(Lighting of Table Mountain for the Christmas Holiday, Cape Town South Africa 26/11/2006)
November 16 – 18
I’m now in
I booked passage on Virgin Atlantic (a fantastic airline) and arrived with three friends I met on the plane. On the plane I tried to think what I would like to do if I had a terminal illness. I’ve made my list and am busy crossing things off.
So far I have made my first mountain climb guided by a trustworthy and instructive guide named David Vallet. He was still friendly after waiting an hour for me to show… time change problems on my part.
In any event, it was too windy to take the tram to the top of
Next came the sharks. I got up a five in the morning, drove until our bus broke down, finished our journey via another bus, boarded our vessel and skipped off three meter swells where we started chumming the water (chumming is what is done to scent the water with blood and attract out man-eaters). The visibility was poor in the water but we saw five different great white sharks. Yes, I stayed in the cage the entire time when it was my turn, and no I did not poke one in the DOLL’S EYE.
Next on the list is mountain biking, the worlds tallest bungee jump (216 MEETERS!), getting my SCUBA cert. and generating more lists! Much more to come so check frequently.
November 19 – 21
The adventure in
What is it with Sundays? I awoke without plans and nothing was open, so I had to invent some trouble for myself. I teamed up with another American Headley (from NYC) in search of mountain bikes. Though the beautiful
I was a hit at the public pool and even managed to land a backward 1 ½ summersault with 1 ½ twists! But since I haven’t dove in years I managed the real crowd favorites, the sharp snapping sound of fish-belly white skin slapping on water. In the belly and back flop division, the crowd awarded me all tens!
Sunday night united new friends for a braai (South African BBQ). The late evening was reserved for rugby match after rugby match. God, what a country, what a sport!
I was due to start SCUBA school on Monday morning but a cute new friend Tanya (a world champion pole climber and all around Aussie adventurer) had other plans for me. Monday Tanya, the best Mountain Guide in South Africa David Vallet (tel. 082.783.9453) and myself tackled table mountain again, except in a much bolder fashion. I climbed rockface I never seriously considered feasible (grade 17 ascensions!).
This guy David pushed me perfectly to the very edge of my comfort level but never beyond it. Strange as it seems, I always felt safe. At one point I found myself on this ledge (where the gods gather to plot foul weather for below) and all I could do was giggle. I knew I had no business being up there and was really pissing off those who cared for my safety, but it was so hysterical! I felt like I just snuck into the principals office and got into his candy drawer. I’ll never look onto mountains the same way again, all I see now are hand-holds masked as rock.
Tuesday was absolutely reserved for SCUBA school since the school postponed class for my Monday climb. But yet again the subversive hand of woman with her enticing ways of influencing the simple male mind changed all plans of schooling. While waiting to pe picked up for SCUBA school,
Before I had anything to say about it, I was in Colleens car with the alto-sax playing brit Alfie, eating meat pies, drinking milk, jamming to Cool and the Gang, driving towards the Indian Ocean and scheming mis-adventures involving motorcycles, bungee and SCUBA. Colleen educated me about all the recent history of the healing
The smiling ivory teeth flashing from deep black faces whisper prayers of hope. It was just the other day when these black and colored Africans were disappearing if they disobeyed the white masters of apartheid. Though not the safest country to travel in by any stretch of the imagination,
November 22 – 24
I can’t remember when I did more activities that those on the 22nd November. I awoke early and wondered around
The wonderful private tour guide Colleen then shipped me off to
Next I was rushed to play in the dirt with quad bikes in Knysna. We were only supposed to do the mountain course twice. But since we were going so fast and finished early, Gevin (my guide) suggested we risk a third tour as a sort of time trial. We passed our time trial.
Driving back to town Gevin and the other driver offered to stop anywhere along the way so my lens could record the magnificent scenery. There was no need I explained. I’d been hanging out the back of our truck running my own photo shoot… more smiling black faces!
Next I registered for my SCUBA class in Knysna and collapsed on the ride home. Colleen did a magnificent job… I was finally worn out.
Colleen (a fantastic tour guide and has rooms to let in
The 23rd November began with breakfast with Jo and Colleen where I learned all about growing up black in South Central South Africa. He invited me to explore the village community he lived in three years ago where I was given only a taste of how those without structure and live out their lives.
In the afternoon I studied SCUBA, but to my dismay, the high tides arrive after , making my SCUBA classes impractical during my short stay. Not all is lost as I can finish my lessons either in
On the 24th November I headed back to
November 25 - 27
The baboons at Cape Point are rumored to be very aggressive but my bafooning must have disguised me as a regular baboon. I could have used a simian grooming! From there I headed back to
Sunday 26th November broke bright and early. I paid my morning visit to my friends Bradley and Fassi at the Seattle Coffee Co. November in
My 200 cc cycle was a perfect companion to the V&A waterfront, ate lunch and did a little shopping. After returning my cycle and taking a nap, I met more friends of Bill W and returned for another Braai. My Malay angel Fatima fired up her hooka with flavored tobacco, showed me alternate ways to play fooze-ball, beat my ass at pool (thank you mam, may I have another), and showed me how Cape Town lights Table Mountain for Christmas (and Ramadan?) from the great heights of the splendidly quaint Malay Quarters. I am currently plotting ways to sneak
November 27th began with a little I Spy drama. Ross (part of the US blotto clan we assembled here at the backpackers) woke me up to tell me Rob Webster never came home last night after he was mugged of his wallet and passport. I have my fingers crossed hoping he’ll return soon with a tale of coyote-ugly or something as embarrassing. Drunken disappearances are well practiced arts in the world of backpackers and are almost always the result of beer-goggle blessings. But with the loss of our friend Uriel, I no longer enjoy the delusion of a safe and peaceful world.
UPDATE: Ross wins an Oscar for his dramatic role in “Where’s Waldo” starring Rob Webster.
Rob waltzed into
The Blatto Clan was united again so we braved the “Scary” streets of
November 28 - 29
28th November arrived faster than I ever hoped it would. My last day in
We journeyed two and a half hours to Aquila Private Reserve which promised us a Big Five Safari. The currency in
Our Big Five were very polite and hospitable as the safari was more a petting zoo than an adventure. That being said, the food was delicious, the journey flavored with local color and the company was spot on, so it was an acceptable afternoon. I would highly recommend other travelers to make the trip to Kruger reserve if they have the time.
Now it was time to make the journey home. I was not expecting the feeling of LEAVING home on the day I was to return there. My friends at
My friends Sunelle, Charel, Jacob, Sheldon, Fatima, Colleen, David and the other names destined to be misspelled made sure I enjoyed one of the best adventures of my life. In all my travels I have not met a concierge service nor travel agency that compared to the service and charm of these Court Carnies. (Carnival Court, Long Street 225, Cape Town 8001, South Africa, Tel: +27 21 423 9003, e-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org)
I was safely delivered to the Airport by Fatima, Rob and Ross, where I discovered the adventure was not quite over...
I still had to collect a “Vast” bag stowed with a friend in
Long story short, after getting some local backup should I become stranded in