32 hours in transit, part 2

it’s a really long (10.5 hrs) flight from munich to jo’burg, which was followed by a really short connection for the final leg to cape town. i was convinced my luggage wouldn’t make it, but to my astonishment it actually turned up on the belt. didn’t sleep much during the flight. it’s disappointing that my few flights over the african continent to date have been at night, so not much to see on the ground. but the heavens are another matter. initially the sky was very clear and the array of stars was amazing. then, around 2am, somewhere over niger, the most spectacular electrical storm flared through the darkness. it was far enough away that it didn’t affect the flight, but it was quite a show for the few of us lucky enough to be awake: great jags of forked lightning followed by blinding bright flares of sheet lightning. it went on for more than half an hour, incredible to watch.

after the desperate sprint through passport control, across terminals, and through yet another security check, i made it on to the relatively short flight to cape town. i met up with a german colleague at the luggage carousel; we managed to purchase transit passes and find our way by public transit into town. along the route, the first sight was a rambling township, all corrugated metal roofs, cinder block walls, and satellite dishes. the second remarkable sight was a canal full of wading pink flamingos. the road winds around the edge of table mountain, and suddenly we were at the city centre.

i made my way over to the harbour bridge hotel. i’d stayed here on a previous trip to cape town, and had a good experience – and it turns out to be very convenient to the convention centre (cticc). i had booked the most economical standard room, but good travel karma has blessed me with a lovely apartment to call home for the next week. i’ve got a fully equipped kitchen, seating area, separate bedroom and large bathroom. it’s bigger than anywhere i lived when i was in my 20s.

i wandered into town to stock up my kitchen. instinct led me to find caroline’s fine wine cellar, where the friendly and helpful clerk helped me to select a couple of local bottles: a 2014 chenin blanc from the dry land collection (paarl region) and the “seriously cool cinsault 2014, a wine of circumstance by waterkloof” (stellenbosch region). both are very good, though i’m particularly impressed with the cinsault. found a supermarket where i picked up some breakfast foods, and headed back.

after a series of delayed email communications caused me to miss a dinner opportunity with friends, i made my way down to the waterfront to get dinner. had a plate of calamari and frites with a belgian beer at den anker, chatted with a friendly australian guy at the next table, and taxied home for much needed sleep.

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