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It is here

June 21, 2010

And I am back. It’s been awhile. With a frantic rush at work to get three publications out during the first week of the World Cup, which we almost spectacularly failed to achieve, I have had very little time to enjoy the tournament, let alone update this blog. To summarise my non-work-related activities since the World Cup began ten days ago: I have

  • ridden a MyCiTi bus for the first time – Inner City 2 from the Civic Centre through Long Street during the opening ceremony on 11 July;
  • watched some football on TV – notably all the games played at Cape Town Stadium;
  • contemplated waiting in line for the Grand Parade Fan Fest – caught a game at Waiting Room instead;
  • taken some time to walk around the city centre and marvel at the miraculously completed legacy projects – Station Square is a favourite;
  • soaked in the gees and joined in on the flag-bearing malarkey – at the height of Bafanamania I had four on the car;
  • hung out with disheartened English football tourists in Long Street – sorry, guys, maybe 2066, eh?
  • and learnt to love the almighty din that emanates from South Africa’s favourite plastic trumpet – the vuvuzela, a chorus of which the press has described as sounding like a swarm of menacing bees.

MyCiTi, in all its ordinariness, is a perfect, functional and long overdue addition to the Mother City. Statistics show that the system is slowly catching on, although I personally have not seen a bus filled anywhere near to capacity, which suggests that MyCiTi’s launch has largely been met with indifference by car-loving Capetonians. This is a shame. The airport shuttle is undoubtedly the flagship service, but for my money (all R8 of it) the inner city loop is the star of the show. I’d have preferred it, however, if the City think tank approached the CBD as a feeder area with potential for a number of separate bus routes passing through its streets. Perhaps this is on the cards – after the World Cup the loop as we know it will be temporarily withdrawn so that buses can be transferred to the West Coast trunk route when it opens near the end of the year.

Station Square is looking fantastic, and with its proximity to Cape Town Station, will more than likely become the most used square in the city. It already ranks highly in my list of best CT public spaces and I look forward to its completion.

In general I’ve been impressed with the way Cape Town looks and is functioning during the World Cup. We have reason to be proud. The city “cleans up good”, as they say. The pro-Bafana vibe has been wonderful as well, which will hopefully go some way to dispelling Cape Town’s unfounded anti-South Africa image.

Cape Town Station and Metrorail remain weak links in the chain of service delivery. The station’s main concourse has vastly improved (understatement of note) and I’m a big fan of the new automated PA system. However, the information display boards on the platforms still often don’t work and the trains are long, long overdue for replacement. The situation has become an embarrassment.

I have one or two developments in the pipeline for this blog. I’m planning on adding a section in which I recommend quality establishments in the City of Cape Town metropole. I’m not yet sure how to go about this. It should be a fully functioning separate page (i.e. not like the “About” page) but not a separate category, as I have used the latter to demarcate cities. If you have a suggestion, please comment.

Look forward to football Tuesday tomorrow, when South Africa comes out in support of Bafana Bafana in their crucial match against France!

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