Cape Town, on a sunny day after a sunny day and before another.
Rainy Vancouver and chilly New York are now mere memories and South Africa is once again spinning around us her fine web of sunshine, wind, mountains and sea. Life has slowed down to an almost lazy rhythm punctuated by langourous coffees, hearty lunches and candlelight dinners, with the ocean ever-present even if out of sight, in all directions and behind every landmass, in our minds and hearts and ears.
The inbound flights on South African Airways were uneventful; 7:30 hours from New York JFK across the Atlantic to Dakar where we waited aboard the aircraft on the tarmac for almost an hour, a ritual culminating in the fumigation of the cabin, a comical attempt to kill some hypothetical evil spirit that would have boarded under the appearance of a mosquito. It might have missed the mosquito but it sure got us.
Then on to Johannesburg, another 8 hours or so of flight time. Upon arrival, we cleared customs after spending an eternity in line, Africa making a point to brief its visitors thoroughly on the local time and pace changes. We got our luggage back even though it had been tagged all the way to our destination, and checked it back in, double measure meant to ensure double guaranties of success. Everything seemed peachy. The flight to Cape Town took another hour and a half. We landed almost on time, headed for the now familiar Domestic Arrivals hall and waited for our luggage to arrive.
Almost everybody else’s did, but not ours. After a long and decreasingly patient wait, we had to accept that our three suitcases had gone missing. Our hand luggage contained laptops, cameras and the like. But no clothes, no clothes, no clothes. Sigh. Paperwork was hastily filled and then duly stamped by a representative with doubtful English language skills. And we left at midnight with Marie’s dad who had kindly come to pick us up. We figured we might have a lot of curative shopping to do.
But the next morning, around 11:00 am for the first two and again maybe by 1:00 pm for the last, our lost suitcases arrived, dropped off at home by an airline representative. Mine had been opened and shuffled through. A jacket was missing, either chosen by a stranger for its sheer black beauty and unsurpassed warmth, or left by myself in NYC. I’ll find out in 2 months. Who cares. Clothing is once again a delight we can contemplate with confidence.
Many delicious lunches and dinners have now already happened, the green belt playground has been reopened and beaches are being revisited. Hikes will soon follow. A trip to the Namib is brewing. And this morning I went flying with Marie’s brother François in his microlight (the local name for an ultralight or ULM for the Frenchies), a wonderful flight over the northwest coastline – post and pictures coming soon.