Shopping and Kirstenbosch Gardens

shapeimage_2-14It was now more than due time to get Mona a new pair of shoes and yours truly had missed a dry-sack for his gadgets in the vicinity of water so with those two main targets we headed off to the shopping mall that was open on a Sunday, Cavender or something similar. The minibus-taxis worked like a charm and we started the shopping with a very nice breakfast at Doppio-Zero. Ordering some Mango-yoghurt-shake, some Halumi, Avocado and the other general healthy-tasty stuff ended on a 15€ bill – not like in Sweden yet but certainly more expensive than outside the capital.

There were plenty of stores, as well as employees and wares but nothing that Mona or myself ended up buying so at lunch time we gave up and headed back towards the Green Elephant. A quick change of clothes and a taxi later we got to Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, who also hosts concerts on Sundays. After some strolling, we just had to walk the “Smuts-track” for instance, we got up to the concert area and were surprised to see quite a lot of people cosily enjoying their picnics or drinks waiting for the artists. There were three main artists, apparently young up-and-coming artists of south africa, however not more than average in my not so humble opinion. The last guy was technically skilled and had a really intensive voice but to be honest the three-minute plus solos of guitar-masturbation makes it hard to give a positive overall review.

Back to the Green Elephant just in time to avoid the rain we changed gear again and found ourselves a sushi-place in the neighborhood, Sushi-House or something like that, that we had heard of earlier – supposedly best in town. It may be an exaggeration but it was really really nice sushi. Quite a small place with two chefs inside a conveyor belt Japanese-style who although some lax ideas about hygiene were very skilled and made the sushi not only awesome tasting but also a delight for the eye. Completely full and happy we slowly stumbled back to Green Elephant to try to get some proper Internet access for blogging, e-mailing, sorting out remaining accommodation among other things. The stipulated wi-fi hadn’t been working for two days so I capitulated and just used ethernet, about 3 meters from a bunch of Swedish teenagers playing cards. Lovely.

After writing some blogs it was time to go to sleep, perhaps one day I will be able to keep up the blogging to real-time but apparently not on this trip. Tomorrow it’s Table Mountain and depending on weather it’s early morning or late afternoon…

“Let’s get you inside the car”

shapeimage_2-13Woke up and felt much much better than last time I woke up. The time was only about 08 but we had decided to be on the safe side and get an early bus to Cape Town so we headed of to Checkers Supermarket, after the helpful tip from other travelers who had explained Checkers coordinate all the bus companies bookings. Thanks for not mentioning that you lousy guide-books.

We get there, find the booking desk but all four companies are completely full for the day and a couple of days ahead. We doubt this, and the not uncommonly tired south african worker doesn’t exactly improve our faith in this. However some manager states that this really is the case, so we head back to Island Vibe to call up some car rental companies. No company have a single car available, not even in the neighboring city George. Things are starting to look a bit grim. There is the Baz Buz however, for the price of 45€ and stopping at every backpackers along the way. Then there should be a Shell Petrol station nearby where minibus shuttles pick up passengers. We decide to at least check this up, but warned from the Island Vibe staff to be very wary of any such travel arrangements.

The Lonely Planet map is incorrect, only by a block or two but still. Anyways – we have a chat to the manager of the petrol station who explains that those cars already have left for the day, but then interrupts and runs out to a shuttle coming in. Apparently there was one late one, a very quick judgement is done and for the price of 25€ the driver promise to take us to Cape Town. Thank you lady Fortune. I quickly walk back to our backpackers and get our our bags as Mona buys some random breakfast at the petrol station. We stow in our stuff and say “Howzit” to the other happy members of our shuttle before the minibus gets out of Knysna heading towards Cape Town on the N2.

The music playing initially in the bus was Abba, quite funny. After a couple of songs the driver changed to sleazy love songs – not that funny. After a few painful hours it got south african native music, quite good and one could almost feel the smell of cotton fields. Then it got worse, some R&B crap with auto-tune and lyrics of approximately three four-word sentences per song repeated into oblivion. After a long and warm drive we got closer to Cape Town though. The people still left in the bus got off in a township, I asked for the name of the place and the name “Zait-zee” sounded like a probable name. That’s when I saw the sign “Site C” – not that exotic after all.

As we got off to stretch our legs, I realized that there was no way in hell we would get out there with our belongings safe unless we got out with the very same car. The driver was a kind soul however and even instructed us to get our stuff from the trailer and then said “let’s get you inside the car” as the others got their stuff which we swiftly did to avoid any unpleasant attention. It was an impressive view and touching in many ways to see the horizons of sheds that compromised the township – it did not seem like the best of ideas to get out my camera at that time though. The driver took us all the way to our backpackers, the Green Elephant, driving for little more than half an hour before saying good bye and stating that “you are safe now” after helping us with out luggage through the fenced gate. Sweet.

After a very well needed shower we were informed that this area in fact was the home of many university students and in general a safe place so we could walk around even at night so we decided to scout the area for food. We stumbled in at the restaurant called “A touch of Madness” for some dinner. It wasn’t bad, but perhaps not that good either. A surprisingly correctly navigated walk back to Green Elephant and we hit the bed after the long day of journey.