Settling in – Cape Town, South Africa

After waiting for what seemed like forever for my pack, I checked into the airport hotel with the rest of the catatonic travellers. The spacious room with an all-consuming king size bed was like a tall glass of ice water in the middle of the Sahara. I took a hot bubble bath before falling into dreamland. I woke surprisingly refreshed despite the fact that I have only had 8 hours of sleep in the last 90. I am not the least bit tired – Just so thrilled to be in Africa.

I enjoyed a substantial breakfast (courtesy of Qantas) then managed a short visit with Dena and baby Irfaan before rushing to the airport to catch my flight to Cape Town. I feel really clear at the moment. South African Air is playing a gags and joke program on the TV making me cry gallons of tears from laughing so hard. I met Dirk the pilot who was so kind as to give me window tour as we flew into Cape Town pointing out all the major attractions.

From the airport, I was picked up and driven to the hostel where I tried to rest despite the noise levels. I really didn`t like this busy place so the next morning I relocated to another hostel near the waterfront. I jumped in a “rikki” which is a very um, interesting way to get around.

I climbed into the back of the little van thingy which was open and barely shut the little gate before we were barreling down the narrow side streets. EASY! My bags promptly flew off the bench and I grasped for something, ANYTHING to hold onto or I feared I would be next. We dropped off the other girl then shortly after it was my turn. I paid the driver my 14 rand ($3 CAD) and he was off like a shot. I think it would be great fun coming home from the bar with a big group of friends – kind of an impromptu roller coaster ride with a city tour.

I checked into my next hostel then went for a walk along the waterfront. All the people that I spoke to in the shops were helpful, kind and spoke English. I don`t feel unsafe here at all. I was advised not to carry my bag around with me so maybe Carmella dressed-in-slobby-clothes-looking-like-I-just-rolled-out-of-bed is not tempting to prospective muggers. These hospital scrubs make me look more like an escaped mental patient than a foreign tourist anyway…all part of my strategy.

Next I walked to Victoria Wharf where I window shopped admiring the intricate handmade trinkets. I would have bought them on the spot but I think I will wait until I go by some of the townships so I can buy from the actual artists and craftsmen. I ate a really yum falafel made by a funny young man who wouldn`t hand it over until I gave him a “big smile.”

I walked to breakwater and watched the ships sail into the harbour before heading to Pick and Pay, the nearest grocery store. I spent ages investigating all my new choices and doing the conversions in my head two or three times…things are quite inexpensive here. I walked home and napped for the next few days trying to catch up on some much needed z`s.
much needed z`s.

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