Wednesday, April 13, 2011

Beautiful People

(Written on 3/20/2011 from Cape Town, South Africa)

I sunk my teeth into the third pizza I'd had in about 12 hours....sublime happiness.  We started our 2nd day in Plett Bay with lunch at a small cafĂ© we found in the quaint, cute town.  We drowned ourselves in the luxurious pizza - with chicken, bacon (yum...pig), brie, cranberry, mozzarella, and Italian spices.  And a salad that I will have to recreate - let's just call it the "Plett Bay Salad" [recipe]. 
The "Plett Bay Salad"

We left Plett Bay in search of ellies (a.k.a. elefantes, a.k.a. elephants) and then decided to skip Mossel Bay and drive straight through to Cape Town that night.  We paused for a beautiful sunset along the drive, and then again for KFC (hey…it’s all we could find out there) before getting turned around in Cape Town at the wee hours of the morning.  Stephan, the owner of the hostel we were staying at, helped navigate us by phone until we finally pulled up to Amber Tree Lodge.  We knew we were in the right place when Stephan jumped out of the gate waving and excited that we had finally arrived.  I like his enthusiasm.

Riding ellies
Feeding ellies

Ellie snout!

Pettng ellies

Playing with ellies!
After a long, restful sleep Katie and I decided we (and our waistbands) were in desperate need of a little exercise.  We heard that the hike up Lion’s Head was a quick 45 minute jaunt up the hill to a spectacular view so we headed out at 2:00 PM in the 90+ degree weather.  We must have been the only idiots on the mountain picking the hottest time of day to hike up one of the tallest peaks in Cape Town.  45 minutes my ass.  Maybe for a marathon runner, or a cheetah...not for Annie Cheng and Katie Petersen. 
I’m not exactly sure how long it took us to hike – but I do know that Katie nearly passing out half way up the mountain definitely extended our trip.  I told her that since we were obviously not expecting such a challenging hike (seriously – I felt like I was trying to summit Everest without any preparation) maybe we should come back when we were well hydrated, had more water and food (and perhaps tents and sleeping bags) and when it was less hot.
She told me she felt fine and she could go on.  I reminded her that this was her opportunity to go back down and that I was being a good friend.  But if she kept going, and pushing her body beyond what it wanted, and then passed out, that she should remember that I would be the person who would have to figure out how to get her off of this monstrosity of a mountain without a cell phone or proper human carrying device.  And that when she woke up in the hospital she better not be upset when I’m staring down at her with evil eyes – ticked off that she didn’t take the opportunity to go down when she could.  Once again...a testament to how great of a friend I am.

We made it!
 Despite my stern warnings, slowly but surely we made it to the peak and had a good laugh on our way down about our extreme thirst.  Our first order of business was stopping at a gas station – where Katie bought a 2 liter Sprite Zero….for herself.  And she sipped it through a straw with the content of a child eating their first ice cream cone.

Showers were becoming more necessary with every consecutive day of blistering heat.  And especially after we defeated (or more accurately - were deafeated by) the mountain.  Later we posted up in the hostel for an amazing Braai.  Stephan showed us some great hospitality and after a full dinner of salad, meat, seafood, potatoes, and pasta, we were sold on the fact that Amber Tree Lodge was by far the best hostel either of us had ever stayed at.

Full and content, we went to sleep only to prepare ourselves for our reunion with the “FireLambs” and a day full of luxurious wine tasting and superb company.  The highlight of the day was lunch at DelAire...what I can only describe as a jaw dropping experience.  A gorgeous setting, with gorgeous food and gorgeous people...I couldn’t have asked for a better day. I was on Cloud 9 surrounded by people who gave me strength, courage, and an overwhelming feeling of joy.

Lunch at DelAire

My thought for you today...before embarking on my "rough day" of wine tasting I could have predicted a happy ending.  Not merely because of the wine, but because I knew that I would be surrounded by special people with an astounding energy and positive spirit.  I was by no means in a bad mood, but I knew that even if I was, the presence of those people would have lifted me out of my funk.  I call it "energy osmosis" when I surround myself by people with great enthusiasm.  I encourage you to think about who those people are in your life - and draw on them when you need it.
And, last but not least 2 little stories for the fun of it:
STORY #1: One night in our hostel I was talking to some cute French guy in the common room when Katie came over to tell me we should get a move on.  He didn’t speak very good English, but his accent made him sound like some sort of chivalrous knight.  Or at least that’s what Katie must have thought when she cut into our conversation by saying “Good Sir…”
While we were walking away I paused and said, “Did you really just say ‘Good Sir’ back there???!  And was it because he was French??”
I couldn't tell her answer because she was laughing hysterically – but I’m pretty sure that meant the answer was yes.
STORY #2: Katie and I were having a moment of self loathing while once again stuffing our faces and discussing that we had, in fact, been beefed up to “marrying weight” as they call it in the village.  And we kept saying the girls in Cape Town are so gorgeous – tall, skinny, beautiful, and with great style.  I started to think they must have created some sort of super human breed there.  This pocket of the world that only has beautiful people.  Katie and I decided it would be impossible to find a man in Cape Town because they would either: A) have a better offer, or B) be looking for a better offer. 
While we continued the conversation (and self loathing) at the hostel, Stephan broke in with… “You know it’s model season, right?” 
Us: “What??? Model season?  What’s that?” 
Stephan: “Yeah, a lot of companies from Europe come here to shoot commercials and stuff because it’s way cheaper….so it’s model season.”
Us: “Oooooooohhhhhhh……whewwwwww.  So Cape Town ISN’T a breeding ground for beautiful people.”
Stephan: “Well….there are still a lot of beautiful people here.”


  1. That pizza looked amazing, please bring me back a slice of that y un elefante.

    Lil' Bro

  2. I'll make you the pizza when you come home next and I'm there. :)


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