Wednesday, February 23, 2011
February 21st – Arrival in Cape Town
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.