Cape Town with its mix of different cultures means pure joy of living. Magnificent landscapes, happy people, good food and fantastic wines: Cape Town is hard to put in a nutshell really, and you cannot fully understand the city without having lived here for a while. Let me share a friend’s comment with you, who came to Cape Town for an internship of a few months: “Cape Town is like a big bubble, where time stands still and you feel like being on a different planet.”
I was often told: “Cape Town is a place where people from all over the world meet and live, all following their own idiosyncrasies.” Well, I guess I am one of them. Everybody who opts for living in the “mother city” certainly is a little bit crazy – crazy for freedom, for instance.
Cape Magic: Cape Town as pearl of the “Rainbow Country” South Africa
More than enough stories have already been written about Cape Town. I do not want to add another one about just how impressive Table Mountain is, how modern the V & A Waterfront looks like or just how beautiful the beach of Camps Bay is. I would rather like to give you an insight how real Capetonians live, so you will not go “crazy” on your next visit.
So what exactly is this thing called “Cape Magic”? Everybody who comes into the Mother Town, be it either for a short holiday or a longer stay, will wonder about it sooner or later. Clocks (as well as people) work differently here: As soon as your plane hits the ground, I recommend to take your watch, and your worries, off and step into South Africa wearing nothing but a big smile. As long as you carry enough patience and a sense of humour, you cannot go wrong here.
“Good Day, how are you?”, is what the immigration officer asks upon arrival in South Africa. And yes, he does want to know how you are! Do not think twice about the queue of tired tourists behind you, either – there is no hurry here and only being relaxed is what counts. The officer is there to work his hours. What does it matter how many people he deals with during this time? Maybe, you find the new Cape Town “rhythm” difficult at first, but hey let me tell you: Throw your worries overboard – there is no rhythm. You really just have to go with the flow!
When I came to Cape Town eight years ago, I took off my watch and have never worn one again. Watches won’t help you here, and Capetonians are often held up anyway. Punctuality = Being impolite. It means that if a local sets up a meeting at 15.00h, it could also be 16.00h. Or that he even found another date, has postponed your meeting or is simply unavailable. Finances are another story of “going with the flow” around here, so perhaps he is simply out of top up money to reply on his phone. Most important thing at this stage: Do not take it personal!
Cape Town always wears a smile.
There is one thing that you will certainly pick up around here: How to enjoy life and celebrate it. It also appears to me that Capetonians are born with that extra-gene for tolerance of alcohol. Thursday evening is when the weekend starts – of course, you might still have to work a few more hours on Friday, but thanks to the concept of “Casual Friday“, you can wear your favourite, comfy party clothes right away. Believe it or not, but the party marathon really only ends on Sunday night. Looking at all the tremendous party locations, it is no wonder that you end up being spoilt for choice. A sunset bar, a trendy restaurant at Cape Town Waterfront or one of the many clubs at the party road of Long Street: Capetonians get it all done from Thursday to Sunday, including outdoor picnics, winery visits and at least one BBQ (called “Braai”) evening with friends – naturally.
My recommendation, hence, is to mix in with the locals, get carried away by what might seem a little chaotic and visit one of Cape Town’s charming markets, such as Neighbourhoods Market in Woodstock taking place each Saturday from 09.00 in the morning till 2.00 in the afternoon. Tasty tapas, shopping, sharing a drink with friends and enjoying life. What else would there be to do, anyway? 🙂
Cape Town is … hugely contagious, yes !!! Soon, you will cross the streets at red traffic lights, forever smile, not know the time and be able to put up with “huge amounts” of alcohol. Faster than you think, the Mother Town will have taken hold of you.
Thank you so much, dear Antonia, for this detailed and very personal insight into your life in Cape Town! I already look forward to my next visit with you. 😀