|After a very full day of driving south from Namibia, I pulled into Capetown around 8:00 that night. All along, I had been debating whether or not to stay outside of town and get in the next day, but I was SOOOOO close, and I was looking forward to completing the drive. Plus I was rewarded by an absolutley amazing sunset as I drove through the grasslands north of the city. The grass was jsut golden in the fading sunlight and table mountain loomed over the horizon with the Atlantic Ocean off to the right - absolutely stunning.
I made it to town just as the light was fading, and two things complicated my life. The first was driving for the first time on something other than a 2-lane road, and the other was my glasses. Most of the roads - even the highways - in South Africa and Namibia were just two lanes - one in either direction. As Capetown is a "City" int he sense we'd think of in the States, the roadways turned to multi-laned divided highways. So now I had to deal with fast moving traffic passing me on both sides, and exits and interchanges.
Add to that the fact I could barely see. I had accidentally left my new eyeglasses in Spain before coming to South Africa, and while I had actually purchased some new one in SA they weren't ready before I headed off to Namibia. Nick had been kind enought to loan me his sunglasses that had a very similar prescription to mine.
The problem was that, of course, they were sunglasses and it was getting dark. I wasn't so much of a problem onthe highway, but when I got into Capetown itself. For the Mass folk, imagine driving the Jamaica Way at dusk trying to find your turn, but all the street signs are long Dutch sounding words and you can barely see them. Add to that the fact that your a bit tired after seven hours of driving and you're overly freaked out about being car-jacked.
Obviously it all turned out fine. I made my way to a hostel and got checked in no problem. The SS Encouragement was safe overnight on the street, and I was able to meet up with Nick and his family the next day and get my new glasses!
The Gateses had come to Capetown to meet Nick's older brother David an his family who were coming for a two week holiday. After one night in the hostel, they again graciaously hosted me in one of the two self catering units they had rented in the Victoria and Alfred waterfront. It was a beautiful place, but it wasn't like Boston's waterfront near Faneuil Hall. It was was all actually developed around the working waterfront - container ships being unloaded, etc. Again, for the Mass folk, it would be like the Marriot Longwharf being located in the Quincy Shipyards. Well not quite like that, but close.
In next two days, we all took a bus tour of Capetown and a tram ride up Table Mountain, and a did a driving tour of Cape Point, saw a seal colony, and visited the Cape of Good Hope - all with me wearing my "Cape Cod" T-Shirt! I wanted to get a picture withthe shirt on at the actual Cape of Good Hope which I did. Apparently it wasa good idea as a Frenchman approached me and snapped one as well!