Finally, the safaris are over, and we have a long layover in Nairobi, Kenya. After stumbling around the airport, and the surrounding area, we decided to return to the friendly confines of the airport. Let me tell you, the Nairobi Airport is a cesspool, in every sense of the word. But we found a small respite in a little cafe, just off the main gates.
All of a sudden, a vision of high fashion Paris appears before our eyes. She must have been 6 feet tall in heels, and designer clothes. And close behind was her 4 year old son. To tell you that this scene did not compute, would be an understatement. After an hour or so of staring at this young woman, she asked us to watch her son while she went to the “powder” room. You would think that Mr. Mike and I were two pimply teenagers, unable to muster the words that normally come so easily!
And yes, she was on her way to Paris, to shop, see her friends. Her Kenyan husband was a high government official, quite obviously. But she was quite friendly, also played golf, and wanted to hear more about the U.S. I think we were the envy of every male walking down that corridor.
Anyway, I digress. We were finally on our way back to Johannesburg, then to visit our old buddy, Barry the V in Cape Town the next day. We were tired of safaris, safari food, dust, bumpy roads, and tourists.
On the other hand, we had no idea what to expect in Cape Town. After all, we spent a long six hour dinner with Barry, over three years ago in Santiago, Chile. We decided to drop by, say hello, meet his wife, and maybe spend a night or two, at most.
Well, a two day stay ended up as a two WEEK stay. How could we turn down the hospitality of Barry and Mrs. V? First, they lived a half block from the beach in Camps Bay, one of the nicest areas of Cape Town. Second, they gave me the downstairs suite, while Mike had a huge bedroom with nearby bathroom. Third, their domestic was doing our laundry every day, even ironing my underwear!! But mostly, we just had a great time.
Let me just fast forward, and tell you that we saw the best of Cape Town and the greater Cape area, nearby wine country, and surrounding countryside. We had memorable meals, ridiculous shopping excursions, and some fabulous wines. But the highlight was each evening. We gathered in the upstairs living room to watch the London Olympics on TV. Barry and Mrs. V on one sofa, Mike and I on recliners, each of us with a nice comforter, and a glass of our favorite beverage.
Days were filled with sightseeing, train rides, wine tasting, climbing Table Mountain, and exploring the greater Cape. Nights were home cooked meals or well known area restaurants, followed by four hours of the Olympics on TV.
We did all the bosches, Stellenbosch, Kirstenbosch, and most importantly, Varkelbosch.
We did observe some “strange” behavior at the Varkel palace. Mrs. V, aka Chrissie, was drinking her Pinotage with a straw! Upon inquiry, she said her dentist told her to use a straw to avoid staining her veneers. Interesting!
One more event would stand above all others. After a few drinks one evening, Barry said he was taking us to meet his parents, at their condo on the beach. So, Barry drives our rental over to a small parking lot a few miles away. We pull up to a big metal double door. It slowly opens, and we pull into the space while sitting in the car. The door closes behind us, and I realize we were in a car elevator! It moved us down about three or four floors. The door opened in front of us, into a four car parking space. Holy, Batman! I have never been in a car elevator before or since.
This might have been the best two weeks of my life on the road, EVER!!! Words cannot describe our two week stay.
Sadly, as our stay came to an end, Mike left a day earlier, then me. It was sad to leave our wonderful and generous hosts. But we were tired, and happy to start heading home.
PS: I hope you enjoyed the annotated versions of my trips through South America and Africa. Maybe I will continue after we do the Twelve Days of Christmas!!