As anyone who knows me knows, my trips usually don’t start off particularly smoothly. I like to lose my passport at crucial moments and miss flights, that sort of thing.
The flight (KLM Airways) went well enough.
I was surprised as ever to make it off alive, since I have always been fairly certain my death will come in the form of a plane crash (ocean, not land, so drowning, not burning).
I always say an atheist’s prayer in my uncomfortable airplane seat (why must they be upright when you take off and why aren’t you allowed to listen to calming music?!) that this inevitable death will, at least, occur on the way back from a trip of a lifetime, not on the way.
Following an 11-hour flight (aisle seat, not window, dammit) I was greatly relieved to fall into bed at Johannesburg’s Intercontinental airport hotel, which was about as nice as they come. Cracked open some wine, caught up on emails, zonked out.
Arose early the next morning to fly to Cape Town and called Buzz (best friend) as I got ready. As often happens, the conversation went on much longer than planned and suddenly I was screamingly late.
In a mad rush, I plonked my freshly-used boiling-hot hair tong into a sink of cold water (unplugged people, I’m not that stupid) so as not to implant it into my suitcase and thus set it on fire, but in my haste, left the tap running.
Returned several minutes later to find an ankle-depth swimming pool in the hotel bathroom.
The hair tong had cooled down sufficiently, you’ll be pleased to hear, so I mopped the floor using the enormous stack of fluffy towels on hand while repeatedly chanting my ‘Fuck! Fuck! Fuck!’ mantra.
Side note: I don’t care what anyone says, I find swearing comforting and I find that calling Buzz to complain when bad things happen helps me feel better about them. That’s why I’m a sweary complainer.
I didn’t die on the two-hour flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town either, which was convenient, and was thereafter collected by my friend and dutiful South African tour guide, J.
J – who is from South Africa – is currently living in Cape Town, in a house which can only be described as a James Bond villain’s lair. It is perched overlooking the beach, is the size of a large multi-story carpark and has lots of glass, steel, and spaceship lights.
Night one was spent at a charming restaurant round the corner called Blues, where we feasted on a platter double the size of my head and drank champagne, for the English £ equivalent of a brief drop-in to the local shitty pub.
That’s one of the great things about South Africa. Everything is really nice and stupidly cheap.
Next stop, Franschoek wine region – a place where restraint, sobriety and healthy habits go to die…