Cape Town is dramatic. It’s South Africa’s second most populous city, a sprawling metropolis of more than three million, framed between water and mountains, where an industrialist with a BMW can live next to a witchdoctor in a shack.
It’s at once beautiful and easy going, then at a second it flips to stark, dark and scary. Our hostel was in OBS, Observatory, close to the University of Cape Town. I step out and down the street there is a small crowd. An attempted thief has been thrown to the ground, it’s street justice.
It’s a city of contrasts. Homes, mostly Mediterranean in style, pastel and stout, are fully enclosed, some have barb wire, others electrified fence, every entrance guarded. Yet the city is bright, green with plants and a bright blue sky. Fresh breezes whip up the air and toss the trees’ leaves. Meanwhile, advertisements for the upcoming election are ubiquitous, as are those for a doctor who promises to cure bad luck within seven days.
We just skimmed the city’s vibrant vibe. Unfortunately, I think that’s going to be the par on this journey. Stay for a day and then back to the bicycle.