Misty morning

Another gentle walk as we ease into a new year – the promenade at Sea Point, from Mouille Point to Bantry Bay. This is possibly the most cosmopolitan and diverse stretch of concrete in Cape Town, and you will see every shape, shade, size, age, religion, hairstyle, outfit and social standing as you stroll its length. The homeless line the way, still sleeping huddled against a wall on the beach, or begging half-heartedly from a bench, or even, as today, doing the laundry down at the sea on a great granite boulder, spreading clothes across the rock to hopefully dry when the sun came out. The stench of urine-soaked steps is pervasive, and passersby quicken their pace to reach a space of cleaner air and leave behind the squalid reminder of the less fortunate, whether self-inflicted or not. On the other side of the lawns, fantastically expensive prime real estate is home to the haves.

In the main, the promenaders are exercising – on a single battery-driven wheel, roller blades, scooters, bicycles, running shoes, a workout group supervised by a smart-thinking personal trainer using the lawn as a free gym space, and us – a motley crew of assorted ages fitting in with the crowd as we pause to look at the beautiful photographic displays attached to the breakwater, our backpacks filled with flasks of coffee and tasty morsels for tea. The fog is thick and the paragliders who launch from the slopes of Signal Hill are waiting impatiently for their landing target to materialise – the fog is in no hurry. Without the usual blue skies, we are unaware of the majestic, towering Lion’s Head to our left. Only the towering blocks of flats, rising higher as the decades have passed, are visible, and on the right, a line of white spume shows where the waves are breaking beyond those fascinating rock formations that brought Darwin to these shores and countless geologists, professional and amateur, to wonder at the power of this planet. Who knows what geological treasures lie covered by these lawns and concrete!?

Despite the gloom, business is brisk at the pavilion, with families laden with cooler boxes, beach umbrellas and chairs queuing at the entrance to the swimming pools, determined to enjoy every last day of the holidays before school starts. We trod on, seeking a beach of the ever-present litter and assorted launderers, and found just such a place right at the end of the promenade which seemed undiscovered. The flat granite formed perfect natural seating for the footsore and weary. A most enjoyable break readied us for the return haul.

We now faced the sun, albeit filtered, and the slight breeze was now behind us. Humidity must have been 99% as we almost swam our way back to the cars – a round trip of 6.5km on hard concrete. Not so easy on the feet, and perspiration was the name of the game. We passed the launderer, now dressed, the reluctant beggar, the beautiful photos, the beaches now dotted with bright umbrellas and happy children, and in the distance could see the sunlight reflected off the cars in Three Anchor Bay – a welcome sight!

Not only had we had a great walk, but we had also observed the gamut of society in those few kilometres. A good lunch was called for, and we set off to try a new place – the Park Cafe in Green Point Park. A review follows.

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