So apparently one of the things one MUST do as a tourist in Cape Town at the moment is go to Madame Zingara’s. Newly relocated in a huge tent near the Canal Walk area, this is dinner and a circus-like entertainment. The original restaurant gained fame for its signature dish of Chocolate Chilli Steak. I must say I had my doubts- the combination of chocolate and steak is not something I would routinely fry up at home.
We had to be out there to be seated by 7:30 so we all packed into Brin’s car and took off. The tent I learned seats 420 at capacity although there were about 350 there last night for the show. At each table was a centerpiece which can be seen min the picture. What you can't see clearly is the barbie-doll dressed in little else butpasties on the chest, lolling among the apples!Ok leaving the cheesy centerpiece aside, they had a DJ whose music was absolutely terrific.
Fresh from a 2 hour dance lesson I could hardly keep my feet still as the music ranged from a pounding rock beat to a cha-chaand then a romantic ballad style song.
Caught a Rikki out to Orange Street for my dance lesson at nine. Brin took a day off work and picked me up at the hall. Two hours of very vigorous dance ending with jive, in the Cape Town heat - and I thought I really needed a shower to cool down and re-energise. So after a stop over at the flat we headed back into town to visit the newly enhanced South African Jewish Museum, and the Holocaust Centre. Amidst the photos and documentation of that awful stage of history, what sticks indelibly in the memory are the first hand testimonials of survivors, recorded on video.
From there we drove down to Plein Street to a shop that sells locally manufactured dance shoes and I finally found a pair of shoes that feels comfortable on both the right and left foot. A miracle. And with the conversion from rand to dollar a veritable steal.
Next stop was to check out the surf to see if Brin should get out his board but the sea was not right for that particular day so surfing was off the agenda. We arranged to visit Brin’s little grandchildren whom I had never seen.I collected the books that I got for then the other day as gifts and we drove up the mountainside to their house that has magnificent view of the ocean. Of course the kids were quite adorable.
On his way to work, Barry dropped me off at the Scout Hall for my dance class at 9. I was sitting on a bench trying to figure out the cell phone Carole had loaned me when Edwin arrived.He gave me a strict warning about never using the cell phone in the street or in an exposed environment. Apparently it is a very common occurrence that phones will be snatched out of one’s hands. Nice. And I was just beginning to feel a greater sense of security.
After class I phoned for a Rikki to pick me up at Carluccis, just down the road. They said 5 minutes. About 15 minutes later a Rikki pulled up across the road and someone got out.I assumed that this was the one I was waiting for (South African time being what it is) so when he pulled around in front of the restaurant, I got in. I was the only passenger. As we drove off the driver said to me “if your phone rings don’t answer it”. “Why?” says I, suddenly anxious. After Edwin’s dire warnings about always being aware of one’s surroundings had I unwittingly done something foolish and dangerous?Broken some unwritten law of Rikki riding? Was I about to be "taken for a ride" and disappear into the vast unknown beyond the local twenty rand fare zone?
Stopped at a traffic light (robot in SouthAfricaspeak) the gaunt, white haired, sunken eyed driver twisted around and said “I stole a ride, don’t answer your phone.”
That evening I asked Barry and Carole to join me at another dinner theatre show downtown. The venue was a club called On Broadway.It’s a long room with a row of tables on a raised dais lining each long wall and many more tables in the central well of the room. We were about three tables back from the raised stage and had an excellent view. The show was called “Strictly Come Jazz”, a play on the title of “Strictly Come Dancing” which is the UK and SA version of our “Dancing with the Stars”.
The food was on a par with the other dinner shows. I had a snoek pate to start. Snoek is a fish which I have only heard about in the South African context. I don’t know whether it is just the local term for a fish that is also found elsewhere. I guess I should google that if I really care!
Not much to report other than the heat. Although my dance class started at nine it was already hot. Had a great class- worked on rumba, samba and foxtrot and really felt I was making progress. Took a Rikki back uneventfully
When Carole came back from work we drove around to pick up fish and other groceries and checked out some clothing stores. I am just not a particularly compulsive shopper- nothing much appealed though the prices are good.
We were all tired and spent a quiet evening at home talking and reading. I am now reading MansfieldPark, one of the Jane Austen books I have not read, and not one of her best, in my opinion as far as I have read. I think its because the heroine, Fanny, is such a wimp! She irritates me - in contrast to spunky Elizabeth Bennett. Thats why everyone knows Pride and Prejudice and probably far fewer people read Mansfield Park.
The heat here has been unrelenting with highs over 35 degrees. Fortunately the humidity is not too bad. We had planned to drive out to wine country for some tastings and Carole had booked for dinner at Moyo, an African restaurant at Speirs, one of the large wine farms near Stellenbosch. So the idea was to drive out in the morning and visit a number of wineries before dinner. But in view of the extreme heat we decided that we would drive back into town to shower and change before going out for dinner.
