About Cape Town

Cures for the crunch and partying penniless (well, nearly)

brokeCynical conspirators argue that the recession is just another lie from “the man”, and in truth, traipsing through Cavendish Center in the middle of a weekday could get you thinking that perhaps they have a point.

Having walked straight out of student-ville into an apparent recession, counting out five cent coins for airtime, or returning coke bottles in order to purchase my popcorn staple, is nothing unusual. Still, I admit that extra electricity, food and woolens, worsens winter finances somewhat. I battle with the self-inflicted torture of window-shopping, or the notion that social resuscitation is not a good enough reason to dip into the emergency fund. More to the point, in this economic climate, starving artists are out of vogue simply because a girl can’t afford to keep them – making winter that much more barren.

Last night I went online to read recommendations for partying penniless. I was stunned by suggestions like “half-priced helicopter flights” and “specials on villa bookings”. While these may assist people whose expenditure costs involve letting their personal trainer go, or washing hair at home instead of in the salon; such suggestions are more of a hindrance than a help, when it comes to those of us who are measuring how far our reserve tank can get us.

So, I have compiled a more realistic list, to suit the traveler whose only belongings are the contents of a backpack.

The Eastern Food Bazaar. An oriental cuisine experience. The bizarre part? Exceptional meals at R25-R30.

The Wellness Warehouse, Kloof Street. The wellness extends to your wallet, with lunch time buffets so reasonable that business brunch will be on you.

The second-hand book stall on the promenade, outside of Cavendish Center, or Shelley’s bookstore in Gordon’s Bay. Both have a collection as remarkable as their prices.

Vintage is in. So frequent second-hand clothing stops like Hello Again, or The Young Designer’s Market. Also stop by Beleza, the best breakfast venue (averaging R20), now also has a second-hand clothing selection.

If new is for you, Friedman and Cohen, in Strand, house wonderfully-valued clothing that you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else.

Cocoa WaWa, Main Rd. Rondebosch. Famous for it’s R20 heated chocolate cookie – they fill a side plate, but they’re too good to be on there for long. A perfect winter venue – equipped with good menu, great service, blankets and board games. Prefer a night in? Pop across to the R5 DVD rental, just opposite.

Daytime? Use that R5 to catch the train from Southern Suburbs to Kalk Bay, and hit up fresh fish and chips at the harbour.

Wanting a winelands experience? J.C. Le Roux‘s tastings are only R30, or try a sweet tasting paired with nougat and other delights for only R55.

For an upmarket evening at black-market cost, grab two pizzas at Societi and two Labia movie tickets, only R70 Mondays and Tuesdays.

Culturally starved? Or just starved? Enjoy a Baxter Theater Monday – a light meal and performance for R55.

And now for the the (nearly) penniless party, generally for students. Free entry to Fiction nightclub on Tuesdays, with student card before 11pm. While Karaoke at Evol (Thursday nights) gives away free shots to the earlier-birds.

Handpick roses, apples, grapes and nectarines and pay per picking, at Chart Farm, Wynberg. With roses at R4 each it’s the perfect girl’s gift to self.

For free, go to Signall Hill to watch the firing of the midday canon, with exceptional views of the Cape coastline.

Lastly, if you’re on the outskirts and really hankering after some excitement – bungee jumping is free…if you go naked.

And if you’re looking for a way home be sure to call a Rikki’s. In my experience, these cabs offer reasonable rates and always have a jovial city narrator in the front seat.

So there it is – a guide to guilt-free indulgence. Time to enjoy your skint stint! :)

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