Thursday, October 20, 2005

Comfort in Cape Town

I never really moved into my apartment in Namibia. I didn’t even unpack. I was not at my best in the month of September, 2005.

In contrast, I’ve already made myself at home in the Cape Town Backpackers lodge. I’m the first person to live in my room, and I’ve already given the builders an earful about the job they did on tiling the shower, and pointed out to them the crack in the plumber’s putty at the “out” pipe in the base of the toilet. One of the builders, in return, gave me a long lecture about the solo Wolverine series. He was particularly keen on the Hama/Kubert issues. I tolerated this well--after all, he’d had to listen to me be an expert on his job too.

I’ve spent most days in my room, with the door to the balcony wide open. I’m getting this month’s Donald Duck coloring out of the way so that I’m not desperate to find high-speed Internet for uploading once I leave Cape Town. If I leave Cape Town. It’s seductive here. Fresh meals in little plastic packets tantalize me from all the supermarkets. Pop ‘em in the guest microwave and—zap—hot dinner for one for $3. I get 10 minutes free WiFi a day at the coffee shop down the hill. Not so much, but you can do a lot with strategic logging on and off while utilizing Mac Mail. Especially since the Internet is FAST here. Or at least normal speed, unlike in Uganda or Namibia.

But I crave the adventure that comes with minibus madness. I miss the thrill of improvisation and unexpected interactions. There is no doubt that life in South Africa is far easier than life in Uganda. It is also much more expensive and less interesting. Give me “still-working-on-it” over industrialized any day.

The question is: Do I crave “still-working-on-it” enough to go for 6-8 days by bus from here to Nairobi in a few weeks? It isn’t a financial savings as bus tickets, visas, food, and some hotels cost as much as an airplane ticket. It isn’t a once-in-a-lifetime experience as I’ve done it before. The answer is: I don’t know yet.

In other news, there’s one of those geographic marker signs down by the V&A Waterfront. You know, the kind that has arrows pointing in all directions, and the arrows have signs that say things like “London 10,000 km.” Well, it seems that Cape Town is equi-distant from both the US and Australia. I assumed that we were much closer to Sydney than to New York, but I guess north-to-south is as far as east-to-west. It just goes to show you… that the world is round.

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