Settling in to Tamboerskloof

By way of a brief recap, I’m in Cape Town, South Africa to spend the season with my friends James and Laura while James works on Blood Drive, a grindhouse style SyFy show he wrote for the express purpose of freaking me out (I assume). I’ve been here just over a month now, so what better time to finally write an update in which I attempt to cram a month’s worth of adventures into a single post??

(Side note before we begin: WordPress is doing something weird with some of my image captions. I can’t fix it because nothing is “wrong” in what I can access, and I formatted every new paragraph break, caption, etc. the same way so I’m unsure what else to try. Any suggestions from others who’ve had this WP issue, feel free to drop me a line!)

Move ’em on

departure day

Two of my favorite people, and our pal Patches

Since I was already packed and ready to go, I spent my last day in Waukesha, Wisconsin – July 19 – chilling with my folks, snuggling the dog (I love you my good girl!), and watching Midsomer Murders to pass the afternoon until it was time for mom and me to head out.

Luckily I was on an early evening flight departing from my home turf airport in Milwaukee (#recombobulationpro), resulting in what had to be the least stressful international flight departure ever.

Head ’em up

After puddle-jumping down to O’Hare in Chicago, I was off to Heathrow in London, where I enjoyed a 9-hour tour of Terminal 3’s dining and bench-nap offerings. As I was somehow unable to catch any z’s in the 8 hours it took me to cross half the United States and all of the Atlantic Ocean because we live in the future oh my God 8 hours to cross all of that oh gosh oh wow(!!!)… the 20 minutes of sleep I grabbed on a bench across from Terminal 3’s Caffè Nero were a sunny, sweaty Godsend.

Heathrow Collage

7/20/16: My cozy nap spot; my view of the famed English countryside; my lunch with Will

Side Note: This was by far – by far – the smelliest airport terminal I have ever been in, and I’ve flown through equatorial airports in the dead heat of summer. The perplexing smelliness of Terminal 3 is totally irrelevant, I’ll grant you. It was just really unexpected, so here you go. You can unexpect it with me. You’re welcome.

Welcome Sign (resized)

Lucy made a welcome sign to greet me at the airport! It now hangs beside my desk with Mimi’s missionary card, and a Christmas ’02 “Home is where your mom is” reminder from my mother.

Cut ’em out

I didn’t know what I’d be in for as far as day-to-day living here in Cape Town would go, but my greeting party at the airport on July 21 turned out to be a pretty solid indicator of what I could expect in the days to come.

I was met at the airport with so many  smiles by my friend Laura, her three year old daughter Lucy, and her visiting sister Mary. They cheered my arrival, towed my luggage, and happily hugged me hello in spite of my coating of three days’ worth of Travel Grime. Best “Welcome!” I could’a hoped for!

On the drive from the airport to the house we got to listen to Taylor Swift’s “Welcome To New York,” and “This Is Halloween” from The Nightmare Before Christmas, several times a piece, and frankly that is exactly what I needed, so thank you Miss Lucy for meeting me right where I’m at.

Arrival Day

Resting at last; Airport selfies with Laura and Mary

The smiles, the hugs, and the repeated New York/Halloween sing-alongs in the car turned out to be a crash course for how the next few weeks were to go.

And I couldn’t be happier.

Ride ’em in

Since then the days have been filled with Everyday Living sorts of things – trips to the grocery store, playtime at the park… – as well as the occasional Travel Adventure sorts of things – botanical gardens, aquariums, jumping off mountains…

But most of that is more than I think I’ve got room for now in what’s already become something of a lengthy post, so for now I’ll leave you with a handful of Cape Town standouts…

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Rusks

All my life (read: since ninth grade when we did The Nerd where I heard of them for the first time), a rusk has been an underwhelming piece of round, rock-hard bread. If you were under a similar impression about rusks, I’m here to tell you: We’ve been had.

Melissa's Rusks

Rusks in South Africa are basically the scones of the biscotti world, and if I could go back in time and start every day of the coffee-drinking era of my life with a cuppa joe and a buttermilk rusk from Melissa’s I’d easily be a 28% happier person than I already am.

Also 28% larger.

Toilets

Toilet (frame)

Most of the toilets I’ve used here have been mounted directly into the wall, and are often higher off the ground than I’m accustomed to, resulting in:
1) A near constant fear I’m going to break them off the wall.
2) My legs falling asleep within moments of sitting down.

It’s not that we don’t have wall-mounted toilets in the States, because we have ’em all over the place. Just not as often in homes? I guess? I don’t know. And do not be fooled about the height by the angle of this picture! Yer lookin’ at a serious Tiptoe Situation here…

I just — something about them has me paranoid I’m gonna crash one of these things to the floor while my legs are too numb for me to catch myself, and “Dumb American Limps Away From Toilet Crash Disaster” is not exactly the headline I want to be responsible for creating in the Tamboerskloof Gazette you feel me?

Tamboerskloof

…is our neighborhood in Cape Town.

Coffee

It’s not that they don’t have coffee in Cape Town, because they do. They have a lot of it and it’s really good, and just yesterday I had the single greatest iced coffee I have ever had in my entire life. It’s just that Cape Town also has giant grocery stores where the only coffee available for purchase fits onto the top half of a single end cap and it’s All. Instant.

Now before you go mailing me emergency packages of coffee blessyourhearts, there are grounds available at other stores! Quite a bit of what they sell are Nespresso capsules, though, and I’m just not about that life, so here at the house we usually pick up grounds from a nearby coffee shop.

Most days, however, I’ve been forgoing coffee in favor of mug after mug of Rooibos tea. So very, very, very many mugs of Rooibos tea. I’ve already added a box of the daily brand to my Amazon wish list so I remember to pick some up when I get back. If you’ve ever gotta go caffeine free, God help ya – this stuff’s the way to do it.

***************

There’s so much more to cover about my travels so far, the people we’ve met, the places we’ve been, but honestly I’m at a loss for how I could possibly top today’s foray into airport b.o., coffee woes, and toe-numbing toilet escapades. Tune in again next… whenever, for when I attempt to do just that, with wineries, paragliding, and live jazz. In a crypt. Because why not.

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