observations on a morning walk in Cape Town, day 1

It worked like this. Open eyes. Check to see if BlackBerry service is working yet. Sigh. Wash face. Put on sports bra (who am I kidding, at the pace I walk that is totally redundant) and reeboks. Exit front door.

The first thing that hit me was the smell. Not fresh morning air like you would expect or a sea breeze like you would hope for. But the smell of a man wearing (way) too much aftershave. Is he overcompensating for not taking a shower this morning? Is there a lady at work he wants to impress? Or a funny smell in the office he wants to oppress? Maybe he just likes that manly musk. It is mixed with cigarette smoke (in the air, I don’t think the musk man was the smoker) something I could never understand; the true sign of addiction: early morning smoking. (cough cough)

My first human contact is insulting. I am literally 15 meters outside my apartment complex, waiting to cross the road. I yawn (I have only been awake for 12 minutes) and the lady in the car, waiting to turn, rolls down her window to tell me ‘you should not be yawning, you should be running, energised.’ I just looked at her and said, “I just woke up” (and I am not in traffic on my way to a boring desk job so bite me.)

I see two men walking up the hill on the opposite side of the road; about 40m apart and I use them as pace setters. I have to overtake them both before any of us get to the Camp Street. And I did.

In De Waal Park I see two black teenagers (from different schools, according to the uniforms) walk to school while chatting away. On the other side of the park I see white kids being driven to school, in St Cyprians and Camps Bay uniforms, strapped into BMWs, mini coopers, expensive SUVs. And I wonder if the blond girl, being driven to school in a Porsche with personalised number plates, gets automatic cool kid status…

At the reservoir I am once again in awe of the beauty of this city we live in. The water lies still as the mountain and blue skies reflect in it, ducks swim with their little yellow troops behind them and humans run round and round trying to feel better about their love for chocolate, ice cream, red meat, cigarettes… It is a cosmopolitan experience… from the grey, long hair bearded man (that made me think about Adi) jogging with what has to be his daughter or very young lover (but then surely they would find a better way to break a sweat than running laps) to the slick black guy (think Samuel L Jackson, he even wore his signature cap) dressed in all black, walking with a smooth swing in his step (maybe it WAS Samuel, maybe he is here shooting a movie!?); the dreadlocked rasta with glasses and all blue outfit; fat chicks running (either it is not working or they have just started, in which case I should also be running…); skinny chicks running (good on ya)… it just reminds you that in the end, we are all human and we all need to look after our bodies, no matter what shape, size or colour…

(Samuel and Adi, now imagine one walking with swag and style, 
one running with hair and beard all over the show)

I just walk and look at the flowers (I would probably get arrested for picking some proteas hey!?) the ducks, the views, the security guards sitting there, half asleep.

I pull over to (semi) stretch and see a police woman (the same one that came down the hill in a cop car with squeaking brakes when I was walking up) sitting in her car at the top of De Waal Park… I wonder if it is the end or the beginning of her shift. If she needs to take a break or if she is just being lazy…

I exit the reservoir and head down the hill, the R50 note in my (sports)bra reminds me, I need an energy booster Kauai smoothie to get me through the day. But in my tracksuit-tekkie-snoopytshirt-outfit I have to avoid hipster Kloof Street as far as possible, so I take the back streets. I see a girl get into her CL car, dressed in an outfit that just screams “I am trying to be different, unique, creative”, do not get me wrong, I love freedom of expression, especially via fashion. But you need to be able to pull it off, and there is a line and when you cross the line it all becomes just a little too much. Balance people, balance. Life is not a themed party.
How far is too far? this far…

I see the guy sweeping the streets, before 8am, while the bergie sits in the doorway and watches him, and I wonder, have you ever taken 10 seconds from your day to thank the people who keep our city clean? It must be a very ungrateful job, but I am sure we will all notice if they didn’t do it for a week…

On Kloof Street I encounter horseback cops. I wonder, is that a coveted job, do you apply and hope and wish and pray to be assigned a horse? Surely you cannot be expected to fight any serious crime on a horse. I am sure it is just to impress the tourist, to add some charm and romance to the scene as you walk past beggars, bergies and allies smelling of piss.

At Kauai I make small talk about being exhausted, needing a holiday (“What is that, can you eat it?” asks Ian the cashier. ”Ja, make mine a large”, I say)

I walk home sipping on a small Go-goji berry (with extra energy booster, whatever that is) smoothie, almost cry about a dead squirrel on the side of the road (be safe out there squirelly pants!) walk past a guy with music so loud in his headphones, I can recognise the Wu Tang song he is listening to (is MY music that loud when I blare the earphones?) and encounter my friend / neighbour as I open the gate to our block and she congratulates me on being up so early.

Yeah, morning walks are good… 

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