007 Girl
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Edito 037

Thursday: 18:30

Location: London Airport

Weather: 4ºC, Rainy

The driver booked by the agency is waiting for me outside. Picks up my bag and drives me to Heathrow. They've already checked me in and gave me access to the executive lounge... I hate rushing before travelling...

20:30, they call us for boarding. Plane is on time... Tomorrow morning I'll wake up in Cape Town. I should have taken that new camera lens at the duty free...

Michael Crawford

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Day Two

I slept. I fell asleep right after dinner... unusual for me. Well, we had a busy week as well... In 10 minutes we will be landing. Apparently it’s 28 degrees, with a light summer wind... I can already see the Winelands from here... Damn I did not realize that Cape Town was surrounded by such mountain chains...

Here we are. I'm glad I took their advice with the fast exit service... It was fast indeed!
Apparently someone is waiting for me with a board... Ah, yes, here she is...
"Good Morning... I'm Michael... and you are?"... My tour guide obviously...

Flashes are crackling. People are calling my name... Well... it's Cape Town Paparazzi!!!
We rush to the car... It seems my guide knows where she is going... the car is there, it's a white stretch Limo ... now we're talking.

No bubbles for me thank you... the day is just starting... what time is it by the way? Two hours difference only... that's cool...

Check-in on the beach... the hotel is right in front of it. It took us 25 minutes to get there... My room keys are waiting for me on a white draped table. Some pastries, coffee, and again some sparkling... they want to see me drunk or what? People are exercising on the beach. Two ladies are chatting not paying attention to the dogs they've got on leashes. Table Mountain at my back and the ocean in front of me... Damn, I should have bought that new lens...

Luggage is already in the room. Quick shower and let's go. I'm here for 2 nights only... I will show off later at the pool...

Today, we are visiting Cape Town... there are art galleries that I want to see this morning.

My guide gives me a helmet... A sidecar is waiting for me!!! "Michael, jump on board. It's a sidecar from World War II. Easy to park in town and nice to drive around".

The Art galleries are located in the heart of the city bowl, around Bree, Loop and Long Street... The artwork in a number of these galleries reflects South African culture. Likely to appeal to those looking for an art piece as a memento, but some others really cater for the more serious art collector. I think there are some really unique masterpieces in there... But this walk in town, going through the markets, the Malay quarter to the trendy shops of De Waterkant, have whet my appetite...

On this patio, 4 al fresco restaurants, catering for all tastes. Let's take a chair in the sun, and try this springbok carpaccio... hum... with a glass of shiraz...

Back to our sidecar... she was right, this is a cool way to drive around... to gain some height... I've seen this massive mountain standing right behind the city... time to climb to the top...

And what a view from there!!!!! Amazing panorama from the West Coast to the range of mountains 40 km away, out to Robben Island, and to the beach where I was this morning... My guide shows me a path leading to a private terrace overlooking the City Bowl... Canapés and sparkling, these people know how to treat their guests.

The sun is still high in the sky, but my guide is rousing me from my dreams to get me back to town... direction the Waterfront, the harbour re-designed as a leisure and entertainment centre...

A guy is waiting for me on the quay. French accent, a match in the corner of the lips, it's Philippe, the captain of the Tigger 2 Royale , a sumptuous catamaran of modern design, who's taking me for a sunset cruise in the bay... Along the coast, with the sun on the sea horizon, we pass the Cape Town Stadium, a splendid masterpiece in the middle of the city, the luxury cliffs of Bantry Bay and Clifton to end up in front of my hotel in Camps Bay. It is difficult for me to imagine that yesterday I was still in London...

Tonight, I'm convened to a superb dinner at the Chef’s table of the Aubergine restaurant . The conversation with my guide is highly enjoyable and informative. The dishes are as tasty as they are creative... It's definitely fine dining here... The seared ostrich fillet with the Cape gooseberries is divine. And the sommelier that chose this Chocolate Block wine was spot on. I'm feeling good right now!

Well, enough for tonight... I'm finished... Good night.

