Back On The Streets


This blog entry about the events of Monday, March 22, 2004 was originally posted on March 23, 2004.

DAY 156:  I hadn’t left the confines of the hostel since the mugging at knifepoint two days prior, and it was about time I got over my fear and ventured out on the streets of Cape Town again.  However, my fear was merely replaced by paranoia.

Most of the day I spent finishing up the last five entries, out in the backyard or in my bed, which had become quite sloppy (picture above) over the past couple of days.  One thing’s for sure; when I’m waiting around for my replacement bank cards to arrive, I really do make myself at home.

It was about two in the afternoon when I decided to finally venture out into the world, to go to the internet cafe and the supermarket.  I went down Park Road, the same road I was robbed on, and it was a lot different with the sun brightly shining and groups of people walking around.  However, it didn’t completely keep me from being as edgy as if I just had a dozen shots of espresso. 

Walking down the streets I was a nervous wreck, flinching at the slightest movements of people, watching my back as if danger was following me like a stray dog and I had a steak duct taped to my back.  It was a pretty strange and heightened emotion to have; up until the mugging, I was really confident about walking around.  Before, despite warnings, I had no problem walking back to the hostel at 2:30 in the morning, or walking to and up Lion’s Head all by myself. 

But now I was like a fish inside a blender, nervously hoping no one would push “purée.”  I was envious of the other people walking around without any apparent paranoia at all and wished to one of them again. 

I think it was John Lennon who once said, “Time heals all wounds.”

THROUGHOUT THE DAY, I got different reactions from people I had told my tale to.

“Was it your first mugging?” the guy working at the internet cafe asked me.


“Oh, that’s why,” he said, speaking from experience.  “Next time, you’ll have this quick thought in your head, ‘Oh, not again,’ and within those couple of seconds, you’ll actually think about your options.”  He told me that the mugger is probably just as nervous as you are, because anything can go wrong, and you have to analyze the situation and take advantage of that.

Sean from Ireland told me he probably would have done what I did.  “He had a knife?” he asked me.

“Yeah, plus he was about six foot three, four.  He had about a foot on me.”

“If he had a knife, I don’t care if he was two-foot tall,” he said before noticing the huge machete someone was holding by the grill in preparation for the weekly Tuesday night ostrich and fish braai.  “Oh, you should have a knife like that and pull a Crocodile Dundee on him.”

Vivek, a British-Canadian working in Kenya and vacationing in Cape Town, told me about the time he got mugged in Nairobi when he had no money or anything of value on him.  He emptied his pockets and opened up his empty wallet to prove it.  “‘Next time, make sure you have money so I can take it from you!’” Vivek quoted his attacker.

AFTER DINING ON OSTRICH KEBABS, grilled snoek, dates wrapped in bacon, corn on the cobs, salads and a variety of African squash in the courtyard with my friends for the day, Irish Sean and Long Island Kate suggested we go out for a couple of rounds out on Long Street, where all the bars were.  It was Kate’s last night, plus the last nights for Ed and George from Buenos Aires and Danit from Israel — a farewell outing was in order.  I was still wary about going out at night.

“Oh, I don’t know,” I said.  “I think I’ll just chill out here.”

“Oh, come on,” Irish Sean persuaded.

“We’ll have safety in numbers,” Kate added.

“Okay, fine.  Pull my arm,” I said.  It really didn’t take much to convince me to go out drinking.

San Diego Sean and Israeli Assaf joined six of us and we all walked down the road in a big group.  Kate joked that we were like a herd of gazelle just waiting for a lion to attack us.

No lions came though.  Nothing happened.  Just like every other night I’d been out — other than that one night — everything was fine.  Sure it was a little shady sometimes, but nothing to worry about if you just kept your wits about you.  My wits were coming back.

We sat out on the balcony of Cool Runnings, a decent bar with Becks and Windhoek on draught.  We sat and talked over beers and Cape ciders until closing time at midnight — it was a Tuesday and most of the Long Street scene was tame.  In the safety of numbers, we walked back up the hill to The Backpack.  With a couple of drinks in me, my nerves had been calmed down.

I think it was John Lennon who once said, “Time heals all wounds” — but a couple of drinks doesn’t hurt either.

Next entry: The Changing Of The Group

Previous entry: The Positive Poster Child

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “Back On The Streets”

  • MARKYT:  New camera acquired…  I found a discount camera shop with Sony products.  Got the U-20 (U-30 not sold in the country) and a 128 MB stick for about $440.  New pictures to come.

    If you want, just sell the U-30 you got on eBay… most people there are so addicted to bidding, they often end up paying what they could have paid in the store, if not more.

    Email me; you can use my account with my good Harry Potter scarf sellers rating…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  09:14 AM

  • MARKYT:  I sent you a package of stuff I don’t need anymore…  Look out for it.  When it comes, let me know if the South America archive CD is fine, so I can delete it off the iBook…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  09:22 AM

  • good to hear that your back to your normal half-drunken self again, hehehe

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  10:27 AM

  • i am definately taking some self-defense classes before i travel to africa!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  10:55 AM

  • just be drunk (or fundy) at all times so you can be the drunken (or fundamental) master like jackie chan and beat everyone’s ass….

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  11:11 AM

  • grilled snoek?  I had no idea Dr. Seuss was with you.

    Posted by matto  on  03/23  at  12:16 PM

  • John Lennon had it all wrong - it’s BEER that heals all wounds. BEER!

    Posted by dunlavey  on  03/23  at  07:01 PM

  • Yo Bee!! Been away from the blog for a while, playing tour guide here in New Yawk!

    Glad you’re okay. The pics of the ducklings and other fuzzy wuzzies was quite clever. Keep on keeping on! You come out of those things a lot wiser, that’s for sure.

    Word Life!


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/23  at  11:53 PM

  • Dunlavey’s got it right! Time can’t heal anything, beer can’t heal faster!

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  12:47 AM

  • i’d have to say that wine works wonders too…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/24  at  07:31 AM

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This blog post is one of over 500 travel dispatches from the trip blog, "The Global Trip 2004: Sixteen Months Around The World (Or Until Money Runs Out, Whichever Comes First)," originally hosted by It chronicled a trip around the world from October 2003 to March 2005, which encompassed travel through thirty-seven countries in North America, South America, Africa, Europe, and Asia. It was this blog that "started it all," where Erik evolved and honed his style of travel blogging — it starts to come into focus around the time he arrives in Africa.

Praised and recommended by USA Today,, and readers of BootsnAll and Lonely Planet's Thorn Tree, The Global Trip blog was selected by the editors of PC Magazine for the "Top 100 Sites You Didn't Know You Couldn't Live Without" (in the travel category) in 2005.

Next entry:
The Changing Of The Group

Previous entry:
The Positive Poster Child


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