Well, I have to say that was a rather rapid start to this trip! Bruce had left for South Africa a month ago at which time I had no intention of coming here. He was riding with South African friends from Johannesburg to Cape Town and camping along the way, and it sounded (from his emails) as though he was having a good trip, although he’d had a few difficult days with the heat and terrain (climbing) and nature of the roads they were traveling. As for me, I was simply glad I wasn’t doing it!
Then, on the morning of Friday March 4th, I was sitting there at the window on Gabriola and contemplating the current wind warnings with possible snow flurries. There was also a brisk chill in the air and my thoughts turned to the warmth of South Africa. I got on the internet, found a good fare, then phoned Bruce (he was somewhere out in the bush with a very poor signal on the cellphone they were using) and said, “wot d’yer think, then?” He seemed to jump at it, so I promptly confirmed the booking. Then, with only one very busy weekend (that included going over to Nanaimo to do a volunteer shift previously agreed to at the Port Theatre) in which to take care of everything, I found myself on my way to Victoria on Monday 7th to get my flights from there starting early on the 8th.
After pretty good flights (all things considered, being in transit for more than 30 hours) from Victoria to Seattle to Amsterdam to Cape Town, I arrived on time at 11pm. In the final few hours of this lengthy journey I had been fondly contemplating the thought that Bruce might have been thinking a little comfort might be in order to get over my jetlag, but no. When I saw that our friend Charles was with Bruce, any ideas I’d had about a nice hotel bed flew out the window. We drove about 55 kms out of Cape Town to the campground where they were staying so, somewhere around midnight – and in the dark - I was scrabbling around in my luggage looking for my camp mattress, pillow and sleeping bag, then inflating my mattress, making up my bed (it was quite cool – I also needed my silk sleep sack and a blanket) and hunting down the washrooms in a strange, dark place (although there was one very bright light en route to the washrooms).
Had a glass of Hanapoort wine (a very sweet Cape wine) with Bruce sitting outside the tent in the dark, before finally falling onto my camp mattress. It was not very good! I was on a bit of a slope and, being at odds with local time I found myself wide awake listening to the sounds of the night. I felt very intrepid getting up and heading back to the washrooms again by myself around 3am but finally I got a bit of sleep.