Normal service shall resume shortly…

Yes, I’ve dropped off the grid.  We moved into our “final” new home on Friday, and our wonderful fixed line provider dropped the ball on moving our line and are now only scheduling the installation for the end of the week.  I’m still around though, just generally out of touch for the time being.

While we wait for normal service to resume (though I can’t promise whether or not that will be shortly), here’s a clip of some crazy longboarding down this stretch of Kloof Nek to keep you all entertained:

Guess no-one listened…

… because after I asked people yesterday not to set the next veld fire off, guess what happens?

West Coast trafficking

Now that I have a 20 km daily commute to the office (and that’s one way!), traffic has become more of a factor than it is.  So far, it hasn’t been bad — the R27 has generally been free-flowing, except for yesterday around the Royal Ascot and Sunset Beach areas — but I’m guessing that that’s partly due to my unconventional working hours (I get to work and leave for home well after most people) and partly because much of Cape Town is likely still hungover from New Year.  So, in between work, play and everything else, I’ve been taking a look to see what the alternatives are.

And first off, there’s the MyCiti expansion plans.  Currently, the main route is from Table View down to the Civic Centre in the CBD, with some feeder routes in Table View/Parklands/Sunningdale/Bloubergstrand.  That’s about to get a major expansion.  First off, more main routes are coming onboard: from Table View, main routes will be extended to Du Noon and further on to Atlantis.  Secondly, the feeder routes in my area (Parklands) are getting a major revamp.  And thirdly, there’ll be more feeder routes: not only in my neck of the woods, but also down the Atlantic seaboard from Green Point through to Hout Bay (as well as a feeder route going particularly close to the office; worth keeping in mind if I decide to work more regular hours (fat chance!) and/or the petrol price skyrockets (which is far more plausible)).  Take the bus instead of fighting for parking when my friends decide to congregate on the Clifton Beach flavour of the month?  Oh yes, please!

Secondly, Sandown Road in Sunningdale and Parklands Main Road (in Parklands, obviously) are planned to be extended all the way through to the Postdam interchange on the N7, giving those with a public transport aversion to use the N7 and take pressure off both the R27 and Table View’s Blaauwberg Road.  Obviously, it depends on the destination of those people, but it’s much needed.  I’d use the new link to get to the Southern Suburbs, for example, but I’d continue using the R27 to get to the city centre.  At the moment, that’s estimated to be completed and opened at the end of 2013, though there didn’t seem to be much activity there when I drove past a few days ago.  (Admittedly, at around 23:30, so there wouldn’t have been much to see anyway!)

Then, not directly related, but due to the new Industrial Development Zone up north at Saldanha, a few provincial roads not far from me are getting upgraded — the R27 continuing out of the city towards Laaiplek, as well as the N7 through to Malmesbury and then the R45 to the Saldanha area.  I haven’t found much detail on this — I’m told that the only mention is in the provincial government budget at this stage.  However, a result of this will be an upgrade of Wingfield Interchange (that’s the interchange between the N1 and N7 for any non-locals reading this) by 2018.  That will affect me quite a bit with regards to using the new link road mentioned above.

So in short: if the traffic gets bad, I can either MyCiti all the things, or just slog it out for a year.  Good to know that I stay in a city that does indeed work for me.

One more reason to love Cape Town

How many places around the world does one get to pull off and take photos like this on one’s drive home?  (And have the added bonus of avoiding a spot of nasty traffic on the R27 while you’re at it…)

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Malibu, eat your heart out.

(Yes, I know that I’ve promised sunrise photos from Fish Hoek or Simonstown.  I haven’t forgotten about that… thing is, I have to get up really early for those — I’m not a morning person! — plus, it’s ridiculously far to drive there now.  It’s still on my list of things to do, but it’s one of those “it will be done when it will be done, and not a moment sooner or later” things.)

Real life questing

With a public holiday yesterday, and with an old friend from Durban finally coming down to visit, I decided to take some people on a tour through the Winelands.  Also joining me were my two future housemates, and a new friend of mine: a visiting master’s student from Canada (being the only non-nerd in the group).

