People have gotten me paranoid about walking around the city. Well, I can't live here if I can't walk around the city. So I figured Sunday morning is as safe as it comes, I'll go out for a stroll. It was lovely! People everywhere walking home from church, all dressed up, busses weaving around the streets - they pick up passengers apparently by yelling and whistling and honking at people. Only "honking" is called "tooting". I walked down Main Road from center Rondebosch through the "suburbs" of Rosebank, Mowbray, Observatory, into Salt River. At Salt River it started looking a little sketchier so I turned back and walked down into the heart of "Obz" to Lower Main Road. These suburbs are either super tiny, or else they are elongated down the hill, because I don't think I was ever farther than 3km from Rondebosch.
So anywhere along Main Road would be an easy commute on foot, bike, moped, car, anything. In fact, the train is parallel and only a block or two downhill of Main Road. The campus "Jammie shuttle" runs into most of these neighborhoods until 11pm, and is widely considered to be safe (unlike the train after dark). Like Santa Cruz, the U. overlooks everything so it's uphill in the morning, downhill in the afternoon. Although Observatory was clearly still asleep at 11:00 on a Sunday morning, my stroll reaffirmed my impression that it would be a fun place to live. Lots of walk-away food stands, bars and cafes that overhang the streets, and off Lower Main, there are small streets with brightly painted cottages with white washed walls around them. The bars on windows and spikes on gates are ubiquitous here - there seems no way around it as it would be imprudent to be the first house on the block to take down the bars. But Obz has less of a white fortress feeling, and there were people of all races sitting on the porch drinking their coffee, chatting to their neighbors in the street, doing what I plan to be doing.
Sorry I didn't bring my camera to show you what the neighborhoods looked like - Didn't want to get paranoid about getting it stolen, and taking pictures like a tourist seems like a dumb thing to do. Just trying to be careful until I figure it out. Anyway in case I didn't mention it before, I have been twice to see the relocation people. There are a lot of them! They're really nice. And cute. I think Sila will get a big crush on all the pretty girls who will be helping us relocate. Anyway, they will set up rentals for us to visit. Apparently "unfurnished" really means it, there is no fridge or oven or the sort of appliances that we normally consider part of the woodwork. This is because of some squatters rights law, which basically says that if a tennant removes these things from the premises, they belong to him. So naturally no landlords will provide them. This also means that there's a roaring marking in second hand kitchen appliances, and I saw several sort of pawn-shop looking places on my walk which could furnish out a kitchen in no time. Interesting twist.
So I blew the rest of the morning wandering between coffee shops back to Rondebosch and reading newspapers wherever one was left around on a table. I'm glad to say that in spite of the foreign slang I can make sense of the rugby page now - I guess it's not too complicated when the Boks keep getting smashed - yesterday by the All Blacks, who looked amazing.