Silas

Thursday, February 22, 2007

Back From South Africa

Flew back into London last night after 7 days in South Africa. Taking a little while to get used to being back here, to be honest. Like thinking a £10 note is worth £7 like the R100 note is at the moment.

The scenery out in Cape Town and the surrounding areas is AMAZING. Never really seen anything like it, although it did remind me a little of a more dramatic version of the Scottish Highlands. The Highlands however, are a little light on the penguins of the Cape itself: incredibly used to people to the extent you can nearly touch them. And only a four hour drive from seeing lions.

Obviously there's huge contrasts between the extremes of wealth and poverty there - gated communities separated by huge shanty towns - and this does lead to a high crime rate and an even greater fear of crime. But things are changing. I'm not sure it's necessarily for the better (having read the local newspapers) but things are definitely changing.

The building boom ahead of the 2010 World Cup is in full swing and property prices are already beginning to climb (albeit from a very low starting point). While public transport is notable by its absence, now would be a great time to start a car rental company in Cape Town - as on Monday they'd run out of hire cars in the city and were already getting more in from outlying areas.

They could also do with more hotels as, again on Monday, I spent two hours schlepping round the city trying to find a room, as there was one conference on in town and 90% of the rooms were already taken (which serves me right for not booking somewhere in advance). If that had coincided with a large sporting event, however, I'm guessing a lot of people would have been sleeping on the beach. The one I did stay in was very good and will be very close to the new stadium.

I'd probably go back for the vineyards alone, though, as a quick drive through the areas on Tuesday was enough to convince me. We went to three wine tastings and I can honestly say that the wine they don't export from South Africa is better than most of the £5-£8 wines we get here.

And, just to complete the British Airways tale, the flight was delayed for over 1hr on the way back, although my television did work this time, so I did get to see "The Prestige" which I heartily recommend.

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1 Comments:

Blogger Yzerfontein said...

The penguins are nearly tame enough, but they have a seriously nasty bite if you do get too close - they're ok with humans walking nearby but they're still wild animals. Hope the flight from Cape Town to London wasn't too bad other than the delay (it's a looong flight).

15:09  

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