Wednesday, December 5, 2007

Safe Arrival

Greetings from Cape Town, South Africa!

Here we are on Wednesday after leaving Chicago around 11:30 Sunday morning. Our plane was due to leave at 11am but hadn’t appeared at the gate by that time so we
were becoming concerned. Asking at the counter, we were advised to change gates on the run, and did so. We left O’Hare at 11:20 (on a flight which had been delayed from its 9am scheduled departure), arriving at Dulles (Washington, DC) in plenty of time to make the connecting flight to Johannesburg, South Africa.

That’s the good news. The bad news is that our luggage didn’t make the same flight as we did. We found out about that after waiting to collect the suitcases for customs inspection in Joburg. The good news is that we skated through customs and boarded the flight to Cape Town with an absolute minimum of fuss and arrived around 8:30pm on Monday. We knew the best case for our luggage would be Wednesday so we bought a few essentials and settled in Becky & Kurt’s spare bedroom.

Those of you who have been with for previous year’s journals will recall that their home is on the slopes of Table Mountain, overlooking Table Bay. A lovely place, best appreciated after some recovery from the 25 hour ordeal of travel. But enough complaining. The weather is a brisk 18 degrees (translates to 66 F) and is expected to warm up later in the week. Meantime we’re staying in jeans and long sleeves.

Becky greeted us with news of our flat, which they have been furnishing and decorating since we bought it unfinished last December. It seems that a Rock Pigeon (we would call it a dove) has set up housekeeping in a plant container on our patio – she laid an egg on the day we arrived. Welcome to Cape Town! For those of you who have not heard my dove story, just ask. We will monitor the new family and report progress.

Tuesday found us almost awake and ready to visit the flat and admire the kids’ handiwork. It is located in the City Bowl, about 3km from the Ackermann home, about 3km from the Waterfront, and about ½ block from the primary craft market. Lots of restaurants and night life, a short walk for fruit vendors and groceries. A terrific location. Our parking space is on the 9th floor with the flat on the 11th. Elevators, ramps, or stairs, take your pick.

We could tell that Becky was a little apprehensive and concerned that we might not like all the work they had done. A ribbon on the front door signaled the way they felt about our first visit.

It was beautifully, thoughtfully, lovingly done.

One of the highlight pieces was given to us as a housewarming present by Luke Dollimore. It is in the kitchen - you can see it in the photograph above - and is a set of photos taken by Luke in 1994 of Nelson Mandela as he voted for the first time. Wow!

We have a large outdoor area for lounging, braiis (cooking out), and doves.

Our luggage arrived today, Wednesday, and we stowed it away, out of sight. Our big challenge will be keeping clutter under control. Where to put medications, toothpaste, paper towels, all those things that are needed daily but add to the clutter. Tomorrow we go shopping for food. The wine rack is stocked but the fridge is empty. Hmmm. Locating the nearby grocery stores will be the initial challenge – we’ll likely walk in expanding circles, exploring our new neighborhood.

Love to all.


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