This South African Airways Airbus A340 sitting on the tarmac at the Cape Town airport took me to Johannesburg where I very reluctantly left one of the nicest nation’s on the planet.
If you ever get the chance to travel to South Africa don’t think about it, just do it. I have now traveled to 111 countries on the six continents and one of my three most favorite is South Africa. When that opportunity to travel presents itself there is only one airline to fly on to get there. South African Airways, the flagship carrier for this wonderful nation will make you feel like you are already on a Durban beach or hiking the Drakensberg Mountains even before you leave the United States. After you touch down in South Africa and stretch your legs for a few minutes, you simply must spend some time in the wonderful wine country east of Cape Town. If you’ve didn't like wine before traveling to South Africa I can almost guarantee you will when you return home.
This morning South African Airways posted a message on their Twitter feed that began with the words “It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere.” The message contained an advertisement for the Cape wine country and as I read the Twitter message and the story about the Cape wine district, and as my mind wandered back to the opening line “It’s Wine O’Clock Somewhere” I remembered a Friday afternoon at 5 O’Clock cover band I listened to in a bar in Lambert’s Bay near the end of my 5 week trip to South Africa. It was a trip that resulted in the writing and publication of my book Sojourn to South Africa and in that book there is a story about that 5 O’Clock encounter with a cover band. That story is recounted and remembered here:
Lambert’s Bay Hotel sits across the street from a giant fish processing plant that, understandably, reeks of fish. Likewise the air in Lambert’s Bay reeks of fish. I had guaranteed a reservation for a sea view room at the Lambert’s Bay Hotel and that is exactly what I received when I checked in. If I stood on my bed and looked west over the roof of the belching fish processing plant I could view the sea in the distance.
The hotel bar was one of the town’s hotspots. If you were a local and wanted to pick up a tourist from Cape Town or Johannesburg, then this was the place to be and be seen. There in the Anchor Bar at precisely 5:00 p.m. on Friday afternoon, a local cover band took the stage. Their first song was not some South African melody. Instead it was a song about time and Jamaican vacations and the fact that no matter where you are on the planet it’s always 5 o’clock somewhere. And it was in Lambert’s Bay and that is how the cover band got its start. Next they sang “Changes in Latitudes, Changes in Attitudes” which was most appropriate when you are headed south toward increasingly smaller latitudes. Then, as the sun was crossing a fictional yard arm on its descent to the South Atlantic, they played “Margaritaville” the national anthem of the Parrothead Nation.
How cool is that? Here I was 9,000 miles from home in the southern hemisphere in a bar next to the ocean, surrounded by palm trees and the first music I heard was a threesome of Jimmy Buffett tunes. Anyone who is not aware of Jimmy Buffett's worldwide impact and influence should have been sitting next to me in the Anchor Bar curled up with an ice cold bottle of Windhoek beer listening to this band near the south end of South Africa singing songs about time and latitudes and lost shakers of salt.