December 31, Day 518
I almost managed to sleep through the night without getting sick. ALMOST.
Up at 5 am and I’m still not feeling good. I’m supposed to go on a hike today to the top of Table Mountain, but my health is in no condition to do that. I would literally die right there on the side of the mountain if I tried to hike right now. I message the guy who I booked the hike with and send a million apologies. He is gracious and understands and offers to do the hike with me tomorrow, instead.
Great! Maybe I’ll feel better by then.
I’m determined to see the Cape of Good Hope today, so I disregard my symptoms, don’t eat anything to upset my stomach and get ready to get out the door. I want to beat the traffic there today. I might not be able to hike, but I can sit in a car.
Throw on some clothes and hat, brush my teeth, and run out the door.
“Hiiiii Botswaneee!” Angelo greets me on the street.
“Hey Angelo! How are you today?”
“I’m good, Botswaneee,” he replies.
Hop in the car and enter the destination on my GPS. Yes, I know, no one uses GPSs anymore, but they sure are helpful when you don’t have a phone plan in a foreign country and can’t use Google Maps.
Hit the highway and it’s smooth sailing. I love these winding roads through all the small beach towns on the ocean, and I also love how empty they are at this time in the morning.
Bright amethyst colored water on my left, white waves crashing, sandy beaches, a cool breeze and mountains on my right with houses built right on the edge. I see older white folks mostly own these homes, and they’re out walking their dogs and doing power walks in the morning.
Just as I’m about to enter Simon’s Town, the place with the penguins yesterday, the GPS takes me off the highway and up a steep hill. I follow the road and soon realize that it’s taking me through a South African Naval base.
What the heck?!
A big group of handsome men in uniform march past my car and look at me curiously wondering why I’m driving through a naval base. I wonder the same thing.
Okay, this is weird, I’m going back to the main road.
Drive back down the mountain and the GPS then comes to her senses and redirects me the normal route.
Arrive at Cape Point National Park and it’s totally empty! I breeze right through the road where there was about 3 km worth of traffic yesterday. I pay the fee at the tollbooth and ride right in.
My stomach gurgles.
I find the information centre and park the car and make a run for it to the bathroom.
While I’m here, I might as well look at what’s here. No one is here, no one is working. I hear workers talking from a staff room, I guess I’m early since it’s only about 7 am.
Walk through the information centre and learn more about the land that we are standing on. I learn that the area is home to more than 20% Africa’s plants. As the Southern most tip of Africa, the water is so rough that originally The Cape of Good Hope was named “Cape of Storms” because of the tumultuous weather and rough waters.
I also hear this is shark breeding grounds, so maybe not a good day to go for a swim the ocean 👀.
Get back in the car, and a few baboons run into the road. They’re just lounging around and eating and couldn’t care less that I’m sitting there waiting for them to move. Eventually they move and I drive by.
The road is long and empty leading through the park. It is a wide-open field of grass on the left, with mountains in front of me and rough, rocky ocean on my right.
When I look into the grass I see long sticks moving around, standing straight up vertically. I realize those are the heads of ostriches. So many ostriches! They walk through the tall grass and I see their long necks extended.
Drive down a hill and arrive at the Cape of Good Hope and park the car. I assume that based on the amount of traffic I saw yesterday this place must get crowded with long lines. But today, there is just one other family here.
Grab my nice camera and get out of the car and go to take a picture by the Cape of Good Hope sign. The family steps right in front of me and decides to take their pictures first.
Okay, fine. I’ll wait.
They’re taking pictures in all sorts of angles. SO. MANY. SELFIES.
They are unapologetic knowing that I’m standing there waiting and yet they continue to take the same stupid selfies over and over again.
I offer to take a picture of the whole family together as a hint to hurry the heck up. They are appreciative, and then continue taking selfies.
Wait some more.
OKAY. THIS IS RIDICULOUS. I am one woman alone waiting to take ONE picture that will take approximately THREE seconds.
I’m GONNA LOSE IT.
The family finally walks away, and just as I’m about to walk to take my picture, the mother of the family runs back and dodges in front of me so she go back and take selfies of herself alone next to the sign.
“Um, sorry but I just want to take ONE picture. You are welcome to take all the time you want for selfies, but do you mind if I just jump in here for ONE second to take a photo or two?” I ask.
Finally! I get my turn!
I turn on my nice camera to take a photo, annnndddd… the battery dies.
I use my cellphone instead and snap some photos and then leave Mama to take her selfies.
