Culture shock

Trip Start Dec 16, 2005
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Trip End Jun 12, 2006


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Flag of South Africa  ,
Monday, May 8, 2006

Click here for Cape Town photos

Overland Club decided to change the plan for us one more time, instead of our door to door transfer to Cape Town were now going to get up at 1am and be driven to the border where we would be put on a so called luxury bus to Cape Town!

It turns out there weren't even enough seats on the bus and Jacki and I didn't get our seats on the bus until 5am!




We were the only whites on the bus, I guess South African whites don't go for public transport.

We passed through a whole range of scenery on the way down. In the north it seemed like mainly sheep farming with the odd vineyard and orange grove. Everything was very rugged as we drove passed the Cederberg Wilderness Area. They looked like some truly spectacular mountains for hiking in.

We stopped at a petrol station, it was just like been back in the USA. Hotdogs, hamburgers and meat pies were all on the menu.



South Africa seems to have an enormous variety of Cadbury's chocolate. They have whole shelves devoted to Cadbury's with flavourings such as Turkish delight to caramel. All in all at least 20 different flavours.

The other thing that we saw everywhere was Biltong, coming in beef, kudu, springbok and a whole host of other game meats, it was much the same as jerky in the USA.

I tried a Nestle Bar One. It was suspiciously like a Mars Bar.

Round about 9am we came to a pass and looked down into a plain that was bright orange due to the soil colour. It had been perfectly ploughed. All this was so different to anything I'd seen in the last 5 months. All fantastic scenery.

About 50km away from Cape Town and still surrounded by fields Cape Town appeared in the distance. We moved into the grape growing heartland, and eventually came to a town called Paarl. I was suffering from a bout of culture shock by this point. Paarl was full of neat and tidy streets, clean white washed housing and the sort of shops I'd expect to see back at home. It was all a bit or a surreal experience. Oh and the mountains around here were also spectacular.

Table Mountain looked so imposing as we drove into Cape Town. I knew at one I was going to fall in love with this place.




Our transfer from the bus station to the hostel didn't turn up and we had to call for a cab. One more mark against Overland Club. Nina had so much luggage we needed 2 cabs, I had no idea how she was going to get all this on the plane - it was going to be an expensive flight for her!

We took a Rikki's taxi. These were tiny vans where 6 to 8 people can fit in the back on benches. We arrived at the very nice Sunflower Stop Hostel, very close to the Victoria and Alfred docks.



After settling in I took a walk down to the docks where there was a trendy shopping center. What a fantastic setting. The mountains, the trendy shops and the old battered fishing boats, along side the snazzy cruise ships. I love this place.

That evening we all headed out to the Buena Vista Club, a Cuban restaurant, where we sampled some of the local wine and seafood. By the end of the night I think I had sampled one glass too much!
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