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Archive for October, 2012

Cape Town – 10/02/12

Update: Today we nicknamed Chris “Grandpa” and he gladly accepted, he can be so serious sometimes!

As it turns out, Cape Town must have some intense sleep effect on women, because Prof. Wofford and Nicole both missed their alarms Wednesday morning. Chris, naturally, was on time and ready to go by 8:30am. He waited almost a half hour in the lobby, (while some extremely large guy shouted at the hotel clerk about the hot water at the hotel) before waking up Prof. Wofford. He then woke up Nicole fifteen minutes later, and when she answered the door he just said, “Put yourself together.” – Gee thanks Chris.

After Nicole took a super speedy shower, the trio went to a breakfast joint on the waterfront. IT WAS EXCELLENT, by far the best food of the trip. They had homemade bread and fantastic caffeinated beverages (for Prof. Wofford, naturally) and it was at this time that Prof. Wofford began her love affair with Red Lattes.

When we all finally quit complementing and having our own individual love affairs with our breakfast food, we went to the double-decker red bus tour and purchased our tickets for the day. The really fun part about the bus tour was that we could get on and off at different stops and just catch a later bus when we were ready. They also provided us with headphones through which we could listen to all of the interesting facts about Cape Town’s history (for some reason Chris didn’t put his in for forever, so Nicole took liberties of reporting all of the fun facts whether or not he cared to hear☺).

The first stop we made was at the Greenmarket Square, which is an open-air market in downtown Cape Town. It was here that strangers continued their love affair with Chris and would just zone in on him. Obviously he’s good at making new friends, even if he doesn’t mean to! Chris’ new friends always wanted to sell him something, although they were clearly targeting the wrong person because Nicole and Prof. Wofford clearly shopped more as evidenced by their collection of bags. One of Chris’ new friends even asked him if he and Prof. Wofford were brother-sister, which of course made Prof. Wofford’s day! Once we could ditch Chris’ new friends, we all enjoyed driving hard bargains with the vendors, and came away with quite a few jewels for everyone back home. (Not literally folks, figuratively.) One of Chris’ new friends tried to follow him into the post office and we thought we were going to see Chris loose his temper a little if this friend continued touching him… luckily the stranger left and all was well.

We then rode the bus around town and listened through our cute red headphones about District Six, which was the first racially integrated area of town that was literally leveled by bulldozers during the Apartheid. While the history is very tragic, it was good to see the transformation and rebuilding that has taken place in District Six since that time. Next we went up Table Mountain, which is a massive mountain that is surrounded by Cape Town and the surrounding towns (Google it, you’ll see where it gets its name). Unfortunately the cable car that goes down the mountain was not operating because it was so foggy and rainy, but we did get some awesome pictures of the stunning view from the top, while looking down on the city and the cape. The final stop we made was in Camps Bay, which is on the other side of the mountain. Nicole talked everyone into walking down to the ocean, despite Chris’ objections that he’s been to the Atlantic plenty of times. Yet again, Chris found more friends here, we’ve decided he has a sign posted on his forehead that says please follow me and try to hustle me. At this point in time, it became quite amusing that the strangers would only target Chris, and never even spoke to Prof. Wofford or Nicole. While in Camps Bay we ate at a nice restaurant with a view and sat by the fire because it was chilly outside. Prof. Wofford continued her love affair with Red Lattes while Chris and Nicole enjoyed a spicy chicken sandwich (the most adventurous meal Chris had all trip). We finished the tour after another brief encounter with another of Chris’ new friends at the bus stop. This friend was particularly amusing because he claimed to have personally painted canvases that were each signed by a different artist’s name!

After the tour, we dropped off bags and Chris worked on his homework while Prof. Wofford and Nicole finished some last minute souvenir shopping. On the way back to the shops, they managed to get lost and almost walked onto a loading dock (Chris’ sense of direction was severely missed!) After finally locating the shop and browsing the zebra couches and other eclectic South African antiques they made their purchases and headed back to the hotel. Shopping is naturally followed by beer so they allowed themselves to be side tracked by their favorite restaurant/pub from the night before. The rest was history.

