It was my first full day in Cape Town, and the morning was full of promise. The shower at the Braeside B&B was hot and well-distributed. Michael, one of the owners of the establishment, prepared an amazing spread for breakfast even though I was the only resident, and informed me that Kenya Airways had called to say they’d located my lost luggage and it would be delivered later in the day (in fact it would be another 36 hours). And while walking to the waterfront area I stopped in a pharmacy and some very nice folks helped fit a wrap for my bum knee. I limped less, and it was a happy limp. The luggage news, especially, was huge.
So I’m standing next to this guy waiting to cross the street, and I asked him if I was headed in the right direction. He said that he thought so; he was going to the same place.“You American?” I asked.
“Yes,” he said. “Where are you from?”
“Man, I can’t get away from Florida. Where in Florida?”
“Jacksonville,” I said. Close enough.
“Unbelievable. I live in Jacksonville Beach.”
We live five miles apart and bump into each other on a street corner 11,000 miles from home. Astounding. His name is Patrick Nolan, he teaches the history of the Holocaust and the Vietnam War at Sandlewood High and FSCJ, and he travels every chance he gets. He was here for a couple of days before taking off by car to meet friends.
We spent the morning doing some sightseeing, including an hour at the excellent aquarium at the waterfront, and it couldn’t have been more pleasant. We ended up having dinner a couple of nights later before saying ‘safe travels, see you back in Jax one of these days’. It was a nice and quite remarkable coincidence; i’m sure it won’t be the last “small world” experience of the trip.
(And please forgive me if the title of this post has put that insidious little song in your head, as it has done to me.)