Wednesday, February 23, 2011

February 21st – Arrival in Cape Town

After a gruelling overnight flight from London surrounded by crying children, we arrived bleary-eyed at Cape Town Airport to join the Silver Wind for a seven week trip twice around South Africa, and then up the West Coast of Africa to Lisbon.

Within 20 minutes of leaving the airport, you're already in touch with the realities of modern South Africa – the gleaming airport and high quality roads would grace any First World country, while you drive past depressing townships of corrugated shacks and litter; then passing comfortable suburbs surrounded by razor wire, and then shanty towns again.

However, our destination was the bright showpiece of Cape Town – the sparkling and vibrant developments at the Victoria and Alfred Waterfront, where the ship was berthed. You don't get places much more attractive than this – a wonderful blend of converted Victorian buildings and modern facilities full of trendy bars, restaurants and shops, all in a relaxed, crime-free environment (there were security guards everywhere). Of course, it's all framed by one of the most spectacular backdrops in the world – the amazing Table Mountain, with the swirling cloud of "the Tablecloth" creeping over the edge.

Having checked in, we went for a wander around the busy waterfront crowds enjoying the weather and the alfresco bands, although we were by now, so sleep-deprived that it felt that we were walking in treacle.

As I have two lectures scheduled for tomorrow – a very, very early night followed.