Day One

Day Three

If there is something that makes South Africa more than enjoyable in the morning, it's their humongous buffet breakfast, which I'm taking this morning on the terrace of my hotel where I checked in yesterday, facing the same beach... The same ladies are still there if I'm not mistaken...

Today, the Winelands! Another surprise is waiting for me. A vintage 1950 Chevrolet De Luxe Fleetline with a driver just a little bit older than the car... Sumptuous. I'm talking about the car. 30 minutes away from my hotel is Stellenbosch, one of the oldest settlements in South Africa, where design meets with history, starting with the streets, the buildings, the restaurants, the shops... and even the pace...

We stop at Delaire Wine Estate ... or should I say, Art Gallery? Multi-symbol of fine design, wealth, integration, ontrast and...wine. A visit, a tasting, and … on the go again to the Valley of Franschhoek.

The car is spacious, comfortable, recognizable, but not fast, giving me the freedom to enjoy this incredible landscape, incomparable to any European wine routes.

The South African wine routes are spread over 150 km. 400 ? 500 ? 600 wine farms offer the opportunity to taste their wine. Some include a restaurant. Others are also hotels... I realize that one day won't be enough to discover it all.

My guide drove me to Grande Provence , another good surprise. Nestled under a range of mountains in the Franschhoek Valley, the estate wears her 300-year history with style. Driving through the vineyard, we ended up in the tasting room. A lady, as clued-up as she was pretty, was waiting for me for a private tasting and visit of the Contemporary Art Gallery.

Delicious wine, delicious company, delicious lunch under a magnificent oak tree. I simply forgot that London existed during that time...

Well, I’m becoming too romantic right now. Time to continue to Franschhoek , a little historical village settled by the French 300 years ago… (French are always where you don’t except them…). Nestled against the mountain, in a warm valley, the village is the symbol of the Winelands. Pretty, complex, luxurious and sober. Not really like me. My driver made me pause in front of the Huguenot monument. We walked down the street and stopped for another tasting in this exclusive setting… The wine was divine and I was glad not to be driving the Chevy back to Cape Town…

I probably slept a bit on the way back... But thank God, at my hotel, the Spa was waiting for me… with a regenerating massage administered with care and efficiency… What was her name again…?

20:00 The dining room is already packed. Excellent choice made by the agency. Smart but not posh. Design but not cold. Overlooking the bay only lit by the rising moon, Salt seems to attract more than the dinner connoisseurs. I choose to wait for my… appointment at the Vodka Bar . And she finally appears…

My life is always my best subject of conversation… but the creativity of the food almost distracted me from my charming friend’s company…

The night is far from over. Cape Town has apparently an underground life, which my VIP is allowing me to test… Café Chic has a party featuring a French DJ… Asoka : a groovy evening under the sky, Jade has a Champagne affair and Hemisphere a view to kill… and I’m really enjoying myself here…

Day Two

Free as a bird and fresh as a seal … Where was I last night???

The road book prepared by for me is precise and informative. No guide today, they booked me this red convertible that I’m gonna push to the end of the continent, Cape Point ! The Cape Peninsula is spectacular with roads cutting the edge of the mountains, hugging the shore, crossing villages packed with art galleries and crafters. From Houtbay to Scarborough , the landscape, the car and I are going along well. I’m driving on this majestic road where many TV ads have been shot, the mountain on my left, the ocean on the right, Amy Winehouse on the radio…

Along the way to the Cape of Good Hope, a mythical point on the surface of this earth, the road book stopped me outside the lighthouse in this tiny village, then at the windsurfing beach and a soapstone craft market. Further on, some ostriches are frightened by my red car… or by Rihanna, singing loud on the radio…

And finally the National Park, hosting the Cape of Good Hope is emerging in front of me… Why didn’t I buy...

I took my time around. Time to enjoy the view, the wind, myself though. And I left.

On the way back, I did not resist swimming with the penguins at Boulders Beach … Cool? water (de l’eau froide/fraîche?, pas de l’eau douce=fresh water par opposition à de l‘eau de mer) indeed, but fun feeling to get that close to these funny birds.

