Dear Cape Town
I’m writing you a letter. That’s right a good old fashioned letter. It’s a lost art, really. Shame.
My original draft of this letter was four pages long. After careful consideration, I decided to abridge this, and cut to the chase because
what I have to say is really very simple. I love you.
When I first arrived on you shores I was lost , insecure , jobless . My flask that had once been filled with that bitter-sweet cocktail of optimism was running perilously low. Still I drank from it , conservatively. After all you were the promised land “A Mecca” for any Biotechnologist worth his salt in the Motherland. The Mad Scientist was in search of a new laboratory. It wasn’t all business though. You also had that added allure of being close to where the heart always is, home.(Well closer than I had been in the seven years prior).Luckily for me you took me in.
I remember in the beginning It seemed an all too confusing experience. With the burden if vulnerability and insecurity weighing me down I yearned for your maternal love. I was hesitant at first though because on the surface you seemed like a picky foster parent who seemed to choose her kids from a catalogue. You appeared partial to pale people who had an interest in fashion design, mojitos, garage bands and who had all went to art school. I had figured you all wrong though and before long I found myself flirting with you unashamedly ( I should probably see someone about that ).
Your Cape town are easy on the eye, your natural beauty is simply unparalleled. Your mountains whilst rugged and awe-inspiring, have a warmth and homeliness about them. Your waters( albeit very cold )are tumultuous and alive.Your flora is more varied. Your fauna more intriguing (where else can you see penguins and baboons in the
same day?). Cape Town you are visually dramatic beyond belief. I must confess throughout our early dalliances I felt so alive and energized here. A year later those feelings are still as raw and tangible.
As I grew more confident I began to lean in more closely and you held out your hand and guided me on a journey to explore your bosom. You let me indulge in that booty that Mother Nature herself blessed you. Oh those long expanses of blindingly white, icing sugar-like sand beaches , so heavenly, but I digress.
All of a sudden I was doing things like hiking up Lion’s Head, running along the beach front, surfing( epic fail) ,and cycling in Tokai Forest. I was reveling in your great outdoors .I was falling. I did not stand a chance .You , my dear Cape town are blessed with such an orgy of nature’s goodness. How could I not love you?
Now hang on , before you start to feel objectified ,and protest by unleashing the “Cape Doctor” wind on me and send me packing the same way do to the pollution and pestilence. Allow me to continue and add that to my pleasant surprise you turned out to be more than just a face . Beneath that mask of beauty lies a soul so pure , warm and inviting. A soul that manifested itself in your children. A bunch of culture vultures if I have ever seen any .The People: Capetonians are a breed like no other. They are chilled, friendly and fun. Then again when you’re sandwiched between two oceans,I guess ,you learn to go with the flow.
It is these very qualities that embody a very welcoming spirit that has made you a heaven for expatriates like myself .The expatriates I have met through you are progressive, forward-thinking, conscious,and committed to living with courage and positivity . Truth be told, it is the symbiotic relationship between your native sons and daughters and your adopted ones that make you so awesome. It is no secret that you that you still carry the scars of Apartheid hidden as they might seem behind your rainbows and sunsets.
This I believe is were the expatiate community has a significant role to play. We your adopted sons and daughters are not burdened with the weight of history, which provides us with an optimistic, current perspective. The absence of a historical lens allows us expatriates to see the reality of the present moment, not a distortion blurred with projections of the past.I simply love the expatriates I have met here in Cape Town. You seem to attract certain types of people: fearless, bold, adventure-seeking, and independent.
Its not just the expatriates that make it such great place to live.Like i said it is a symbiotic relationship and as such the locals play a huge role too. People in Cape Town readily talk to each other: in elevators, on buses, in line ups, on street corners. They offer help, opinions,jokes and smiles without waiting to be smiled at first. Whether its your waiter in a restaurant, a parking attendant, the produce guy or your next door neighbour, you will find yourself having more conversations and more laughs with strangers that you could ever imagine. Most of all, the smiles are broad and genuine
Then there is the food . Ah the food. The fast track route to my heart.Your delectable vast array of cuisines ( the mere thought of which has me salivating already). From the greasy Bunnie chow and gutsby’s to some of the best seafood around. You have it all .Testament of the cosmopolitan mix of peoples and cultures in the Cape .My favourite thing though, the Braai experience. How I have loved standing in front of an open fire, tongs in one hand, a cold fermented one in the other, and with both eyes fixated firmly on a juicy coil of sizzling borewors sausage.
There there is your sunsets .That brief period when your eyelids get heavy and you afford us a small peak into your soul. Wether its from Table mountain, Signall Hill , Table View , Camps bay ,it hits me everytime. Especially during the your warm African summers when It’s still light, sunny and hot till 8pm. Seaside Sundowners: you have perfected the art, its basically ,living the holiday, even if you have to work. How can I not love you?
As I finish writing this , its a bit late on a thursday night . I find myself sitting in my favourite cafe , my only companion a cold fermented one. Whilst begrudgingly keepin an eye on Man Utd play in the Europa league, but even that is not enough to temper the bliss I find myself in. I feel in my element. I am living good. Feeling better . But it’s time to go home and sleep now.
P.S If you are reading this , it means I finally worked up the courage to post it. So good on me.