Tuesday, October 12, 2010
Stellenbosch, South Africa
Good morning sunshine! After a lovely evening where I slept well for the first time in days, I arise to find the sun shining on the georgous rolling hills of the vineyard at Cultivar Guest Lodge. Mountains in the distance and the lush green reminds me of days waking up at Casa Armstrong in LIverrmore, CA 😉
Of course we all know that I have not planned very far in advance for anything on this trip and my trip home is no exception. It seems I have a flight from Johannesburg to Atlanta tomorrow and I have not made any provisions for getting from Cape Town to Johannesburg .. hmm.. guess I had best find me a flight! So up to Kalula.com to find what I need. The gentleman at the desk of the Cultivar Guest Lodge was a hero! He let me use his own desk and computer to make my reservation. Well, you all should know whats coming at this point.. yes indeed, you guessed it.. another TIA moment.. it seems that mantra will haunt me right to the end of my trip!
However this time its all of my own doing. You see rather than looking at flights for tomorrow, I clicked on the wrong date and ended up buying a flight for TODAY.. and since the flight is within 12 hours I cannot make any changes online and need to call. Well working off of my pre-paid SIM card for South Africa which has $40 of time on it.. but I am allowed to use the phone on this guys desk so I don’t have to get into that money. But I do end up sitting on hold with “Trever” the Kalula host who would never allow me to sit on hold very long.. BTW… Trever speaks with a really annoying accent.. AND keeps me on hold for 35 minutes 3 times in a row cutting me off and hanging up on me each time without connecting me to anyone. Well in hopes that I can make this happen later in the day from my cell I decide to head out to my wine tasting for the day!
So with map in hand, I notice I am left than a 20 minute drive to Glen Carlou.. the home winery made famous with Gino and Brian from our trip to Puerto Rico this year. They fell in love with this wine and struggle to find any at home. So I figure I’ll go taste and buy some to bring home for a souvenir.
What a georgous drive to the winery! I am talking sunshine, cotton ball clouds, iridescent blue skies and a crisp fall like temperature! Simply invigorating since for the first time in days I don’t feel crampy and painful inside… yippee!
At the winery I’m a little early in the day on a Wednesday so it turns out I’m the ONLY person in the tasting room. So I have the somlier and her trainee all to myself while I work my way through the “grand tasting” which is 12 different wines for $8. The winery also has an interesting, although to me not to attractive, modern art exhibit that I spend some time strolling through after my tasting as I haven’t eaten yet today and I’m feeling a little happy by now! Then it is out to the car to chug some water, and have some bread and cheese I stashed in my bag before I left town.
Finally I’m ready to head into Cape Town proper. I will be meeting up with Colm and Caitlin who were with the Nomad tour this morning and I will be connecting with them at their hotel in Cape Town. While on the drive in I continue to try and resolve the flight mess with Kalula and sit on hold for 35 minutes each time another three times.. I’m really starting to get cheesed off now as I’m officially going to miss my purchased flight in two hours and after that making changes is going to be orders of magnitude more difficult.
As I approach the city I’m struck by the massive flat top mountain known as Table Mountain, one of the most recognizable landmarks in Cape Town. It truly is an amazing sight and I’m pretty excited to get to climb it later this afternoon. Finally, after navigating my way through the city, which strikes me as very San Francisco-esc I connect with the due at the hotel and we head out to do some shopping and find some food.. of course I continue to get more frustrated as I keep making calls to Kalula every 30 minutes or so and get the same frustrating recorded message from “Trever” who at this point if I could meet this cat would have a massive black eye!!! Just answer my damn call!
Finally my flight has left and I am now relegated to trying to solve this issue tomorrow at the airport itself. So rather than brood and be concerned at this last bit of TIA, we decide to head off to visit Table Mountain. It turns out my Irish friends don’t want to climb the mountain which is something I really wanted to do. However when the taxi drops us off it is cold and windy and we decide we’ll ride up while we have sunny weather and hike down if we still can.
Well this turns out to be a great idea because we had some spectacular views with the sun out on top of the mountain. We reached the top via a rotating cable car ride up which as I looked down I’ll admit I was glad I was being lazy!
views.. wind.. cold!
hike down table mountain
Table being set with the table cloth being drawn down
lovely haggle at taxi stand
out to my first and only irish pub in Africa
the to dinner at Mamma Africa
kudu, croc, ostritch, springbok, vennisen
walk back to hotel, finish my bargain for my room
out to the bars.. walk up long street.. beer here.. dancing there.. white bars. black bars
finally home, still no flight tomorrow.. going to miss Roben Island