Jeffrey’s TIME CAPSULE OF SURF

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“Couple waves out there ai.” Photo: Johan Evert

Cape Town turned out to be quite the vortex. After two weeks spiralling closer and closer to the eye, Johan pulled us out of the water and into his Freelander 2. From there we made it along the coast to Jeffrey’s Bay without a scratch. Or a stab wound, as so many were sure we would acquire. Then again, it is early days. We may be stabbed thoroughly yet.

The wave at Jeffrey’s has been so heavily mythologised the place no longer seems real. Though I can assure you, it is real. As real as an abandoned water park. As real as salty dreadlocks. As real as Billabong jeans slipping over cracked heels. As real as Fox hat beanies and surfboard letterboxes. At a time when the surf industry is supposedly floundering, there are no signs of struggle in Jeffrey’s. In fact, this place might be single-handedly keeping surf brands alive.

One does not have to look hard to find a scaly sea dog smoking a scoobie. Some of the locals here would smoke Nimbin folk under the bong-covered coffee table. “My eyes are stained red from the stiff south-easterlies,” they say as they slide their mull tin under the car seat.

Some of the locals are placid. Some are aggressively territorial. Tom had a run-in with some disgruntled men on our second day here.

“I jumped off the point, paddled straight out to where everyone was sitting,” he said

“I didn’t really barge in, just sat at the back of the pack and was going to wait my turn and just instantly got bailed up by like three guys who told me to get the fuck down the point.

“Who did I think I was? Sitting up there with them. A bit of localism.”

Tom and Hugh share a wave at J-Bay. Photo: Johan Evert

Nobody warned us about any localism before we came here but it is clearly present.

How many people warned us about sharks before we came? Many, yet the only sharks we’ve heard of have been at home.

No stabbings, no shark attacks, no water shortage. Safe to say we are immune to Africa’s deadly threats.

Then again, it is early days.

Yours,

H.F. Peniston

How TO BUY A CAR IN CAPE TOWN

26B9CB1B-6E5E-4F27-B776-47EFDF0B946DOur plan was to buy a nice big burly car to road trip Africa. We spent about a week running around Cape Town chasing that dream, so now we are experts on the matter. The following is a step-by-step guide to help you, should you ever choose to buy a car in the Mother City.

Step 1: Spend a few days getting drunk. Why? Because you can’t just waltz into a place like Cape Town and buy a car without first drinking a few cold ones with the people. Long Street and Kloof Street both run through the top of town towards Table Mountain. Together they contain the cultural crevasse you are looking for. Try the balcony at Yours Truly or up the road at Power and Glory first. Buy a few bottles of wine. Introduce yourself to some lovely local women, of which there is an abundance. Get something to eat at Rick’s Café Americain, Kyoto Sushi, NY Slice Pizza or The Sorrows. Remember, the place is heavily influenced by Europe so partying tends to happen late and long. When it gets late, head to Harrington’s, Asoka, The Shack, Hank’s, Love Thy Neighbour, Modular, The Orphanage or anywhere you walk by that has a crowd. Take your time, do it right.

Step 2: Now that you are nursing a good and proper hangover, you are ready to start looking for a vehicle. Your best bet is to lie in bed and scroll through Facebook Marketplace and Gumtree for hours on end. Open a million tabs. Message a few people. Enquire thoroughly. This thing has to survive months of potholed roads, long distances, dirt tracks, attacks from lions and hijack attempts. For some reason many of the cars we looked at had had their original engines replaced with something shit. Get a few trusty steeds in your sights.

Step 3: Go against just about everyone’s advice and meet strangers in the middle of nowhere to look at their cars. Between us we can’t do much more than change a tyre and check the oil, so we lifted the hood and intently whispered nonsense to each other. Don’t let the car owner clue on to the fact that you are mechanically hopeless. Take her for a drive. Don’t stall.

Step 4: After a sustained effort you still haven’t found the right car. Repeat step 1 until your inspiration is topped up.

Step 5: In Parow there is a long straight road called Voortrekker Road (R102). Start at Pick ‘n Pay and walk west. There are over 50 used car dealerships here. Spend three to four hours walking into all of them in the heat of the day. The salespeople mostly ignore you so the whole experience is almost pleasant.DFD7D249-64FE-4DC5-AE8E-5D14B6BEE761.jpg

Step 6: When all hope seems lost and you haven’t got enough money to buy a decent car, call my friend Johan Evert. We found ourselves ready to call it quits on the whole trip when Johan pulled us out of the muck. He agreed to drive down from his family home in his Land Rover Freelander 2, pick us up, and take us wherever the hell we wanted to go. In essence, we got ourselves a third member of the party and a private tour guide. After some back-and-forth and some wildly inaccurate calculations we worked out a price that was roughly the same amount we had set aside for a car. Only with Johan we had the added bonus of extensive expertise and all the gear we could possibly need for camping. If you need him, look up ‘Your Friend in South Africa‘.

Now one way or another, you are ready to start your journey. Best practice is to buy yourself a road map, burn it and dance around the fire until you see your next destination in the dregs of your last bottle of Black Label.

Until next time,

H.F. Peniston

Plenty OF WATER

IMG_0149First sign of a water shortage? Only one tap works in the Cape Town airport bathroom. A mere 17 hours ago Tom and I were 8,500 kms away, in Perth, where there is a drought but no real threat of running out of water. We’re delighted to exit the airport into drizzling rain.

Here in Cape Town, water was scheduled to run out a month or so ago. As in, all the taps are being switched off so grab a bucket and queue at the water tanks for your daily allowance. Stav – the man who owns our airbnb – has been in Cape Town for a few months so has a thorough grip on the situation here. He manages to sum up the whole crisis in one poetic expression, “If you gave the South African government control of the Sahara Desert, within five years there would be a shortage of sand.” Stav knows many other great things. For instance, banks created inflation. Cool stuff.

The city of Cape Town sits in a sort of basin created by three sharp interruptions to flatness. On the east side is Devil’s Peak. On the south side is Table Mountain. On the west side is Lion’s head. And to the north is the Atlantic Ocean. It is a very multicultural city. It’s a bit of a whore really. People come from all over the world to enjoy her.

Table Mountain is one of the seven natural wonders of the world. The other day Tom and I demonstrated that man is far superior to nature by climbing all over the so-called wonder. The views from the top were often obstructed by tourists and selfie-sticks. I was woke enough to realise I was one of them.

All the people here love us. All of them. We are very cool because we are not racist and we give money to beggars (but not too much because we need to be able to afford our daily green smoothies).

Anyway, I have to go. There are some people at the door who want to take us out for lunch. Better oblige.

Yours,

H.F. Peniston