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.


Blogger Pete Jane & Isabella said...

Hey guys, according to your itiniery you should be im Lesotho..Hope all is well. Will email with all the news. but you need to write something on your site and get some photos. Will speak soon
Love Pete, Jane & Isabella

2:08 PM  
Blogger Sam said...

Hello guys,

Really enjoying reading your posts-Keep them coming.

Re the Lesotho story I remember some years back when speaking in Adelaide to a group of students from Lesotho, I referred to them as "Lesothians"-they
were horrified. It took quite a bit of effort on my part to return to normal conversation sfter that slip up.

They carefully and to them logically
explained that they were Basothos from Lesotho. But clearly it's all more complex than they let on. Thank heavens.



12:56 AM  
Blogger ben said...

woooow, i had no idea you were having so much fun in africa! hope you are both doing fine and don't get into any trouble!

lots of love

little bro

3:47 PM  

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