best) and felt strong at the end but no medal for my efforts. Just regular taunts of “you’re cheating” on route and then a final insult when I wasn’t allowed to cross the finish line. No glory for me, instead I was ushered into a side road for motorised vehicles. I didn’t take it too personally but it might have something to do with my first Cycle Tour a few years back when I raced some back markers to the finish, almost falling off my scooter as I raised my hands and crossed the finish line just in front of them, poring scorn and exhaust fumes on them in the process.O.k, so I was on my scooter, my trusty Vuka 110, doing its fourth tour and still going strong. Scooters and motorbikes don’t get to cross the finish line and the cries of cheat are good natured but as much as the idea of cycling 110km with 35 000 other cyclists doesn’t appeal to me, this is a special event and I think it might be fun to do a slow cycle around the peninsula, it is a stunning route after all. This is the one day of the year that cyclists rule the roads in Cape Town and get to circumnavigate the entire peninsula without having to dodge cars, busses and manic taxi drivers. All they need to worry about is one dodgy photographer on a scooter.
I might not have cycled the route but I still completed it, stopping every few minutes to take pics of the branding for the organisers. And despite my efforts and managing to stay upright the entire route, not easy when surrounded by a bunch of wobbly cyclists, I still didn’t get to finish with respect, no they leave that to the cyclists.I had left home at about 5.30am hoping for two things; a wind free ride and some pics of Lance Armstrong, who would be riding his first tour. My wobbly ride to the start put paid to the wind free idea but getting some pics of Armstrong proved relatively easy despite the “media frenzy” that surrounded him. Imagine the world’s biggest cycling superstar at the world’s largest cycle race and you get the picture, or at least I did.
Once the leading group had gone off I spent the next couple of hours (I can only enter the route after 8am) taking pics of the start and searching desperately for the Pick n Pay tent which in earlier years provided an early morning snack and juice for hungry cyclists and photographers. But the wind, or the recession, put paid to that. The wind also put paid to most of the branding that usually decorates the start area. The consoling factor for most, especially those who rode last year’s tour was that compared to the gale force winds of 2009 this year’s southeaster seemed like a breeze.
I finally hit the route and played chicken with the south easter every time I got off to take a photograph. The spectators weren’t daunted by the south ester, hardy folk the Capetonians who come out each year to support and the thousands of friends and family who traveled down south to cheer on their kids, moms, dads, sisters, brothers, lovers and others. Most set up camp on route, be it on couches, the back of a bakkie, in a beer tent, a trailer or deck chair, they get comfortable and make a day of it. They’re out there stocked up with a days worth of picnicking and they essentially make the event what it is, 35 000 cyclists cycling 110km around the Cape Peninsula, and thousands more showing their appreciation and having fun at the same time.
I particularly enjoyed the Kalk Bay Main Road, which was closed to most traffic. Cyclists went over Boyes Drive while I was diverted to the Main Road. The kids had taken over with their skateboards, bikes and roller blades reminding me of Israel on the their day of atonement, when most Israelis stay off the usually manic streets, leaving it clear for the kids to take over with their unmotorised means of transport.
Back to the route and besides dodging a baboon nonchalantly crossing the road near Cape Point I enjoyed a leisurely ride to the finish, stopping regularly to photograph, snack on bananas and Barones offered to the cyclists and enjoy the views which I never tire of.
Maybe I’ll dust off my bike next year.