Arrival in the Mother City

Cape Town, South Africa

“You ready for your 15-hour flight?” the TSA rep asked me at the JFK security checkpoint. It sounded ominous — especially given the fact that I’d woken up at 5 a.m. this morning and had already been traveling for 5-hours. “You bet,” was my weak response.

The Airline Gods were looking down on me though. Checking in several hours before my scheduled flight offered one priceless advantage: the last emergency exit seat on a packed 777 airplane. Stretching my legs out with a good four feet of legroom, the woman sitting across from me looked longingly. “Poor man’s first class,” she said. “You bet,” was my more confident reply.

Nearly 15 hours and 7,967 miles later, we touched down in the sprawling metropolis of Johannesburg. After a quick push through customs, it was off to the domestic terminal to catch the 2-hour flight to Cape Town. Needless to say, it was a relief to arrive there at 1:10 p.m. local time, about 28 hours after my departure from D.C. yesterday.

My friend Erin, and her roommate Sarah, met me at the airport in the Tazz, their amazing foam-green car. The sky was a vibrant blue and the sun was shining when we got to 2inn1, my guesthouse in Oranjezicht, an upscale residential neighborhood just north of the city center.

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Since it wasn’t full, the friendly German owners upgraded me to a luxury room, which with its modern décor, private deck and views of Table Mountain, was right up my alley.

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Walking around after, it was easy to see why Cape Town is cited as a great first city to transition into the African continent. At times, it felt no different than any other place; but, electric fences running along the top of high walls and security guards watching over parked cars provided a reminder of what the reality is like here.

Dinner was at Nova, whose chef, Richard Carstens, has won international acclaim and praise for his inventive cuisine. Each item on the “deconstructed” menu was simply a word with a list of a few of the other ingredients.

My “Spinach” appetizer was a salad with goat cheese, pomegranate, artichoke and mustard. The “Rib Eye” was dusted in coriander and cooked a perfect medium, served over salted apricots and Japanese curry infused mashed potatoes. Perhaps most interesting was the intermediary palette cleanser — a water crest and melon sorbet. Strange but surprisingly delicious.

Exhaustion and a full belly meant no dessert.

It was time for some sleep.

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Comments

  1. The room looks great…not a bad start…and the food looked delicioussss…glad you arrived safely. picking up Peter from GW tomorrow…Alex is fine…Mom and I will drive down to DC in the morning…Love Dad

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