Monday, November 21, 2016

Table Mountain doesn't

Monday November 21 2016 – Cape Town

I looked at the trees while having breakfast and they weren’t waving in the breeze. Kind of jut a slight flicking of their leaves. The sun was out Table Mountain wasn’t covered in clouds. I guess today is the day to take on on of the “New Natural Seven Wonders of the World”, none of which are in North America. Now I could walk up the three thousand plus feet of the mountain but we all know that isn’t going to happen. Instead I’ll get a taxi up to drop me off at the cable car and ride in style to the top.

The cab got here in record time an up to the ticket booth without delay. I got out sun around three times and sort of got my bearings. There was a loooong line. I guess all my friends also decided that today was the day to go to the peak. I walked to the end of the line and saw one but two lines. One for those with tickets and one for those with out tickets. I was in the without line it was longer than the with one.

The No tickets line in next to the tickets line
Wait, wait, shuffle, shuffle. The sign said “You was 60 minutes away – if you want we have free WiFi and you can buy your tickets online at”. Hey ! I still had my phone ! I logged on, put in the requested information and in the blink of an electronic eye I had a bar code and stepped from Without to With. Still there was a wait, but not a wait to get tickets and then get in line.

We crossed the road, went up a ramp and then waited for the elevator to take us up to the tram level. Then another line to get checked in and a cluster of fifty or sixty for the actual cable car. It wasn’t your normal rectangular box on a string. It was round with a man in the middle sitting on a plush chair advising us on proper protocol. We started up the line and the floor Ala Space Needle started rotating affording everyone a full 360 degree view on the way up. That was a smart bit of engineering, no jostling around the and no swinging of the car.

We got out and the view was spectacular. I am very glad I didn’t follow through and not go. One side and there was the Atlantic Ocean and a view almost to the Cape of Good Hope. Maybe on a clear day you can see it. Today there was just a hint of mist in the distance. Then a turn and there was Cape town harbor and the Indian Ocean with Robben Island in the center. Sitting like Alcatraz in the middle of the bay with the city a short boat ride or long swim away.

The top of Table Mountain is flat when viewed from the city, but once up there it is a series of small rounded rocks with cement paths laced through the rocks and brush. Lizards, birds were easy to find. I didn’t see any Springbok or Oryx up there. They probably didn’t want to wait in the Without Tickets line. It was the UN up there, most countries represented and all with their national culture brought along. Ladies with surgical masks, because at home the air isn’t safe to breathe, so it must not be safe anywhere. Selfie sticks People walking three abreast and shoving singles off the path. Tons of Excuse me’s. Millennials who walk in from of my lens and stand there while I’m trying to compose a picture. The world in miniature.

I did the big circle loop on top of the mountain and then found the toilets, restaurant and gift shop conveniently located near the top of the lift. I took advantage of to of them and thought over two dollars was too much for a simple postcard. Food here is is inexpensive. Three and a half dollars and I had a nice chicken sandwich and a medium Coke. Cripes at my local grocery store a tuna sandwich almost cos that much and to find that price at a tourists site was astounding. There were some very aggressive little brown birds begging food. They were so habituated to people that I reached out slowly to see how close I could get to it before it flew. About and inch and a half, and then it didn’t fly, it just hopped away.
After the snack I went and watched Abseil Africa. For seventy bucks they will wrap you in webbing.
Tie you to a rope and let you slowly climb down a three hundred cliff face as your feet touched the wall, your butt faced the ground and your head hung out into space. I watched this for fifteen minutes. Men and women were doing this. I’d see them step over the cliff face and disappear. I never saw them come back. I wonder.

The ride back down was the same as up, except the line was shorter and the woman behind me insisted on rubbing her breast on me, until I finally asked her to give me a break. A taxi back to the hotel and the price was not what I was expecting. Seems there is the Table Mountain taxi cartel that charges 15 per km not the usual 10. So much for saved money on food.

The cab driver did give me a good piece of advice. If I want to go to Robben Island tomorrow get my tickets today.

As soon as I hit WiFi I logged on to the Robben Island website and tried to order a ticket for tomorrow. All the sailings were not available. Rats ! I cried to the desk clerk and she tried ‘Phone a friend’ and friend wasn’t answering.

What the heck. I wasn’t doing anything this afternoon anyway. Caught a cab to the waterfront where the boats eave daily for Robben Island. The ticket office was easy to find, no line just walk up. Do you have any tickets for tomorrow? Sure, what time, they are all available? The online said there weren’t any available. We limit those. How about 11 tomorrow? Here’s your ticket, be here at ten thirty.
Well that was simple and fast, now what? Might as well and hang out with my favorite several thousand closest friends. I found Haagen Daz sat on a bench and watched the world roll by as I actively avoided getting ice cream drips n my hand. Watched the same bands play as last time. Even bought their CD. The mime was new. He was the walk behind someone and imitate their walk type of mime, not the locked in the invisible type. I bought a cigarette from a resting chef and generally just hung out and enjoyed the waterfront from non jaded tourist eyes.

Taxi to the hotel and the invariable where are you from and what do you think about the presidential election results. The taxi drivers here are more interested in US politics than most of my friends at home.

Everywhere philosophy even atop Table Mountain

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