Episode 7 : CapeTown and Homeward Bound.
(4.10.11) by Craig
We are currently in the beautiful city of Cape Town, or the "Mother City" as it is known here. The city sits on the water, with the awesome Table Mountain as its backdrop. Despite the dreary weather forecast, the days proved sunny and blue, so we spent the time doing touristy things. Yesterday, we caught the rotating cablecar up to the top of Table Mountain (along with a zillion others). It was well worth the wait. The 360 degree views of the city, mountain spine and along the coastline were phenomenal (probably the best mountain top/ building top vista I have ever seen). Back in town, we went to the Pan African Market, a small hole in the wall that led into passageways and rooms crammed with huge masks, curios and all sorts of stuff from across the continent, as well as a goovy, ramshackle outside bar on the first floor, playing old Motown hits (we had to stop for a drink of course) (Lez, Davey and Mark, you would have loved it). We also went to an area of the city called Bo Kaap (upper Cape), where Cape Malays live (descendents of the Asian slaves brought over by the Dutch). This area is a blaze of colourful little houses, where we ate samosas, chilli bites, vege bites, and a sugary curiosity called "Kok Sisters" (! ? ).
On our last day, we took the hop on-hop off bus around the area, which stopped at the beautiful Kirstenbosch Botanical Gardens, where everything is in bloom and Ross finally got to see his King Proteas. Then we re-joined the bus around to Hout Bay, where we had beers on the wharf while kids fed fish to seals in the harbour. With the crystal clear water, and mountainous backdrop, it was perfect. We then passed thru the fashionable beachside suburbs of Camps Bay and Clifton Beach - WOW - before pulling back into town.
So, we have had a fantastic time here in South Africa. Socially, it is still a country finding its feet in the post apartheid era, I think, with big discrepacnies between richer white and poorer black communities (shantytowns sit beside affluent white neighbourhoods, and most menial jobs are held by blacks, while most admin and managerial jobs appear to be held by whites). Yet it is a fascinating and richly diverse culture, a melting pot that is stirring away. Everyone that we encountered has been friendly and helpful - regardless of race, and we have generally felt safe in most places (security gards/police have a high presence on city streets). And then of course there is the stupendous wildlife - both on land and in the sea. (The main reason that we came). South Africa was everything I had hoped it would be, and more. My long held dream of seeing African animals in the wild finally seen to fruition.
Love to all,
Craig (Ross and Bryan).
P.S. A "best of" set of photos will follow, when we return to Melbourne (via Sydney for a few days).
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