Days 268-269, Friday-Saturday, 28-29 September 2012 – Cape Town
Friday passed by on the plane to Dubai, I am sure at some stage Saturday arrived and sadly I wasn’t asleep when it did. I am pretty sure I dozed a couple of times on the six hour fifty flight across Europe and North Africa. The flight was pretty good, seat was comfortable and the food OK, drinks were available on request but I didn’t have many as I had a couple of reds at the airport and popped one of my Vietnamese valium before jumping on board. I watched The Avengers and Safe and the rest of the time I spent staring vacantly into space waiting for the flight to end.
Dubai airport is MASSIVE. It was a fifteen minute bus ride from the plane to the terminal and a twenty minute walk to the departure lounge for the flight to Cape Town. The flight was slightly delayed and again the aircraft was very full. I didn’t sleep at all over the nine hours and was seriously bored for a long time, for some reason I did not feel like reading now watching movies, but after six hours I finally managed to stare blankly at a screen until we arrived, pretty much on time, in Cape Town.
Wow- I am in Africa – a new continent and a new adventure is beginning.
I was met at the airport by Stuart, an English guy I had seen on the plane as Gary the hotel owner was out moving his car. Stuart – and as it turned out, all the guests of the small Bellevue Hotel were on the tour. The hotel is in Sea Point, about a thirty minute walk from the main part of Cape Town, there are a number of small cafes and bars along the street so Stuart and I walked up the road for a meal and a couple of beers. The food was cheap and the risotto I had was excellent. We met Simon, who has just completed the reverse trip I am doing coming down from Nairobi to Cape Town. He gave us a few insights in to the trip which was great.
Leonie, who I met in Vietnam at my friend Dan’s wedding and hung out with in Ho Chi Minh City, decided to do the tour as well and flew out from NZ at a similar time to me though she did not arrived until late in the evening – and without her bag, though fortunately that turned up in the morning. We said a quick hello and I retired back to my room for my last night in a real bed for a while.
Saturday was a slow start, breakfast at eight, loads of cereal, toast and coffee. The weather was pretty feral, quite cold with a strong wind blowing, though fortunately not actually raining.
Leonie and I walked in to the tourist Victoria and Albert waterfront area of Cape Town mostly along a sea wall. It was a surprisingly rugged piece of coast line given its location to down town. I managed to pick up a couple of desperately needed pairs of shorts and a camping shop and then we went for a walk around.
We were trying to get to Table Mountain but it was heavily clouded and it just did not see m like it was going to lift, so we decided to do a new first and catch an open topped tourist bus for a hop-on, hop-off tur of the city. It was cold up top !
Downtown Cape Town is not particularly attractive or interesting, it does remind me a lot of Auckland, Sea Point was like being in Henderson! Though we did go to the District six museum for a look around. District Six was one of the central city residential areas mainly populated by African and mix raced people. It was forcibly cleared over many years of the apartheid era, with residents being forced into less desirable locations. Sadly a lot of the places that were cleared and the houses destroyed are still vacant lots.
We caught the bus to the Table Mountain cable car, but the weather was still pretty foul so we decided to take a couple of photos and then jump on the bus back to Sea Point and have a drink at the hotel.
There was a pre-tour meeting at five pm and we got to meet the rest of the group as well as Brett our tour leader. There are five us doing the full six weeks. Dave and Nancy from Canada and Bill from New York. The rest of the crew are Inga and William from Aussie, Stuart, Jackie and Carol from the UK and Sanjeev and Vaishally from the US. Most of us are forty plus so it is a good balance of age and everyone has travelled before, some with vast and interesting experience. It should all be fun!
Gary’s (the hotellier) son Tristian, who had a real fascination with our cameras.
Seven of us went out for a nice dinner at a local bistro before an early night, it was good to spend some time with some of the other folk on the tour before we kicked off.
It was an early night, and a very excited Phil went to bed for a last sleep in a bed for a few days.