Monday, October 11, 2004

On the beach 

The family went for a walk on Saturday: dogs, kids, and all. We went up to the dunes above Hout Bay. I had never been up there before, and it is beautiful. You climb a sandy slope from the car park, through some bushes, and then come out onto the top to find a lunar landscape unfolded before you. The dazzling sand sweeps away in great curves to the hillside, which was covered in purple flowers – whatever the South African equivalent of heather is. The dogs went mental and galloped around like puppies on speed, and the kids did their best to keep up. From there we walked over the ridge and down towards Sandy Bay.

Sandy Bay is Cape Town’s best known nudist beach, but it was too cold yesterday for anyone to be thinking about bearing their wobbly bits. Pom junior thought that nudism was a fine concept though, once I had explained it to him. I’ll have to bring him back for a frolic when the weather is warmer. The beach is more easily accessed by road from Llandudno, if you’re in the area. Llandudno, South Africa is a very expensive village between Hout Bay and Cape Town that clings to the side of the cliff above a long sandy beach. The beach is a haven for surfers and sun lovers, and the village has no shops at all, let alone one selling kiss me quick hats: just lots of very pricey houses with amazing sea views. A bit like Llandudno, North Wales really. The names of South African sea-side towns are great. Around the coast, I know of Llandudno, Clifton, and Margate. I haven’t come across Brighton or Blackpool yet, but I wouldn’t rule it out. I can think of three reasons why the British settlers gave the names of damp and grey British resorts to these sun drenched beach towns. They were either homesick, unimaginative, or had a very British sense of humour. Maybe all three.

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