Published: December 11th 2010December 11th 2010
Well it was the event of the year, well at least it was important enough for Tracy and I to extend our travels by 3-4 months for, yes indeed it was the Wedding of Jaqui Dalton to Gary Richardson in Cape Town, South Africa and for Tracy and I it signaled the begining of the end of our 15 month journey. Cape Town
So NYC behind us (sadly) we jumped on the plane and began our 20 hours of flying to get to Cape Town (via Heathrow). We left JFK on time and arrived into Heathrow 30 minutes early, everything looked to be going swimmingly until we were told we couldn´t land as our gate wasn´t ready, so we circled over London for 40 minutes, when we finally landed our gate still wasn´t ready and we waited on the tarmac for another 30 minutes. Immigation went OK but the bags were delayed arriving as well, in the end we got out just over an hour later than our expected arrival time, bearing in mind also that we were 30 minutes early into London airspace, bleedin´ Heathrow.
Anyway waiting there for us was Kurt, as he had flown in
from Bermuda, and Tracy´s sister, Christie. We had a seven hour layover so Christie kindly came to pick us all up and take us to the family home in Cobham for lunch with Paul and Elaine. Fantastic lunch and hospitality if I do say so myself and I am most definitely looking forward to Christmas in the Turtle household. My mood was well improved with the lunch and the story Kurt told me about Glen missing his flight. I have to say Glen you are a legend when it comes to flying. Glen was supposed to be in Cape Town already but his flight from Cork to Heathrow the day before was delayed and so he missed the Heathrow to Cape Town (CT) flight and was pushed back a day and put on the Heathrow to Jo´burg to CT flight. He did give himself only two hours on the connection, so any slips ups, as occurred, and he was going to miss it. This story gets better. As Glen had missed the direct flight from Heathrow to CT, they also canceled his return flight, his new return flight schedule would be from CT to Joburg to Heathrow to Cork, but
get this he had booked a trip to Kruger already with a return flight going from CT to Joburg. So around November 25th with Kruger done Glen will be flying from Joburg to CT to Joburg to Heathrow to Cork, he can´t skip the flight to CT from Joburg as his return flight to Ireland begins in CT now, hysterical. It could only happen to Glen. We will come back to Glen and flying as this wasn´t the end of it anyway.
Eventually, we all (including Glen) made into CT feeling a bit knackered. Tracy, Shea (who we met at Heathrow also) and I didn´t have the best of luck as our inflight entertainment didn´t work for the whole 11 hour flight, tremendous, and Shea had actually moved seats to sit with us where the entertainment was no doubt working. The five of us picked up the car (Kia Sportage) and went to the apartment in the centre of CT. The apartment was nice and plenty adequate though the pool was damn cold. First impressions of CT however weren´t the best. No sooner are you out of the airport and you are greated with views of the townships for
as far as the eye can see. These tin and woodshack houses are a sight to see I can tell you and not the safest area for the white man or tourist to be in either I am told.
As for the downtown CT, well Long street in the dead centre of it and the general area around it I thought looked a bit rundown and old and in need of freshening up. Still it didn´t put us off going out and grabbing a few beers in a pub on Long Street and catching the Wales v South Africa rugby game on TV, which South Africa just won, but was damn entertaining. We later ventured down to the Victoria and Alfred (V&A) waterfront to another bar without actually seeing the waterfront, Tracy had gone home at this point. A couple of hours later, all of us well drunk I managed to get myself thrown out for starting trouble with Kurt and Shea got himself thrown out for deciding to go the toilet just in the main bar area and not the actual toilet itself. A good first day all round then, though Shea remembers none of it.
all woke to glorious weather in CT and made the decision, which turned out to be a great decision, to visit Table Mountain. We were all feeling a little hungover but Glen, though not complaining that much seemed to be struggling the most. Table Mountain is very impressive to look at from the ground, seeing a mountain that just keeps going vertically upwards and then suddenly at 1087 meters to flatten off horizontally like a table, I guess is dead impressive. The views from the top were also just as impressive, you could see the V&A waterfront which looked OK from way up top where we were and we could also see Camps bay and the beach area which also looked damn impressive, we would have to pay a visit to that area we thought.
So with us all feeling a little crap still we decided we should get back on the saddle and get down to the V&A waterfront in daylight to actually see it this time and also get a bit of food and a few drinks into us to bring us back to life. The V&A waterfront was extemely pretty, with lots of shops, restaurants and
boats giving it the classy money appearance that it was no doubt trying to attain and it certainly looked far more chic than down town CT. We where only there 20 minutes when we ran into the Richardson family wedding crew and so decided that it was the perfect time to visit a local bar on the waterfront for some food and drinks. This was about 3pm or so and we didn´t leave till near 10pm in the end, as the Irish would say, the craic was good. All through this Glen was very quiet, he still wouldn´t drink no matter how hard we tried to get him too and he hardly ate, what a waste of space we all thought. We ended up calling it an early night in the end after getting some fish and chips and had a few beers back in the flat, we at least Kurt, Shea and I did, the loser went straight to bed.
