As 2018 kicks off to a busy start it’s interesting to reflect on the wonderful people who have crossed our paths over the last year. People from every continent. Well almost, if we count the Japanese team who were headed for Antarctica.

Wine, women, men, sometimes song, lots of fun

The Winelands and a few glasses of wine usually brought out the best out of people. Sometimes too much so! Like the Australian group who after tasting at Boschendal wine estate decided a nap on the beautiful lawns would be a good idea. In such a magnificent setting I couldn’t argue with the idea.

Then at Ernie Els vineyards fierce competition at their guests’ practise hole. The competitive streaks come out, spurred on by the promise of a free bottle of wine for a hole in one. The flip side was a group of young American students in the Winelands. One of them earnestly told me that her parents were wine lovers. When I asked her if they drink red or white wine she looked at me in total confusion. “No,” she said, “the wine they drink is like a clear yellowish, not a red or white colour.”

Amongst a group of doctors was one from Belgrade who decided that he should swap roles with me as driver of the van. Having established that I enjoyed wine, and with him being a non-drinker on a wine tour he thought it only fair that he should drive the van, and I as the guide taste the wine. It took quite a lot to convince him otherwise!

And now for something completely different …

A delightful group from the West Indies were a huge amount of fun. They had one passion though -KFC! It seems our best restaurants just couldn’t compete, and we made several stops for KFC chicken during their stay here.

One of the outsourced freelance jobs involved escorting 150 rugby boys from South America to the top of Table Mountain. Looking after a bunch of teenagers is no easy task at the best of times. And I should mention they didn’t speak any English! Quite a stressful morning, but fortunately all went well.

It’a also a constant learning curve as a guide too. Like my first experience of Hungarians who I had presumed were a very serious nation. How wrong my group proved me, and what a fun day that was!

And yes, the Japanese do bow all the time, and love their business cards, but what charming tourists. Polite and incredibly punctual they were a pleasure. But again a lesson in not assuming behaviour based on nationality. A vivacious Japanese lady broke the mould completely. With my Japanese (zero) and her English (zero) she successfully managed to communicate with much un-Japanese hand waving and wonderful facial expressions followed by a good deal of laughter.

A year of meeting so many diverse yet similar people

But apart from the funny incidents, it’s meeting such diverse people, and hearing their stories. People who’ve crossed our lives for a few days and given us a glimpse into their lifestyles. And sometimes coming from the same country, they completely opposite views. Pro Trump or  anti Trump, differing views on the migrant crisis in Europe, for or against monarchy, and so it goes.

So here’s to all the wonderful people around the world! We look forward to the same fun in the year ahead and to welcoming you to our beautiful city.