On the Beach

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Cape Town Weather Update

Since my last treatise on the weather in Cape Town, namely the winter here, I feel the need to post an update.

It's not right to say that I should eat my words because, strictly, we're in spring now, and not winter so my comments vis-a-vis this winter are still valid.

However, I must say that most of September has been quite gross. Rain and wind. And Cape Town rain and wind, if you've come from where I've come, from is quite something. Bear in mind, when reading my comments that the last place I lived was London which has a "mild" climate. Which means, basically, cr*p. On the whole London hardly ever has spectacular weather- rain is generally interminable drizzle, wind is more akin to a stiff breeze and summer's day is more often cloudy with spells of sunshine. Not exclusively, but mostly.

Cape Town weather, on the other hand is really "in yer face" weather. If it's sunny (which mostly it is ), it is glorious sunshine with stunning bright skies as the backdrop of Table Mountain. To recreate Cape Town rain, ask someone to pour a bucket of water over your head. To recreate Cape Town wind and rain, ask someone to throw a bucket of water in your face. If it's windy and sunny (which is often is in summer) and like me, a newbie at the time, and you go to the "wrong" beach you get a free exfoliation (if you can open the car door). Or you'll sit in your house in the evening and it will feel like a giant is simply repeatedly slapping your house.

Back to the current climate and, really, since the beginning of September, it has been windy and rainy.

The most curious thing to me about "bad weather" in Cape Town is the traffic. Without fail, when it rains, my husband will SMS me on the way home saying the traffic is bad. And some might think that this is normal for 2 reasons: firstly, that more people drive when it rains; and, secondly, that people drive more carefully and slowly in bad weather.

Well, you're wrong!! Let me tell you why:

1. It is impossible to get more cars on the road in CT. A more car-dependent society is hard to find. Perhaps America. The pavements that exist are perfectly adequate and the views and air are lovely. Yet they're empty. Are Cape Tonians allergic to pavements? Would they break out in hives if made to walk on them? Hives that are instantly cured by the smell of leather and air conditioning in an SUV? Take a Cape Tonian's car away and he will rot at home (thank goodness for online shopping!).

I live in a nice neighbourhood and enjoy walking ten minutes to the post office. My daughter's school is a fifteen minute walk away and when I walked to pick her up people either assumed my car had broken down or that I was on day release from a mental home.

So, my point is, that they're all in cars anyway, regardless of the weather. This cannot explain bad traffic in rain.

2. Driving more carefully. Haaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahahahhaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaahaaaaa. Oh, dear, excuse me, while I catch my breath and stop laughing at the notion of CAREFUL driving in Cape Town. Driving in Cape Town has taken me beyond road rage to sheer disbelief. It's like the Whacky Races but with worse cars, no insurance, overcrowded taxis and bakkies ( pick-up trucks) spilling people out of the back onto the road. My dad has actually seen a taxi (for non-South Africans, these are mini-vans), bursting with people (obviously) wobble a little on the motorway, a WHEEL roll away, and the vehicle casually pull over to the hard-shoulder. A normal sight in Cape Town.

So, if it's not more people in cars (impossible) or careful driving (out of the question), what is it?

I think Cape Tonians are so horrified by RAIN that they actually freeze in disbelief. This, in turn, renders them incapable of  driving at more than 10km an hour.

Don't worry guys, summer's just round the corner.

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