Last spotted in San Francisco, USA on March 28, 2003, 1:23 pm
Who is he? Where is he going? Where has he been? David Barrett / Quinthar
Prev / Eastward Ho! / South Africa / From Table Mountain... Almost Next

While sitting one of Cape Town's fine coffeeshops, enjoying a cup of tea and minding my own business, a pretty girl sits down in the chair I explicitly left open on the off-chance a pretty girl might sit down. After a bit of converstaion I discover that she's a journalist for a small local newspaper, and that a CD release party for a famous South African poet that was imprisoned and then banished for his struggle against apartheid. She leaves for the "invitation only" party, and I leave for dinner. After dinner, I decide to check this party out for myself.

First, I get a glass of wine at the downstairs bar to look official. Next, I make a bee-line for the private upstairs room. Not too fast, else you look anxious. But not too slow, or you look suspicious. No eye contact, and don't answer to anybody trying to address you. Just keep walking and you'll be fine.

Of course, none of this was really important, because nobody was checking names at the door anyway. In no time I'm mingling with the "in" crowd of Cape Town. Over the food table, I strike up a conversation with a pretty woman hungry for samoosas (Indian wrapped-meat pastry things). I ask her if she's from South Africa, and she gives me a very strange look I'm not sure how to interpret. I explain that I'm from the United States and here on vacation. She asks how I got "here", and I say I swam, ha ha. She asks again, and I say by plane, via Amsterdam. Again she asks, and only then do I realize she's not an obsessive travel maniac, but instead is referring to "here", an invitation only party for a famous poet's CD release. I explain how I heard about the party and then snuck in all devious-like, heh heh. She gives me another strange look, and says "You are *very* lucky. Very lucky." Er... ok creepy woman, whatever. See ya wouldn't want to be ya.

I continue mingling, eventually taking a break in some seats where I have a good view of the crowd and can pick out my next target. While hunting with the eagle eye, I notice the strange woman walk over to a man who seems to be the center of attention. They talk a bit, then kiss, and walk out to the back patio arm in arm. At this point I start to put things together, and realize that he's the poet everyone's drooling over, so she must be his beautiful wife. That explains the bemusement when I asked if she was from South Africa -- it's like asking Mark Twain if he's been on a riverboat. That, and it's kinda absurd to boast about sneaking into a party to the host. Bah, feeling like an idiot, I do the only thing I can do: keep mingling.



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