You can enjoy the madding crowd in the Claremont CBD

One of the stalls
If ever you want to spend a morning enjoying the madding crowd, you have to visit Claremont CBD on a Saturday morning. Try not to combine your outing with any major mission like paying bills or compulsory retail visits. You need all your senses to be uncluttered and receptive to the array of sights and sounds of all things human and manmade.

The walkway hugging Cavendish Mall is lined with interesting stalls that look more upmarket than your everyday flea market stall. The cosmopolitan feel of the area adds its own dynamic. Somehow it seemed that the whole of Africa was rotating through the area. The array of languages and the rainbow masses created the energy and the vibrancy in the air. I felt like a tourist in my own country, minus the expensive camera though.

Taxi guard jumping out of the moving taxi

Do make your way to the Main Road as well, just to study the traffic movements for a while. The haphazard movement of the buses, taxis, cars and trucks is fascinating. One minute you will see a Golden Arrow bus stopping and then moving off.

Then in a flash the unoccupied space is taken up by a spluttering taxi. The taxi guard ( driver assistant) jumps out of the slow-moving taxi that hoots as it edges its nose almost on to the pavement. Next you hear the taxi guard shouting: "Cape Tjowwnnnnnn" (Cape Town). While  he is shouting his mantra, he bends his body and searches the walking crowds for would-be passengers. Once the taxi is full, the driver pulls off, with his young helper dangling in the doorway.

The first taxi had hardly left the space when another taxi pulled up alongside the pavement, and opposite the road,  I saw a bus travelling southward. The same scene unfolded. This time an older taxi guard hobbled out, adjusted his peak cap and then uttered a bored "Cape Town" into the air. Perhaps he was on duty since dawn, so I wasn't going to be too harsh on him.

The cars were just flowing casually by, seemingly unperturbed by these sudden stops made by their fellow taxi road users. All this road action reminded me of ants. Their jerky stop and go style is similar to the frantic movements of a disturbed line of ants trying to find their point of convergence again.

I am going to visit this part of the city again. I will leave home early, have breakfast at one of the many eateries that too spill out on the walkway, browse the stalls and check the zigzagging traffic.

This has therapeutic value for sure...


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