Cape Town, South Africa, Dec 5-15, 2013

Writing up my travel blog posts months late seems to becoming somewhat of a thing. But these last few months have been filled with launching an anthology of speculative fiction (which I will mention in this entry, since I read the majority of submissions in Cape Town), and news that my family and I will be relocating from Malaysia to San Francisco. I hope to blog about that in more detail later.

I travelled to Cape Town, South Africa accompanying my husband Jeremy, as he had meetings and a conference there for his work. Our kids remained in Malaysia in the care of our then maid. This is likely to be the last travel we do together and without the kids for a long time as it will be harder for us to have someone to leave the kids with whilst living in the US.

We flew Emirates to Cape Town, via Dubai, which may not be the most direct route, but it was the cheapest. This meant I had ample time to watch movies on the flights, which I took advantage of purely because it’s so hard to find time to watch movies I want to watch when I have to watch the kids at home. It didn’t matter that it was an overnight flight! On the first leg, I managed to catch World War Z (which edited out a plane crash scene because, well, I was on a plane), R.I.P.D., and Despicable Me 2. On the second leg, from Dubai to Cape Town, I watched Elysium, Not Another Happy Ending, The Sapphires, and It’s a Disaster. I just want to quickly praise The Sapphires here, which is an Australian film set during the Vietnam War and stars Deborah Mailman and Chris O’Dowd. It was a great story with fantastic racial diversity. I’d love to be able to see more films like it.

Thursday 5th December, 2013

Shanty village

We arrived at Cape Town airport at 11:20am, and caught a shuttle to the apartment we were staying in. As we left the airport, there was a shanty village that reminded me somewhat of the ones we saw in India. When we got to the apartment building, we had to wait a while for our apartment to be ready. Once it was, we went in, showered, relaxed a bit, and used the Internet before deciding to head out and explore the area a little.

My first impressions as we got out were that people seemed really friendly, it was colder and windier than I expected it to be, and I couldn’t help wondering how on earth the whites managed to hold power during the apartheid time when there were significantly more black South Africans out and about. If it had been brought up when I learned about South African history in year 11, I certainly couldn’t remember it.

Clocktower at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Elephant sculpture at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

For what remained of the afternoon, we wandered down to the V&A Waterfront area where we got to see the clock tower, painted a different colour than it had been the last time Jeremy had been to Cape Town, an elephant sculpture right next to it, and the place where you can get a ferry over to Robben Island. We crossed the swing bridge and passed the African Trading Post, not stopping to look at the souvenirs inside, as we were in search of a money changer. Unfortunately when we did manage to find one open, they said we needed a passport in order to change our money, and we hadn’t thought to bring one with us.

African Trading Post at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

Next we headed over to Victoria Wharf to do some gift shopping (with credit cards since we had no cash!) and then ended up at a South African restaurant called Karibu, which means “Welcome” in Swahili. Dinner included a South African white wine, which cost as little as I’d expect to pay for a bottle of wine from a store in Australia; Biltong, which is a bit like beef jerky; Braai Twelve Apostles – boerewors (sausages), lamb chop & chicken sosatie (like a shish kebab) with putu and chakalaka; and koesisters for dessert. It was a delicious meal!

After dinner, we headed to the Woolworths in order to buy some food for our breakfast and lunches, since we had the facilities to store and make our own meals in the apartment. This is definitely one of the benefits of such accommodation when travelling! Once we’d made our purchases, we walked back to the apartment, and had an early 8:30pm bedtime. Not sleeping enough on the plane due to watching so many movies will do that to you!

Friday 6th December, 2013

After waking up and having breakfast, we checked the Internet and discovered that Nelson Mandela had died the day before, just a few hours after we had arrived. Knowing he’d been such an influential person in South Africa’s history left me speechless, and unknowing how to react. I wasn’t even sure if I’d be able to go out and about that day because I expected a sombre mood around the city.

