So the first flight goes off without a hitch.
Our luggage could not be checked through to Cape Town for some reason so we had to reclaim it in Johannesburg (Joburg). I will say that the airport there has really got it down in terms of systems. We got our luggage, got through customs and security within like 15 minutes? It was the easiest time in an airport we have ever had…the airline, South African Air though? Not so much.
It is nice to that they feed you on every flight, whether it’s short or long- and their version of a “snack” is a sandwich rather than a full meal. We received an Indian rice and chickpeas dish which was pretty good really- but that’s where the fun ended for me and veg meals!
We got on the next flight without incident and made our way to Cape Town. This flight I did not get the veg meal- and actually neither did Bryan- but the attendant found a veg meal for someone else and gave it to us. It was a bit baffling, but it worked out and we were ok with the one meal.
I was not sure what to expect of Cape Town, but I do think of it as a place of wealth and privilege. The advertisements as we walked through the airport, for banking, banking, banking, diamonds, more banking and diamonds, solidified this impression. The ads were a bit unnerving though like the banking one said “You have sacrificed for your money. Protect it”. “It’s your money, we help you keep it”. It was just written in a really negative and selfish tone, like someone is always trying to take it from you…and especially when we’re in a place where honestly, I am not sure how many people here have sacrificed for their money- or know what it really means to sacrifice- it was a little distressing. Granted these are impressions, but I imagine the feeling of white superiority here will be even more intense than in Madagascar.
We had not made arrangements for a ride to the hotel (oops), and here, rather than going outside for a taxi, the drivers wait inside at a little desk and then greet you as you walk by, asking if you need a taxi. It was a bit weird, for a minute we were not sure if this was a weird scam or not, but the driver talked to all the airport people and they have to wear a bright yellow construction worker type vest to identify themselves. He seemed nice enough, so we decided to go for it. We walked with him to the car.
The taxi ride was about 25 minutes or so and it was dark, but our driver was pretty chatty and wanted to tell us things about the city, which was nice. His accent was pretty hard to understand, but we did get the majority of it. He told us where he grew up- pointed to it as we went by- called, the flats. When we would see this area in the daytime, we had a whole different perspective.
The driver had not been to our hotel though he knew the general area and street in Green Point- which is a really nice area of town. It’s near the waterfront, which I knew we’d like and we like a smaller, quieter place, to a big fancy one The taxi driver was very nice and patient because although we came prepared with Rand, we really didn’t know the conversion rate- or rather it was hard to do. Basically, $1 is 14 Rand, so doing in multiples of 15 was easier…however when it came to tipping, we were really unsure. We gave him a 50Rand bill which is about $3, but he insisted on giving us a 20 back…so good for him for being so kind.
The door to the Treehouse Hotel is an old Indian or Southeast Asian looking wood door and it’s locked, so we press the buzzer to go in. The owner was there and greeted us with great enthusiasm- I swear he was the nicest guy ever. I also worried he was going to kill himself if he was always that dutiful and always on the ball!
He showed us where we’d have brekky, but at night a different cake is put out as well- so we dove into the cake. We didn’t get much for dinner, so we were starving and chocolate cake it would be! We devoured it and we went to get our bags upstairs. The owner insisted on carrying them, which they were heavy…and the front bell was ringing and he needed to let the guests in…but we got to our room and he ran off to get the door and our stuff from the elevator where he’d put them.
The room was really nice. The bathroom was pretty spectacular- the shower overlooks the neighborhood with clear glass about to your shins, then opaque to just past eye level, then clear again- so you can see outside while shower, but no one can see in. There is a water shortage (level 4), so we are requested to be short and conservative with it. There is a little bucket in the shower- to which it’s purpose we are unaware.
At this point, it was getting late and we were really tired- and the call time for our shark dive was 415am! But they pick us up and drive us so we could sleep…but needless to say, we were wishing for a bit more sleep.