This blog entry about the events of Thursday, March 11, 2004 was originally posted on March 14, 2004.

DAY 145:  Amongst the things that I hate about the way my body operates — other than the odor it produces in my crotch when I wear polypropelene long johns on a day of snowboarding — is the fact that it decides to wake up whenever the sun rises, regardless of how late I went to bed the night before.  My body is a morning person, but my mind just wants to hit the snooze button.

After my night out with my alma mater, I didn’t get to sleep until about 3:30 a.m., only to be woken up by the sun around 6:30.  I couldn’t even cover my eyes with my blanket or pillow to block out the sunlight because once my body knows it’s daytime, it knows.  As much as I tried to get some more shut eye, it didn’t work; my bed was in between two windows with sun rays invading my slumber.  I lay there, jealous of the three other guys in my room sleeping peacefully in their beds. 

There was no use trying to get back to sleep, so I just had a shower and started the day — but not without feeling like a zombie the entire duration of it.  Coffee and energy drinks kept my stamina up since, as much as I tried, I couldn’t take a nap.  Cape Town is one sunny city.

Caffeine gave me the kick in the ass to get out to Camp’s Bay to meet Matt and Vicky, a couple I had met on an Antarctic expedition cruise in 2002.  Matt and Vicky were no longer “Matt and Vicky,” but “Matt, Vicky, Kai and Finn,” a family unit (picture above), now living in the sunny seaside community of Hout’s Bay, outside of the city center — away from the cold weather of Oxford, U.K.  We met up at Cafe Caprice, a place that Matt described as, “a place where all the beautiful people go to look beautiful, so let’s meet there and be beautiful too.”  They arrived with their friend Jeff who was visiting from the U.K.

It’s no surprise that the British were in Camp’s Bay — they practically owned most of it.  Circa 2002, there was a real estate boom in the seaside areas of Cape Town, where one could get a really good deal on a house, which could be fixed up or demolished to make room for a new fancier one.  Matt himself was a builder, playing this South African real estate game.  In fact, he often left the cafe to make a call outside since he was on the verge of a deal where he’d buy one house and tear it down to make four.  This was a pretty lucrative business deal for a guy who I remembered had once got really drunk and wore a full woman’s bikini when rushing into the waters of Antarctica.

The six of us lounged out on the cafe sofa for the afternoon amidst all the beautiful people.  I kept awake with French Bulls (Red Bull and champagne) and caught up on the happenings of our lives since Antarctica two years prior — the most noticeable one, Vicky giving birth to Finn, the cute blue-eyed baby boy with a hunger for cheese doodles and the backgammon pieces his half-brother Kai and Jeff were playing with.  Matt hadn’t changed much at all, except perhaps a bit more responsible, still writing songs and playing in a band.  The entire family lived in Hout Bay with a maid that sometimes drank a bit too much of their whiskey.

Vicky and the kids went home early, leaving me to chat with Matt and Jeff.  Jeff wrote down some notes in my notepad with suggestions about what to see in Tanzania.  Eventually the guys left, but invited me to a gig their band was doing the following night. 

With the Red Bull in my body, I felt I had enough energy to walking up Signal Hill, which divided Camp’s Bay and central Cape Town.  About halfway up the hill, the Red Bull wore off and I realized what a crazy idea walking really was since I had nothing but some ramen noodles in my stomach from earlier that morning.  When I got to a point where I was so exhausted I felt like fainting, I did the right thing: walked down the hill and hopped in a taxi.

IN NEED OF NOURISHMENT, I made a sandwich and curried green beans over noodles and ate them in front of the television.  I was all set to take a power nap before going out with the fellow high school alumni I bumped into the day before, Juanita — only to get the message that Juanita & Co. were coming to pick me up in fifteen minutes.  I would continue to be a zombie like in Night of The Living Dead.

We went to the loungey club called Buddha Bar in the Greenpoint neighborhood, one of those places that could be in a cosmopolitan city near you, where it’s sort of too loud to have a conversation without having to repeat yourself and without having to repeat yourself.  I lounged out with Juanita and her two guy friends that she met in scuba diving instructor certification classes in Mozambique, until Natasha, the belated birthday celebrant who worked in Mozambique, arrived with her friend Charles. 

Despite the Coke and Red Bull cocktails I had, I was still exhausted from my Signal Hill walk-up attempt and a total party pooper.  I really didn’t clique with Juanita and her scuba friends anyway.  Natasha (at left, Juanita at right), who at times also looked tired or bored, told me I wasn’t the only outsider of the scuba gang.

“It’s a pretty strange culture,” she said.

“American culture?”

“No, scuba diving culture.  They’re so closely knit.”

I clearly saw this; a lot of times the two guys were so touchy feeling with each other that I thought they were perhaps a gay couple. (They weren’t). 

Way before the scuba gang left Buddha Bar, I just left with Natasha and Charles and went off with them to another bar which was more conducive to conversation and bad jokes, one of which I remembered from a rafting trip I did in West Virginia with Blogreader nikkij:

So there’s this 89-year-old man who’s about to turn 90, and his son and grandson and great-grandson decide to throw him a big birthday party — a nice rowdy bachelor-type party to get the old man excited one more time in life.  They go out and decide to get him a stripper.

So the party night comes and everyone’s around in the old man’s son’s basement.  They drink beers and try and get as crazy as their old fraternity days.  The stripper arrives and everyone gathers around as she approaches the 90-year-old man for a lapdance. 

“I’m here to provide you with super sex!” the stripper says.

The old man thinks for a minute, looks at the stripper and says, “I’ll have the soup.”

(Say the joke out loud if you don’t get it, and make sure your delivery is good.)

REGARDLESS OF THE BAD JOKES, I was still just as much a zombie that night as I was in the daytime.  Of course, when all the caffeine and energy drinks, when I finally went to bed around 3 a.m., I couldn’t get to sleep.

Next entry: Irish Telepathy and The Next Generation

Previous entry: Alumni Day

Commenting is not available in this channel entry.

Comments for “Zombie”

  • FIRST!!! YEEE - HAAAR! okay i’m gonna read it now….

    Posted by SUPER 8  on  03/13  at  06:58 PM

  • Ummm… second… and I’ve read it.  Teaneck and Rutgers in the house!


    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/13  at  08:02 PM

  • Damn the curse of the Zombie!!  It runs in the family…

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/13  at  11:04 PM

  • I don’t get it!?

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/14  at  11:57 AM

  • I like the West Virginia article.  I’ve rafted the New River several times, and we always have guides like that who tell us dirty hillbilly jokes!  They never stop being funny.

    Posted by .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address)  on  03/14  at  02:00 PM

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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 BootsnAll.com. 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.

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Next entry:
Irish Telepathy and The Next Generation

Previous entry:
Alumni Day


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