Wednesday, September 26, 2007

Heerengracht Fountain, Cape Town, Late Afternoon

Street Kids At Heerengracht Fountain, Cape Town

Heerengracht Fountain is one of my favourite places in the city. There is always something happening there and a new chapter of the story unfolds every morning as the sun rises, running throughout the day, unconcerned with what is going on in the rest of the city, although everything remains connected.

In summer street kids enjoy swimming in the water until they are inevitably chased away by security guards or Metro Police. In winter the foul weather that lashes the city is reflected and magnified as high winds are forced between the nearby buildings and whip around the fountain, knocking the water right out of the catchment area until it floods the pathway and grass on the north side. Between runs minibus taxi drivers use the water to wash their vehicles at the taxi rank on the south side. Tourists appear with cameras and photograph themselves with the fountain or the mountain as a backdrop. Occasionally the entire system is drained and then cleaned by a team that appears magically. Sometimes the fountain is switched off for no discernable reason; other times it's on - you never know.

I often go to the fountain to test gadgets that can take photos (cameras and phones, usually), occasionally fending off the inevitable curiosity from locals with too much time on their hands. On Monday I had a number of cellular phones to test and braved the rather horrendous wind (powerful and freezing) to take my test shots. Halfway through the process about six street kids crossed my path, which is enough to strike fear into the hearts of most Capetonians. Cape Town is not a safe city but it's also not as dangerous as some would have you believe although I, like most, have been accosted a few times. I had a brief internal panic as I wasn't sure what I should do but decided to stand my ground and continue with my testing. They passed ... and then one turned back and asked me to take his photo. This wasn't the first request I'd had for the day so once again I obliged. The kid dived on the ground in front of me and one of his friends came racing up to join him, tossing the crate he was carrying to the grass as he did so.

I took the photo and then suddenly was inundated by the group, which wanted to see the image. Mindful of the fact that this was not my phone and not overly fond of being surrounded by anyone, nevermind street kids, I had to ask them to stand back while I frantically tried to find the Gallery function in the phone. To my relief they did so while I located the photo and then showed it to them.

Satisfied, they continued on their way.

Heerengracht Fountain Panorama

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38 Comments:

Blogger Francois said...

I like that panodrama feature of the 6110 Navigator.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:37:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

LOL. Sadly there was no drama when I used the Nokia 6110 Navigator.

Actually, "sadly"? What the hell am I saying? Why do I invite trouble?

Wednesday, September 26, 2007 7:53:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Adrenaline junkie? This post is brought to you by the following magic letters: qbadqa

Thursday, September 27, 2007 9:26:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

As if. You've met me. You know that's not true.

And so...are we onto that again? qzjans, then!

Sunday, September 30, 2007 4:52:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

People change... then there's also the split personality disorder... *ponders*

fnntapof to you!!

Sunday, September 30, 2007 10:47:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Hey, now!

I thought we weren't going to refer to it as a disorder. It is a "quirk".

(Or an "avhucjsn", if I think about it.)

Monday, October 01, 2007 9:41:00 AM  
Blogger Francois said...

Wellm if you look at it like that, you might even call it an undocumented feature, you zsdykr.

Monday, October 01, 2007 5:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Well yes, that is an excellent suggestion. And highly accurate.

But don't call me a zsdykr you ujchi!

Monday, October 01, 2007 5:36:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Hey ujchi! Is this gonna become one of those conversations we have for the whole world to see what freaks we are? I feel a bit uwnbt about it.

Monday, October 01, 2007 6:17:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Speak for yourself. No one thinks of me as a freak.

Also, no one really reads my blog, anyway, so your benign, bland image remains intact.

And with that, I don't have anything obscure to say, for it is not asking for me to verify myself. I guess this makes up for all the longs ones I've had to type in the past.

Monday, October 01, 2007 6:25:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Or maybe the son of a ymgnq is tired of you harassing him.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 10:59:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Actually, it's more a son of a qyxoczb harassing me!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 3:40:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

That's not what voelrnp told me.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 5:10:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

I don't know a "voelrnp". I think you're making that up.

I am also once again being excluded from the security booth*, so I have nothing further to try and pronounce.

