I met Chris during my last years of school in England. We met because Maidenhead (the town that I lived in for most of my time in England) isn’t that big and our schools couldn’t help but overlap. Mr. Lynch has always been a source of comedy, though you’ll never catch him laughing at his own joke. When I found out that he was coming to Cape Town I could not contain my excitement. Here is his story:
On the 18th of March 2013 I made a Facebook status that will forever live in infamy.
Not merely because of the lazy racism that went into the spelling of SA or even the MINIMUM 6+ likes that rained down like that festival you forgot your wellies at. OH NO! This was because it stirred a simple reply from a certain Saxony Goodwin:
Now I’m sure you’re thinking what I thought at the time… “That’s all very well and good but that doesn’t let me know if Robin Island is worth a visit?” Once I had got over the initial disappointment I excitedly got in contact with Saxony and arranged a meet up. Posting my amazing 2 week journey all in one blog would be impossibly boring, so in the interest of brevity ill quickly provide My TOP 5 moments you’re gonna feel most like a tourist in South Africa.
1) You are drunk on excitement on the drive in to Cape town only to suffer an intense sobering experience when you see your first township. It’s then you realise that the same section that you thought they must visit every year to get video reel for Comic Relief? yea? well that goes on for miles and it doesn’t get any nicer. And that’s one of the many many townships you’ll see on your travels around SA.
2) You stop and take a picture of a drive through Nando’s getting stared at by the locals.
3) Getting approached by a guy in a dark alley that it turns out is a warden whose job it is to escort you safely home. (He worked 6 days a week 12 hour shifts by the way… yea)
4) My Safari was a life changing experience. Truly Amazing. Imagine hunting a cheetah in a car and then getting out of said vehicle to trek it on foot just yards away! but there is something in the back of your head remembering you’re paying a lot of money and this cheetah was bred in captivity and the park you are in (although the size of the isle of Wight) is basically just Longleat on steroids.
5) You get slagged off by a local for calling a safari a safari and not a game walk.
Being a travel agent my mum was lucky enough to get a free stay in THE most preposterously posh hotel. We’re talking:
> butler meeting you at the door
> asking for your name
> sounding a gong (causing man browsing yahoo on the receptions free wifi to comically jolt)
> announcing “The SMITH family have arrived”
> The entire check in staff standing from their individual mahogany desks to clap you down the stairs.
Now I bring this up not to show off, but to highlight the culture shock I experienced when moments later I was being bunged in to the back of a tiny car. I had been picked up by Saxony and 2 of her friends Emma & David. From a week of pool and relaxation apparently i had stepped into a plan and we were already late! What followed next was a whirlwind of going to Emma and Saxony’s house, ditching stuff, grabbing booze (from a walk in fridge MENTAL) and organising meet ups. I had not a clue what was going on but was happy to go along with the ride as it was a much needed change of pace after 2 weeks of the stressing over every plans minute detail that comes with being on holiday. It was then the question of dinner came up…
Now, we live in a lucky age where after a mere 2 hours googling one can achieve a knowledge of where is good to eat of anywhere in the world. I pride myself on this ability and was able to name the top 5 restaurants in Cape Town. After a week of doing this for every meal however I don’t think I need to explain my relief that they would take care of it. They asked for a type of food and all I said was “Whatever you’d normally do”. At the time I wasn’t interested in taste, I just wanted to eat somewhere normal where there isn’t that nagging feeling you’re being laughed at for haven fallen into a tourist honey trap. It sounds petty but by asking for just “The standard thing you’d grab before a night out” I was committing to the (dare I say it) ‘authentic experience’ that I strive for anywhere I go. Without realising it I realised I was…
Becoming Cape Town
Now if I had known that “Whatever you would normally have” meant a takeaway Steers Burger I would have kept my damn mouth shut 😉 (Joking) But eating it on signal hill watching the sunset with tinny in hand was a highlight of my entire trip. A shame therefore that the second the last ray of sun disappeared behind the horizon we were off and you also heard the orchestra of other car doors slamming as the locals rushed off to leave the tourists at the mercy of the local Vagrants that appear at the drop of nightfall. If you listen closely you can almost hear mine and my parent’s “Sorry, no thanks” “Not to day’s” echoing in a parallel universe where we had gone there ourselves.
The plan was to go out out to Assembly as it was the place everyone went that night (obviously, how could I not know?) But first I had the pleasure of getting to know the group better. The high and lowlight of which was due to Saxony’s comment “I think the best way to get to know someone is to hear their most embarrassing story”. What followed were some of the most horrific story’s I had ever, and will ever hear.
Although life scarring, it’s not often you meet somebody on holiday you get on with well enough to get to that level of conversation and I really enjoyed getting to know everyone I met that night. Oh and the club? It was oddly similar to any night id had out in east London. You know the drill:
Anyways, a lot of the time when we are travelling it can sometimes feel like we are simply ticking boxes of things “you’ve just gotta do”. Sure, when these things include things like seeing one of the last rhinos on this planet its not something to complain about. But every so often it’s nice to relax and have a burger & a beer on a hill with friends.
Thank you Saxony
Thank you for reading