With any travel that goes into longer amounts of time, having clean clothes to wear is always a concern. With today being my last day in Durban before I go to Cape Town and the weather being rainy, I figured it would be as good of an opportunity to do laundry as any I would have in Cape Town. Now while I had more than enough clothes to get to there and cover the first couple days, I was trying to be conscientious of the fact that Cape Town was having its severe water shortage, and I wanted to be as mindful a visitor to the area as I can be, thus I decided to do laundry here in Durban rather than in Cape Town. Doing so means I wouldn’t have to do it again until I got back to JoBurg the next week. The question though was where to do it. As luck would have it, there was a laundromat within 5-10 minutes of my hotel.
The kicker though was that this wasn’t a laundromat like I was used to back home. It appeared to be more of a full-service facility, but they welcomed me to come in and do my own laundry. Upon being lead to the back and shown how to use the washing and dryer, and given a price, I was more or less allowed to come and go into their work area as I pleased. This was a rather bizarre thing for me as you would NEVER see this in the states, yet here they were trusting a guy with a foreign accent to come and do his laundry with their equipment. They even emptied out one of the dryers for me to use for my clothes once they were washed. I found it to be quite courteous of them to allow me to interrupt the flow of the laundry for their clients just to I could wash and dry mine as soon as possible. I’m pretty sure that the price I paid for what equated to 4 days’ worth of dirty clothes, I could have done an additional load at the same total cost back home, but I was very appreciative to have had the opportunity to ensure it was done as soon as possible.
Around lunchtime, I would make my way back to Suncoast for another round of Roulette (as mentioned in the previous post) as well as lunch in the food court of the building. I decided to give Debonairs Pizza a chance as I was hooping to get something that wasn’t too heavy like a burger or steak as offered at their other restaurants, and I am also self-admittedly a pizza lover. I ordered the Real Deal sized Hawaiian Pizza, along with an order of cheese and garlic ripper bread. While the pizza wasn’t quite on the level of the one I had two days before at Blue Dolphin, it was still a really good pizza.
Since the rain appeared to be showing no signs of slowing down, and because I had not been to one yet, I decided it was about high time to go to a museum. The one that I would go to was a bit of a ways from the casino, so I decided to drive over. The route took though what appeared to be a middle-class neighborhood of Durban, and one of the more interesting features was the way in which the trees in the streets seemed almost like they had grown right through the road, and the road would mold itself to them. Most of the time we see trees get more of a barrier around them or placed in the sidewalk area. This was the first time I had seen it in the road.
After a drive through suburban Durban, I found myself at the Phansi Museum. A wonderful museum with artifacts showcasing the culture of historic and present-day tribes of Africa, with an emphasis on the Zulu people. Not being fully aware of the operations of this museum, I walked up to the front door thinking I could just go in and look at items like most other museums. As it turned out though, the museum was done by way of guided tour, where a host walked you through the different rooms and spoke of the symbolism and use of the various items on display. Items included traditional clothing, pots and dishes used for storage and eating, tons of items made with colorful beads, walking sticks and others.
There were a few items that I found to be truly fascinating to learn about, some of which I had seen before but did not know that about them, and other which I had no idea. One item that I had seen in photographs and paintings before were the marriage hats, these wide hats worn by Zulu women upon getting married. As it turns out, this hat is made from the hair that was cut from the woman’s head when she was growing up as a child. Then she begins to wear this hat once she is married.
Because of the size and shape of this hat, the woman would need a way to sleep without placing weight on the hat, so when they sleep, they use these wooden mini stools as pillows, laying their head upon it. This was really fascinating to me as it resembles the traditions of the geisha of Japan, as they used a similar wooden stool for laying their head when they slept at night so as to ensure their hair kept its form when made.
After the tour, I had the opportunity to talk to our guide, who was a Zulu woman herself, for a little bit about the things I found fascinating about the different items. We also discussed how there were many similarities between the Zulu culture and others, some of which she was aware of. During this conversation, I had mentioned totem poles to here because of their connection to the tribes of the Pacific Northwest Native Americans, and while she didn’t know what I meant when I said it, she had seen pictures of them before, and spoke about how much she appreciated getting to learn about what they were made of, and that they are part of a specific area. It was neat to be able to take part in this cultural exchange while at the museum.
After the museum, I did have a bit of extra time before my flight that evening, but I was becoming concerned about the rain as it would get heavier at times, and there were reports on the radio about several bad accidents, so I opted to head over to the airport ahead of time so as to ensure there were no problems. As luck would have it, there ended up being little to no delay on the drive, so I took advantage of the extra time to work on typing up my report for this trip at one of the bars before my flight.
As for the flight, it again was with Mango Airlines, and unfortunately it was the first delayed flight of the trip, the good news though was that it was only delayed by about 20 minutes, and the boarding and departure process was done fairly quickly. The flight itself was enjoyable for the most part as I sat next to an Afrikaans couple from the more rural part of South Africa, and we had an interesting discussion about our respective backgrounds and where we were from. As it turned out, the guy of the couple really wanted to visit Texas as he was involved in ranching and wanted to experience rodeos. There was one moment though where has lack of experience in flying became apparent (he had told me it was only his third ever flight), and that was when he decided to take the vomit bag, blow it up like a balloon, and pop it with his other hand to give his girlfriend a small fright. The flight attendants seemed to be pretty relaxed about it, but I couldn’t help but think if this had been done on an American domestic flight, I would bet that at the very least he would have gotten a stern lecture.
Other than the bag popping, it was a pretty uneventful flight, and we made it safely to Cape Town.
Leading up to this trip, I had seen several reports and articles about how Cape Town was in the midst of a water shortage crisis as they were going through some severe droughts, and their population had been growing very quickly putting further strain on the water supply. With my arrival to Cape Town, I was immediately greeted by the fact that there was a water shortage with signs throughout the airport. If I didn’t know about it before, I should by now. A bit later, I’ll discuss this topic a bit more in depth as it would be a recurring matter throughout my stay.
After my Uber ride from the airport, I came to my lodging for the next five nights at a building called Crimson Square. If you have read any of my previous reports, you may be well aware of my appreciation of Airbnb. While there are times that it is nice to pay the little bit extra for a nice hotel room, sometimes you can get just as nice of a place through Airbnb, and this was a prime example of that. It was a top-floor studio apartment in the Woodstock neighborhood, and with it’s deck, it offered some fantastic views of the area. This would be even more apparent the next morning at sunrise (I was still waking up fairly early in the morning the first few days into Cape Town, but I was also going to bed earlier too so there’s that).
But with my late arrival, I was ready for bed. The next morning, it would be time to explore Cape Town!
See more of 2018 South Africa Trip:
1: Flight to Atlanta & Delta Flight Museum / 2: Arrival to South Africa / 3: First Day in Durban /
4: Second Day in Durban / 5: Last Day in Durban / 6: V&A Waterfront / 7: Cape Town City Sightseeing Tours /
8: Table Mountain / 9: Ratanga Junction / 10: Rugby at Newlands Rugby Stadium / 11: Cape Town Walking Tours /
12: Cape of Good Hope / 13: Boulders Beach Penguins / 14: The Last of Cape Town / 15: Cape Town Water Shortage /
16: Sightseeing Around Johannesburg / 17: More Johannesburg Sightseeing / 18: Botswana Day Trip /
19: Kruger National Park, Day 1 / 20: Kruger National Park, Day 2 / 21: Kruger National Park, Day 3 /
22: Gold Reef City Resort & Amenities / 23: Apartheid Museum & Rand Show / 24: Gold Reef City Theme Park /
25: The Return Home