Jeremy had a meeting on, so after he headed off, I went back to sleep for a while, then got up to make myself lunch. I used the Internet a bit more, and met the maid, who I talked to for a little while, before gathering the courage I needed to get out and wander around.

Nelson Mandela tributes at Cape Town City Hall

Nelson Mandela tributes at Cape Town City Hall

I headed in the direction of the Castle of Good Hope because I was curious about what that was, and ended up happening across City Hall, where a few people were offering flowers up, and countless more were gathered in a circle, dancing and singing, celebrating the life of Mandela. I was so overwhelmed with emotion just being there and feeling it escaping the pores of those around me that I ending up having tears streaming down my face, even though no one else seemed to be crying. There was one guy there in particular that I noted for he was carrying a sign that read, “South Africa without Madiba is shameful.”

I stayed in the thick of people for some time, just experiencing their emotions wash over me as they sang and danced, until I eventually wandered down to the castle to see what it was like. I noted the entrance fee, which I didn’t have (still no cash), so I could come back later. As I headed north to see what else I could find, a man stopped me and handed me a metal flower he had made. He told me he was seeking money so he could afford to go to Johannesburg for Mandela’s funeral. I told him I didn’t have any cash on me, but that I would try and come back. Then tried to return the flower since I didn’t have money, but he told me to keep it, that it was a gift.

Jeremy had given me a list of places to visit that he had already been to on a previous visit, so I checked my map and headed in the right direction. I ended up walking through District 6, which is an area that has some round posts that featured quotes about apartheid on them. I thought it was interesting to find, particularly because Jeremy told me there was no longer any evidence of that time in South Africa’s history.

View from Company's Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

Building off of Company's Gardens, Cape Town, South Africa

Eventually I came across to The Company’s Gardens, so named for the Dutch East India Company. I had a nice wander through the park, admiring the views, and was amazed to find they even had sections of free wifi in places where there weren’t any nearby buildings. Not that the Internet worked particularly well on my phone there, but it was still interesting to see. I wandered up to the north part and found some interesting rhino sculptures made out of recycled trash.

As I left the park, I wandered down the street that lines the east of The Company’s Gardens and found some benches with more apartheid evidence/memorials – carved into them were declarations about which race was permitted to sit on them.

The next area I headed to was the Malay Quarter, which Jeremy told me was named after a Malaysian community being there, but the brightly coloured houses reminded me more of the Dutch style I had seen in Dutch colonies in Central America that my mum had visited for work. But I guess the Dutch brought Malays over from Melaka when they were in control of that area around the same time. This was also the first area where I got a little nervous about the possibility of someone trying to rob me, but thankfully I didn’t actually have anything to worry about in that regard.

I then started wandering back toward the apartment, until I exchanged a few messages with Jeremy and found out it was okay for me to get a taxi out to the Newlands area where his meeting was. So I got a taxi out there, and the driver was very friendly, telling me all about when Mandela was either released or elected (I can’t remember specifically) and how he had been there. That there were 25K people expected, but more like 100K people showed up. And then there were riots afterwards. He expressed hope that Mandela’s death would unite the blacks and whites of South Africa, and help them work together. I really enjoyed listening to his perspective on things.

When I arrived in Newlands, I had to text Jeremy to come out and pay the driver, since I still had no money, and then I joined him inside the hotel and met some of the other people he’d been meeting with that day. Then we all headed off to a nearby wine bar for dinner and drinks. I ended up being the first person to select a wine (again, as cheap as a shop), so I selected a local rosé, which ended up being so popular that Jeremy’s colleagues ordered a second bottle. I’m no wine connoisseur, so it made me feel good that they liked my choice so much.

When I was starting to fall asleep at the table, we called for a taxi and then headed back to the apartment for bed.

Saturday 7th December, 2013

It was an early start today as we were scheduled to be collected at 6:15am for our safari tour at Aquilla Game Reserve. It was a long drive to the destination, and on the way, on one of the bridges, we saw a truck’s trailer blown onto its side, which we presumed had been caused by high gusts of wind. It was quite a sight to see!

