Day Forty-One – Borders are Exciting

The South African border was interesting. The Guards asked for help unloading the bags for inspection. I started to help and then was yelled at because he had (apparently) only asked the males to help. (Note we were doing this at 4AM and their accents were heavy. In standard Melissa fashion I simply ignored any words I didn’t immediately recognize.) Okay, I stopped helping. They unloaded approximately 3/4 of the bags and then asked the owners to come stand by their bags. He then told all the women to take their bags and put them back in the bus.

While searching the bags one Guard noticed a guy who I THINK is mentally handicapped, or maybe just has a severe language barrier and an odd expression on his face. This guy had his passport. Oh dear was he yelled at. I could feel this guy’s pain since it was apparent he had no clue what he was being yelled at for.

When they were done searching all the bags with people standing in front of them there were three bags left. Wtf? A bunch of yelling at our herd of milling humans did not turn up owners so we just sat there for a bit. The thing is, when they weighed and tagged and put out bags on the bus the tags they used had the last four digits of our ticket numbers on them. And the drivers have the list of our names and ticket numbers and the Guards have our passports. This was solvable but instead after a bunch more yelling the Guards just confiscated the bags.

They then handed back the passports by yelling out our names. There were three Japanese men on our bus and when the Guard read out the first Japanese name he immediately started handing he passport to the Asian man in front of him, instead of the one with his hand up, walking towards him. Nearer to the end another Guard had a Japanese passport and a Japanese man in front of him. He skipped reading out the name and just handed him the passport until, at the last moment he noticed that another Japanese man was standing beside the first. “Oh, there’s another one, hold on.” And he reads out the name. It’s the second man’s passport. The unabashed racism would be more comical if it wasn’t South Africa.

The area for two hours west of Cape Town is VERY reminiscent of Saskatchewan and Alberta.

I made it safe and sound to my new home for the next ten days, Ashanti Lodge Gardens. It is SWANK. The neighborhood is lovely, the building/rooms/facilities are tasteful, modern and in good repair and there is a pool and a bar/restaurant, and lots of “what to do” information in the lobby.

Feeling pretty bougie in my new digs.
Views of Table Mountain even!

The Weather Network says that the weather here is not going to be A) as oppressively hot or B) as reliable. There is rain the the forecast! For that matter, I walked the 2.4km from the bus station to my hostel with 15kg on my back and didn’t die!

Anyhow, my only point is that there is going to be some weather-dependant strategic activity-planning happening over here. For example: I want to hike Table Mountain but tomorrow is the hottest day with the least cloud cover SO I’m going to find something else to do.. also, I noticed as I was walking here that there are a bazillion museums (and fair enough, Cape Town and South Africa have enough history worth learning from to fill that many buildings) so maybe, instead of dying between noon and three, as has been my custom in the hotter climes, maybe that will be my “air-conditioned museum” time. That way I don’t go museum-dumb by spending a whole day or two looking at displays and stop seeing what I’m looking at. Spread’em out.

Alright, beer number two and decide what’s up for tomorrow later.

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