Wednesday, 15 February 2017

DAY 2: arrival in Cape Town, South Africa 16.2.2007

ALLIE DAY 2: Exploring Cape Town

Friday, 16th of February

Arrival in Cape Town and a stroll around the old town and harbour side
Flying across the whole of Africa during the night.  Don’t sleep well, since it’s a very bumpy flight. Seeing the oil refineries along the African coast and watching the various countries and strange capital names passing. Africa is still a blank map to me. Touch down exactly on time at 8.45 local time and after nearly 10.000 km in Cape town, South Africa. This is probably the southern most point I have ever been to in my life. Thrilling thoughts. We are taking a taxi into downtown passing the slums of Cape town. A bit depressing. But then we catch the first glimpse of that fascinating steep and majestic famous mountain towering over the city: table mountain. Our driver drops us off the “Lady Hamilton Hotel” a small boutique hotel in a side road at the foot of the hill. We would like to crash to bed, but the room is not ready. Start strolling along the lush botanical gardens toward the city center admiring the mixed architecture of the city with its old dutch and British buildings and modern sky scrapers. I feel a bit detached. This is clearly NOT Asia. The population in mainly black, but we do hear a lot of German, English and Dutch.
Sipping a coffee near the old market square watching real hippie and weirdo life passing by thinking: this is great. That’s life. And the temperature is just perfect. Not too hot, even a bit too cold when the sun disappears behind the clouds.

This is actually NOT the crocodile gazpacho nor leopards
 soup but plantanas and sticky rice
Afternoon stroll down to the harbour side.  That’s where Cape town life happens on a Friday afternoon. Pubs heaving with the “great and good” of this city enjoying their booze and good seafood. We join in fighting against the seagull who also seem to love a good draft beer and fresh fried calamari.

The walk back through “Long Street” turns out to be indeed very long. Exhausted from not having slept proper and the huge variety of impressions we encountered in only a few hours walking around, we sip a cold glass of white wine and watch the sun disappear behind signal hill.

I could fall asleep now, but my husband drags me out to try crocodile gazpacho and leopards soup – maybe with the hidden hope that that will help us to acquire the required strength to climb up table mountain tomorrow!


DAY 2/16 Feb 07

The South Africans could teach the Americans a thing or two about making visitors welcome. Easy (but thorough) inbound Immigration & Customs completed in 10 minutes.

Rather hi-jacked into a limo to our hotel (the Lady Hamilton in uptown Gardens area) but there in time to find the room wasn’t ready. A downtown walk through lovely Company Gardens (Dutch East India Company/VOC) and later to the V&A Pier area – very reminiscent of San Francisco’s Fisherman’s Wharf. Absolutely gin-clear viz across the Bay and up to Table Mountain. Allie has a plan to climb the latter tomorrow if my feet aren’t too sore. The German manageress of our hotel says it’s quite safe to do so in daylight. Text message from Irish balloonist Joe Leahy suggesting he’d like to equal my recently achieved 2000hrs P.1 but doubts if he’ll make it because “the good die young” (!)

Sundowner wine at incredibly cheap prices (£1 a glass) on Kloof Street where we may well return later for crocodile gazpacho or kudu steaks. Apparently this won’t put us on the wrong side of CITES.

Allie got her swim in the hotel’s miniscule pool but now unconscious on the bed. Crocodile gazpacho may have to wait for another day…..

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