Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Long Street

I walked along the famous Long Street lined with bars and restaurants and got a real feeling for the city. It was very busy with a mix of Victorian buildings and shiny glass and steel buildings. The people were a mix of black Africans, whites, east Asians, and people from India. One guy saw me trying to read the menu on the wall of one nice place called Nyoni's Kraal and invited me to come on in. Always careful after my years in Philadelphia, I decided to take a chance on this guy. I told him I just wanted a place where I could rest my feet, have a beer, and something to eat. He welcomed me and I found a nice little bar with window on the street. Patrick, whose English was quite good, was from the Xhosa people and had lived in Cape Town all his life and we had a good conversation. He introduced me to some good local brews, including the most popular, Castle, and one that I favored, Windhoek, brewed in Namibia thanks to its history as an outpost of the pre-WWI German empire.

Refreshed, I bid Patrick farewell, and set off down the street where shockingly enough I found a fine Irish bar called the Dubliner. Inside, I discovered the young guy bartending had attended high school in Florida.

I had heard stories about crime problems in South Africa - soaring random violent crime rates that made it unsafe at night. This belief was confirmed at the Dubliner where the bartender advised I get out of the downtown before dark. This was emphasized by another couple who over heard our conversation and said I would just be a target. So with directions to Strand street where I could find cheaper cab fare, I caught a cab back to the guest house, which was quite a bit closer to the waterfront than to downtown. It is a sad situation that, even more so that some American cities, fear of violent crime in South Africa makes people have to adjust their plans. I need to emphasize that in my travels I met nothing but friendly and helpful people (except for the police in Lesotho but more on that later)..

It was sometimes a little difficult to communicate. Many of the black Africans had their own language as their primary tongue, like Patrick.. Many of the whites Africans were Afrikans who spoke as their first language, Afrikaans, like the bartender in the Dubliner.
At top is a view of Table Mountain from the downtown. I have to say that Cape Town reminded me quite a bit of Honolulu. A big city set on the water with mountains looming in the background. A beautiful setting. Next is the busy Greenmarket Square, a couple of blocks off Long Street. Next is an example of the Victorian buildings that dot Long Street and the downtown with their interesting verandas. The dark brown building on Long Street is Nyoni's Kraal where I took a break during my walk.


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