Huts at Aquilla Game Reserve

We arrived around 9am and were given sparkling wine to enjoy before checking off our names and then heading to the restaurant for a buffet breakfast, included in the cost of the tour. I was amused that the background music included “Circle of Life” from Disney’s The Lion King. After breakfast, we had a little time to wander around, and outside the restaurant we saw a peacock and some elephants.

The tour itself started at 10:15am, and took us through a large area in a safari truck. The first section included one giraffe that we were able to see, which was the smallest species of giraffe because South Africa doesn’t have the vegetation to support the larger ones; a herd of zebras, including some adorable babies; hippos, which we got to see on land running into a small lake, and sounded the same as movie dinosaurs sound (I’d never heard them make a noise before, so that was cool to discover); and ostriches.

Zebras at Aquilla Game Reserve

Hippos at Aquilla Game Reserve

The next section was completely cordoned off because it exclusively housed lions. We had to drive through a locked gate to get in and out. Our guide was great at spotting the lions for us, because the male lions were well hidden in the rocks, high up a hill. The lioness we saw, however, was just resting under a bush. She was closer and easier to see, but still not close enough for me to get any great photos on my phone. Jeremy’s DSLR did a better job, though.

Wildebeest at Aquilla Game Reserve

In the final section, we got to see eland, blue wildebeest, springboks, oryx, wildebeest/gnu, and baboons (in the distance, anyway; not even close enough for Jeremy to get a good photo on his DSLR), before we had to stop because the truck caught a rock in its wheel and bent the wheel guard so much that it scraped the tyre whenever it tried to drive. So we stopped for a little while and got down to have some drinks (a choice of sparkling wine or water). One of the passengers ended up suggesting a way for the driver to fix the truck, which worked, and meant we didn’t have to wait for someone else to come rescue us. After that, we got to see the elephants, and white rhinos before heading out of the main reserve area.

Elephant at Aquilla Game Reserve

Rhinos at Aquilla Game Reserve

Once out of the reserve, we drove over across the street to where they keep rescued cats, and got to see a leopard.

I’m not good at making small talk, but as Jeremy and I were sitting up the front, I learned through other tourist’s questions that our guide was from Zimbabwe. He was a really good guide and offered us some interesting facts about the animals. I was especially interested in what he had to say about the hippos, because he made everyone try to think they were the most dangerous animal in Africa, before saying that actually they’re only likely to kill you if you get between them and water when they’re charging there. And you can see them coming, so you should just step out of the way and you’ll be fine. Is this some kind of common knowledge African kids learn in school so they don’t have to worry?

When the tour was over, we headed back to the restaurant, where we had a buffet lunch and I uploaded a bunch of photos to Instagram thanks to their free wifi. We then had a little time to browse the souvenir shop and buy some gifts before everyone decided to head back to the tour van so we could go back to Cape Town.

On the way back, on possibly the same bridge as earlier in the day, we saw an armoured vehicle knocked over, and and armed guard with a rifle watching over it. Our van driver told us it was actually because of a robbery, which is pretty common this time of year. I still don’t know how they manage to knock over an armoured vehicle like that, though!

When we got back to the apartment, we had a bit of a rest, and were too full from the buffets to have anything for dinner. Then we tried to watch a movie we’d brought with us (our apartment came with a DVD player), but didn’t finish it because I started to fall asleep.

Sunday 8th December, 2013

After eating muffins for breakfast, Jeremy went out to collect a car he had booked for the day, only to come back and tell me it wasn’t available until 1pm. Instead, we decided to use the morning to explore the Castle of Good Hope.

Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

View from Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

There were a couple different museums inside the castle grounds: one which told us all about the Anglo-Boer War, which I’d learned a little about in high school; one that included some local art; and one that housed antiques. The castle itself was built between 1666 and 1679, and is the oldest surviving building in South Africa. Obviously that means it was built by the Dutch.

