Cape Town when it Rains

There is something special about the city when it rains. To be fair, there is always something special about the city. Maybe I should say: there is something extra special about the city when it rains. The cold and wet is off-putting to some, but to those of us who like to step out of the realm of reality and deadlines, it throws into sharp relief the magic of the metropolis.

In light of the rain buildings seem grandiose, somehow more exclusive and less attainable. It’s intimidating in its own way, which is what you, or at least what I, want from the city: the promise of something that is not quite anything else. The thought of the business execs on the 15th and 20th and 25th floor, disgusting to some, appealing to others, to me is a comforting one. Although I harbor no ambitions to join them in their glass and concrete towers, I am grateful to them, for they are the custodians of the city that I love so dearly. By no means am I calling them benevolent, oh no. They don’t care about me. What they do, they do for themselves, but in the greater scheme of things they protect the city from corpora-social erosion and, for that I am thankful, especially on rainy days.

Monuments seem more historic when observed through the tint of unrelenting precipitation. It makes complete sense when you think about it. Monuments are only monuments because somebody or some people overcame something remarkable, something that must have seemed inconceivable at first glance. And yet, they endured through the storms and over the hurdles. On and on they went until their status was entombed and immortalized in stone, or brass, or steel of some sort, which unfortunately is all we tend to see today. But when it rains, when the heavens can no longer contain itself, it’s as if these tributes to are roused, just for moment, their legacy restored, and their bravery relevant again.

The great assortment of coffee shops, deli’s, pubs, restaurants, bars and lounges take on a very different existence when it’s wet outside. They become safe havens, check points, halfway houses between work and school or wherever it is that people go after the rain; it might be home, it might be to a different establishment, it might be to wherever love happens. But that is neither here nor there, really, not when it is raining. When water beats against the windows and cold bites at your bones coffee is more satisfying, beer goes down better, food is spectacular and the company, no matter who it may be, is always infinitely warmer. Those moments when a group of friends brace the wet and the freeze and the wind to half smoke a cigarette together is sacrosanct.

The rain casts a unique and dazzling spell over the City and as such enchants all those who are willing to take a step back and observe. This sorcery enhances the allure of the city in a way that sun and moon have never been able to. For the rain is wise. It realizes that the city’s most precious commodity is not its aesthetic value, or its historic significance, or its ability to inebriate, and certainly not its corporate muscle; no, it is, quite simply, its people. And so the rain has formulated a cunning plan, one that galvanizes the city. It presents itself as the common enemy, the indiscriminate smiter. It falls on the heads of the remarkable and barely noticeable alike. In so doing the rain unites the inhabitants of the city, it transforms them into a singular organism slaloming through the streets of town, desperately trying to outrun, outwit and outplay the rain. The lovely sunlight and darling moon, for all their wonderful qualities have never been as skilled at unifying the people of Cape Town as the rain has.

There is something special about the city when it rains. Something extra special.

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