The Tourist Way, part 1.
The Tourist Way is something I’ve been always avoiding. My fear of the touristy has a long tradition as “touristy” equals usually overpriced and often fake. Instead of paying a lot to see how the place isn’t, I preferred to pay less to see how it really is. The tourism industry is undoubtedly taking advantage of the oblivious visitor, however, I’ve realized that what they show to their customers is often worth seeing and you can combine their ideas with the experience of an expat to have the best of both. My guinea pigs are my mom and her boyfriend who came to visit me for the first time.
Since I live in Sea Point quite an obvious choice for the first attraction was Waterfront.
Even though it’s the name of the whole area, it’s most commonly used for the shopping mall. The latter is rather upmarket and you should be aware of the fact that most of the African souvenirs you can buy there are way overpriced. Locals enjoy Waterfront’s multiplex cinema and more alternative cinema nouveau, which screens what in Europe would still be considered mainstream films. There’s also a pub with its signature beers “Mitchell’s” which invites us to swallow its pride (I remain unsure whether the pun was intended).
For 50 rand you can get sample amounts of their 6 beers and a beer related souvenir. Once your favourite taste has been chosen you can continue drinking it for about 30 rand per pint which works out a bit more expensive than drinking regular beer. If drinking makes you hungry you can eat fatty food at Mitchell’s or choose between a wide variety of overpriced and not always good restaurants. If you’re opting for a cheaper option I suggest food court or craft market. The latter offers mostly snacks downstairs so if you have a good appetite I suggest you walk up to eat African, Mexican, Indian or Chinese food (priced between 35 and 50 rand per meal). As I was introducing it to tourists I chose a typically African meal: meat, pap (a type of corn) and veggies served that go with a spoon instead of a knife and fork.
Food and booze is always fun, however, my favorite part of the day was a visit to the “Two Oceans Aquarium”. Priced at a 100 rand is money well invested. They have quite a few, pretty underwater creatures like this one:
Or her even prettier collegue:
Certain fish have a dubious sense of humour and play hide and seek with the visitors:
Some choose the safety of social conformism:
Others prefer to protest against the mainstream culture:
There are also quite a few sharks and I took a picture of one so that you can see that they actually have stupid face expressions:
The Queen of all underwater creatures, the abalone, can also be found and admired:
When visiting the aquarium one can also notice that there’s a lot of colour pink in some tanks but I assure my more conservative Polish readers that it’s NATURAL and that it isn’t a part of promotion of the homosexual lifestyle, so you can take your children with.
For people concerned with their image, the aquarium provides inspriational quotes that you may want to share with your friends as your facebook status:
The memory of the above, however, became but a faint memory the moment I saw the name:
Giant Spider Crabs (pol. Srogie Kraby) are Japanese and huge. They can reach up to of 1m height and 4m width (or at least so the Aquarium claims). According to the legend the crabs are transmogrified Samurai warriors who were unwilling to surrender when their Emperor was defeated and killed themselves by jumping to the sea*. The crabs are also believed to be feeding on corpses of dead sailors which may or may not be true, as apparently they’re omnivorous. The biggest specimen is referred to as Crabzilla and can be found in a museum in Netherlands**. Ladies and Gentlemen have a look at the Giant Spider Crabs:
I must confess that I was fascinated. I’m not sure whether you know that about me but I’m a huge fan of monster movies. The resemblance between the Giant Spider Crab in front of my eyes and the one I saw in the Attack of Giant Crabs (1957) was striking (I’ll totally make a movie about zombie giant spider crabs one day, I can’t believe that the idea hasn’t been used yet):
The first part of Cape Town the tourist way is coming to an end. In a farewell gift let me share with you three pictures I took in the area that I either liked but don’t know how to comment on or they’re self-explanatory:
* for more about the legend and origins of the crabs visit http://arthropoda.wordpress.com/2010/01/26/samurai-crabs-transmogrified-japanese-warriors-the-product-of-artificial-selection-or-pareidolia/
** to learn more about Crabzilla http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1299992/Meet-Crabzilla-giant-Japanese-spider-crab.html