Left around 10 to drive out to Fransch Hoek with the objective of having lunch at a restaurant called Reubens. Carole told me that this was voted the best restaurant in South Africa two years ago. I was skeptical. I googled the list and found it on Eat Out in a list of the top 10 restaurants inSA in 2006. Pretty impressive for a place in a country town of about 13,000 population. But reading further it appears as if Fransch Hoek has made a gourmet name for itself with several top restaurants located there.
Maybe it was just the heat but I was not very impressed with any of the wines that I tasted today. I found the white wines, mainly sauvignon blanc and chenin blancs very thin for want of a better word and I am not much of a red wine drinker. So after the second tasting we decided to go back to Sea Point for a rest and shower before driving back to Stellenbosch to Moyo, the restaurant at Spiers.
Brin drove Sherida, Barry, Carole and me out and we met Nathan and Edina who came in their own car. We were seated round a large table outside the main tent in a tree sheltered courtyard, which we appreciated. A breeze kept us reasonably cool.
They have a very extensive buffet with stations identified as fish, salads, venison etc. The meats were very interesting. There were gemsbok steaks, ostrich brochettes, sausages made of game as well as beef, lamb chops, curries: it just went on and on. They served three kinds of bread rolls to start- an onion-coconut topping looked promising but the breads were dry and not very flavourful. The salads were plentiful as were the desserts. I avoided the sweet stuff and thank heavens there was a variety of fruit.
I realize that most of my photos involve people sitting round a table ready to eat. Or else beaches and mountains. More coming.
Brin and Sherida fetched me at around 10 am. It was already blazing hot. I had a swim suit on under my shorts and was eagerly anticipating a swim in the warmer waters on the south-west side of the peninsula. We picked up Sandra, Sherida’s sister, who lives on High Level Road in a flat with an amazing view out over the ocean, and the 4 of us drove out to Hout Bay.
I remembered it as a quiet small village where people used to drive out to for tea on a Sunday afternoon. Then it went through a period of being the “in-“ place to stay and some magnificent homes were built out there. In the last ten years horrendous squatters’ camps have metastasized up the mountainside. Polluted water drains down into the bay and even the water on the beach has an unclean brownish appearance.
The living conditions in these squatters’ areas and in the “townships” just off the main roadways are horrendous – corrugated iron shacks with no running water.. Illegally linked wires tap electricity from the main grid contributing to the major energy crisis. I wonder how many people have been electrocuted just trying to hook up these power lines?
Anyway the drive around the mountain to Hout Bay was as always stunning in the sheer magnificence of mountain and ocean but the wind howled and beat at the bushes and trees. At the beach we went ahead with our plans to go for a long walk but the combination of howling wind and polluted water put an end to any thought of swimming in my mind. What a shame. W ell, we are planning to go to The Boulders and Muizenberg on Wednesday, very early in the morning. Hopefully I will get at least one ocean swim in before I leave.
My morning got off to a slightly slower start than usual as my dance classes were scheduled for 3 to 5 at the Camps Bay Bowling Club. I was picked up at 11 by my cousin, Sandra, and she suggested we visit the Rhodes Memorial area which has a magnificent view of the city- and have lunch at the restaurant there. We sat at a table under the trees, at the edge of the mountain side and caught up on a decade of news. Sandra had been a boarder at Good Hope for most of high school and the fact that she was there was a major reason that I did not object too much when I was packed off to boarding school for the second last year of high school. It was a little strange to think that we are now both grandmothers.
I thought a few more pictures rather than words would be best for today. The low building in the foreground of the apartment complex is Forest Hill, the complex where Bob and I had our first apartment when we were married in my fourth year of med school. The second picture is the view looking up at Rhodes Memorial and the third looking over the peninsula from the memorial.
The morning started off with another unpredictable Rikki ride to dance class at 9 am. After it took twenty minutes and several dropped cellphone calls to get through to the dispatch, I was told “ the cab will be there in 4 minutes!”. Ha! So even though I know by now that 4 minutes could be anything from 10 to 20 minutes I rushed like mad to get downstairs. The cab actually arrived in about 8 minutes. Then we went on a majorly circuitous route that got me to the Scout Hall with about 10 minutes to spare.
Two hours of very energetic Latin and I was absolutely drenched but totally exhilarated by the time we were finished. Another circuitous Rikki ride got me back to the flat by just after noon. The average temperature has hovered between 29 and 31 so even after a cool shower, in no time at all I was feeling hot and rather unmotivated to move much.
Cape Malay cuisine is a spicy, often stew based style of cooking, that grew out of the food prepared by the cooking of the slaves from Indonesia, originally brought to the Cape by the Dutch East India Company. Bobotie, mince meat stewed with apricots, raisins and brown sugar, and tomato bredie, a rich stew often made from mutton or lamb, are two of the foods I remember from childhood. But curries of all kinds are also a common food, characteristic of this cuisine.