I see a big hill next to the sign with a small hiking path over the rocks. I decide to go for a hike and begin to climb the rocks.
I hike for a bit and start losing my breath. I’m definitely NOT better yet and still sick. Maybe this wasn’t the best idea as I’m getting dizzy and feel like I’ll pass out. I make a plan in case I fall off the side of this mountain into the ocean. Can I swim it?
As I’m standing at the top, I see a little island made of rock just off the shore that is covered in sunbathing seals. They’re all rotating in the sun and seem to be unshaken by the rough ocean (I guess you can’t be scared of the sea if you’re a seal!). Once in a while a big wave crashes on the rocks and a seal gets knocked off, and then climbs back on.
There’s an elderly man at the top of the mountain who has a look on his face like “I should have had a more exciting life of climbing mountains, and I’m so bored. Let me have my minute at the top of this mountain to feel free for one minute”.
In about 5 minutes, his family climbs up and he joins them. I think I notice a slight look of defeat in his eyes.
I sit at the top and take in the spectacular view. I decide to climb down the rocks and hang on tight in case I pass out.
Make it to the parking lot. I sit in my car and watch the view of the ocean and the seals and eat a few crackers.
Leave the Cape of Good Hope and drive down the road through the National Park again. I pull over on the side of the road to a spot where I can sit on the rocks and take in the view. I walk through the rough grass and rocks and take a seat by the shore and feel the cool breeze.
About 30 minutes later, I decide to go to the lighthouse. Since Cape Point is the Southwestern most tip of Africa, this area is notorious for shipwrecks. The lighthouse serves as one of the only indicators to ships to keep the heck away so they don’t sink.
Plus, Linda says the lighthouse has the best gift shop she’s seen in a while, so obviously I must go check that out.
Find the lighthouse and the parking lot is getting full. People have finally woken up and decided to come to the park! I park the car and walk over.
There are many people here in hiking gear because there are lots of fabulous trails that run along the coast. You can also hike to the top of the mountain where the lighthouse is for free. I’m so jealous, I wish I could do all of these hikes!
Alas, I opt to pay the small fee and take the tram to the top of the mountain where the lighthouse is.
Get to the top of the mountain, get off the tram. There are steep stairs you must go up to see the lighthouse, so I begin climbing.
SO. MANY. PEOPLE. TAKING. SELFIES. One woman is standing at the top of the mountain yelling at a man to stop hiking on the hiking trail so that he’s not in the picture she wants to take. He obliges and hides behind a nearby tree to get out of her shot. I get a kick out of it, but people are super friendly so I suppose I’ll stop judging the picture taking. I’m taking pictures, too!
At the top, I stand and take in the view. I am literally standing on the edge of the earth right now. Next stop is Antarctica.
I turn and look at the strip of land that I drove through to get here, and see one ocean on the right, and another on the left with only land dividing the two.
Climb back down, take the tram back down.
Go through the lovely gift shop Linda told me about. This place IS awesome. I wish I wasn’t a poor Peace Corps volunteer or I’d buy something.
Get back in the car and decide to drive back to my Airbnb. I’m tired and NOT feeling well. This trip took a lot out of me.
Arrive back in about 45 minutes. I feel TERRIBLE.
Here it is, New Year’s Eve, and I am stuck in bed. Fall asleep. Get up to throw up and do my business. Get back in bed and fall asleep again all afternoon.
I told Linda I would meet up with her tonight and we would cheers on her balcony and have some Italian snacks. I was really looking forward to it!
There’s just no way I can go, I’m too sick to get out of bed. I send Linda a note and cancel with her. She of course is lovely as usual and understands.
Wake up in the evening, still sick. Watch Grey’s Anatomy on my laptop while laying in bed.
Go to bed for the night at 8 pm.
I’m depressed. This is a sad way to ring in the New Year. Sick, alone, and in bed. Colden calls me from the US to tell me he loves me and wish me a Happy New Year. That cheers me up a bit. He’s the best.
THAT’S IT, I can’t do this anymore, I decide to myself in my head. I calculate the time and realize I’ve been sick for almost a week. This can’t be food poisoning! That passes in about two days. I’ve been sick for about 6 days. This isn’t normal and it isn’t getting better with time.
I had to cancel my wine tour yesterday. A wine tour!!! That’s the whole reason I came to Cape Town and I couldn’t do it! You know I’m really sick when I’m canceling my wine tour.
As I fall asleep I decide that tomorrow I will go see the doctor and get this resolved. I cannot live like this anymore just because I’m in another country.