Of course, in true nerd style (much to our non-nerd’s bemusement), we did this in the style of a World of Warcraft quest chain:

  1. Assemble a party of fellow questers.  Your fellow party members may be found in Mowbray, Sunningdale and Gordon’s Bay.
  2. Journey to the Boschendal Wine Estate and acquire 1 Bottle of Fine Red Wine.  Completing this quest requires 50 gold.
  3. Journey to Fairview and acquire 2 Cheese Platters and 1 Loaf of Freshly-Baked Bread.  Completing this quest requires 100 gold.
  4. Prepare a Banquet of the Winelands to feed your party.  A Banquet of the Winelands may only be prepared at the Afrikaanse Taalmonument.  Party members that spend at least 10 minutes eating and drinking will be Well Fed and will receive the buff “Scribble Big Bang Theory Quotes on Ron’s Car” for 6 hours. (My fault for not washing it!)

I also took everyone to Nederburg and through the Huguenot Tunnel afterwards before the group disbanded.  Muchness of fun.

Ask the man in yellow

I stumbled across the safety video for the Cape Town Stadium — it was produced primarily for the 2010 FIFA World Cup games that were held there, although it’s apparently been used at every stadium event since.

Best safety video.  Ever.

Admittedly, I haven’t noticed any mutant sea life or extraterrestrial activity in my time here.  That being said, with December 21st fast approaching: if it turns out that popular opinion regarding the Mayan calendar is correct, I’ll be sure to ask the man in yellow what to do.  (Hopefully his advice will be along the lines of “avoid the N2 outbound”; it’s bad enough in the evening rush hour…)

Nature’s own kamikaze pilot

This is one of those “a picture speaks a thousand words” blog posts.  And in a nutshell, the local fauna at my current apartment block (though not for much longer) has turned hostile:

Apparently, this is where kamikaze originated from.

Said starling has made its nest above the motion sensor light above the (only!) egress of our communal garage.  It’s turned the previously simple routine of arriving and leaving into a mad dash to pass through the restricted area before its self-appointed sentry notices and reacts.

Here’s a shot showing the notice from the previous image, the entrance to the communal garage, and the motion sensor light.  The colour balance and contrast is very off, but I was far more concerned for my own survival than capturing a photo that people such as Ettienne would approve of.  (On that note, I’m planning a mission to Fish Hoek over the weekend for sunrise shots, depending on weather and whether I can drag myself out of bed at around 04:20…)

I can make it from the entrance to the car in 3 seconds. Can you?

And if we zoom in, we get a glimpse of the antagonist:

This little bugger has the speed, manoeuvrability and attitude of a fighter jet.  If you see it coming for you, run like hell.

I have no idea when the starling’s nest is planning on being removed, but considering the risks of a) aerial attacks while the forcible eviction is taking place and b) the starling rejecting the nest and its offspring if it’s been tampered with, no doubt our Body Corporate will be making sure it gets done properly.  Which will probably take a while.  In the meantime, I’m trying to obtain one of these

But Captain, you SAID that the best parties are at Clifton!

While browsing the 6000 miles from civilisation blog (it’s in the blogroll for folks who want to wander over there), I noticed a timelapse of the attempts to refloat the Eihatsu Maru, which ran aground at Clifton not too long ago.  It’s awesome enough to be reposted here:

And in other news, the Dragon capsule (which I wrote about earlier this week) was captured by the ISS earlier today.  I’m far less enthusiastic about the SKA announcement, but I’ll follow up with a separate post about that…

The roof is on fire

So, Development was (for the most part) working away nicely on a Friday afternoon, when we noticed a plume of smoke outside the window.  Of course, the thought of a field trip was irresistible, so we all climbed the fire escape to the building roof, and noticed this:

Yes, that’s a veld fire in the District Six area.  Obviously, we don’t know what caused it, but as everything in Cape Town is extremely dry after some pretty intense heat that we’ve been having lately, it probably wouldn’t take much for a cigarette end carelessly flicked out of some motorist’s window to set that off.

Of course, this being Cape Town, the wind blew the fire across the road:

Now, for those unfamiliar with the area, just behind that other building in the office park lies the N2 freeway.  Hate to think what visibility is like for those motorists right now.

And then of course, the smoke plume gets blown over towards the CBD:

Two things to consider: the aforementioned visibility problem on the N2 (which you can’t even see in the above shot!), and the fact that it’s now 15:30 and people are starting to bugger off from work.

Rush hour this afternoon is going to be FUN.

(At least I leave the office at 18:00 and drive AWAY from the fire…)