Quarter Life Crisis

The world according to Sven-S. Porst

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Strand Day 8

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No walk along the beach today. My mum and me went into Cape Town instead. First we went to the District Six museum. Cape Town’s sixth district used to be a vivid home to mostly coloured people and was declared a ‘white’ living area some time in the 1960. From the into the 1980s, people living there were moved from their homes in much worse areas and the whole area was torn down to make way for a new layout of streets and new houses.

Photo from inside of District Six Museum displaying street names The museum has been set up in recent years and tries to document what happened. They have historical documentation of what happened when with maps illustrating changes, they have stories of people or institutions like a hospital or a barbour shop. One story I read was about a guy who was moved to another place and who moved there with his homing pigeons. And even after trying to get the pigeons used to the new place, every one of them flew to the location of their old house – which had been torn down by then – and looked confused there wondering what had happened to their home.

As this is still relatively recent history, many of the people who witnessed it are still alive. And the museum has noticeboards for them to leave messages or to indicate where they lived on the old maps. There are many entries. It’s living history. And it’s in a very positive spirit. It doesn’t try to undo what happened. Just to show what vibrant communities were destroyed and how it was done. (And that seems pretty much along the lines of the Truth and Reconciliation Commissions they had here after the end of apartheid.)

After seeing the museum we went on to walk around in town a little. First we went to Greenmarket square where there are always loads of stalls selling everything from T-shirts to CDs to souvenirs. Mostly souvenirs really. The thing is that many of those souvenirs are nice wooden ones which aren’t bad a t all. However, we’ve bought most of them already. And with most stalls offering virtually the same stuff everywhere, I find this quite boring to look at by now.

Pink Pig in Rucksack Walking up and down the streets, we then had a small snack at Café Mozart – which is quite a funny theme for a Café in Cape Town. I had a sandwich and some apple juice and ginger drink which was quite cool. Walking away from there we passed (yet another) curio shop which looked a bit different from the others… so we had another look. And I actually ended up buying some touristy crap: a pink pig. It’s made of pink plastic bags that are somehow fixed to some inner metal skeleton. While this doesn’t look like the stuff they made ten years ago where the materials were actually used bags, bottles or cans, it’s still quite cute (and you can also get chicken or elephants).

The shop was right next to Cafe African Image which looks pretty cool and is decorated with all sorts of funky plastic thingys. Even better, their coffee was quite good and strong as well. I am tempted to recommend it. After sitting there for a while we went on and found The Pan African Market. It’s a whole house, three stories of which are crammed with little stalls selling… well, the same touristy crap you can get everywhere else. But the range they have is excessively wide. Assuming that you’ll get about the same deals everywhere, this may be a good place to do your souvenir shopping as you’ll just find all the common souvenirs there in a single house. The place seems to be a bit under-advertised, at least its extent wasn’t obvious at all from the outside. So if you’re in Cape Town, go and have a look. It’s right opposite of a pink backpacker’s hotel.

To end the day, we had a fairly ordinary dinner at another seafood restaurant (a small chain as well) called the Ocean Basket. It wasn’t bad but I wasn’t too impressed either although my parents claim the fish there is quite good. I had a calamari steak as my main course, which I hadn’t eaten before. I found the idea of having a massive steak-size bit of calamari fascinating. But I eventually thought it was a bit too big and dull to be really cool. It filled me up rather well, though.

Ping Pig on Table

March 9, 2005, 23:54

Tagged as country:za, south africa, travel.

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