Travelling the world one can learn a lot about different cultures, architecture, art, hospitality and more sadly – airports. On the other hand, most of what you will learn about these different cultures will fill you with wonder and what you learn really depends on where you go. Some destinations make very little sense really, like Gibraltar – a city centred around a huge rock, where the prize upon reaching the top is a band of monkeys waylaying you for your bling.
Those who have travelled to Cape Town would probably be inclined to agree that, even after extensive exploration, they are not yet sure of what they learned. Let’s look at a few points that tend to leave guests pleasantly confused.
- Capetonian Time: This phrase implies that everything will happen in its own time, and will almost always be later than the agreed upon deadline. Even a host is bound to be late for his own party, and this will not be expected to offend Capetonian guests in the least. When a Capetonian says that they will have something for you by “x” date, it usually means in the same month – but not always.
- “Nee Ag ja” is a common term in the Afrikaans language but is popularly used by English speakers as well. The literal translation is “well yes no” but what this means colloquially is an enigma.
- “Now now”, is similar to the above term, only it’s in English and is commonly used in reference to Capetonian time. You see, this measurement of time is not set and has seen many foreigners fall for the misconception that it indicates ‘soon’ or ‘immediately’, but this is rarely the case.
- Road planning is really interesting in Cape Town, as few other places in the world have streets that literally ended in mid air. As a local I have no clear understanding for this (I would be surprised if there was anybody who did), but it’s always interesting to look up from the CBD and to see a street that ends in a 30 foot drop.
- Driving habits are influenced by Capetonian time and most people confuse every day driving for a Sunday afternoon drive. For us though, the point is not to reach our destination, it is to prevent others from reaching theirs. To us, nothing is more worrisome than a madman tearing up the street at 60kmph. This driving tendency is also a possible response to us having to remain wary of roads that end abruptly in 30 foot drops.
These are things that you just have to experience for yourself though, so go ahead and book that Cape Town vacation… and enjoy the confusion!