The following morning (Nov 15th) with the weather being fantastic once again, we all woke planning what to do. So after some chat the plan was to go to Camps Bay today, Gary had arranged a booze cruise
Tracy´s take off!
Wonderful Camps Bay behind
(as Shea kept calling it) or catamaran trip as Gary would call it for Tuesday night. Wednesday night was the football friendly South Africa v USA at the football stadium, so we would go see that. Thursday was to be the trip to Cape point and take in some wineries and Friday morning was to be Shark diving before heading to Grabouw for the wedding. At some point there was also talk about going to Robben Island to see where Nelson Mandela was kept prisoner for many years.
At this point Glen reared himself from the bed to display the little secret he had been carrying for the last week or so and the reason why he was feeling so crap the day before. Yes he had hives and bumps all over him and after I took him to the hospital to get it checked out it confirmed what we all suspected, he had chickenpox. Fantastic. The doctor told him he was just becoming contagious right now, that it would get much worse and he shouldn´t fly or go outside or go anywhere basically for about three weeks. Magnificent. Well Glen had other plans and I can´t say I
blame him. So whilst Glen went about trying to get himself a flight back to Ireland, the rest of us all went to Camps Bay for the afternoon. Camps Bay is an extremely pretty place, lots of very cool bars, cafes and restaurants right on the beach front, which also looked extremely beautiful with its white sand , and with the backdrop of the mountains behind it I did think the whole area was quite spectacular, very impressive indeed.
We grabbed some food here and a few beers, dipped our toe in the Atlantic Ocean, which was damn cold I thought personally, and in the case of Kurt and Tracy, tried some paragliding. They seemed to take forever to get down and apparently as they were heading up lion´s head mountain their car broke down and so the hike up was quite the effort, just a strowl in the park for Kurt no doubt. Eventually they did both land back down safely on the beach and both seemed to have enjoyed it. So after another couple of drinks we went back to the flat to see what Glen had arranged. He had managed, via paying $2.5K to get himself
on the flight to Heathrow that night direct from CT. All the other stuff he had already paid for, Kruger, flights home via that ridiculous route, the flat etc I guess he lost. Damn that was an expensive weekend trip he undertook. I hope you are well Glen.
So Tuesday morning with Glen now gone, Ryan would be the benefactor of this, we had a little walk around the local area. Tracy went and got her hair cut and eventually we walked down to the V&A waterfront with nothing better to do. Gary had canceled the booze cruise or at least the boat company had (due to bad weather) so with nowt else to do we did a little shopping and had a few beers at one of the local bars and just took in the general ambiance of the V&A waterfront area once again. That evening we met Iqbal (old friend from EY Bermuda days) and his wife and went back to Camps bay for a few drinks, eventually ending up back in town at a bar on Long Street, a pretty nice evening though it seemed like we had hurricane winds that night.
Again on Wednesday
morning, almost at a bit of a loss for what to do, Kurt, Tracy and Shea all decided to go visit Robben Island whilst I decided to kill time by looking round the V&A again (I´ve done enough of that now). I didn´t fancy the Robben Island trip as it hasn´t got great reviews and after speaking to the crew, who spent four hours on the trip, I made the right choice. Apparently the prison was not nearly as old looking as they expected, the tour was no where near as good as Alcatraz tour and half the time they couldn´t understand the guide, plus it was quite rushed I was led to believe. Indeed the best bit, apparently, was the boat trip over to Robben Island and back again which was about 45 minutes each way and for me just about says it all.
We were supposed to go to football that evening at the local stadium but unfortunately that was sold out and our plans were thwarted again. We could see the thousands of fans walking from the centre of town to the football stadium from our flat and eventually we headed out into it, the atmosphere
was great and it was a shame we couldn´t get to see it live. We ended up having a steak dinner in one of the local bars just of Long Street and saw the first half on TV, the second half back at the flat, the USA won the game 1-0 as it turned out. England were playing France that evening also and were on TV too and I caught that game as well. England were their normal rubbish self and they lost also, I went to bed altogether unimpressed.
Thursday is a new day and at least we had something planned. We got up pretty early and drove to Cape Point via Boulders Bay. The reason for this was to see the African Penguins. Of course Tracy loves her Penguins and we had to make a visit, but to be fair I was most impressed. I have never seen so many penguins all together in the one place at the same time, there must have been near a hundred of them, plus it was the middle of the day, usually they only come to shore at dusk and head off at dawn so this was quite the treat.
Anyway with Tracy happy, though we could have stayed longer according to her, we pushed on towards Cape Point.
