Port Elizabeth today. We didn’t have a tour organized, so we took the shuttle into town with a friend. Except that the shuttle dropped us off at a mall. It seems that in every town we’re in, the ship’s shuttles drop us off at a mall, most of which are almost identical to American malls.
We did hit a grocery store and pick up a few things, and a pharmacy to pick up a few more. One of the things we looked for was ibuprofen, but they didn’t seem to have it – another example of things that are easily available in one place can’t be had at all in another. On the other hand, we did find two things that feel like they’re from another era: Doan’s back pills, and Grand-Pa headache powder. It was kind of charming.
From there, we took a cab to what was billed as an art walk, starting at a pyramid built for the wife of the white man who founded the town. The pyramid was fine, but the art walk was a huge letdown. There were a few interesting works, but the grounds were strewn with litter, and the gardens that looked to have been planted with care had gone to weeds.
We walked up to the Nelson Mandela Art Museum, where we saw some really interesting works, mostly by South African artists, but a few by Europeans. By that time, we were ready to get back to the ship. We had to get an Uber, but port security wasn’t going to let our Uber near the ship. One problem: our friend is disabled and depends on a walker. She got out of the car and demanded to know which one of the security guards was going to carry her the 100+ yards to the ship. They all looked at each other, and after some murmuring and grumbling paired with the cajoling of our Uber driver, they let us through. It was kind of nice, because the driver had never seen the Queen Mary 2 (I feel like, even living in a port town, it’s easy to miss – it’s usually in a town for a single day, and if you don’t happen to be right by the port that day, you miss it), and he was tickled to get right up close. We told him that it’s big enough that he could probably drive us right to our rooms. It’s not. In fact, most of the elevators only hold 3-5 people