South Africa: Changes in Perception
Driving a rental car on the left side of the road, behind a steering wheel on the right makes me feel like a dyslexic postal carrier. “Left! Left!” Mare continually reminds. South Africa continues to stretch our brains.
Outside of Cape Town, narrow roads twist around mountains where baboon warning signs replace city mileage posts. Reports of baboons opening unlocked car doors, while the owner is off taking photos of scruffy foliage and turquoise bays, are on the rise.
Stop at Boulders Beach and stroll the boardwalk down to a Penguin Colony, one of only two on the mainland. Groups of penguins nest in the sand, while others gather on the shore and contemplate joining their comrades hunting in the frigid water…all of this under the brutal hot African sun.
Drive onward to the Old Lighthouse in the Cape of Good Hope section of Table Mountain National Park. Look down at the treacherous rocks and waters around the Cape, once believed to be Africa’s most southern point.
We take a photo at the marker of the Cape of Good Hope before moving on, with future plans to visit the actual southernmost point on this continent, Cape Agulhas.
On the road again, still processing the depth perception of driving on the left and steering from the right, we twist around Chapman’s Peak. Considered one of the world’s best ocean drives, this 6 miles of this road contains 114 sharp curves, leaving little time for the driver to sneak views of blue bays and bizarre rock formations below. Arriving in Hout Bay, we look for lodging.
Backpackers Hostel has no vacancy. Neither do two other places. Time for a beer. Over some raw oysters and grilled tubes of squid, our kind waitress telephones the few remaining lodges in town. She finds us a room. Luckily it had a private bathroom…one of those oysters was bad (hey, it happens sometimes).
Just like back in Cape Town, our actual experience with the people has been friendly and hospitable. We have not felt threatened in any way. Every country has dangerous areas and desperate people. While we continue to be diligent, South Africa continues to stretch our brains.