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See Wofford Run

USA to Cape Town 10/01/12

We boarded the plane at 6:00am, the first 6:00am flight of three that we have this week. After we all acknowledged that no one is normal at 6:00am (Nicole throwing away perfectly good cheese, Chris refusing to eat, and Prof. Wofford intently engaged with her first of many caffeinated beverages of the day), we boarded the only flight of our departure trip that ended up being on time. And yes, there were four flights to get from Charlotte to Cape Town.

Flight 2 was delayed due to an oxygen leak in the pilots’ supply in DC (awesome and scary), flight 3 from JFK was delayed after the luggage train ran into the side of the plane and scratched it, and the delay for flight 4 was our fault… literally… although the guy driving the luggage train at JFK should take most of the blame for making flight 3 late.

Let us embellish: we arrived in Johannesburg an hour late into an already tight 1:45 layover, which left us with under 50 minutes to wait on baggage claim, clear customs, re-check bags, clear security (for the third time that day) and then take a bus to the plane. Everything was going well until the lady at the baggage check told us that we might make our flight — which was departing in 5 minutes — if we ran. So we ran. We were those people at the airport who drop bags that spill open in the middle of the walkway (Prof. Wofford), those people who ram their carry-on luggage into innocent bystanders (Nicole) and then the one in the group of crazy who never, ever loses his cool and just watches his hot-mess partners in crime from afar (Chris). We arrived at the gate five minutes after our flight began taxiing, and then the attendants did the unthinkable, and stopped the plane for us. So ten minutes later we had the privilege of doing the walk of shame in front of hundreds of impatient passengers who were not happy that their flight to Cape Town was being delayed to wait for passengers who clearly couldn’t run fast enough.

Then to top it all off, we arrive at Cape Town only to find that we did actually run faster than the baggage boys… who neglected to load our bags onto the flight. Apparently, this is the umpteenth time that Prof. Wofford has had her bags lost, so she handled the damage control. Only we then learned that you should never give airports more credit than they deserve, even if they do hold a jumbo-jet just for your convenience. As it turns out, the bags never received new tracking numbers in Johannesburg, and the airline had no record of them. So we did what any group of people who have been travelling for 22 hours and have swollen feet would do. We waited. Impatiently. It was at this time that Chris decided to just go scope out the bags for the flight that recently landed, just in case. Luck for us, he was thinking like a rationale human being, and had a good hunch, because out popped our bags onto the conveyer belt and we were free to being our trek to the hotel.

Ah… the hotel. Naturally, the hotel didn’t have our reservations. So we did more impatient waiting, only to discover that our room had been booked for the previous night due to a clerical mistake and had since been cancelled. It was then, nearly 25 hours after leaving Charlotte, that we were finally settled into our hotel rooms at the Breakwater Lodge on Cape Town’s waterfront.

Because Chris is and man, and is able to shower and become human much faster than women normally can, he did what any good guy would do and found a shopping market for us while he was waiting! Chris and Nicole went exploring first while Prof. Wofford took care of the responsible adult business of reassuring the hotel managers that they would receive their payment. Chris seemed to enjoy shopping for his girlfriend, while Nicole just simply enjoyed shopping. After we collected Prof. Wofford from the hotel, we did more shopping at the waterfront, scoped out the re-bus tours for the following day, and finally made our way to a nice brewery that served good food and great beer. After dinner, we decided to find a wine bar that Nicole and Prof. Wofford noticed earlier in the evening. Finding the wine bar turned into a challenge, as neither Nicole nor Prof. Wofford are good with directions. After Chris realized that they were walking circles, they were finally able to find the bar… which wasn’t really a bar but a shop that was then closed for the night. Luckily there was a pub next door with live music and wine. Chris quickly befriended an African man who enjoyed talking about golf, and started his strong trend of attracting strangers who gravitate toward him. Eventually we made our way back to the hotel, to do homework or sleep…

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