Sunday, May 16, 2010

Arrival in Cape Town

We come to the end of the craziest week in some considerable time, as I sit in the 'tree' (only by name) apartment in a self-catering guest house a short walk from the University of Cape Town and in the shadow of Table Mountain.

The week started off with my first Tango lesson, which passed without too much bloodshed or too many twisted ankles. Sadly as I'll be traveling pretty constantly for the rest of the year, this is only going to be a very occasional occurrence but I'll see if I can get in a couple more lessons before going to Buenos Aires in July.

Tuesday saw my first ever performance on the Geiger Counter at the quantum music festival in front of a crowd of several hundred

videos to follow. While Wednesday and Thursday evenings saw music courtesy of Emir Kusturica and some fine blues players in Dado Dada.

Friday the fun began for real.

Friday afternoon I headed over to Paris to meet up with a good friend from Beijing, who, five years ago got me involved with the Couchsurfing scene. I've since hosted well over 100 people in my place in Santiago, thanks to this connection and it has been a fantastic aspect of life since then, getting to know people from all over the world and, something which has been an added bonus, to be able to explain many aspects of my work and science in general to a huge audience of people who are interested but generally come from non-scientific backgrounds. Being able to share the passion of what I do is a real pleasure and in return I find out about cultures from every corner of the world, usually accompanied by some fine local cooking.

Anyway, so I spent the night in Paris, going out to a few bars and meeting a very international crowd in the Richard Lenoir and Oberkampf districts, before getting up slightly woozy headed on Saturday, making my way to CDG airport and flying to Istanbul. I was advised by the air stewardesses that I wouldn't have time to go into the city but I got the name of a good restaurant from them and, with newly acquired visa in hand, I took a taxi to the banks of the Bosphorus to the site where the first light house sits, on the inlet from the sea of Marmaris as the river makes its way into the city.

I sat watching the sunset and had an excellent meal (though outrageously overpriced - had I had more time I would definitely have gone somewhere a lot, lot cheaper) before heading back to the airport and waiting for another four hours as the flight was delayed (in the mean time I bought the most expensive cup of coffee I'd ever bought - at over 5 euros I thought I must have been mistaken but sadly it was already in my hands when I discovered that this was truly the price!

From Istanbul I flew with Turkish airlines (who served some of the best in-flight meals I've ever had) to Johannesburg where we waited for an hour to refuel before coming to Cape Town where I sit now in a beautiful apartment and wait for sleep to roll over my tired eyes.

It's going to be a very busy couple of weeks here but I'll do my best to update when possible.

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