Fountain inside Castle of Good Hope, Cape Town, South Africa

Nelson Mandela tributes at Cape Town City Hall

After exploring the main grounds, we sat ourselves in a bench inside and chowed down on some salad we had brought with us so we didn’t have to buy our lunch. Then we left, and I tried to find the guy who gave me the metal flower a couple of days earlier, but he wasn’t there, so I took Jeremy back past City Hall to see the flowers people had been leaving for Mandela before we headed back to the hire car place to collect our car, which we had until the following morning.

Once we had the car, Jeremy plugged a destination into the GPS on his phone, which was meant to be a place he had been to previously and wanted to take me to. It took us north of Cape Town, and ended up not being the place he remembered, but thankfully when we stopped at the beach there, we had a great view of the ocean and Table Mountain, so we got to snap some great photos.

Table Mountain, Cape Town, South Africa

When we got back in the car, we checked the map we’d been provided by Budget and I used that to give Jeremy directions to where he actually wanted to take me. We headed south to see the Twelve Apostles, part of the mountain range there, because we’d overheard someone else talking about it as something good to see.

Twelve Apostles, Cape Town, South Africa

Cape Town coast

After briefly stopping at the Twelve Apostles for a drink and photos, we continued on to Sandy Bay and got some more photos of the coastline, with sea-smoothed rocks and beautiful blue waters. Jeremy took a short break to have a swim in the water here, but I wasn’t so keen on that idea so I just waited on the beach for him.

Then we continued on our drive because Jeremy wanted to take me to Chapman’s Point, but unfortunately that road was closed, so instead we stopped in Hout Bay and drove out to the West Fort, where some old cannons remained, pointing into the bay. There were also some markets in the area, but unfortunately we got there after they’d closed.

Cannon pointing into Hout Bay, South Africa

Horserider at Hout Bay, South Africa

After discovering we missed the markets, we got back in the car and drove the short distance back to Mariner’s Wharf. We got to see some musicians performing African music here, which I really enjoyed, so I ended up buying their CD so we could give it to Jeremy’s parents as a Christmas gift.

Musicians at Hout Bay, South Africa

We also met a guy from Kenya who was selling rhythm sticks he had made, and he taught us how to use them. I’d seen such things before, but never gotten the hang of it. We ended up buying a couple of sets from him to take back as gifts.

Then we wandered around the souvenir shops before heading upstairs to the restaurant for dinner. I ordered a chocolate martini, which had an unfortunate taste of coffee, chicken with potato rosti and yummy spinach, and we shared a dessert called “mermaid’s desire,” which was chocolate mousse on a white chocolate shell. We also ordered a sangria sundowner because it came with a souvenir glass to take home with us.

We took a different route back to our apartment, and I was interested to see Australian trees along the coastline. Some of the traffic got a little busy near the beaches, too. And it took us a long time to find our allocated parking bay in the apartment car park.

When we got back to the apartment, we finished watching Stone, which was the film we had begun watching the night before, and then headed to bed.

Monday 9th December, 2013

After such a busy weekend, I decided to take it easy and stay in the apartment most of the day reading submissions for Amok: An Anthology of Asia-Pacific Speculative Fiction.

Come 5pm I headed off to the place Jeremy was for his conference, since I was welcome to join him for that evening’s activities. It was difficult to find him because the venue was so big, and I ran into a couple of the people I’d met on the Friday who suggested where I might find him, but no such luck there. Eventually we did find each other.

At 6:45pm, we all got packed into vans and driven into the Table Mountain area. We were served mojitos and strawberry mojitos to drink, and finger food included sandwiches, boewoers, and an unusual bun filled with grated cheese and apricot jam. It was a bit of an unusual combination! After the finger food, we helped ourselves to another buffet for the actual meal. Once we saw other people leaving, we decided to go too, but not before getting magnums for dessert. I had a nice mint flavoured one. The van took us back to the conference venue, but then we managed to get the driver to drop us at the convention centre because that was a lot closer to our accommodation than the conference venue!

