A Portrait Of Cape Town

It is not often that one can visit a city and have the freedom to do nothing. To not have to rush around to see friends, or events or whatever it is you came to that city for. Or to not get in your car and do whatever it is you would usually do because… its what you know and are comfortable with.  Even money in its own way can prove a hindrance where you take the needlessly “quicker” route, mistaking it for the “easiest” way to get to one thing to another, yet you miss out on the moments in between.

I honestly could never say that I’ve REALLY explored anywhere, aside from every coffee shop and park within a 5km radius really.

But in 2012 I was very lucky to go to Cape Town and have no “meetings” or plans aside from a single shoot on the very first hour I arrived. For three whole days afterwards, I just explored the city, with limited cash on me, no car and no “place I have to be”. It was namely 2 days of wandering around… lost, confused and little bit scared even. But I loved it.

4 hours of walking in the middle of Cape Town, all the way to Green Point, learning the bus system, learning how to sign for a taxi and even having long conversations with the taxi-driver himself – these were all experiences I could not have otherwise. It was like a re-connection to the world, which even though it was not my home, it felt like it could be. I felt connected, and it wasn’t even because Cape Town was “different or better or more international” or any of that. It was just because, In a way, I didn’t HAVE to do it in Johannesburg, back in the place I call home.  There was no need for me to strike up a conversation with someone I barely knew for directions, because I know this place, these people, these roads and places.

During this little walk-about, I got into a taxi as it started getting closer towards night and by luck, it was just me inside the whole thing.  Nothing but me and a man who drove these streets every day, encountering thousands of people on a monthly basis. Sitting back in my daydream, gazing over the ocean, It felt like my own little limo, as we drove around Clifton Beaches, Green Point Stadium, and throughout town to get me back to where we were staying .

Throughout that trip, I had an incredible man tell me all sorts of stories about how him and his mates are all able to hold semi-basic conversations in so many languages due to all the tourists from overseas.  He told me about how his kids showed him how learn more languages on the internet which they have free-access to thanks to a coffee shop nearby with their wifi-password printed daily onto their door.

This whole trip told me a story, not in words or any such but in the small spaces in-between the places we would normally visit based on “whats the most fun” or some such. The spaces inbetween told stories without words. They were portraits of a city I never had a chance to just let go and explore, without the noise and stress.  It was getting lost in the middle of town, running for taxi’s, escaping the storm, spending R 100 for a whole day of travel.
It told me a story which no person I feel could tell.

A portrait of Cape Town.

I hope I get lost more often.

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Written by Kyle Goulden

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