I am going to talk about my current home, Cape Town, South Africa. This is especially for the people that do not know the city, but I think I will strike a few chords with the people who do live here.
I don’t like cities. Congested and polluted and cramped, and damned hard to lead a healthy lifestyle. Easier to end up in a pub than a forest. People become unnatural as they lose touch with their environment. Their personalities sour as they are ridden with stress and pressure and frustration. Cape Town has a population of 2 million, about the most I could handle, and spread over a wide area.
This weekend was a sunny weekend in Cape Town, and I was able to get around in the sun and fresh air. It really drove home to me again what a lovely city I am living in. Being cooped up all winter one tends to forget. But then on a sunny day you look up and Table Mountain is watching over the city, its immoveable grace a reminder of how inconsequential all our frenetic daily activities and worries really are. When the city is dust the mountain will still loom up, a firm part of Nature’s strength.
All day had been beautiful, but when it came to the sunset Saturday evening, I was just blown away. Maybe I saw it with those famous rose-coloured lenses because I was in a good mood after some heart-warming experiences. Anyway, you tell me. Here is a photo of the sunset, taken from a restaurant overlooking the beach. Is that special, or what?
Sunday morning I woke up and after playing some guitar went for a ride in the mountains to clear my head. After a long winter the legs were too thin and the belly too big, and the handling was dodgy, but it was plain fantastic to be out there on the mountain and pushing myself. I was riding along the walking path that is expressly off-limits to mountain bikers (I never obey rules that I don’t agree with) and a family stepped aside to let me go past. The one kid yelled “awesome” as I flew past, and I realised, he was right. To be able to ride along the top of the mountain with clear skies overhead and the sparkling sea on your right, a few minutes from home, is an awesome privilege.
In about a month, the beaches that are some of the most pristine in the world will be welcoming thousands of people to its shores to photosynthesise. The atmosphere for the entire summer becomes imbued with the feeling of a summer vacation, even for those of us who are working every day.
The setting is part of what makes it unique. Any location where the mountain and ocean meet is impressive. The history of the city is part of its allure, the first “civilised” centre in Southern Africa. And the cosmopolitan population add to the flavour. It is truly an ethnically diverse city, with people from our kinds of cultures, and encouraged to live out their cultures unfettered by any imposed restrictions. This is one place where you can be proud of your origin and know that people will respect it. South Africa had learned its lessons in that regard.
It really is a special city. I love to travel, and always look forward to the plane taking off and carrying me to some unknown destination to explore. But when I return home, and the plane circles over Cape Town, I am deeply glad that this is the home to where I am returning.