30.10.2009 - 02.11.2009
Long Street is theถนนข้าวสาร of Africa. Alternatively, the Khao San Road is the Long Street of Asia. Take your pick. Either way, Long Street is the big hub of backpacking and backpackers of Cape Town, and it is inevitable that you will spend some time here on any trip. But unlike the Khao San Road, where finding a local or Thai person who is not there solely to try and make money from backpackers, Long Street exists as a real local entity. It is a reasonably important thoroughfare in its own right, has history and some excellent old colonial architecture (the sort which I mentally associate with New Orleans, though never having been there, I have no idea if this has a basis in reality or not) and is also a hub of clubs, bars and restaurants for many locals an students as well as solely visitors. And whilst it is true that many are visitors, expats and backpackers, on weekends large numbers of local also descend for a night out.
I probably should talk more about this. But I won't. So there.
I liked Cape Town, and it was definitely a good place to meet people and go out. However, it was also somewhere where it would be easy to spend obscene amounts of money very, very fast. And I think that despite everything, and the fact that it regularly features high in lists of the world’s most desirable cities to live in, I would only enjoy living there for so long: a few months or a year at most. I can't really explain why, it's just a feeling; a gut instinct. In a strange way it's just not, well, real
The area around Cape Town is special for several different reasons. The Earth's Flora and Fauna is so varied around Cape Flats; so rich and distinctive and as to merit being classified as having its own ecosystem. The world is split into only 6 Floral Kingdom’s. Most are vast, covering many countries and often parts of several continents – the 6th is the Capensis, the small area around Cape Town. On Table Mountain alone, there are more varieties of plant than in the whole of Great Britain, and a large number of them are found nowhere else on Earth.
As well as it's impressive diversity of Flora and Fauna, parts of Cape Town are amongst the small elite of places in the world where you can see 2 different UNESCO World Heritage sites simultaneously: Robben Island and Table Mountain.
Which brings us to Table Mountain. Sadly, Robben Island would remain elusive to me on this trip, as would walking up Table Mountain, though in both cases they have risen to the very top of my to-do list on my next years visit. Table Mountain, I did at least manage to cheat my way up, going by cable car, and wandering around the top. Though weather can be very fickle, and thus so can visibility and thus what you get to see, it was great. Gloriously clear, hot, and stunning views from all sides. But for somebody like me who generally goes up things, it just added to the sense of frustration that I couldn't climb it. I'll have to come back, to go up.
I really should write more about Cape Town. More of a normal style blog, of the twists and turns,m random people we met and things that happened, but for some reason, i'm just not feeling it. So I won't.