Now Cape Point is not the most southerly point in South Africa, though it is close to it, but it still has damn impressive views none the less of both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans. We had lunch here and then mad a dash back towards CT stopping off at two different wineries Groot Constantia and Klein Constantia. We did initially intend to just go to Groot but we missed the 3pm tour and had to go on the 4pm one instead so visited an additional winery to kill the time. Lovely they were and though we had to pay for the tour and the tasting it was all pretty informative and the three of us got to taste plenty of wines. Tracy was driving and another German couple on the tour with us didn´t have time to do the tasting, so basically Kurt, Shea and I all drank double. That evening we ate a local Cuban bar, which was pumping, and eventually Ryan turned up off the Bermuda, via lord knows where, flight to CT and had a few
drinks with us. By the end of this Shea was thoroughly trashed, Kurt was a little better and I was in a similar state. Grabouw
Friday morning and the start of the wedding festivities proper, it was also Shea´s birthday. Tracy had bought him a card which she threw at him when she saw what he had done to the couch that night, it was soaked, he claims it was beer but can´t be sure and we know why he got tossed out of the pub of the first night as well also, don´t we. The fecker also had the cheek to complain that there was no money in the card! Anyway, me with a hangover I drove us all to Grabouw for the start of the wedding festivities, as I said earlier Ryan was the benefactor of Glen getting chickenpox as he could now get in the car as Glen had left a few days earlier for Ireland. We had intended to go Shark diving this day but again with our luck the seas were too rough and it was canceled so instead we just went straight to Grabouw and had some lunch and a little sleep
before the evening braai.
South Africans I have noticed liked to think that there version of a bbq is special somehow or at least different to the US, Australian, Canadian and European version of it, well its not, they may have a cool name for it like ´Braai´ but at the end of the day it´s just a bbq like any other cooked on coals or with gas. That said our evening braai at Jacqui´s parents´ place, its a winery where her Dad grows his own grapes for wine production, was a very nice relaxed affair. About 30 people attended and we had sheep on the braai, plenty of beers and of course some of the family homegrown white wine which, for a man who only really ever drinks red wine, was surprisingly refreshing and pleasant, glad I have a bottle of it to take away with me. The views from the family home were most impressive and I hope Gary will be able to provide Jacqui with such stunning views in Dublin when they return in a few weeks time. I was once again famous when a couple from Bloomfontein said I looked like Colin Farrell, it made
me think that Colin Farrell must have put on some weight recently too! Anyway, the braai wrapped up reasonably early at near 10pm and the travelling contingent of Irish and ourselves all piled into the Rose & Bull pub next door to the Grabouw lodge to have a last few drinks for the condemned man with Ritchie and Gary´s dad doing a great job of keeping us all entertained with the wise craics. The Big Day
So the wedding day arrives. Saturday November 20th, 2010. A greasy fry up in the Grabouw, which by the way was really nice, the breakfast and the hotel that is, followed by a little relaxation and then lunch at the Rose & Bull pub was the early order of the day. Unfortunately the weather was not looking the best and it kept threatening to rain, we would see how it would turn out. Eventually the big hour came and we all piled into the bus provided and headed down towards South Hills for the big ocassion. No sooner had we arrived than Gary let me know Arsenal were winning 2-0 against Spurs, fecker, good to see his mind was on the important
issues of the day. Equally importantly the weather had not improved and it was starting to rain, so the wedding was moved in doors. Gary looked extremely relaxed and smiling, Tracy caught a great photo of him I thought. The setting, though it moved in doors at the last minute, was very quaint and pretty, Jacqui appeared, looking fantastic in her dress, and the wedding vows all passed without a hitch, other than the lighting of the candle that is, which took a couple of attempts with the wind.
The wedding after this was like, well like a wedding I guess. The venue was beautiful, a marque on the South Hills wine plantation and when the weather cleared later that evening the views of the winery and the general ambience were fantastic. The drink and the food flowed, the speeches came and went with Gary saying a piece in Afrikans, very impressive Gary and at some point I was good enough to let him know that Spurs had pulled off the miracle come back and beaten Arsenal at the Emirates 3-2, sensational. The funniest thing I remember most about the wedding however came late in the evening with Ryan
doing his Rocky Balboa impression to ´Eye of the Tiger´.
The wedding finished up about midnight, but none of us were ready too, so a few more drinks at the Rose & Bull pub were had by all and just helped my hangover the next day. Eventually we all called it a night at around 4am and we did finally all leave the Grabouw at just gone 10am, as I said with heavy hangovers, Tracy had to drive. We all said our goodbyes to the wedding contingent including Mr and Mrs Richardson and headed to the airport where Tracy and I said our goodbyes to Ryan, Kurt and Shea and got on the plane to Joburg to start our two week intrepid trip which Tracy will bring you next time.
The wedding was great and the week with the fellas running up to it equally so, roll on Paddys day I say.
There are more photos below