|Subject: Cape Town, Waterfront|
Posted Mar 18, 2000 by FCL-BW
I recently visited South Africa on business and therefore saw absolutely nothing of the country at all - see the recent Guide entry on 'Business Travel'.
One thing I did see, however, was the new Waterfront complex in Cape Town. Essentially it's a huge area filled with posh shopping malls, restaurants, hotels, etc, which can only be accessed by means of a handful of gates controlled by armed guards. The idea been, of course, that people (especially tourists and business travellers) can enjoy themselves and spend lots of money without the fear of been robbed, car-jacked, etc. At first I thought "How sinister, the rich trying to build themselves an ivory castle and shut themselves off from the problems of the rest of the country." But, having visited the place, I must say that apart from being very pleasant, if a little expensive, I found it was also the only place in South Africa where I saw people of all colours and creeds mixing equally and, apparently, enjoying themselves together. If this is the future of South Africa, maybe it isn't so bad.
Have any other hitch-hikers experience of the Waterfront?
Armed guards patrol the world. The recent spate of bombings in Cape Town (including the Waterfront) might have been the reason you noticed them - also the Waterfront shares an entrance with the port so you probably cruised in through our exceptionally relaxed customs post. There is a whole lot to do at the Waterfront if you have cash, the only bit thats free is that intensely nautical feeling that reminds one of bath time and toy tugs (there's even scum on the surface of the water).
More importantly though, it has a function as per flypaper of creating large empty spaces outside its gates. Deserted spaces filled with real beaches and mountains covered with proteas and sunbirds. Come again.
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