Tuesday 10th December, 2013

I slept most of the day away because I was trying to adjust to some new medication I had recently started, which wasn’t so great for my productivity or sightseeing. I did manage to read a few more submissions, though, and had a Skype call with a friend. In the evening, I headed out to a supermarket to get some more food for the rest of the week, and then met Jeremy and South African fast food chain Steers for dinner. I ordered a cheese and macon (mutton bacon) chicken burger and banana shake. When we got back to the apartment, we watched a movie called Taking Woodstock.

Wednesday 11th December, 2013

Private Residences at the V&A Waterfront, Cape Town, South Africa

My morning was filled with more submission reading (all up I had received 67 submissions, the majority of which I had not read before this trip to South Africa). Then I made myself some pasta for lunch, and headed out to the convention centre, where I caught the canal boat to the waterfront area. The boat is part of the City Sightseeing operation, so it came with a bonus audio tour, and talked a bit about the expensive waterfront properties, and mentioned a number of the celebrities who had come to the opening and/or own property in the area.

After getting off the boat, I browsed the craft market, and found the Jou Ma Se Comedy Club, where I managed to pre-purchase tickets for that night’s show. I’d checked the lineup in advance and it sounded like the most interesting one I could get to, since it was headlined by a female comedian, who seemed to be pretty well known in the South African comedy scene. Then I headed out to the Robben Island museum, but I got confused about where I could go, and my anxiety was playing up a bit, and then I decided even if I could get a ticket to go across in the ferry, I didn’t have enough time to get back before I had to meet Jeremy. So I sat on the steps outside and read another submission or two, which I’d brought with me, and then wandered inside the shopping centre next door to do a little window shopping for a while.

Eventually I wandered back toward the craft market, which was sort of across the street from the conference venue Jeremy was at, to wait for him at a table/bench. While I was waiting, a white lady came up to me telling me she’d been robbed and needed help. I asked her why she didn’t just go to the cops if she needed help, but she insisted they couldn’t drive her somewhere she needed to go and could I please give her money. It seemed somewhat suspicious to me so I must’ve said something to get rid of her. I was very grateful when Jeremy found me soon after that because I was beginning to feel even more anxious about the possibility of being robbed myself.

Sunset view of V&A Waterfront from Moyo restaurant, Cape Town, South Africa
We headed back towards the Robben Island ferry because it’s opposite Moyo, the restaurant where conference-goers had been invited for dinner. We were rather early for it, but since we were there, the staff started getting things ready and served us drinks. Then more people began showing up, and someone came up to us to paint our faces. As the sun started to set, I went out on the balcony to take a beautiful photo (pictured, right) of the V&A Waterfront area.

Face painting

We unfortunately only had enough time at Moyo to be served the starters and have some Merlot wine (I’m not usually a red wine drinker, but the description of this one sounded more interesting to me than the whites they offered), which was nice. We were a little disappointed to miss out on tasting the springbok, though.

So we headed back across to the Jou Ma Se Comedy Club, arriving just as the show was starting. Thankfully my pre-booked tickets meant they’d saved us a place to sit. The show was hosted by comedian Rob Van Vuuren, who asked if there were any Australians in the audience. I cheered, and was subsequently picked on for the rest of the night, because apparently Australia is to South Africa what New Zealand is to Australia. Most of his jokes were about his experiences in the country. On the upside, because I got picked on, he ended up giving me free tickets to come back another night at the end of the show. The other acts included Stuart Cairns and Dylan Skews in the first half, and headlined by Tracy Klass in the second half. I really enjoyed her stuff and she was clearly experienced at it. During the break, Rob actually called me over to make sure I was actually okay with him picking on me, and I said it was fine. I told him I was kind of part of the comedy scene in Kuala Lumpur and had performed a bit myself, and added that my friend Jax had mentioned being in a play with him more than a decade previously. He was certainly friendlier in person than he’d been to me from the stage!

