14 February 2011
Bono at BreakfastJohannesburg - Cape Town. Travel day.
It's a clich to say that when you're on tour you often see nothing more than the venue and the hotel but in the case of Johannesburg this turned out to be an understatement. We ploughed a furrow from the hotel to the stadium, but I realised today that when in the hotel I'd never even left the area of Villa 1. This has turned out to be one of my favourite tour hotel experiences ever, tucked away in our own little world with staff who had the balance right of being all over it, but without that intimidating textbook faux over-attentiveness. Most of them came to the gig last night so they were full of comments this morning.
I ran into Bono over breakfast, who was extremely happy about the gig last night, and the magical Hugh Masekela moment. He was also highly complimentary and full of gratitude that we had managed to pull off all five of the new elements at such ludicrously short notice on a weekend. "I actually couldn't believe it", he said. "Well, do try not to make a habit of it," I replied.
Later, in a fit of wanderlust, Smasher and I decided maybe we'd have a spot of lunch over at the main hotel building, taking our laptops to quell the cyber-twitch. After five minutes of sitting by the large, main hotel pool we became so intimidated by the presence of Other People that we picked up our computers and scuttled back 'home'. By way of compromise, we decided to lunch at Villa 2 next door where we met a few of our touring party dissecting the Grammys show that was on TV here late last night.
Finally it was time to leave for the airport, at which point one of our villa staff actually cried, which was very sweet. She may just have been relieved at the thought of actually getting some rest, but either way...
We drove to the airport via something of a circuitous route to avoid traffic, past neighbourhoods we hadn't seen before. Our hotel is in an affluent area that seems to consist mainly of high-walled compounds concealing big smart houses. Now we seemed to be driving through more 'normal' neighbourhoods and eventually past some very lo-fi looking collections of dwellings.Wherever we went though it seemed that the number one concern to all was security. I'd say a man wouldn't go out of business running a razor-wire factory in this town.
It's a couple of hours' flight to Cape Town, which passed without incident. Landing at dusk a fleet of vans took us the half hour into town and to the Hotel Fabulous. It was dark on arrival but this one looks like it has ideas way above its station. I can barely imagine what aesthetic delights await in the morning light.