Saturday morning was a little rough. I woke up at 7, having only gone to bed three hours earlier, and packed, showered and got the car ready. I then went to wake the two who had as much to drink as their non-driving selves wanted the previous evening. Andrew was especially hung-over, and probably still drunk, but is slightly more maneuverable than Rob, so I got him up first. Rob whined and complained that there was probably too much fog on the mountain for us to even go, and that he should be allowed to sleep in. However, my tolerance for this sort of thing is extremely low at 8 am, so a quick facebook poll reassured me that I should just leave him. That did seem to motivate him enough to drag his feet as slowly as possible to start packing, showering, getting a snack, medicate, and whatever it is he does in the mornings. From there we made our fondest farewells and heartfelt thanks to Jacqui for being such an excellent host, and headed off as fast as we could to make it up and down the berg before the plane left us in Cape Town.
I got a bloody speeding ticket. I drive a Stage 2 Lotus Elise, which will do 0-62 miles an hour in around 4 seconds. It is generally considered to be one of the finest handling vehicles ever built. I live in Tampa, with long, straight stretches of beautifully maintained highways. And I got my first speeding ticket in a fucking Hyndai Atos.
Anyway, we made it to the great flat-top mountain, and up the crazy slope of the cable car without further incident. Although I’ve been up many times, the view still left me speechless for a good while, something that is normally very difficult to do. Andrew was so inspired that after lunch at the top he wanted to go for a run, which I advised might not be a very good idea seeing as there are no side railing, there are half mad Japanese tourists everywhere, loose rocks underfoot and an altitude not primed for sea level dwellers’ cardio. But mainly the rails thing. All of the incredible fresh air meant that Rob stayed at a look out post to smoke. So Andrew and I did the lap and took the silly pictures and headed back to the cable car where we found Rob and regrettably headed off to the airport. Cape Town is almost too good of a place to live, like San Francisco, so I might need to go live there some time. I asked the boys what they thought and Rob said that he had come to see Africa, and not some European knock off, and Andrew said that he would have like to have gone dancing… so I guess you can’t please all of the people all of the time.
We arrived at the airport an hour before our flight, to find it had been delayed by 3 hours. So that speeding ticket was defiantly worth it. I thought it would be tough to keep my eyes open until they made us board, but South African efficiency made it easy by moving our gate every 30 minutes and making us wait in line to find out where the departure gate might wormhole its way to next. The flight to Johannesburg nothing short of a 2 hour nap. I don’t remember take off or landing.
We met up with Andrew (who had taken an earlier flight) and went to pick up our car rental. We had booked the same Hyndai Atos, so I couldn’t wait. When we got to the counter, Rob argued with the poor Avis girl for an HOUR trying to get his name taken off the rental in case we got hijacked in Johannesburg. He wanted it all in my name, what a friend! Of course he couldn’t share the driving either, as the manual stick shift is all in the wrong place. I thought the poor girl was going to cry at one point, but cooler heads eventually prevailed. She even gave us an upgrade! My heart sang like a DNA released sex offender when I first started up our full 4-cylinder Hyndai Getz! It even had a rev counter! I’ve driven a Ferrari before, but nothing as ever felt as good as that drive out of Jo’burg.
So armed with our Getz, we flew (under the speed limit) out of the city and toward the Pilanesbergs.
We arrived pretty close to dead. Our brains had stopped working some time ago and Sun City is not the ideal place for brainless travelers. Built in the 70s as a testimony to white wealth and pleasure seeking power, it is a monstrous thing. There are half a dozen hotels, two casinos, a couple of Disney-style African experiences and a central booking offices for the pilot-fish businesses that eat the tourist bacteria off its sides. The place is, however, very nice. We got our selves a two bedroom condo in the timeshare section thanks to my parents generosity in giving up one of their RCI weeks. As soon as we checked in, we hit the only open restaurant: the main dining room buffet. There was more food than we could even processes, and we ate like zombies at the all you can eat brain buffet. We climbed into bed and died.