Our first day on our own in Cape Town we kept busy by checking out a number of recommended sites around town. On the Atlantic side of South Africa, the sea water’s come straight from Antarctica and hasn’t warmed up quite enough to make for comfortable swimming without a wetsuit. However, there was an enormous and pristine public pool overlooking the frigid seas (its own water comfortably heated) at the end of Pat’s street, and we decided to start the day with a swim. With just a 20 Rand (<$2) entrance fee we were really impressed by the place. (Though admittedly we never made it back for a return visit haha.)
We dried off and caught a cab to check out the colorful houses in the historically Muslim neighborhood of Bo Kaap. In doing so, we learned Wale Street is like this, and not like this. Once there we walked around and took some pictures, only to realize we were without a guidebook and didn’t really know where we were in relation to anything else. Luckily a friendly café owner was happy to point us in the direction of the Company’s Garden on such a beautiful day. On the way we passed Greenmarket Square. They say this is one of the best markets in town, and we agreed. In fact, it was so good we ended up going back about four more times!!! (But that was mostly because we kept arriving right as it was closing: around 4:30-5 pm.)
We ate at a pizza place near the market, then made our way back to Pat’s. The 10-15 minute ride back to Sea Point was reliably 60 Rand (<$6), and we had a number of interesting conversations with our usually gregarious cab drivers. Getting around was always pretty cheap and interesting.
Even more cheap and interesting than the cabs, however, were the mini buses– at 7 Rand a head you could jump in and hop out again anywhere along the route. They were sure to be bumping some South African Deep House (though I guess the cabbies did too. Everyone, really.), and have no fewer than three languages being spoken at a time; the driver deep in click-flecked conversation with his partner while the woman next to you spoke quietly into her phone in Afrikaans and the men behind you chatted in an unidentifiable language (but one made so, perhaps, partially by the bottles of beer they kept extracting from a backpack). The rides always proved to be good people-watching opportunities.
On Tuesday we made a sort of impromptu decision to walk the promenade from Sea Point to the Waterfront. I got a little excited with my camera, what with the waves and boats and seagulls; and also a terrible sunburn, as I failed to apply sunscreen, even though I had two things of it in my bag. I’m actually still itchy as hell with sun poisoning, but all things considered it was worth it.
While at the Waterfront we booked our trip to Gaansbai (for shark diving!) and Hermanus (to partake of the “champagne air” [still not exactly sure what that means, but Hermanus has it]), but I will tell you all about that at a later time.