Have you watched Woody Allen’s Midnight in Paris? I have watched it a couple of times. Owen Wilson’s character, Gil, is me. To sum up the movie as much as possible, Gil falls in love with Paris and decides to move there. The first words are spoken by Wilson’s character and he says, “This is unbelievable. Look at this. There is no city like this in the world, there never was!” I apologise but you will have to watch the movie. It’s brilliant. If you have watched the movie then great. I write this because Midnight in Paris made me do it.
I came here to study at the University of Cape Town (UCT) in 2008 and honestly, I fell in love with the city. I have been to Atlanta in the US, London, Paris, Durban and Johannesburg. I have seen quite a bit of the world and I have stayed in different cities but my time in Cape Town has been beautiful. The city understands me and I understand the city. Some may say I became the product of my environment or I may have adapted to it because of university. I say, I fell in love with Cape Town.
Everything about Cape Town is majestic, beautiful in every way and she is kind. Table Mountain is by far the most popular attraction in this city. It’s not hard to miss. If you sit on the right hand side of the plane as you fly in, just look out your window. The Mountain looks back at you, inviting you to the greatest city on earth. As you get closer to landing, Cape Town becomes warm and welcoming. Going up the Mountain is a must! To be honest, it took me 5 years to go up. Sad! Forgive me because I did not know what a huge mistake I had been making. When I finally went up, I did not want to leave. Looking down at the city was hypnotising. The city seemed peaceful and full of grace. I could never see that from the streets of Cape Town, but looking down at the city made me realise, she is marvellous.
Adrianna (Marion Cotillard): I can never decide whether Paris is more beautiful by day or by night.
As those words resonate through my mind, I feel the same way about the Mother City. Cape Town is the “city that doesn’t sleep”. As cliché as that may be, it is true. There are the sights during the day, the beaches, the wine farms, the multiple activities that one can do during the day, and the most laid back people on earth. At night, the city lights up and continues to be the ultimate host. The infamous Long Street comes alive and people, in a beautiful trance, dance to it, dance through it and continue to dance the night away. With different clubs and bars with their unique tastes and vibrant lifestyles, there is an option for anyone that parties in Long Street.
I can go on and on about Cape Town. Obviously! But like every destination, everyone has their hidden gem. I have a couple, starting with UCT Upper Campus. Outside the Jameson Hall there are the infamous “Jammie Stairs”. UCT students and alum know these stairs. But for me, it’s not during the day when it’s packed with thousands of students, bunking lectures or eating lunch. For me, the Jammie Stairs were amazing on weekends or at night. Barely anyone was on campus and I would take a seat on the stairs, look out and see the city. There is something about overlooking the city that soothed my soul. I would escape in it. Zone out from the world around me and leave all my problems in reality whilst I entered an altered state. I was relaxed, I was calm and I become one with Cape Town. At night, it was as if I watched her sleep. She would take long and deep breaths, she would be calm, she would be at peace and I watched her. Beautiful and eloquent! I connected with Cape Town during that time. Call her my drug but it was hard to let go especially when you are fighting for DP. Try it out for yourself but if I catch you there, I will imitate Dr Sheldon Cooper from The Big Bang Theory and say “That’s my spot!”
Another hidden gem, which I have to thank my ex-girlfriend for, is Victoria Road from Hout Bay to Camps Bay. Approximately 7mins 34secs from the top to the bottom, it is the most beautiful drive on earth. On a beautiful and sunny Cape Town day, this stretch of road is absolutely amazing. To quote my aunt (who came from Johannesburg and was in Cape Town for the first time) “Wwwwwwwooooooooooowwwwwwww!” She could not stop saying it when I showed her. Of course, a selfie is a must. There are exactly nine stops from the top to the bottom that accommodate the parking of cars and of course, the taking of pictures. You look out to the ocean and it is pure bliss. Mesmerising! When in Cape Town, rent a car, take the MyCiti Bus or get onto the City Sightseeing Bus, either way you need to experience the drive. Sandwiched between the Atlantic Ocean and the 12 Apostles, Victoria Road is part of the reason Cape Town is a beautiful city.
Not to forget, please be mindful of the cyclists.
I’m in love with Cape Town. Simple! I look forward to every moment I get to take a step outside and see more of her beauty.
Gil (in response to Adriana’s statement posted above): No, you can’t, you couldn’t pick one. I mean I can give you a checkmate argument for each side. You know, I sometimes think, how is anyone ever gonna come up with a book, or a painting, or a symphony, or a sculpture that can compete with a great city. You can’t. Because you look around and every street, every boulevard, is its own special art form and when you think that in the cold, violent, meaningless universe that Paris [Cape Town] exists, these lights, I mean come on, there’s nothing happening on Jupiter or Neptune, but from way out in space you can see these lights, the cafés, people drinking and singing. For all we know, Paris [Cape Town] is the hottest spot in the universe.