My latest trip to Cape Town was much different than the three previous excursions. It lasted just a week instead of two and included very little leisure time. No golf, just a bit of reading. We were there for the wedding of my brother-in-law Daniel and his new wife Bianca.
As my body clock recalculates and tries to figure out if it’s morning, afternoon or night, let’s take a brief picture tour of the Fury Family’s 2013 Cape Town adventure.
The wedding took place in Langebaan, which is about an hour’s drive from Cape Town, depending on which part of Cape Town you live in. It was longer for us. We rode up with my wife’s mom and stepdad, her brother Anthony, his wife Bianca (yes, both brothers are married to gals named Bianca) and their two little girls, Casey and Madison. Anthony drove the family truckster, a big old van/bus beast that comfortably seated everyone but the poor driver stuck with navigating the big ship down the highway. New thing I learned on the South African highways: On two-lane roads, it’s common for drivers to pull over onto the shoulder to allow other cars to pass them. Just flash your lights in appreciation once you pull ahead.
Langebaan, according to one surely reputable website that popped up early after a Google search of the city, is called the jewel of the West Coast. The wedding took place at the Crystal Lagoon Lodge, which was the site of the actual ceremony — the bride and groom said their vows on the deck, facing the sea — and our home for two days, as several of the families stayed in the suites while others were lodged in nearby facilities. It’d be hard to find a prettier spot for a weekend stay — or a wedding.
On Friday we relaxed, I wandered down to the beach and we later went out for dinner with the groom, his final one as a single man. I also hung out on the balcony, relaxing, taking in the sights and sounds of the ocean.
We ate at a casino nestled in Langebaan. Here are some of the drinks. Er.
Rain threatened the nuptials but the showers came early and late but left in time for the afternoon vows.
After the ceremony the wedding party and other friends and family wandered down the boardwalk and to the beach, rocks and ocean. At one point the bridesmaid saw a stranger who had been lurking around earlier in the day again taking photos, near the official photographer. The bridesmaid yelled at the photo intruder to leave the area and she complied. The bride is a big fan of the Kardashians so it was a bit exciting for her to have her first encounter with paparazzi.
The reception featured good food, funny speeches and plenty of drink. It was also, blessedly, free from a most annoying American wedding tradition: The clinking of glasses every four minutes that means the bride and groom have to stand up and kiss for the masses. None of that. I danced for three minutes, besting my previous wedding record by three minutes.
Here’s my married brother-in-law at the reception. Two of the three things in this picture can spell doom for a man.
It was a small wedding and it was a blast being one of the 40 people there. In 2004 we had an even smaller wedding and, ladies, I don’t want to tell you how to spend the happiest day of your life, but it really is an underrated way to go, particularly if your guy is not the biggest fan of performing in front of large crowds while wearing a suit. Give it a shot, on the second wedding at least.
Several people wandered across the street to another lodge for an after-party but I retired relatively early, content to spend the rest of the evening listening to the waves outside our door.
A few days later we were headed back to the airport for the two-hour flight to Johannesburg, followed by the 16-hour flight to New York City, although there was a touch of confusion at the check-in counter when the agent believed our home country was called “JFK” and not “USA.” The 16-hour flight was, as always, nearly unbearable. Time disappears and all you can do is try and sleep or watch movie after movie after movie — on the flight to South Africa and back I watched: The Campaign, Taken 2: This Time They’re Really Taken, Bernie, Arbirtrage, End of Watch, Minority Report and The Man in the Iron Mask.
But, this was a unique trip: Our flight was basically empty. Our flight attendant said there were only 75 passengers on a flight that holds 275. Nearly everyone had a row to themselves and the elderly man next to me slept for probably 14 of the 16 hours. Guess he didn’t want to watch Liam Neeson kill a bunch of people.
So that’s it for this year’s adventure. A whirlwind week, unlike any of our other trips to South Africa. One thing was the same: It was an unforgettable time in an unforgettable land.