Thanks to debating, and the invitational tournament that Stellenbosch is hosting this weekend, I found myself in Cape Town since last weekend. Though it offends my Johannesburg ethic to hand a compliment to the city, I have to say that it really is a very, very beautiful place. The stereotypes of friendly, chilled people living under beautiful weather (it isn’t winter yet) by the scenic mountain have all been true in the last 24 hours.
I had originally booked into a backpackers in Long Street, before ending up on a comfy floor at the house of Claire Ingram – one of the UCT debaters here, which made for an odd experience initially of being the only person at the backpackers who was actually from the same country that I was backpacking in. Next to all the Europeans and Americans, it was strange to be decidedly non-exotic. I was also wondering what it is about backpackers and roads – it seems like they never cluster in an area, but rather all insist on being on a particular street, whether it is Th Khaosan in Bangkok, Pham Ngu Lao in Saigon or Hollywood Boulevard, so many of the places I have been tend to follow this particular arrangement. I mean, it is hardly on the scale of pondering the meaning of life or great mathematical formulae, but I was wondering. Such is my funny mind.
It was also just great to be travelling again. Although it was by myself (Geri had the misfortune of booking her flight on Nationwide, which went bankrupt on the morning she was meant to leave – what are the odds), it is still such a nice feeling to load up a backpack and get back into that world of airports, taxis, quick showers and new experiences. The fact that I am not really all that far from Johannesburg doesn’t dim the fact that I am still a world away from my day to day life, which is part of where the joy of the traveller experience comes from.
Last night was also a wicked amount of fun thanks to the local debaters here, who took me to Tiger Tiger where there was some two-for-one promotion on. Like the Johannesburg person I am, I had expected the drinks to be normally (read insanely) priced, but was overjoyed, if a little surprised that you could buy two shooters for roughly the same price as a loaf of bread. Bad things then followed. This is a terrible omen for the next few days, spent in the winelands with nothing more to do except debating and evening functions. Whether or not anyone will be capable of functioning afterwards is anyone’s guess.
In any event, I had promised some of the Wits people that I would keep a relatively disciplined update of the rounds and how they go, so that they can follow from Gauteng and phone and berate us if we underperform. In light of that, consider this a leader, as I am now due to travel to Stellenbosch and will relay the tournament happenings as they unfold.