Saturday, December 17, 2005

London to Cape Town, South Africa . . . “Howzit"

We left London without a hitch. My slip on a banana peel during the last walk down to Osteria Basilica for lunch, was more of an omen than a hitch. I was just not quite sure what it signified at the time, but it became clear a few weeks later. South African Airways initial refusal to let us on the plane was “a learning experience” rather than a ‘hitch’, according to Phil.

Strange as it may seem, when the guide book says that “all visitors to South Africa must have a valid return ticket or they will be refused entry”, it means that all visitors to South Africa must have a valid return ticket or they will be refused entry. After dealing with a South African Airways attendant (who was horrified at both our proposed itinerary and our one-way ticket to South Africa) and being forced to purchased two one way tickets from Cape Town to London at (thankfully refundable) exorbitant prices, they let us on the plane.

I have not mentioned who was to blame for the ticket debacle. It really doesn’t matter whether it was me or Phil, everyone makes mistakes. Although some make more mistakes than others – the person who bought our one way tickets also lost his boarding pass after check in and then proceeded to get lost in the departure gate area looking for somewhere to replace the lost boarding pass. Sigh . . . [Note to self: double check all travel arrangements made by Phil.]

The attendant at the check in desk was not the only one horrified at our decision to quit our jobs and travel to Africa and onwards. The nurse who gave me my immunizations came very close to querying my sanity: “Why Africa?” “A woman came in last week who is doing a crazier trip than you- she is going to live in Liberia. But she has to for work.” I thought that the nurse was going to suggest that I “talk to someone” before taking the trip.

Sceptics aside, we landed in Cape Town excited about the first leg of our long journey to find ourselves in a place that would feel familiar to any Australian. Great beaches (Llandudno was a favourite), wine, wine tasting and excellent food (especially in Franschoek). We toured the wine region with ‘Team Africa’- Chris & Tiff Withers and Ben Vonwiller – and explored Cape Town with guidance from the local Ros Garland.

After climbing Table Mountain and driving around Cape Peninsula to visit the usual tourist sites (Cape Point, the southern most tip of Africa and penguins at Boulders beach), Team Africa deposited us at a very busy train station in Cape Town for a 24 hour journey to Jo’burg. Arrival at the train station felt a little more like arriving in the Africa we expected.

Friday, December 16, 2005

Cape Town Photos

Cape Standard Guest House, Cape Town

Llundudno Beach, Cape Town

Team Africa, Me, Rach, Ben, Withers & Tiff, Clifton Beach, Cape Town
Cape Standard Guest House, Cape Town

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Table Mountain, Cape Town

Withers, me, Ben & Ross, Table Mountain, Cape Town

Withers Rachel & Tiff, Table Mountain, Cape Town

Thursday, December 15, 2005

Cape Town Photos Part II

Boulders Beach, Cape Point
Withers and Tiff discussing married life
Withers, me, Ben and Ross
Baboon on the road, Cape Point

Team Africa in Franschoek