Waking up after getting surprisingly much sleep it was time to have a breakfast before landing at Heathrow. Just walking inside the terminal was cold, and it was around zero in London so we didn’t look forward to Göteborg. After an eventless connection at Heathrow we got on the last leg for the trip, and enjoyed the fine service of a short-haul SAS flight. In other words, everything cost money excluding the newspaper you may borrow.
As we got back to a white Göteborg and collected our luggage it was time to get into a cab as fast as possible, our clothes were not suitable for this temperature. Getting inside the apartment and dropping the bags it was time for a well-needed shower (to get rid of the salt water from the shark-cage-dive) and then directly to work. Over and out for this time…
The pick-up was late by some 30 minutes or so, so I wanted to confirm we were going to be back well before 1600. Which of course was not the case, the fact that the return time was the main reason for choosing this particular tour, ecoventures, seemed to have slipped their minds. I could argue for a full refund or make the driver swear he would be back by 1700. That meant I would miss the meeting with Mona and would possible have her bring my gear ready for heading towards the airport. I had the guy triple check we would be back by 1700 and got in the mini-van and took some tablets against sea-sickness just to be on the safe side.
Long story short, I made the conditions crystal clear when we had reached the office for the tours. I would be taken to the backpackers 1700, or to the airport 1800, or they would pay me another ticket home. I was close to losing it when I realized that we were the second of three daily tours, and those who went with the first one was scheduled to be back in Cape Town at 15-1530. In other words the one I was booked for. Eventually we left for the shark site though and after a rough but not that rough ride we were there. As the guide went through the security briefing a shark got up close and as everybody was trying to catch a glimpse the guide grumbled loudly about how people stopped listed when a shark was nearby without receiving any protests.
The shark-cage-dive idea is that you get in a wetsuit, get in a cage (about 2/3rd’s in water) next to the boat in the freezing water and watch as the shark swim by attracted by some form of bait. Sounds sort of lame but I was surprised by how awesome it was when the freaking monster swam by within arm’s reach. Those beasts also have lots of teeth when you look at their open jaws. We took turns and after seeing enough I was shaking of cold and got up on top of the deck to get some shots of it from above. We got back, got some salad-lasagna before getting back in the mini-bus towards Cape Town. The new driver drove like he was stealing cars for a living and managed to drop me off at Blue Mountain at 1715, which was acceptable.
I quickly changed clothes and met up Mona who had done some shopping during the day. We got to the airport with another Excite taxi for some 17€ and managed to check in without any hassle. As I got on the plane it felt like chances are that at least I’ll end up in Europe. For some reason the plan was not the one originally planned but a replacement which unfortunately lacked audio/video on demand so we settled for Amarula with ice for entertainment. After dinner I dozed off amazingly well and fell asleep.
No drilling or hammering to wake up to this morning, yay! After another good buffet breakfast at Rhyneveld Lodge and a bunch of calls we manage to reserve a car at 1st car rental. The price for a full day would be 30€ including way more kilometers than we would need for browsing the Stellenbosch surroundings and head to Cape Town. We checked out and picked up the car after amazingly much paperwork.
Some navigational issues (the GPS units were at another location and how much of a sport would it really be navigating with one?) were encountered but fairly quick we got out of Stellenbosch and drove off to Spiers vineyard. Mona pondered some horseback riding there but were not thrilled by the 30€ for a lame one hour tour so instead we chilled out with a nice picnic and some reading. A couple of hours later we decide to head towards Cape Town but go for the more scenic route along the coast rather than the highway.
We stop at a beach where a lot of people seem to be enjoying the nice weather and ice-cold water. Parking our car next to a couple of police officers we walk along the beach in search for a store for something to drink. A thousand or so people, none white-colored, but no store in sight. Finally we spot a temporarily store, which of course is operated by an old indian lady rather than a south african. The lack of entrepreneurs are understandable
to some degree but also a constant source of surprise and discussion.
We continue towards Cape town, but stop at another less populated beach along the road to just walk along the shore and enjoy the view and smell the salt water. As we continue we realize that driving in South Africa wasn’t that much of a hassle after all and Mona has almost gotten used to have the clutch on the wrong side as well as driving on the left side of the road. As we get closer to Cape Town our maps level of detail become less and less useful and following the signs (placed in south african fashion) led to some minor navigational setbacks as well.
Well inside Cape Town, the navigating worked like a charm. We get to Loop street, where Mona decides that two lanes of one-way traffic towards you can’t be that bad and follows my mumbling driving instructions from reading the map. A friendly guy on a scooter does the discrete international sign for “wrong way, retards” and Mona manages to quickly turn into another street for temporary safety. We settled for that it was a joint setback in our shared driving rather than fully blaming the other part. After that small adventure we reach our final destination without breaking any traffic laws we know of and park the car outside the car rental shop.
We check in at Blue Mountain backpackers, get well-needed showers and go through some photos and blog a bit before stacking up on snacks and getting a takeaway dish for Mona. Since the shark-cage-dive starts early (pickup at 0645) we decide to watch a movie and go to bed rather early and pack our stuff for the flight home.