Oh hey there! So much for that comprehensive music research initiative leading up to Gov Ball (not to mention Gov Ball itself… or any of the other million things that have happened in the eight months since my last post…). I guess I’m just not the blogger I once was. (Probably not a bad thing, really.)
I guess all it took was a tiny little excursion– involving neither Ollie nor America, as it happens– to get me to dust this old thing off. A few months back Marlon told me of a friend of his working in Cape Town who’d been strongly suggesting he come for a visit. Sure, it’s a little far and the ticket might be a bit expensive (it wasn’t even!), but he could get there and “live like a king on the Rand”; and he’d have a free place to stay and personal tour guide. Naturally I saw fit to invite myself (…kidding), and with some assistance from my parents in the form of an early Christmas gift we went ahead and booked our tickets in early November.
The two-and-a-half months between then and the trip flew right by, and before we knew it our departure date of January 17 had arrived. Turns out we picked just about the best possible time to go– not only was it the height of summer in Cape Town, we skipped out on a good portion of one of the worst winters our continent’s seen. Not to mention, the always favorable Rand was trading at a particularly good 11-to-the dollar during our stay (only for the interest rates to be adjusted and the exchange somewhat normalized the day that we left!).
We flew South African Airways, which not only offered the cheapest tickets, but at 21 hours provided the quickest flight available. The route took us first to Dakar, Senegal for a “technical stop;” which we learned entailed being stripped of your blankets for landing (no matter how deep your sleep) and then sitting around for approximately an hour while some passengers disembarked, others boarded, and the plane was refueled. This proved to be more vexing on the return trip, on account of exhaustion and foodlessness, but I suppose I’m getting ahead of myself. Oh and they’re required to spray a pretty terrible anti-yellow fever spray throughout the cabin before leaving Dakar that will be sure to penetrate any shirt or scarf you hastily try to put in place as a makeshift gas mask. Those Americentric maps will have you believe that once you’ve crossed the Atlantic the lion’s share of the journey is behind you, but the truth is that Africa’s enormous and the flight to Johannesburg takes just about as long as the first leg. The total journey from DC to Joburg takes 17 hours.
After clearing customs and rechecking your bags in the Joburg Airport (oh, and letting the poetry of these posters wash over you:)
it’s a quick two hour flight to Cape Town! Bada bing, bada boom. Pat was there to pick us up when we arrived just after 10 pm on the 18th, and he was able to keep us out late patronizing Tjing Tjing Bar then COCO as a clever and effective way of combating our jet lag.
Pat lives in an area called Sea Point (technically a suburb lying just east of Cape Town, but for all intents and purposes part of Cape Town), and indeed we woke up to this gorgeous view:
We made the first of what would be many stops at the neighboring Bootlegger Café for a quick flat white and croissant, and then Pat whisked us off on a scenic coastline ride. We made a stop at the Hout Bay Market, continued along the beautiful Chapman’s Peak Drive, made a pitstop to sneak a peak of some penguins at Boulders Beach, checked out the colorful changing rooms in Muizenberg, then hurried home in time to rush off to Clifton Second beach for sunset. (Alas, I have only Instagram photos of that last bit, having been reluctant to get sand in my new camera. #sogauche.)