The ancient and over used saying A change is as good as a rest ignores a simple truth: sometimes what the body needs and craves is not one or t’other. It is both.
It was with that in mind that TLW & I decided that we should do something that we’ve not done since December 2010: taking a decent amount of time and going on a damn holiday1.
And so it was that we hazarded the BA website, booked a couple of weeks off, and fucked off to Africa.
But first, to Terminal 5, where I got to test FlightRadar’s recent updates. They work, and it’s quite cool being able to watch planes on the ground with their technical details on a screen in front of you. I have to admit that I was quite impressed with T5; it’s big enough and spread out enough that it’s easy to mistake it for a civilized place.
Then on one of BA’s ancient yet serviceable 747s to sunny Cape Town, on a nice night flight. During which we got to marvel at a most excellent electrical storm over the coast of Nigeria and a stunning sunrise over the deserts of Namibia.
While there, we ate well (too well – crocodile, ostrich and a variety of things ending in -bok were tasted). We saw penguins, whales, seals and the Cape of Good Hope. We tasted very fine wines and played with monkeys, and got pictures with some random birds of prey as well.
Disturbingly, we also discovered that tortoises have a sex face:
It wasn’t all light-hearted japes, of course. There were visits to District 6 and the obligatory Robben Island tour, led by a former inmate who’d learned his tradecraft in the DDR and USSR.
All in all, it was a most enjoyable holiday, both a bit of a change and a lot of a rest. And for the first time in my recent memory, certainly going back to before the millennium, I went a week without checking anything (bar confirming flights on the last day) on t’internet or email.
I recommend the destination. And I also recommend dropping t’internet for a day or seven.
1 – Yes, I know that there have been a great many trips: Italy, Belgium, the Lake District, the Peak District. But they were all weekends or extended weekends, and we felt the need for more.
I went to South Africa, just the once, and I thought it was a wonderful place. True, it had and still has its troubles, but that sky, that air – I felt like I’d come home. And if certain anthropologists are to be believed, I had. I’d love to go back.