Nov. 2nd – Get on a plane in Detroit that takes me to Washington D.C. where I wait for two hours to get on South African Airways. This then takes me 7 hours across the Atlantic to Dakar, where we wait on the ground for an hour to refuel, and then 7 more hours across Africa to Johannesberg. In Joberg I wander around looking for my next flight to Cape Town, which is in about two hours. Airports are a bunch of little steps that end up in being a few thousand miles away from home. Go here. Wait. Check in. Wait. I hop off at Cape Town International and am dead tired. I meet up with my host family (and their little guy, Jide!) and we head to the far side of Table Mountain to rest, passing a large fire burning in the shanty townships. Its November 3rd and I have lost a day from flying so much.
Nov.4th – I went for a run, mainly to get a good look at where the hell I’m at. My host family lives in a nice neighborhood of fenced in houses with intermingled schools, churches, and local businesses. It reminds me of Century City in Los Angeles, but with more homeless people. It’s cloudy out, but still beautiful.
I take a nap after the run (I’m still wiped out from the flight) and later I meet the rest of the family over dinner. As we drive past Table Mountain, Devil’s Peak, and Lion’s Head I realize how glad it is to be back in Cape Town! Oh, and we also planned a microlight flight, which I will get to later.
Nov. 5th – I go for another run, this time its raining pretty good. Later me and my South African family visit a friend,”Goose” and his girlfriend for a braii (South African BBQ). We talk Cricket and Futbol, even though I have no idea what I’m talking about. Later we got to watch the longest fireworks display I had ever seen in my life at Clifton Beach (the fireworks did not stop for a solid three hours!!) It’s Guy Fawkes Day!
Nov. 6th -The weather finally broke and I went for a decent run around the neighborhoods. I’m still trying to find a way towards Table Mountain that looms in the distance. It seems every road leads me just close enough to turn away again and confuse the hell out of me. I go swimming in the pool at my South African families apartment complex, and when Jide sees me swimming he wants to jump in too! He takes a step in, realizes its freezing beyond all reason, and scrambles out. I’m from Michigan. This water is warm to me!
Nov.7th – I only brought a few pieces of clothing with me on the trip, so my family takes me out to get some cheapies at a local place. After seeing how much some of the clothes there cost I realize I will never find deals this good back at home and end up buying a whole wardrobe of stuff! After the shopping I finalize a date for the Great White Shark Diving in Gaansbaii. I’m kind of scared to do it, but my host family’s dad (Johnny) will be accompanying me. If I’m going to get eaten by sharks, I want a friend to be there with me.
Nov. 8th – Most of the day involved drawing in my sketchbook and going for a swim. That night we went to a comedy show in Clifton called Happily Ever Laughter, which was hilarious and pretty raunchy. At one point there was even a large man in a leaotard on stage thusting his genitals at the audience. It was great! But this place has a goofy sense of humor.
Nov. 9th – I was halfway along painting a mural/word thing for my host family when we made a breakthrough; we don’t need to tape off every letter to get straight lines! All I need is a damn paintbrush and patience!! Other then painting a lot, going for a run, and working on my comics, not a whole lot was done on the 9th.
Nov. 10th – I didn’t have a cell phone handy on this trip because last time I came with one it cost a small fortune. This made it pretty difficult because I needed to get in contact with a guy named Clayton Morar who was friends of some past Survivors who had visited Cape Town before. After some emailing and whatnot we finally managed to find a time to meet and discuss some of the things Cape Town had to offer. We went to a club called Cubano and talked about how many other Survivor alums had visited the Cape before, and he told me all about Ethan Zohn’s charity Grassroots Soccer which has its own offices in Cape Town and New York City. He seemed like an alright guy and introduced me to quite a few interesting people. It was a fun night, and I may have had a little too much to drink. Whatever, I’m on vacation!
Nov. 11th – Not too much to note; went for a run in the beautiful African sun, went and picked up some pizzas for dinner, and painted more of the wall mural. I also tried to get over my hangover by taking a swim in the pool!
Nov. 12th – Woke up early to go for a flight on a Microlight aircraft! Johnny drove me to the airfield where my pilot, Tryge from Sweden, gave me one of the scariest but fun flight experiences of my life! Imagine being belted into a go-kart seat that is too small so your arms and legs are dangling over the sides a thousand feet over the ground. Now imagine that go-kart is held on by a few bolts and wires to a hang-glider that the pilot is controlling one handed in turbulent winds and updrafts as he points out wild zebra and springbok below. And then all of this is propelled by a giant fan about 6 inches behind you that is noisy as hell. It was pretty amazing!
To be continued…