*well, escorted around, in luxury.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 6:37:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Maybe they trust you now. Your own personal chaperon? You could call him cthkqdw.

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 7:05:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

I'm going to have to, for today I still have my magic free pass, and I shall utilise it fully! Huzzah!

Tuesday, October 02, 2007 7:27:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Ok, black van reports that you are bribing security, in particular the guys at the ukcaezk terminal.

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 7:28:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Ok, that can't be true because there is only a cmaqja terminal. If you really had a black van that reports things you'd know that.

Oh crap! Was that a wiley way to ascertain the name of the terminal? Drat!

Wednesday, October 03, 2007 3:51:00 PM  
Anonymous Tre said...

I've been reading all of this... so don't think your obscure (plus link to other obscure) conversation has gone unnoticed.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 12:11:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Mandy: Thanks for leaking me the actual name of the terminal.

tre: I thought the police locked you up on charges of second degree dbsqu.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 12:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Actually I think it was first-degree zaflcv. That's why she's been so quiet for so long.

Anyway we've changed the name of the terminal again so you're screwed.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 1:19:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Today is not my vjgfmzf-ing day.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:14:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

I understand. I'm feeling a little oprandag myself, and not just because I had to type all those letters.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 2:43:00 PM  
Anonymous Tre said...

Francios: Actually it was first degree bszgj, but the charges were dropped as the only vaguely criminal element involved was the fact that the crime itself could not be pronounced.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 3:02:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

I pity you non-Russian-speaking people for not being able to pronounce that. You are all like a bunch of avxylgel!

Thursday, October 04, 2007 5:20:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

That's not Russian, it's Slovak. Use the Google translator on zmhjajuY and you'll see.

Thursday, October 04, 2007 5:34:00 PM  
Anonymous Tre said...

I can't believe you qgvmjjt-ing people managed to drag me into this obscurity!

I am way too easily influenced..

Thursday, October 04, 2007 6:34:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

tre: Crybaby!

Mandy: No wonder you didn't understand what they were saying, you were reading it using a Slovakian translator... should have been Russian. tvsatlqv da?

Thursday, October 04, 2007 8:30:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

No sir, you are confused. And just a little zxmbzd. I think it's all the late nights.

Friday, October 05, 2007 5:19:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

I'm NOT a little zxmbzd! I'm actually a tall and handsome ifygz. :D

Friday, October 05, 2007 7:41:00 PM  
Anonymous tre said...

I looked up the dictionary definition for 'ifygz'..

ifygz | noun
someone who makes wild exaggerations regarding their height and general appearance
- see also facmgra

Friday, October 05, 2007 11:44:00 PM  
Blogger Francois said...

Off course it would say that because I am modest.

Saturday, October 06, 2007 8:11:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

"Modest", of course, being a euphemism for "off course".

So yeah, cgxgdg, and all that.

Monday, October 08, 2007 11:30:00 AM  
Anonymous Natasha Keeman said...

Mandy hi. Aside from all the obscure content you seem to know your way around Cape Town. I live in Australia, and am trying to find out what is located at 301 High Level Court, High Level Rd - any ideas?

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 12:38:00 AM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Hi there

I don't know specifically what is located at that address - I haven't been on that road in ages - but I know the area is a combination of residences and tourist accommodation.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 12:29:00 PM  
Anonymous Tre said...

[For Natasha]
If the place is called High Level Court it can only be an apartment block. I wish I'd seen this earlier - I was actually on High Level Rd today..

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 7:46:00 PM  
Anonymous Natasha Keeman said...

Thanks for your help Just trying to fill in some gaps in the family history, my father lived there some time ago, but wasn't sure if it was a "home" or a temporary residence like a hotel.

Wednesday, October 10, 2007 10:50:00 PM  
Blogger Mandy J Watson said...

Tre is right - it must be an apartment block (or "block of flats", as we would call it, LOL).

If you want, send me your email address (you can find mine at brainwavez -[dot]- org) and if I have time in the next few days I will go and take a look and let you know. You have piqued my curiosity.

Thursday, October 11, 2007 10:38:00 AM  

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