Cape Town has a bad reputation for extreme violence, which is understandable when there have been 2,451 reported homicides here in the past year – a world class rate of 65.53 per 100,000. For comparison, Sydney had 38 in the same time period. With statistics like that, I was nervous as my plane touched down in South Africa, despite the eight beers I’d smashed on the flight from Dubai. I thought I’d be walking into anarchy, and wondered whether I’d even make it to my hotel without having my achilles tendons slashed and my Nike Air Jordans stolen.
While statistics don’t lie, Cape Town has completely surprised me and subverted all my expectations. I’ve only witnessed three shootings in the past 24 hours, with only one of them fatal. Nah, that’s bullshit. I haven’t seen a hint of trouble since arriving, and Cape Town has shown itself to be a vibrant, exciting, lively city that has astonished and impressed me. Sure, I’ve stuck to the more affluent areas, but I’ve liked what I’ve seen so far. Where Dubai was exactly what I expected it to be, this place has offered an adventure that I wasn’t expecting at all.
The scenery is stunning, with Table Mountain and Lion’s Head standing guard behind the city. They’re very impressive, and my first site of them was made even better by the dozen or so paragliders that were slowly snaking their way from the very high launch towards the waterfront. I don’t have my paragliding gear with me, but I’d definitely like to come back here and launch off Lion’s Head. You wouldn’t wanna fuck up, though, because there are a lot of houses wrapped in barbed wire and electrified fences between launch and landing – and I have a history of combining paragliders and fences.
My first port of call was the marina (how was that for wordplay? You’re missing out on a literary genius, Bauer!), and it’s a top place to spend time. The V&A Waterfront boasts restaurants, bars, boats, bands, museums, shops and lots of happy people. It’s about as far removed from Cape Town’s crime-filled ghettos as possible, and is fun for the whole family. I even found an amphitheatre where a bunch of birds and lions were dancing around for a crowd of enthusiastic children. If I’d had a six-pack of beer I would’ve sat back and tried to make sense of it, but I didn’t so I got outta there.
I still haven’t gotten over Percy the Penguin, my feathered lover from Abu Dhabi, but I did have a brief fling with a cannon that I saw. It was brief, aggressive and emotionless, and I left without even asking his name. It might be time for me to give up cannon-ymous sex.
The walk from the marina along Cape Town’s western coast is spectacular, taking in a number of beautiful beaches, marvellous multi-million-dollar houses, and plenty of parks. The ocean was roaring in as I strutted along, but the sun decided to poke his head out, and it was just gorgeous. There’s a hop-on-hop-off bus that covers this route, but you’re doing yourself a disservice if you don’t walk it. Here are some wonderful photos I took during my stroll.
My final destination was Clifton Beach, which is where many of Cape Town’s richest people live. I was immediately out-of-place amongst the mansions and Maseratis, and I was expecting some bloke with a freshly-pressed shirt and crap haircut to spit on me at any moment. Like much of Cape Town, it reminded me of Sydney. The landscape is certainly different, but Clifton is a lot like Sydney’s most exclusive beaches. It’s really pretty, but it was also strange to see some of the darker-tanned locals passed out on the rocks beneath unbelievably expensive houses.
It was a big first day in South Africa, with 21.91 kilometres of walking (bringing the total for this trip to 81.75km over just four days, which is quite a lot. I might be able to go to the next Olympics, as long as the officlas don’t realise racewalking isn’t proper sport, and throw it out). That number’s going to grow a bit tomorrow, because I’m going to climb up Table Mountain. Yeah, there’s a cable car (or a Table Car, as I hope it’s called), but that’s for fat cunts and dickheads. I’m going to have an early night so I can get up early to go hiking… haha, just joking. Right now I’m smashing Windhoek and biltong in a park, and then I’m going to head over to the pub in an effort to convince a hot South African sheila that, whilst apartheid is long gone, the separation of her legs is still very much on the cards. Bye bye.