Monday marked the beginning of my final term of studying, and I am stressed beyond all measure. Not only do I have projects and a final portfolio due, I also have to start the long and painful trudge that is job-hunting ... and I do not handle rejection well. It is at times like this that I find it useful to draw on happy memories to get me through the madness and help keep me sane. And this is exactly what I plan on doing.
This time last week, my mom was visiting me from East London, and we were collapsed on the couch with bulging stomach and eye-balls brimming with tea thanks to a wondrous afternoon spent at the Mount Nelson Hotel. Yes, we went for high tea and yes, it was worth every cent! For those of you who don’t know, the Mount Nelson Hotel in Cape Town is renowned for its high tea – so much so that you have to book in advance in order to ensure a table. At R185 a head, it’s not something that you do if you don’t like tea or yummy eats, but as it has always been on my mom’s to-do list we decided to treat ourselves. And oh what a treat it was.
As we walked into the Mount Nelson, I felt as though I had been transported into another era. One where bellmen stood at attention and plush patterned carpets were fashionable, where chandeliers sparkled overhead and tea was more than a cup of Rooibos and a rusk. Once we had announced our arrival, we were led to a pair of wing-backed armchairs and had cloth napkins draped over our laps for us. As we were handed the tea menu (yes, there are that many tea options!) I couldn’t help but sneak a peek at the delicious eats that were out on display, and I threw any notions of healthy eating out the window. Dressed the part, we leaned back in our chairs and adopted the roles of wealthy ladies who were there to be waited upon, to exchange gossip, and of course to eat!
Apart from the delicious (and plentiful) food, my favourite part of the whole experience was watching the mix of people who had chosen to reach into their wallets and spend the day enjoying high tea. The guests ranged from cute little girls in party dresses to oblivious old men who piled their plates full of sandwiches and sat reading their newspapers. There were teens in even teenier skirts and foreigners in tracksuit pants and sandals. The staff all looked as though they had stepped out of a mansion in Britain, and I couldn’t help but smile when a South African accent escaped their lips. It truly was an afternoon of decadence shared with someone special, and one that will neither of us will forget for a long time to come.
So if you ever have the opportunity, make a point of visiting the Mount Nelson for high tea. If my descriptions weren’t encouragement enough, then maybe some photographs of the munchies on offer will convince you. Go on, treat yourselves! You deserve it.