Thursday, December 18, 2014

Blue days

When the summer wind lies down the days are so blue your heart breaks.

Kalk Bay is that other part of town I love very much.

We leave the city, soon, bound for the Northern Hemisphere and New York.

Tuesday, December 16, 2014

Bo Kaap's Happy Boys

We drove to the Atlas Trading Company in the Bo Kaap. I thought they might have the glass chimneys that are so good at shielding candles from wind on outdoor nights. The Trading Co. was closed. Today is a public holiday - The Day of Reconciliation. But we parked anyway, and walked the steep streets in the hot sun. We were too late for the noonday gun.

Mosques, minarets, cobbles...

....and thick old walls. Cool inside in summer.

                             Between the houses people gathered on corners. Something was up.

Then Shafiek (below, behind the tambourine, with painted face) asked us to take a picture of his crew. He told us that music was about to happen, so we stuck around.

We heard the sounds of a band coming up a hill.

And The Happy Boys arrived in a blast of brass and a jittering of tambourines. Kaapse Klopse. The big, big day is Tweede Nuwe Jaar (second new year), but today's was a celebration of an observance of sixteen days of activism regarding non-violence towards women and children (according to their Facebook page).

It felt good to be in Cape Town.

Higher up another troop was moving down the streets to make a union. We circled, and I sat in the shade while Vince took pictures.

Women directed the setting up of dozens of platters of sliced watermelon and spanspek, refreshment for the thirsty troops.

We retreated at last, hot and sunburned. 

I was left with an impression of community and friendliness, and the renewed conviction that this is one of the parts of Cape Town in which I would most like to live, given the chance. And all things being equal.

Which they are not. Of course.

But one can dream.

Monday, December 15, 2014

The blue tides at De Mond

The mouth of the Heuningnes (honey nest) River lay a few hundred metres from the cottage where we spent our strandveld nights, last week.

The place is called De Mond, the mouth - and towards the beach it turns wide and blue.

We visited first at low tide, walking far out onto the flats.

Three hours southeast of Cape Town and a few kilometres from Agulhas, the true southern tip of Africa, it is an empty place. 

...except for birds. Thousands of terns resettled as we walked.

The river arcs out and the tides push in through wide channels where fish jump.

On the white walls of the dunes that separate estuary from sea kelp gulls nest.

The Indian Ocean beyond falls onto the beach with surf we heard every night in our little cottage.

We walked far down the beach. 

We were met regularly by plastic water bottles blowing towards us from the south. Don't get me started on bottled water. 

By the time we had circled back a trickle of salt water was creeping back over the sand flats.

I turned from watching the sea to find our flipflops beginning to drift away.

We could have stayed longer.

But we headed back to the bench above our veld cottage to watch the estuary from a different vantage point.

...and to sip sundowners and eat nostalgic South African junkfood (I had no idea chipnicks still existed, but they do in Bredasdorp).

Plant, bird and road posts to follow.

Saturday, December 13, 2014


We really were unplugged. No laptops, no signal.

The Frenchman and I are back in Cape Town after a few days away near the very, very southern tip of Africa.

There was a lot of sky, there were horizons (whose memory is to be hoarded for the dark and enclosed Harlem days to come). There were fragrant dune plants. There were blue cranes whose rough calls in flight gave us a new thing to remember. There was a wide blue tide whose rising and retreating left exposed and hidden a vast sand canvas where flamingos and terns, salty plants, small fish and hermit crabs made daily new watery pictures. There was the sound of surf, always.

It was good, it was not enough, it was more than many have, it was very beautiful.

Thank you Don, for the suggestion.

Saturday, December 6, 2014

The mountain

The Frenchman is in Constantia with me, and today we walked in the sun.

Monday, December 1, 2014

The rug bug


Spotted beneath poplars and camphors at the Cellars-Hohenort...

A little magic carpet.
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