after nearly 24 hours of travel and a transfer at the johannesburg airport, we arrived in cape town late friday night. regardless of the steady downpour and chilly temperatures (still at least 50 degrees warmer than the weather on the east coast of the states) the streets of cape town were thronged with people partying- most of them relishing in the live acid blues blaring from within our hostel. locating the late night security ( not so secure) and receiving our key we were quick to unload our bags and clean up. despite having not slept decently and imbibing only alcoholic beverages since we left the states, we deemed it best to hit the town. not that we had an option, the party was basically in our hallway. so at 1am local time we set out- cef totally amped, i a bit sketched- in search of food and some action.
the main drag reminds me of bourbon street, with a european flair, and slightly less people in the streets. most of the buildings feature a second story balcony with people smoking and drinking, the party within seeping its way out with them. we wound up strolling the streets up and down a few times, warding off the street children begging for money, and finally ducked into ‘stones’ – where we took seats at the bar and met our first south african friend. aiden was absolutely amused by our accents and america in general- trading stories with cef about 24 and laguna beach, while mocking me for drinking the laborers’ beer, my choice when presented with MGD or budweiser. i, however, relished in knowing i was drinking the beer of the people, the south african natty boh if you will. later that evening i even did shots of the local favorite- a mix of black buca and apple pucker, pre-mixed and served warm. eventually retiring at well past 4am, once the streets began to quiet down, i finally fell asleep in africa, although cape town surely doesnt feel like the africa most imagine.
determined (but not able) to beat jet lag and fall in step with local time, we arose promptly at 2pm. the lingering rain left the monumental table mountain shrouded in mist, which remained even when the sun broke through in the afternoon. the weather was amazing- cool despite the strong sun, and incredibly clear and vivid. we headed north to the waterfront to mingle in the saturday crowds shopping, eating and lounging alongside the water. the harbor was full of action, and put us in the mind of an american port city, with more flair and beauty. we enjoyed a long lunch and beers at a dockside restaurant, and afterwards walked around the area admiring the street performers, the array of colorful boats set against the skyline of the city, and even catching a few glimpses of playful seals below.
after snapping my first (and fabulous) photographs and watching the sun begin to set, we headed back to long street for a great dinner in a small euro-style cafe. after a few drinks, we call it a night in anticipation of our early morning and full-day tour of the area wineries.
so far cape town is a delight, however the wilderness and wildlife of africa await.