long street backpackers is a very cool looking place from the outside - balcony overlooking long street, with a great african bar/restaurant/live-music venue right across the street. plus there's a great mural on the front face, and walking in it feels pretty cool - open courtyard, multiple levels of rooms, etc.
we checked in after finding out that we had arrived in the nick of time for parking - after 5pm on friday parking is free. sort of. more on that in a bit. the reception at long-street backpackers (LSB from here on) doubles as the bar. and the receptionist we were greeted by was a south african punk. no visible punk markings or anything outside of a couple of tattoos and doc martens, but total punk look. and i mean dockworker punk, not trafalgar square pink hair punk. we couldn't understand more than 20% of what this guy, ollie, said. after attempting to convey messages, we finally understood that we were to give him a 30 rand room key deposit, and moved into the only double room with built-in bath/toilet on the premises. conveniently it had one window which opened onto the balcony. the balcony overlooked the street, directly across from all the loud bars.
we decided to take a stroll around the neighborhood and also call warren mac carthy, long-lost miu'er from the good-ole-days. the real hustle and bustle of long street extends about 10 blocks. lots of restaurants, bars, coffee shops, etc. obviously, given our gastronomical snobbishness, we found the best coffee place and some very good restaurants within the first few minutes :-)
warren looks about the same as he ever did. it's a strange thing with ex-miu-ers. seems like the passage of time is very fluid - seeing each other after 12 years felt like no more than a couple of weeks. we had dinner at a caribbean place called mojito's, just down the street (excellent food) and just wandered about aimlessly talking.
returning to the LSB, we were given the full experience of the long-street scene. people start filtering into the clubs at around 10pm, and the partying starts around midnight. most clubs seem to go through to 6am. mama africa, the place directly across from the LSB has a live african band playing until about 2am or thereabouts. we got to hear them quite clearly from our room off the balcony :-) i guess the general feeling is that you'll sleep when you get home! the music was very good, but it can still be a bit trying after exhaustingly long drives. i would have loved to go out and join the partying, but there's only so much you can do in a day!