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A longer evening ahead of us then planned, we hit Long Street early. First stop, Daddy Cool at hotel Granddaddy’s, and it’s a quick one. We look in and leave. Maybe we were too early or it was cool once, now it just seemed clichéd, all disco ball and velvet, home to a suited crowd who’d just finished work. Undeterred, I venture back up the stair as I’d heard whisper of another place on the roof. I was on to something as the carpet turned to Astroturf and we found ourselves on the roof flanked by Airstream caravans among which were scattered sofas and tables. Again, it was dead but we left making a mental note to check it out on our return to Cape Town.

we can all play at mcdreamy now...

Back on Long Street, we remembered seeing a place calling itself a 90’s bar that had to be worth a laugh right – I mean what’s one of them?

It seems a place with pool tables. Lots of them.

How silly of me, smack of head, the 90’s was synonymous with pool, no? There was a bar in Old Street, its name escapes me but its unisex toilets were the talk of the town. That must be it.

Turns out it was student night so we stayed for the novelty (we so wouldn’t make it past the door in the UK!) and the 8 rand beers. I’m sure the

let the carnage begin!

Manchester Utd vs Bayern Munich game and a bunch of good looking lesbians had nothing to do with the other one’s reluctance to leave. He was probably just happy in his role teaching me how to hit a pool ball and making sure I kept them on the table.

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Abort Table Mountain

As Table Mountain is on our way back and the cloud has lifted we ‘nip in’ to see what’s doing. The approach could be billed Little Chapman if you ask me as we climb steadily and eventually park just feet away from the mountain’s edge. Optimistic though we were, we should have thought about the wind. The cable car is closed, not even Swiss engineering can defeat the elements. A few pictures and home James then.

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But squid steak is. I order it because it’s cheap and I’m curious (reasoning responsible for so many mistakes culinary or otherwise!).It arrives looking very like fried strip steak though pale and creamy in colour and tender to bite, I like.

It's a hoot! (see what I did there?)

We’re sat in the Mariner’s Wharf, a tourist beacon in Hout Bay, it being a massive  building right on the beach. Inside its dark timber recesses and matching tables and chairs scream traditional English pub and it’s festooned with all manner of nautical tat whose theme I have to report sadly includes the staff. Sporting stripy nautical jumpers, I expect them to break out into a jaunty hornpipe at any time. Really, it’s not that bad though and if the Pirate’s Arms even came close to this place at the very least it’d deserve its name.

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Chapman’s Peak

We'd just driven that bit...

My main concern was whether to eat before or after Chapman’s Peak as I have a very demanding belly but as we couldn’t find the place I’d earmarked to grant with our presence, I had to delay gratification. Spotting toll signs we guessed we were approaching Chapman’s Peak, billed as a thrilling coastal drive and I made like Grace Kelly in that film with Cary Grant when they’re racing around the hills somewhere – or was it Audrey Hepburn? Anyway, the other one’s Cary Grant impression, worse than Tony Curtis’ in Some Like It Hot and our crude approximation of an open topped car, having the windows wound down resulting in my hair whipping me about the face (missing as I was the key accessory for dangerous cliff drives, the chic headscarf) meant the fantasy ended pretty much as soon as it started. But it brings to mind one of life’s little puzzlers:

Why is it Grace or Audrey look fantastic in headscarves yet mere mortals look more like fisherwomen slapped in the face by one too many fish? Hmm?

this

Sorry, back to the thrilling drive.

A little underwhelming at first, but that’s maybe because the drive on the Sans Souci road to Port Glaud on Mahe, without the safety barriers and precautions that Chapman’s Peak has, is more ‘thrilling’! However, the majestic drama of the hills, crashing surf and views down to beaches nestling neighbouring towns are quite incredible and the viewpoints thoughtfully provided remind you of the feat of carving out such a road. We stopped, took some pics and motored on to lunch. I was hungry dammit.

or this? AND she's a model!

