At long last, I've finally posted the bulk of my back-logged Amazon jungle pictures and stories. Of the many wonderful things about Cape Town here in South Africa, there is a 24-hour Internet cafe with good Earl Grey and a fast connection in which I've spent much of the past three days. Whew.
But about South Africa: am I the only one that didn't know there's a gorgeous first-world nation here at the southern tip of Africa? Partially out of a sense of adventure (though mostly out of laziness), I've done almost no reading on my destinations and instead try to figure things out on arrival. Thus, on the plane ride here I was honestly a bit nervous, conjuring up images of Somalia and "Black Hawk Down" to fill my expectations of what's to come. However, I couldn't have been further from the truth.
South Africa, at least the portion that I have seen, is every bit as modern as any American city. Indeed, staying here in Cape Town is just like staying in San Francisco, but everything is a fraction of the price. For example, tonight I had herb-encrusted filet mignon, fresh tomato soup, and a glass of '00 Cabernet Sauvignon for around $12USD. Now that's a bargain. Of course I felt a bit silly in my dilapidated travel outfit sitting next to well-dressed couples out for a romantic evening, but that didn't stop me from enjoying the meal.
Anyway, I arrive in South Africa after a fourteen-hour flight from Amsterdam, the longest in my life. After securing lodging for the night I head into town to get a cup of tea, which I quickly spill all over my leg as I fall asleep in my chair. I take this as a hint to get back to bed, which I do gladly. Later that night I wake to find that I've been labeled "that sleeping guy" by my roommates, who I join for a night on the town.
The next day while enjoying a sandwich at Mr. Pickwicks, a fantastic pub/coffeeshop/restaurant, I meet up with a pair of South Africans my age and am invited out for the weekend with them. This is an absolute blast as they show me around and take me on adventures all over town, the most notable being a 4x4 trek up into the mountains in a Land Cruiser, as well as a long drive to a nearby town to watch penguins! Eventually I feel I have stayed my welcome and head back to town, where I immediatley spend the next days in Computeria, the 24-hour Internet cafe in which I sit at this moment.
Tomorrow I'm going to try to grab lunch with a couple South African girls I met in Mexico (assuming I don't completely screw up times and dates, like I did today and yesterday). Then on Thursday I'm thinking of grabbing a bus along the coast where I'll catch a safari in Kruger National Park a week or two later. But now, I'm going to get off my computer and head to Mr. Pickwicks for a late night snack and then to bed. Whew, traveling is hard work.