During our walk back to the apartment after the show, we got singled out by a beggar (probably both because we’re white and because there weren’t too many other people out walking at that time of night). He followed us for a long while and made us feel rather uncomfortable. He kept calling us things like “mother and father” and explaining if we didn’t give him money then he would have to resort to stealing laptops or something. I began to worry about the electronics I had on me, like the Kindle I had just received for my birthday. Eventually Jeremy managed to get him to go away by telling him he was making us uncomfortable. I’m not entirely sure why that worked. But at least he didn’t follow us all the way back to the apartment we were staying at.

Thursday 12th December, 2013

My morning was spent reading and sleeping again, until I decided I should head out to the supermarket to get some more groceries, some of which I used to make my lunch. At 2pm I headed out again to get a taxi out to the Baxter Theatre. Jax (who is South African, but lives in New Zealand) had asked her friends on Facebook about advice for comedy related things for me to go to. One of them said I should see Marc Lottering in Scrooge, which was a pantomime version of Dickens’s Christmas Carol, scripted specifically for a South African audience, as it was set in Cape Town and included some Afrikaans dialogue. I’m sure I missed a ton of the in-jokes, but I still had a great time and was glad I was able to get out to see it. It was pretty reasonably priced at R130, so I didn’t mind so much that I had to pay for a taxi to get there and back as well. The cast also included Andrew Buckland, who is from the same town as Jax and I think she and her friends might know him; Sharleen Surtie-Richards, who seemed pretty famous judging by the audience’s response to her; and Christo Davids, who amused me with the scenes he had to cross-dress in. Marc Lottering was also clearly well known in South Africa, judging by how the crowd responded to him.

As I left, I had to ask someone where to go to find a taxi, and the directions helped a lot because I was able to find one right where I was told. I got the taxi back to Jeremy’s conference venue, where I met up with him because he invited me for the film screening they were having as part of the conference. It was a documentary about AIDS and access to medicine, and how restrictive medical patents can be for developing countries, called Fire in the Blood. I found it really interesting and learned a lot, and in particular there was a lot of content in Africa, and South Africa in particular, including footage of Nelson Mandela. Somehow it felt all the more appropriate to watch so soon after his passing.

After the screening, we were served pizza, and then there was a Q&A with some of the people involved in the making of the film. One guy talked about meeting Mandela and how they got AIDS drugs to be more affordable there, and another guy got quite emotional at the end talking about his wife who had cancer, and the prohibitive cost of medicine in the US. Listening to him got me quite emotional, too, but I think part of it was because my mum died of cancer.

As we walked back to our apartment that night, we were again confronted by the same beggar who followed us the night before. Unfortunately, the place where he spotted us meant we had no way of getting out of being followed all the way back to the location we were staying. He told us he still hadn’t eaten since he saw us before, and I had thought I could just give him some of the food we had in the apartment, but by the time I got inside I just felt too uncomfortable about the whole situation to be able to go back out. Clearly I’m not good in confronting situations like that.

Friday 13th December, 2013

Today was another day of reading submissions all day, stopping only to make myself a burger sandwich for lunch. I met Jeremy at the waterfront at 6:30pm, and we looked for place to have dinner, eventually deciding on Spurs Steakhouse Restaurant, a South African chain with a Native American theme, which I found kind of odd. But it seemed to be a good restaurant aside from the questionable theme. I ordered an Amarula hot chocolate, and chicken BBQ breasts with onion rings & chips.

Jou Ma Se Comedy Club line up 13th Dec 2013

After dinner, we headed back to the Jou Ma Se Comedy Club in order to use the freebies Rob Van Vuuren gave me on Wednesday. He was originally meant to MC again, but ended up swapping with Carl Weber, and headlined instead (with the same material as the previous night. The first support act was Liam Bento, and he and Carl Weber both referred to themselves as coloured–which is the term for mixed race in South Africa, but sounds so wrong to my ears, because I grew up learning that that term was oppressive. The other acts included an open mic spot by Kurt Schoonraad, who owns the comedy club, and after the break, Brent Palmer. It was another enjoyable night of comedy and I’m glad I was able to experience it.