But it's getting late already. I park my car with a bit of effect in front of the Bistro Sixteen82 , which my road book recommends. Ordered some fresh West Coast mussels and a glass of local Chardonnay wine and ate on the terrace of Bistro. The food was light and tasty. The wine perfectly matched perfectly my course. A good choice this place.

But no time to lounge around. My stay here is almost over. Tonight I will fly back to London. Damn, I should stay longer... I find a note in my bedroom. My guide took care to update me on the programme for tonight. My last appointment with Cape Town is for sunset, at the Roundhouse , overlooking Camps Bay.

I'm trying to concentrate on the sun sinking with style lower and lower to reach the sea. But my mind is somewhere else – as if disconnected from reality. A waiter offers me a glass of sparkling wine and rouses me from my dreams.

A mechanic noise coming from the back of the restaurant is getting louder and closer. My helicopter is landing. The porters are rushing to load my bag and to open the door of the aircraft, taking me to the airport.

I finish my glass straight and walk toward the pilot waving at me. Don't look behind, you will come back.

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  • Q: Your idea of ultimate luxury?
  • A: To travel the world in my own hippie old vintage VW minivan with not a care in the world and enough money to get by! :) Oh, a guy by my side would be an added bonus and probably helpful sometimes ;-)…

  • Q: What calms your stress?
  • A: My favourite music and listening to the sounds of the bush, especially frogs, I’m crazy about frogs, I know it's weird…And a good work out at the gym, get all of that stress out of my system.

  • Q: If you win the roulette 9 times in a row, do you carry on because luck is on your side or do you stop playing because statistically you should now be losing?
  • A: I would probably chicken out, take my money and do something fun with it seeing I’m already walking out with more money than I came in with…

  • Q: Is there a superstition that make you change your behaviour ?
  • A: Hmmm, not really, I will walk under a ladder and I won’t run when I see a black cat.

  • Q: If you were sent to a deserted island what book, disc or movie would you take with?
  • A: Probably the book “how to survive on a deserted island” :), any Pearl Jam CD and all the copies of the Mentalist series I could get my hands on…but now I think of it, I would need a DVD player or laptop AND electricity, hmmm…

  • Q: A small pleasure that you consider huge?
  • A: A few friendly, uplifting and loving words from a friend or my family, especially because I live far away from my family and some of my best friends.

  • Q: Your way to kill time?
  • A: The little time I have left to kill: reading a Tony Park book (and I’m not a big reader but he is good!), listening and singing along to my favourite music or lying by the pool on a sunny afternoon.

  • Q: What are you totally incompetent in?
  • A: I am not so good at saying No, ask my mom, she always tells me that! ;-)

  • Q: To what are you addicted?
  • A: Being a Belgian you would think French fries, beer, chocolates, but nooooooooo: SUSHI!!! When I crave it, I need it immediately! :) Now that I talk about it…


  • Q: Your new year’s resolutions?
  • A: A New Year's resolution is something that goes in one Year and out the other… - I don’t do those.

  • Q: What have you not done yet, but that you will certainly do one day?
  • A: Buy that VW minivan and pimp it up Veronique style! Back pack through South America for a couple of months, find me a man, be thin, go on a frogging safari,… :) I can go on and on and on with this list!

  • Q: To which other part of the world would you move to without any hesitation?
  • A: Well I must say I’m pretty happy in this part of the World (Africa and more specific South Africa), but if I would have to move somewhere permanently then I want my family and best friends to move with me!!! ;-)

  • Q: A word or a phrase that you hate?
  • A: I don’t really have a word or phrase, I just find it very irritating when people don’t answer when you ask them something or when they avoid the question and beat around the bush.

  • Q: If you were to reincarnate into someone from real life who would it be?
  • A: Gisele Bundchen!!! :) No no no, just kidding ;-)…I would probably choose a really good singer, because I would love to have a great singing voice, maybe some one like Whitney Houston, hehehe, ok ok, I’m kidding again…But I’m not kidding about the great singing voice! :)