Saturday, March 15, 2008

In Cape Town

After a twelve hour delay and a night spent in a Heathrow Hotel courtesy of Virgin Atlantic(it was the least they could do) I am now in Cape Town, South Africa. Thankfully getting through immigration, baggage and customs was a great deal quicker then in many other airports in the world(and I've experienced some shambolic airports in the world and that includes some of the London airports) and I was at my hotel just over an hour after I'd landed. On the flight itself, I also managed to watch three films, Juno, The Valley of Elah and Brick Lane which made the time go that much faster given that it's a twelve hour flight, I would also recommend watching the films as well.

Having been here for the last 24 hours, my observations of the place to date is that it's a country with many contrasts especially between those who have and have not. Crime as well is a major issue out here with fear of crime very prevalent and when you see the barbed wire around houses and security it does bring home how lucky we're back England compared to here. Many people I have spoken to have suffered from crime and compared to nearly everywhere else I've been to in the world crime is a huge issue and exercising caution is a must.

That's not to take anything away from the place, Cape Town in itself is a very beautiful city and Table Mountain that overlooks the city adds to the natural beauty. I hope to go up Table Mountain in the next week and from all accounts it gives an outstanding vista of the city.

The one thing as well that I've noticed is how everything shuts up shop at Saturday lunchtime. It really is eerily quiet in the City Centre on a Saturday afternoon with only the bars and some restaurants open. Apparently Sunday is even quieter. The afternoon was spent watching England beat Ireland in the rugby at Catu Irish bar in Cape Town; though I missed Wales triumph against France. Drink is a fraction of the price it is back home with a pint of Guinness being just 20 rand(about half the price it is in London).

Over the next few days I hope to as well see the main attractions in Cape Town, including Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated. As well, I hope to visit a township to get some kind of view of how the other half lives. All in all I have a busy time ahead during my stay in Cape Town. The weather here is pretty nippy, with a strong wind making it seem a colder outside the it actually is, apparently it's a feature of Cape Town. No doubt I'll be learning more about this city during my stay here.


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