South Africa

Cape Town, Monday 6th December 2004


Long Street architecture, Cape Town, South Africa


I am just too busy to socialise to any great extent with people at the hostel – I am so busy seeing Cape Town. I am sitting at the Clay Oven pizza place about 10 seconds walk from the hostel waiting for my custom pizza. Yesterday there was a slightly irritating two hour delay at Johannesburg airport due to thunderstorms. I was not thinking straight and of course you enter the country at the first entry point (i.e. not transfer) and subsequently go to the domestic terminal for the ongoing flight to Cape Town. I bought extra memory for my camera, had some food and generally people watched in the gate area. I had to enquire at the information desk – they had my name on a card but the waiting shuttle man was at the international terminal. Eventually all the backpackers going to various hotels were rounded up and dropped off in town. Long Street Hostel is a typical cavern-like backpacker place right in the centre of town, including old blokes with beards. The large salad just arrived. I was led to a small room off the pool room and managed to sleep with background town noise; the background music playing now is happy reggae. Because much of the trip so far was pre-planned, I am not feeling the short-term adjustment stress of previous trips – yet!

I am pleasantly full after that pizza. I waited in reception for a while seeing if the abseiling people would pick me up as I had arranged earlier by email. No-one did but I must admit later as I was on Table Mountain, I preferred watching rather than taking part. I walked to the cable car which had a sensible revolving floor. The mist was drawing in. A great view! I stopped for some liquid refreshment before heading to the other end of town to the clock tower to buy the Robben Island ticket. I sped to town to collect my digital photos on CD, with the Greek taxi driver, who waited then dropped me off at the castle where I started a walk past markets, churches, various official buildings, multi-coloured houses, and a very quick stop for samosa refreshment before speeding back for the 3.00pm ferry. The Robben visit was a regimented touristy experience around the island on a bus and a tour of the prisons with a guide who was an ex political prisoner. I felt a great sense of history inside Mandela’s cell. There was even a quiet penguin colony. The ferry spot was temporarily occupied on the return to the dock. I had a short time looking at the shops, a fashion show on a boat jetty with pretty models showing off various items of jewellery and catching up on email communications: the Itajuba place is now confirmed in Rio – I will have to cancel the last resort security booking. In summary it was a great and busy day.

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