LOUISE MARSLAND on her new life in Cape Town and quirky, quaint places to visit
Let’s face it, Capetonians have a reputation for being geographical snobs. If you don’t live in the right area or attended the right school as a kid, you may find it hard to make friends in the business and suburban playgrounds. And if you’re English, you live in the southern suburbs – no further than Kenilworth (that’s Upper Kenilworth dahling) and ‘above the line’ (the railway line that separates the more affluent from the less affluent suburbs throughout the southern suburbs of Cape Town).
Most have heard about the ‘Boerewors Curtain’ that mostly the Afrikaans speakers live behind in Cape Town’s northern suburbs.
I was tickled to hear from friends living in Noordhoek, that they live behind the ‘Lentil Curtain’, denoting the more bohemian, organic types that allegedly inhabit that side of the rock.
Well bugger Upper and Lower Claremont or above the line or the excesses of the Camps Bay strip (also known as the Botox Curtain) – I’m proud to live behind the Snoek Curtain!
I grew up in Fish Hoek and love the transformation that Kalk Bay and Simonstown have undergone in the last decade or so. Despite the rebuilding chaos that is Main Road, Kalk Bay, at present, I have haunted that suburb for its quirky fashion boutiques, antique shops, bric-a-brac and restaurants, for a decade, making special pilgrimages for a few hours on my business trips down from Joburg.
And who hasn’t got a memory from the indestructible Brass Bell, still perched over the sea, still surviving the annual storms that take out at least one deck at a time, legend has it.
A more recent favourite of course is the Harbour House precinct, with fish ‘n chips at all prices for everyone, with the authentic, working harbor and fishing boats bring in fresh catches every day, adding colour.
And despite the parking hassles, since moving down here, we try make a weekly pilgrimage to the Olympia Bakery, which has handy parking just off the Boyes Drive alternative route, for their breads and the occasional cupcake.
Also on my New Year’s resolution list is to make sure I attend at least one of ex-Fair Lady editor Ann Donald’s many activities at the Kalk Bay Books and Annex restaurant. I’m a huge fan of independent book shops too and will make a special effort to support the independents, so that our already stratified society isn’t homogenised any further!
So, apart from the wonderfully authentic Kalk Bay strip and the family-friendly, unpretentious Fish Hoek beach, I really couldn’t live anywhere else in the Cape. After 25 years working in Joburg, we want the sea view – daily, not another suburb, no matter how leafy and green and convenient to ‘town’.
You see, after living in Joburg with the horrendous traffic jams and long daily commute to work, we scoff and laugh rather sarcastically at the distances down here and at what Capetonians call traffic!
And I’m not alone in this – I know of several media and digital peeps who have relocated to launch their own businesses in Cape Town over the last couple of years and have all bought in either Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek or Noordhoek recently… Sssshhh!