Tour diary-Day 3: Monday July 22nd

Day 3-Monday July 22nd 2019.

Day 3 starts with an early morning call at 6:30am, 7:00am and 7:15am – the hotel was determined I was not going to get a lie in!
I made my way down to the desk at reception to ask if there were any problems overnight. Apparently, a lady in room 215 had complained about students running around in the corridors during the early hours of the morning. I was in room 218 and didn’t hear a thing! Mind you, that doesn’t mean much. Some investigating will need to take place.
We meet for breakfast at 8:30 – all present except for Caradog and Vikran. They arrive late, looking a little tired…suspicious… “You weren’t running around in the corridor last night, were you?” Confusion sets in across their faces, “No, sir!”
While the group tuck in to an outstanding buffet that featured an array of breakfast options, more stories from the night begin to reveal themselves. It transpires that one lad spent 40 minutes in the corridor locked outside of his room in his boxer-shorts at 1:50am-reason: he desperately needed to borrow a phone charger from the room opposite him at that very moment. Interesting, since our curfew is 11:00pm!
After enjoying a choice of cereals, fruit, cold meats, full English, breads, patisseries and pancakes, we board the coaches at 10:00am and set off for the harbour to catch the boat that will take us over to Robben Island. Alas, it was not meant to be. When we arrive, we are told that all sailings have been cancelled because of the strong winds. It was a major disappointment to me and many others in the group, as it meant we wouldn’t get the chance to see the place where the man who was the personal hero and inspiration to others including myself had made such a sacrifice.
Thankfully, our fantastic drivers had a plan B; we would make an hour drive to Simonstown where there is a place we can view the penguin colony in their natural environment. We would then move on to Somerset West where there is a large shopping mall where we can have lunch before transferring to the Cheetah Sanctuary.

We set off. The journey took us through the rolling mountains once again and we were spoilt with the views. However, a contrast to yesterday – the table cloth was on Table Mountain-grey clouds hid it from site. We were lucky to have already ascended Signal Hill and had the opportunity to take in the beautiful landscape that Cape Town has to offer.

We arrive at Simonstown at 11:30am. We jumped off the coaches and made our way to the beach, excited at the prospect of seeing penguins in their natural habitat. However, those whose punctuality of failure to adhere to curfew regulations are kept back on the bus.

It would seem, however, that the common sense was left on the bus for some tour members. Alex Hughes offered us the first ‘one-liner’ of the day, “Duw, when they go in the water they look like birds, don’t they!” Zac Johns, meanwhile, makes the most of being in the presence of South African wildlife and proceeds to take pictures of the Seagulls.

Pictures taken, we hop back on the coaches to head to Somerset West shopping mall for lunch. On the bus, Joe Hawkins-Cole begins his bid to be Lord Sugar’s next apprentice – he paid 400 rand for a set of panpipes and as soon as he returned to the bus, he sold them for 170 rand. Joe, you’re fired!

The drive to Somerset West is a tale of two halves. Up through the mountains gives us once again breath taking views of the scenery. There is a commotion on bus 1 when Miss Morgans suddenly shrieks, “Oh my god, there’s a whale!” While the whole of bus 2 rush to the right-hand side of the bus at once causing slight concerns of balance on the side of a mountain! But what a sight to see-the whale was only about 100 metres off the coast.

The other half of the journey is far more sobering. We pass by the township Khayelitsha, and it stretches as far as the eye can see. We see what can only be described as a shanty town. Pieces of rusted metal placed together as walls to create what we would call a box room, but what they call home. This clearly made an impression on many of our students and is a stark reminder of the struggles others face and how truly lucky we are.

We arrive at the shopping mall, but before lunch, a quick group meeting – Donkey of the Day needs to be decided! Here are the nominees:
1. Cameron Clayfield – for forgetting the code for his suitcase and handling it well by trying to break the lock off, failing to do so, had a tantrum and threw a bin at the suitcase which rebounded into his own face. The lock remained in-tact. Good job, Cam.
2. Noah Myerscough – for his little jaunt around the hotel in his boxer-shorts during the early hours of the morning.
3. Alex Hughes – for his commentary regarding the penguins being like birds that Attenborough himself would be proud of.
With three-quarters of the votes the winner is……Noah Myerscough! I gladly handed the shirt over and Noah wore it with pride. But I couldn’t be smug for long about being rid of the Donkey of the Day shirt, as the rest of the group knew that today was a special day – it’s Ceiron Williams’ and my birthday. We are ushered to the middle of the group and handed the beautiful unicorn birthday t-shirts and a card each, while the group give a fantastic rendition of happy birthday.

Off we go for a quick lunch before back to the buses to head to the Cheetah Sanctuary. Upon arrival, we are given the option to have one-to-one contact with the Cheetahs for just 160 rand. The whole tour party eagerly take up this offer, and no one is more excited than Miss Morgans!

What an experience! We meet a magnificent animal – a 5 year old full grown male weighing 50kgs. He was incredibly soft to touch and purred loudly through the whole encounter. The keepers told us that if he was purring he was happy-we were relieved to hear him doing so!!!

We leave the Sanctuary at 4:50pm to meet our hosts for the night. As we drive past the school we see the playing fields – they look very impressive. We arrive at Parel Vallei at 5pm. Eunice and Thinus are there to greet us. Our students are mainly paired up although there are a few in 3s and singles and one group of 6. Our students greet their billet with warmth – it was lovely to see and a proud moment-their initial contact had gone as well as we could hope.

After our students depart with their billets we say goodbye to the staff and head back to our hotel for the next two nights, hoping not to receive any calls asking to speak to Miss Lawlor. We’ll need an early night as we have to be back in school to collect the students by 7:30am. Another busy day awaits. We travel to Langa township in the morning and then play the games in the afternoon. Presentations follow the matches.

The forecast for tomorrow is awful and it’s predicted that we could receive 100mm of rain in a day. There are contingencies for the hockey and netball to play indoors, but the rugby will be outside and it could be very wet and cold.

In the closing hours of the evening, Noah Myerscough contacts his group leader, Miss Morgans – he can’t find his Australian dollars. We consider our various options and half an hour later receive another call – he’s found them! Time for bed.

Comments ( 2 )
  1. Antoinette Slater

    We loved having Leon and Will stay with us. Such true gentlemen. Safe travels to Australia. We look forward to reading more about your travels.

  2. Emma Jones

    Another fantastic diary entry! I look forward to seeing tomorrow’s!

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