a view into the sordid life i lead

Friday, March 04, 2005

One last attempt at Table Mountain

Wednesday, being the last day that we were in Capetown, we decided had to be Table Mountain day. But first we headed out to The Real Cheese, a little shop out in the Capetown suburb of Mowbray (considered a sketchy neighborhood by some, but these people obviously have never been to a really "sketchy" neighborhood). This was the place that the Savoy Cabbage got their cheese from. We tasted and bought a bunch of stuff - pretty much all of it from the same local dairy (Cremalat) because it tasted the best. The best stuff we tried was a creamy, fresh feta. It was like a combination of goat cheese and feta (turned out to be goat feta), with the consistency of a goat cheese - spreadable. The stuff was so good we decided to get a couple of blocks of it!

After wandering about this "sketchy" neighborhood a bit and finding it had nothing to offer other than a couple of neighborhoody cafes, we headed back to the city to prepare for our trek up table mountain.

Lunch, nap, and tea interjected, and we headed up with Warren, our poor guide. Warren's self-styled monicker should have warned us about what was in store for us. THis was the first day in a week that there was no cloud cover over the mountain. We drove up around 4pm to the entrace to the cable car. There was a fair amount of wind, but nothing that we thought would be stopping anyone from going up. When we got up to the counter to get tickets for hte cable car, we found a sign that said "Service suspended due to high winds". So there it was - our last chance to get up table mountain obstructed by high winds. The lady at the counter was indignant when we showed our disappointment. She basically told us that the lift was operating until about an hour ago, so why the hell did we wait until then?! I told her we wanted to come up for the sunset, which didn't seem to make any impression on her.

Jonii decided that the trip had to end on a good note and that we had to go to a very good restaurant. We had read that the best Indian restaurant in South Africa was Bukhara, in Capetown. My choice was anything but Indian, given that there's rarely good Indian anyplace, and we've had to endure some god-awful Indian places (eg. Jaipur in Capetown, which just sucks). Those who know Jonii will not be surprised that her desire won out!

We drove out to Noordhoek, a beautiful beach about 30 miles south of Capetown, to hang and meditate.

THe beach is really nice - white sand, quite remote. I was surprised that there was nobody on the beach until we got to it and parked our car. The gale-force winds would make any attempts to hang out on the beach miserable. The waves coming onto shore were practically vertical - the wind was pushing back that hard. THere's no way I could take pictures of it since the sand was blowing so hard, but there were waves that had reverse pipelines - moving forward, but the crest actually falling back!

I had to try out the Atlantic ocean - I had not been in the ocean even once since arriving in South Africa! Warren's coaxing me to get into the ocean gave me some pause - he's got a wicked side which I've learned to become aware of. The Atlantic ocean around Capetown is great for about 6 seconds. After that hypothermia sets in. I can't imagine swimming without a full body wetsuit. The water is just insanely cold - about the same as northern California!

Every time we meet Warren there's a different girl around. Tonight we met Sheryl, who lives in Petaluma, but is South African. She's very interesting - a life that I'd love to write more about, but probably shouldn't.
Sheryl's been in the US since she was 17 or 18 I think. SHe got married to a guy, had 2 daughters, divorced the guy, and has been traveling around the US for the last 18 years to keep close to her kids (they have joint custody). She's the most positive person I've met so far - at least given the hardships she's gone through in the US. Anyway, Jonii and I take a strong liking to her, and she decides to join us at Bukhara.

Bukhara is good. Not on par with the best Indian in Chicago (Raj Darbar), but definitely good. I learn at Bukhara that naan has eggs in it, from Sheryl. This is a point of some debate, since I hold strong that naan absolutely does not have any egg in it, having worked at India Cafe all those years ago. But the waiter asked the chef, and told us that they use egg whites in the preparation of their naan. I was ready to write this off a a quirk of South African Indian restaurants, but subsequently have found that most Indian restaurants use egg whites in preparing their naan. Learn something new every day, I guess! Bukhara is a loud place, with huge tables and heavy chairs. Interestingly, they don't give you napkins - they give you a full on bib, printed with their logo. It's the strangest thing I've ever seen in a restaurant! I'm not sure if I dislike the novelty of it, but it's a little odd to go to a restaurant and have a bib on, you know?!

After dinner we head to Asoka, Son of Dharma, our old haunt for drinks. I would highly recommend this place to anyone that visits capetown. Come to think of it, I need to create a list of food and drink places that are an absolute must to visit on a trip to Capetown!


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