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ahhh look at them - 'the snugglers

Two km later, I saw a sign for penguin viewing and though this was our mission ignored it because it didn’t specifically say Boulders Beach and I do everything my guidebook tells me. A kilometre later and a sign for Boulders Beach (vindicated!), we turn in, park and are surprised that we have to pay an entrance fee (for a beach?), I hope that locals don’t have to.

We make for the beach cove, going through two metal gates that we have to make sure are shut so that penguins (PENGUINS HE HE!) don’t escape. Very different from beaches we are used to, everything seems ruddier – the people, the sand – more workaday and whimsical than the picture perfect Seychelles variety.

But PENGUIN ALERT! To my left by some rocks I see my first African penguin (formerly Jackass – don’t ask me why the change I don’t know, too rude?!) and so go and talk to him (it’s a habit of mine). He ignored me. I tried harder and started to follow him but he was playing hard to get, maybe he was shy I was filming him or perhaps he was just running scared from the stupid woman who walked right in front of me screeching inane comments, ruining my Attenborough moment. Grrrrrr.

Resolved to get some quality penguin time, this part of the beach clearly wasn’t harbouring the hundreds of penguins promised, we clanged back through the metal gates and hung a right along a wooden pathway that looked far more promising. It was. We stopped at least a dozen times along the shaded path, spotting penguins behind the wire fence in various forms of repose; zen penguin, on parade penguin, sleeping penguins, loved up penguins, waddling penguins, snuggled penguins, sneezing penguin and territorial penguin, I could have spent all day naming my penguin poses but the other one might have filed for divorced.

The path soon opened out to a visitor centre and another entrance; this presumably being where first sign that I’d seen on the road would lead you. We flashed our receipts and were let in and this time the path took us to vantage points on a wide expanse of beach where hundreds of the little fellas were hanging out. We hung around for a while but the wind whipping up we decided it was lunchtime.

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Boulders beach bound

someone's nice picture of Kalk Bay

Taking the road out from Cape Town to Muizenberg and then following signs for Simon’s Town. the other one cranked the motor up to 100+ km an hour (on Mahe the fastest road is 80km and anyway our car starts shaking over 60). One rule of the road it seems is to move over into the hard shoulder if people want to overtake on single lane roads, a flash of their hazards signalling thanks; no Seychellois honking here.

We passed through seaside towns reminiscent of the English seaside I thought, all stoically coastal in their identity, not trendy but chipper and bright though not quite able to stave off the lingering melancholy that winter brings. Kalk Bay, looked a bit more funky but still more Hastings than Brighton but then we were only driving through.

Though not intended, we stopped in Simon’s Town- I needed the toilet : ) . The place is a naval base but tourists likely know it as being close to Boulders Beach and for the one hour train journey from Cape Town, where in places the train barely clings to the coast with jaw dropping views to the ocean. The town again appeared seaside stereotypical, ambling past the antique shops, coffee shops and estate agents we concluded that we weren’t probably of that age yet to really enjoy its sedate and charmning pleasures. Mind you, as a naval base there must be some raucousness somewhere surely?

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Putting the ‘service into customer service’ (a novel experience accustomed as we are to Seychelles) we were up early to meet the car hire man who picked us up to take us to the office -at the bottom of our road, so a short journey then.

Brum brum bruummmmm

As you had to pay for each additional driver and it was a manual (eek) the other one got sole control of our kick ass white Chevrolet Spark and I played co-driver Just as well seeing how I clung to the dashboard as the car climbed the extremely steep road back to Upperbloem with a stupid stop sign at its crest, testing the other one’s bite skills and my bladder. We both passed.

Typically, clear blue skies were in abundance except for the big grey cloud dolloped over Table Mountain, our intended morning stop. So instead we brought our afternoon jaunt forward and made a beeline for Boulders Beach with a return back to Table Mountain via Chapman’s Peak.

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