After 10 weeks traveling around Sri Lanka with it’s beautiful beaches, warm water, gentle surf, tropical climes, great spicy food on every street corner and bustling markets, (not to mention coconut cocktails), we’re finding it near impossible to adjust to life back in Cape Town. Lets face it – it’s not entirely a shabby place to come home to, great beaches, “the mountain”, vibey bars, warm weather.
BUT the water is 10C, the surf zones are either packed, sharky (if you’re in England then read “man-eating, shark infested waters” ), or you’re going to snap your board (or at my age your neck), the wind can howl for days on end until your last sanity cell fuses and you scream at everything living or not, and also you should mortgage your house if you’re in the mood for a sundowner cocktail or 6 along the sunset strip of trendy Camps Bay. Sadly, spice is not the order of the day and you are often met with bemused stares from your waiter when asking for fresh chilli to perk up a bland meal. Along with that, unfortunately we seemed to have developed a fast food, supermarket culture that provides anything and everything pre-cooked, packed, wrapped and ready to eat.
As much as we threaten the rain and wind gods, there is nothing that can be done about the weather or the prices, but the food on the other hand, we have no excuse living in the country we do. It seems that finally a handful of Capetonians are starting to wake up to the fact that there is more to food than KFC, more to shopping than overpriced, over packaged, and over frozen Woolies and choosing fresh produce over mass produce. Small industry over corporate conglomerates. We have a growing trend here in Cape Town with markets popping up all over the show. The Biscuit Mill, Oude Libertas, Hout Bay, St Georges Mall, Hope Str., although they generally have very limited trading hours and you need more than just one day a week if you want to start supporting it in terms of buying your weekly supplies rather than using it as a week-end breakfast junction, or pre / post hangover venue to meet your mates.
So after 2 weeks of grumbling my way back into “civilization” and hiding from various airborne missiles caused by an increasingly relentless gale force South Easter, we decided to venture out. Besides, the Rum we brought back from Sri Lanka was finished and the bar needed a refill. Never one to do things in moderation, we ventured out to the Waterfront. Now if you’ve never been to the V+A in CT over December, then you can be forgiven for finding yourself strolling like a lost Zombie through the myriad of brand names, Santas and perfume sellers trained like ruthless assassins in spotting desperate Xmas shoppers. Then to top it all off, add another 200 000 people headed in the same direction to watch the Red Bull Flugtag. Why would you do that to yourself? But like I said we had run out of rum. Things were looking dire. We stuck around with the sweaty masses, hoping to witness an engineering feat that would propel some luckless soul from the Red Bull platform on Jetty 1 to the bar in Quay4. It was not to be. And there are only so many times you can watch people throw themselves off a 10m platform, hoping against all sensibility to fly like an eagle, before you need some serious rehydration without having to leopard crawl your way past the posers to get to the bar. The Flugtag world record of just under 100m was not under threat. Team Bulls Eye finally won at 17,09m. SA triple jump athlete, Khotso Mokoena managed 17.25m in 2005. Just saying.
Anyway – in search of decent brew, dazed and confused from the crowds and heat, we stumbled into the nearest take away refreshment zone, aka liquor store only to find that Vaughan Johnson had shrunk, not the man himself, but his liquor store, (although that said, I did not see him so maybe he too has shrunk). Nearing a state of delusional weariness and not having the strength to fight the masses at the watering holes already bursting at the seams, we stumbled on. Like an oasis in the desert the Market on Wharf appeared as if sent by Bachus himself. That along with the fact that I can smell a beer a million miles away. Despite the impending dehydration, we were pleasantly distracted by what we saw. The market had only been open for a few days but already it looks promising.
My mom at one stage, after years of cooking for demanding kids and family said in sheer exasperation – I wish they could discover a pill that you could eat so that you didn’t have to cook. May that never happen and may these markets grow in number. Home grown beer, wine and food. It doesn’t get better! Well it could but then we’d have to go back to Sri Lanka………
For more info on the Market on the Wharf : http://www.marketonthewharf.co.za/
Open from Wednesdays to Sundays, from 9.30 to 19.30.
Here are a few more pics from the Market on the Wharf ……. We’ll be loading more onto our FLICKR page soon!