The Lonely Planet suggests that driving on the N1 is the most dangerous road on the Cape. Seems that this is where I'm at. So pulled over at the side with a map in one hand and the phone in the other I talk to David about how to get to their place (out to the east of Cape Town) taking copious notes in the back of the LP.
After about 10 minutes I decide on a route with a place called Wellington as a morning coffee destination. The LP describes it as a pretty little town. Getting there is quite problematic and apart from some nice country roads I end up in Durbanville heading the wrong way, back to Cape Town. At least there are road signs from here as well as more shanties which look just as repellant as the ones I've seen earlier. I'm left with the inescapable conclusion that there's going to be trouble and the 'haves' concerns about security are well founded. It also seems inescapable that the limited actions that people are taking will not be adequate if the great unwashed get well pissed off as well they may!
Tony has warned me about the “black taxis” and their erratic driving. I know know what he means. These are vans, utes or possible station wagons pressed into service as informal taxis. Tony suggested that they may not even have driving licenses and my experience of their behaviour would tend to confirm this theory. It also seems to explain why there are people apparently randomly standing about at the sides of the roads, plainly waiting for something, even in the middle of nowhere.
Wellington is little better, crowded and rumpy. Plainly there are nice bits but it ranks an overall avoid. Coffee is provided at the local Wimpey, not a choice I'd normally make but it provides an opportunity to hear the locals converse in Afrikaans (I'm guessing but it has a reputation as a very ugly language and this certainly was ear jarring.)
From here there is a pass over the mountains (Bains Kloof) which is just stunning, cut mostly out of the rock with a very nasty overhang in the middle. The safety barrier where it exists is not armco but rocks. Bloody great big rocks, don't ever complain about the New Zealand motorway 'cheese cutter' barriers again. These would have to hurt.
The road is great fun but you need to be wary of the police car coming around the bend on the wrong side of the road, plainly a moonlighter from his job as a black taxi driver, and the troop of baboons in the middle of the road. The baboons are fortunately/unfortunately a bit shy and don't wait for me to park and get the camera out for a photo. Hopefully there will be other opportunities.
Worcester is a better looking place but the main street is blocked by police. Police with shotguns. What would they do with those I wonder. Stopping off for lunch at the Dros restaurant and wine bar (the best looking stop in town) I am told that they have been having a church bazaar in the large field opposite. I suggest, I thought humorously, that armed offenders squad call outs for church bazaars was a bit unusual but my wait person didn't get it.
Lunch was rubbish. Chips soggy, calamari rubbery, sauce(?) oily, coffee burnt and service slow. The onion rings were good. I thought the name Dros, was on the button apart from missing the final s although the tag line 'only the best is good enough' or some such seems to be bollocks.
The roads from here were mostly long straight and dead quiet. I finished up repeating the circuit around Betty's bay again, this time stopping at the penguin colony. These guys are not tame but they certainly aren't scared....
Finally getting to Somerset West and following David's excellent directions (which requires several stops, I have no tank bag so there is no way to keep the LP notes in front of me) I arrive and am made welcome. Fantastic to see him for the second time in the best part of 50 years.