868 words on Travel
Another day, another walk down the beach. With the strong wind still being around, the sun was to be enjoyed with sand. I also managed to apply the sun-screen lotion with a few gaps once again (a technique that I developed a while ago… there really should be something like sun-screen lotion which glows in UV light or something, so you can quickly check whether you have actually applied it everywhere…) meaning that I have a few seriously red patches now which hurt a bit. No pain, no gain, I suppose.
After the walking, some lunch and some further relaxing, we drove to Cape Town to the ‘Waterfront’, which is a huge shopping centre that doubles as a tourist trap. When it opened around ten (or more? I can’t really remember) years ago, it was much smaller than it is today. And while it isn’t culturally relevant besides the fact that it’s the place where the tours to Robben Island (where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for a long time) start, it’s just a convenient place that offers anything from an ordinary supermarket to overpriced curio shops, from fast food chains to restaurants, from a view of Table Mountain to a few cinemas.
One of my favourite places in the Waterfront which has been around for most of the time is an Italian café called Balducci’s. They do good coffee (which even in these days is still worth being mentioned) and nice sandwiches or sweets. They’ve always had rather nice chairs as well and they’re still around after ten years (in fact, they seem to have become rather popular and have apparently started a steak house elsewhere as well… although I’m not sure I’m going to trust that one).
But the one thing I’ve always liked about the place was their use of typography on their menu. While it isn’t perfect, they’re using a cool trick where the headings in the menu are first spelled out normally and then there’s the same word written again in a handwritten-style typeface in a light shade of grey beneath it. I still think it looks cool and back then in 1997 I even stole their idea and used it in menus which I made for the café in our hospital during my civil service.
But the actual reason for us going there wasn’t the odd cappuccino but rather that my mom received a call of a Françoise, a friend of hers the day before that she’d be there as well. It’s a friend my mum has known since she had been in France when she was fifteen. So we met Françoise and her husband Alain there. They are on a tour of South Africa with around 30 people. We had a drink with them and then dinner with them and their tour group. The fun thing being that they don’t speak any English and thus we had to speak French. While I like to think that my French wasn’t too bad when I left school, it certainly is quite bad now – mostly due to the fact that I haven’t used it since.
Luckily they were quite forgiving as far as my lacks in vocabulary and misuse of grammar were concerned, so this was quite fun in the end. We then went for dinner with them and their group. Their travel guide had booked for them at the ************ restaurant. It seemed quite popular and had a live band playing when we came in. Which wouldn’t have been to bad if they hadn’t been terribly loud and even had people dance right at the stage at eight o’clock already. Let’s just say this didn’t go down too well with a group of about thirty froggies with an average age of at least fifty…
Even I thought this was poorly booked. If only because it was physically impossible to speak to people sitting right next to you because of the loud music. When the first band finished, things went better, although people weren’t impressed with the service who didn’t manage to serve all the dishes at the same time or even to serve all the dishes of people sitting next to each other at the same time – but rather served all the fish dishes first and the meat later. Before dinner was finished, another band came on. They weren’t bad. Still too loud for dinner and, being ‘soul’ or something like that, not exactly my taste, but quite energetic and good.
The food wasn’t too good either. I had peri-peri chicken livers as a starter which is available in many places here. I found them spicy but uninspiring. Then I had a steak (just to be sure…) which was quite overcooked – as were all the other ones. But the vegetables that came with it were nice and firm still – a new trend in South African cuisine which liked to serve vegetables seriously overcooked so far…
After having an espresso at another place, we left. I took a few photos and films with my mums camera on the way back. With it being dark that meant long exposure times which resulted in silly images. Some of them still looked nice.
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