Working in Cape Town - Part 1: First impressions


I managed to be lucky enough to get invited to Cape Town to work on a project for a month. Neolab has been developing an information system for a client stationed here and the results are quite satisfying, both for us and for the client. Therefore they decided it would be best if I came around, so we could work on the system together, while at the same time plan new, advanced features to come. I must say this is one of the greatest projects we've ever did, and I really look forward to implementing the social IT 2.0 features into the system in the future. Clients back home don't seem to recognize the real potential in those services, so it's really satisfying to get real feedback from a client on the concept.

Cape Town and South Africa are beautiful, the landscape is simply amazing, even though the flora resembles the European Mediterranean a bit. It's currently spring time, so this is actually my second trip in spring this year, and first ever to the southern hemisphere. Speaking of the southern hemisphere - I was actually disoriented for the first few days here, subconsciously thinking north was south, which is a fact I find really interesting.

The city of Cape Town is located around Table mountain, a great landmark of the city, where the Devil and the Dutchman often have a pipe smoking competition. The main city center (called the City Bowl) is surrounded with other mountains, while the suburbs and slums behind them stretch for miles. I am located inside the City Bowl, and the office I work at is within walking distance, so I can enjoy the real wibe of the city every day, as good or bad it may be.

Table Mountain, Cape Town

View over Table mountain from our office

I live in a building called Lulu's house, an interesting place filled with interesting people. I share the house with a few interns and other travelers from all over the world, some of them have been living here for months. It's really been wonderful to meet all these people and share different views on life, even though I spend most of my free time with my hosts. Meeting these people made my wonder about my connection with Slovenia and the lack of traveling as a student.

Lulu's House, Cape Town

Lulu's House, where I live

I was actually a bit shocked about the general cultural situation at first, the racial mixing seems to be working, but you can still feel the post apartheid influences and segregation. There are many beggars, most of them African, and the other day one of them threatened to steal my wallet if I don't give him change. An awkward moment, but I managed to talk my way out of it, hoping to have as little similar situations in the days to come. South Africa still has a long way to reach equality, but it looks like it's well on the right track.

Streets of Cape Town

Cape Town street, where I live

The food is nice, even though most of it would tend towards sweet. But I already got accustomed to that in Thailand, so no problems there. Meat is obviously the main component of the diet, both in meals (preferably roasted or as they call it, braaied), as in dry meat snack called Biltong (which is great). The beer is OK, but it's the wine that deserves a special mention. It's really really amazing, so I'm still thinking of a way to bring as much of it as possible back home, even though we have some very nice wines of our own.

Cape Town Food

A nice meaty meal

These are my first impressions of Cape Town and South Africa after about 10 days since I've been here. The city is actually quite growing on me, and I didn't even have the time to do a safari, shark-diving or many other things you can't do in Europe. So what seemed like a great deal of time when I got here could actually be over really fast, thanks to a lot of work during weekdays and a lot of crazy stuff to do during the weekends. A most delightful and useful journey indeed.

Check out the complete Working in Cape Town series.

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written 31.10.2010 16:33 CET on chronolog
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