What’s peculiar about Paternoster?

Posted by Kate Goss on 29 March 2011

On a recent trip to Paternoster, my fellow beach bums and I tried to put our fingers on what makes this little town so different to anywhere else. These are five reasons we came up with.

1. No ‘grenadella lollies, ice-cream, mineral water, cold drinks!’

Unlike Clifton, this little town’s main beach isn’t plagued by an abundance of food sellers doing the tourist dance. Here, you can lie on the beach in peace – bar the odd crayfish vendor, who, in comparison to the Clifton characters, tends to be a lot more shifty and a lot less vocal, perhaps due to the oft-dodgy nature of his trade.

2. It’s not Langebaan.

And by this I mean it isn’t littered with a multitude of face brick/psychedelic coloured houses. Building restrictions in Paternoster have kept it elegantly white and Grecian, with no shabby paintwork and an overwhelming atmosphere of house pride. We did, however, wonder how Voorstrandt, a lovely little restaurant on the beachfront, got permission to be painted in mulberry tones!

3. Paternoster is okay to “˜just be’.

This West Coast dorpie is a dorpie is a dorpie, and shall remain so for as long as we can hold them out! Contrary to the trend happening in most South African coastal resorts, Paternoster isn’t the Volkswagen driver longing for the Ferrari. This little town doesn’t need to upgrade to the latest and greatest, but feels comfortable in its own “˜has-been’ skin (ironically, it’s anything but).

4. It doesn’t have a Woolies.

The establishment of a Woolworths food outlet has proved an integral step in the transformation of many places from common seaside village status to coastal town stardom. So far, Paternoster has managed to get by with Paternoster se Padstal, Oep vir Koep, Kwaai Braai (your friendly neighbourhood firewood vendor) and Paternoster Kaffee. Admittedly, there is a Woolworths near Vredenburg, which clearly keeps the wolf from the door, but here’s to Paternoster for steering clear of Woolies world domination.

5. “˜Met ys ya’

Paternoster is a traditional Cape fishing village, with a small percentage of the town having been converted to holiday homes and guesthouses, but a large proportion still owned by Cape Coloured residents. The Cape Coloured spirit is vibrant within the town, saving it from the generic, monotone feel that many tourist destinations have become. It is emergent in the bustling fish market, the animated padstal owners, and the gaudily painted fishing boats that rest on the main beach. Taking a moment to read some of the fishing boats’ names, we were amused to find “˜Naugty Billy’ and “˜Met ys ya’. How honest.

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