Mark has made another list about what we are going to do and see in Cape Town, and wants us to talk about it. As he usually does, he makes a binder with all the things that he finds interesting, and then he jots down things.

preparationsHe spent last evening at the computer browsing web-sites and articles, and bothered me all the time with “look at this, what do you think about this?” I love him, but I have to make sure I sabotage his detail itinerary quickly because otherwise the trip will be like it’s on rails.

He always does this, though. It is one of his personal quirks which was allowed to bloom to epic proportion for the wedding, and that turned out to be a very well run affair, so I don’t actually mind. I just have to indulge him, and not let slip that I intend to have a much more spontaneous trip than he does. 🙂

Despite my intention to be more spontaneous, I am starting to have travel nerves since I’ve never been to Africa, and there’s the familiar tingle in the stomach when I think about it.

This will grow and grow, as well as imagined disasters about missing the plane, forgetting the pass port, or being stranded somewhere in Africa between Heathrow and Cape town. I hope the little village in the deepest Congo when the plane has to land has internet.

It is probably wholly inappropriate of me to think anything about this, but I’ve started to read Joseph Conrad’s “Heart of Darkness” again. I feel like such a twit because my lack of knowledge is exposing my cultural biases and entitlements.

Speaking of cultural biases and entitlements, Dad has mailed me with phone numbers to people he knows down there. These are people who work in the same company he does, and which he has met over the years in various places.

Yeah, like I feel particularly compelled to travel all the way to South Africa and wine and dine with my dad’s accountant friends. This is probably a bit uncharitable of me, but I want this adventure to be only our’s. On the other hand, if dad has said we’re coming then maybe they will think that it is rude that we never called.

I will have to find an excuse to give a ring, but to limit any association with them – unless they’re really interesting. And local knowledge is always good so that we can avoid the most touristy things on Mark’s long list of things to do.

Another aspect of our sudden outburst of cultural entitlement is that Auntie thinks that we’ll be raped, killed and dumped in a ditch if we reveal we’re two pooftahs. I tried to explain that South Africa has better LGBT laws than the UK. We’re protected in the constitution of the country.

Yes, I am aware that there are problems, particularly with the uneducated and poor population, but I doubt we’ll run into many of them. Tourism is always such a managed thing where you go to a place and only see that which has been erected for the tourist’s view. It’s like going to a Potemkin village that is solely built to impress.

I have no illusion that what we are going to see on the trip will be “the real South Africa”. I’m not sure that this got through to Auntie who insisted that we had to be very careful.