Wednesday, August 15, 2012

Dispatch from South Africa

CAPETOWN, SOUTH AFRICA--A joke around here is you can have four seasons in one day. That was certainly the case today. This morning it was bright with some clouds, then about 2 PM it was raining like hell and stayed overcast for the rest of the day. The inclement weather precluded much outdoor activity. We have been in South Africa for only two days now and I've only done a little sightseeing. I have been here before, the last trip was in 2008, by coincidence, there was another Republican VP announcement then too. We were staying in a cozy little bed and breakfast when Sarah Palin first blazed across the world stage. Now Paul Ryan's mug is plastered over the CNN screens (no Fox or MSNBC here).

On the drive to the airport, our cabbie actually brought up presidential politics. It wasn't us. This guy was a talkative sort and on the long ride, he discussed travel, his trip to Florida, the food at the airport, and eventually he asked whether we were fans of Obama or Romney. While not mentioning Ryan, the driver said our country was in a lot of trouble, that he didn't trust government at all, that we should get rid of Obama because he'd done a lousy job so far and let's just see what the next guy does. My partner asked if he liked Social Security because it'll be gone under Mittens and I offered that the Prez did kill Osama bin Liden.The cabbie replied he just didn't like Obama and we needed somebody new. We didn't press it and let the subject drop. I'm afraid that is the attitude of many voters--Obama hasn't fixed the economy and we need candidate X (doesn't matter who as long as it isn't Obama). For our driver and a lot of Americans, Mittens is non-Obama and therefore the better choice.

On the loooong flight (15 hours) to Johannesburg where we would transfer for a short flight (2 hours) to Capetown, they had those cute little movie screens in the back of the seats. I love when they have a wide selection of movies instead of forcing you to watch Ben Stiller and Adam Sandler's latest pieces of crap. I watched Singin' in the Rain and about half of the Avengers (I don't care what they say, Captain America's shield would NOT stop Thor's hammer.) On planes, it's difficult to concentrate on big spectacles, so I only saw this movie up until the first appearance of The Hulk. I can watch the rest of it on the way back and give you a full review. (Did you notice that in this film two Oscar winning actresses--Gwyneth Paltrow and Natalie Portman--are reduced to girlfriend status in brief cameos as Pepper Pot and Jane Foster.)

When we arrived in Johannesburg, all the passport agents started singing and cheering and leaving their posts. The South African Olympic team was returning from London. In Capetown, we had a lovely dinner at a Moroccan restaurant where I shimmied with a belly dancer.

I slept off the time change and the next day (today) I hung out at the waterfront area. I was going to take a double-decker bus tour of the city but it started raining so I went to the aquarium. Hopefully, the weather will break and I can take a whale watching boat trip before we leave here for Namibia.

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