Thursday, January 27, 2011

Geek Girl Dinner Cape Town Launches

Above: The view from the top of the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay. It has very little to do with this post but isn't it amazing? Look closely at the stacked decks of swimming pools.

On Tuesday I attended the Geek Girl Dinner Cape Town planning event, an informal get together organised by Mariska du Preez, which was held at Salt, a restaurant in the Ambassador Hotel in Bantry Bay (and which featured in a key scene in the movie Flashbacks Of A Fool, with Daniel Craig). We gathered to establish whether there would be interest in such events, who would like to be involved, and what we should do.

I went more out of curiosity, not only to experience this restaurant that I've heard so much about but because I have been attending the Cape Town GeekDinners for years and although I am generally not in favour of activities that centre around gender I was interested to see what the attendees would be thinking in terms of a Geek Girl Dinner, although I initially felt a fair amount of trepidation as large groups of women can be quite intimidating (to me, anyway).

I arrived early (I know!) by accident (there you go!) and parked on the roof, which is where the photo above came from. It was a beautiful day, late-afternoon muted light, hot weather with cool breeze....

What an amazing time it was. The group, of course, predominantly comprised women but a few brave men attended too (they are welcome by invitation of a member in order to prevent the ratio from flipping the wrong way). The atmosphere was so different, as was the tone of the conversations. I was quite fascinated. Around the tables there were the odd discussions that touched on fashion, there was a lot of business talk and even more introductory conversations as people got to know each other, and I caught the tail end of one about planning, organisation, and charting for project/schedule management that included mentions of stationery and all I could think was "that's so logical and I've never heard men speak like this ever!".

I also personally had an epic conversation about gaming (as one must).

I realised that most of my conversations about technology are with men, because most of my friends are men, and most of the tech journalists I know are also men. Yet here I was surrounded by accomplished women from all over the city (and surrounds) who speak my language and, surprisingly, while the content is the same, the presentation is a whole new world to me, but just as interesting.

I'm not sure what's up next - Mariska printed out forms, remembered pencils, and let us fill them up with comments at our leisure, which she will be collating - but I'm keen to see what happens.

Oh, and the service at Salt was excellent. We only had a light version of high tea so I don't know what's on the full menu and would probably balk at the prices (as I do) but it's been a long time since I've seen waiters manage a large group so well. They also fitted us in in between the lunch and dinner sittings (a pre-approved plan, of course) and were accommodating when we ran over time by about 45 minutes.

The view from inside the restaurant is also breathtaking.

(A side note - I tried a cappuccino (R16). It is well priced and was made properly, with good microfoam, simple latte art, and proper balance of espresso and milk. There was a very, very slight burnt taste to the coffee (almost unnoticeable) but on the whole it's one of the best I've had in years (/one of the few I've had in years that wasn't bad). Unfortunately I can't comment with more depth because I was engrossed in what was going on and wasn't paying attention to the drink. I will have to return... if nothing else that view requires a second look!)

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