A Travellerspoint blog

We're on the road again

Cape peninsula road trip gets off to a wheely good start (sorry, couldn't resist!)

sunny 17 °C

This post has moved! Check out the new improved blog: http://notanotherbus.wordpress.com/2013/05/24/were-on-the-road-again/

Posted by LucieP 12:47 Archived in South Africa Tagged views town accomodation south africa bay scenic peak penguins boulders chapman's simons Comments (0)

Dining on Cape Town's top table

An energetic hike followed by lunch in the clouds

sunny 20 °C

I've moved this post to my new blog. Check it out! http://notanotherbus.wordpress.com/2011/07/01/dining-on-cape-towns-top-table

Posted by LucieP 12:36 Archived in South Africa Tagged mountain restaurants south africa waterfront table v&a Comments (0)

Cloaked in Cape Town

We arrive in South Africa

sunny 19 °C

Not even the joys of the hundreds of movies, entire TV series’ and every number one hit since the charts began could make the ten hour flight from Dubai to Cape Town pleasant. Whenever you open a door to the outside world in Dubai you’re enveloped by a wave of heat and humidity. It’s made bearable by the knowledge that there’s rarely any need to be outside for long, and soon you’ll be back inside a polished air-conditioned bubble, sheilded from the stiffling heat. Frankly, this is poor preparation for Cape Town! Emirates does a fairly good job of pampering, but time in restricted space will never be particularly amenable to humans. However, after leaving the beautifully designed Dubai airport (complete with indoor sculpted Japaense gardens where we scraped together change for a Costa), it did afford us a period of time to re-acclimatise our mental spaces to something more suitable for the South African climate.

Knowing exactly how to prepare has been difficult. In many ways South Afirca is a modern country that easily matches European standards: it has a good road and transport network, good access to health care and education, drinkable tap water, has a decent legal system (if we turn a blind eye to certain examples of corruption) and has recently proved itself capable of hosting the football World Cup in 2010 (although the introduction of Vuvuzelas could probably find future use in close-range warfare). Most importantly, it makes a damn good glass of vino.

[You know, I say it has a decent legal system, but the first annecdote we heard from the South African who dealt with the admin for the car we’ve rented may cast doubt on that. I asked what the alcohol limit was for driving, to which he responded that he didn’t know, he wasn’t sure if there was one, but in any case he never drunk and drove anymore because he had been caught by the police and fined 2000 Rands (£200). I asked whether he’d got any points on his licence for it and he replied, ‘oh no, I didn’t have a licence at the time. The police didn’t bother to check, they just wanted the money.’ I bet the police officer’s kids are walking to school in brand new Nike trainers as a result of that.]

You could almost be forgiven for forgetting that you’re in Africa when you fly over the beautiful sweeping bay, with Table Mountain an imposing centerpiece, catching the last of the evening sun while throwing one side of the city into shadows. It is important to remember the darker side of Cape Town: the drive from the airport reveals sprawling ‘townships’, shanty towns composed mainly of coragated tin shacks. Populated mainly by Black and Coloured people, these townships make up the majority of the contry's population, although you'd never know it if you're touring around the areas that we have been. The townships are a step above some shanty towns that I’ve seen, and seems to be pretty well hooked up to electricity, but a nice area for a stroll they certainly are not. The HIV rate in SA is about 10%, and this is composed mainly of township dwellers. Free condoms are available in most public toilets in an attempt to curb this rate.

On the surface of things, South Africa seems to be a pretty sorted country, and while travellers are advised to keep their wits about them, most of the precautions are common sense that you'd apply while going around any city. We received warnings never to have windows open or valuables visible while driving round the city, as smash and grab robberies are common, particularly at robots (traffic lights) where cars are flanked by hawkers tapping on windows in an attempt to sell general tat. It’s pretty intimidating, as are the looks you receive if you’re walking round the wrong part of town. South Africans themselves also seem pretty security conscious, and the owner of the B&B we were staying in was at pains to show us the iron gates, off-street parking, and assure us that he had a private security guard for the evening.
Nick being Nick, he'd been uber-prepared for our first drive from the airport to the B&B, Amber Tree Lode, and had even 'driven' it on GoogleMaps before we left home. This made finding it simple, and we rocked up without issue. It's a pleasant enough little place with a great view of table mountain from the balcony, and a couple of friendly, helpful owners who are more than willing to dispense advice about the best places to go. There are plenty of restaurants and bars within walking distance, so before hitting the hay we chose a little fish restaurant and helped ourselves to generous portions of calamari and line fish, whatever that may be. By far the most interesting culinary exeperience was the 'sushi', which appeared to have been made by someone who had seen pictures of what sushi should look like, had read the recipe and thought 'Hmm, that sounds a little dry, I bet it would be improved if I load the inside with mayonaise.' He was wrong.

Posted by LucieP 12:21 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

It's all about the money, money, money

A day in Dubai

sunny 40 °C

This post has been moved to my new blog! http://notanotherbus.wordpress.com/2011/07/08/its-all-about-the-money-money-money-a-day-in-dubai/

Posted by LucieP 01:09 Archived in United Arab Emirates Tagged skiing mall dubai money emirates Comments (0)

I bless the rains...

Down in Africa

overcast 15 °C

I've had a lot of mixed feelings about coming away on this trip. When I can charge my laptop, I'll jot them down for your general scruity. Until then, onto the beginning of the trip: HELLO DUBAI!

Posted by LucieP 01:06 Archived in England Comments (0)

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