While we were there, I ordered a peppermint liqueur for only R12, which was cheaper than coke, and we shared a Mojito sorbet for dessert.

On our way back to our apartment, we were again confronted by a beggar, but this time it was a different guy, and he sounded more aggressive. Basically his tactic was, “Give me some money or I’ll have to rob you.” We had to immediately cross the street to the well-lit petrol station to get away from him. I was actually scared he might pull a knife on us. Lesson learned: Cape Town is fine to walk around on your own during the day, but at night, you’re better off getting a taxi if you want to feel safe.

Saturday 14th December, 2013

Tommy the Tugboat, Cape Town, South Africa

We woke up late at 9am today. Jeremy still had more work meetings, but we both took the canal cruise over to the V&A Waterfront together. We separated here, and I went to check out the Robben Island ferry, but it being Saturday and the day before Mandela’s funeral, it was understandably sold out. So I wandered around to see what else I could do, browsed some shops, and came across “Tommy the Tugboat”. I thought it would be cute to get a ride on a boat like that, so I bought a ticket and then wandered down the dock. And found seals! I hadn’t realised there was a special area for them until that time.

I was the first person to board Tommy the Tugboat and waited a while for another family to join us. The tour guide was really friendly and pointed out a lot of things, like apartments owned by Oprah, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Madonna. As we got further out of the harbour, we saw dolphins, which is always a special event for me as they’re my favourite animal. It was cool seeing them jump out of the water. The guide also told us about the break wall we went past, explaining that it was built to stop winter storms from damaging the harbour. We stopped a little ways out to get some good photos with Table Mountain in the background, and then headed back in. On the way, our guide pointed out seals that were resting inside giant tyres on the side of the harbour and called them “seals in wheels.” He also mentioned that the Afrikaans word for seal is “rob” so he made a few jokes about that. It was a short tour, but a nice activity, and I think it would’ve been even more fun for folks travelling with kids.

Dominica Malcolm on Tommy the Tugboat, Cape Town, South Africa

Seal in a wheel, Cape Town, South Africa

After the boat tour, I took the canal cruise back to the convention centre (the ticket price is inclusive of a return trip), and had lunch at our apartment. I spent the afternoon reading more submissions, and having a nap. When Jeremy was done with his meetings, he picked me up in a taxi, and we headed to the nearest Nando’s for dinner. I’d been wanting to go just so I could have it in the country of origin. I ordered the chicken wrap and peri-peri wedges, and an appletiser to drink. Then we walked back to the apartment and headed to bed.

Sunday 15th December, 2013

We didn’t really have time for sightseeing today since we had to head back to KL, so after waking up, we spent some time on the Internet, packed, and basically got ready to go. I turned the TV on for the last hour we had left, and came across Madiba’s funeral, so I watched that until we had to check out and head to the airport. When we got there, our flight was actually the next one to leave, because there were so few international flights at that time of day.

On the flight to Dubai, I continued on my quest to watch as many movies as I could, getting through White House Down, The Great Gatsby (I was most excited by Joel Edgerton!), The Call, and Turbo. I managed to sleep a little, too. We changed planes in Dubai, and then somehow because of Jeremy’s frequent flier level with Emirates, we both got upgraded to business class for the final leg back to KL. I’d never flown business class before, but I took full advantage of the fact I had a thin mattress and could lay the bed back a decent amount, and basically spent most of the flight sleeping unless they had food to serve. It was a cool experience, but I would still never pay business class fares to actually have those seats. I only managed to get through half of Epic in terms of movies this time.

One thought on “Cape Town, South Africa, Dec 5-15, 2013

  1. Love your blog again Dom – both the information & the pictures! I’ve only been to South Africa for about half a day, so it was very interesting to read all you did!


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