It's tougher than it looks you know. After spending almost three weeks in the same place in Geelong, getting back on the road was, well, a little like going back to work! I don't expect everyone to understand that, but hey, you have to walk a mile in a man's shoe's as they say...
We loved our time in Geelong. Especially helping out Cathy and Kelvin with Alex. It was also great that we were able to overlap with Gary and Carol for a couple of days before we took off again. It made for a great little home stretch reunion if you like. But man, it sure felt weird getting back on those planes and heading back to Africa. In some ways, it felt like we had already gone home and we were now starting again. In some ways, we are really feeling unsure of ourselves, like our feet aren't quite wet enough, like we lack the experience or the know how to keep on going. I guess traveling is just strange that way, there are always curve balls.
And the next pitch was not long in coming in. We decided to rent a car for Capetown because we thought it would help us get around more easily, so when we finally got to the Capetown airport after 24 hours of travel time, we drove our car to the hostel that had our reservation. Only problem was, they didn't have our reservation! It was about 10 pm and we were dead tired, and wondering what we were going to do next. In the end, they had to call around to find us a place at another hostel which was much more in the thick of the downtown, and not as nice. It was cheaper, but the atmosphere sure didn't make up for it. Unfortunately the city was very busy, and we wound up staying there all four nights because there was not much else.
The next day we went back to the hostel to try and find out what happened, and when we got there, the two owners were already working on the problem, and they told us that some other guy called Ted (a friend of the owners actually) had called up earlier in the day and cancelled his reservation. Somehow, they mixed that up, and cancelled us! Man, never thought my actual name would give me grief, but so be it. What a bummer. They did buy us breakfast and offer us the use of their pool, but we had gotten off to such a bad restart, we were not into that so much. We did go back once for breakfast because the food was really good.
Anyway, having settled our accommodation, we tried to carry on with our sight seeing. The city of Capetown is just stunningly beautiful - everything they say it is - the problem is, the cultural issues make the place far less enjoyable than it should be. We spent the first day touring the town and going up signal hill and also to the top of Table Mountain, followed by a visit to the harbour markets and also to a wonderful beach in exclusive Camps Bay. The next day we drove all the way down to the Cape of Good Hope and the Cape Point nearby to marvel at the spectacular scenery and surf. That spot might just be the most beautiful place on the planet. And it made a nice lunch spot too. On our third day, we were out to the wineries just east of the city where some of the best wines in the world are made. That was fun too, but it was smokin' hot, pushing 40 degrees.
Even with all of this though, the tension in the culture here is still palpable. Unfortunately, even though freedom is real, the economic reality is not so. There remains a part tied. Every service industry person we saw working is Coloured, and there are many people on the streets selling newspaper and things, all Coloured. All this happens while Caucasian folks mill about in their Mercedes without skipping a beat, owning every business. But something is still dreadfully wrong. It's as though someone just said "OK, everyone is equal now", but did nothing to create the structures that could actually pull the place out of it's own history. It's kind of sad. The place is so beautiful - at times, we thought we were in Vancouver actually, there are some striking similarities, but under the surface, there are still big problems in South Africa. Crime is rampant.
And sure enough, our car got broken into overnight, and we'll find out how all that shakes out when we get to the airport tomorrow morning.
Africa. The jury is certainly out on this part of the journey. Incredible, but worth it? I'm not so sure any more... Bring on those Argentinean steaks!