Capetown day 1
We left Tswalu Motse at 2:30 for our 2:50 flight to Capetown. We were a few minutes late, but that was okay, as another couple was even later. The 2 hour flight – 6 passengers – was delayed by about half an hour. We had had to skirt a thunderstorm midway. An Austrian couple were sitting opposite us and when we told them that we were from Vancouver, he said what a coincidence as he was going to talk to the coach of the Canucks that evening. Thurs out he is a hockey player agent. He thinks that the Canucks’ coach is good but they need a new GM.
The airport is about ½ hour drive into Cape Town, but the traffic can be pretty bad. Luckily we were going into town, and most people were leaving it so it did not take too long. Mervyn picked us up, and we had good conversations about Zuma, who has just resigned. Interestingly enough (at least to me) is that we were in Brazil when Dilma (pronounced juma) was in her death throes as President of Brazil.
There was a terrific thunderstorm yesterday, with enough rain to cause flash flooding – 9 people were killed. It remains to be seen whether this will alleviate the water shortage. When I asked Mervyn whether there were aquafers here (there are in the Kalahari) he said yes, and that they were beginning to drill for them. It has been 3 years since they have had a sufficient amount of rain, so he and I both wondered “what took them so long”.
We are reminded to conserve water everywhere we look. The plug in the tub in our room has been removed, although we are assured that should we wish a bath, instead of a quick shower, we need only ask and they will replace it.
Katie, who has arranged this trip for us was concerned that our first night in Capetown fell on Valentine’s day, and so made reservations for us at Belthazar. It is quite near the hotel.
The hotel, Cape Grace, is situated in the waterfront area. It was built 21 years ago, on land that has been reclaimed. It sits in a little piece of land that juts into the harbor. Across a tiny liftable bridge, is a huge area of shops, restaurants, bars. And people, teeming with people. We had a terrific meal, and learned that portions here are HUGE. Continuing on my “pursit of animals” as Robin calls it, I ordered Kudu. It was fabulous. Robin had Baby Kingclip, a local salt water fish, and we had enough left over to have for lunch the next day.
After a very nice breakfast, overlooking the small yacht harbour, we headed across the bridge again, and then over a second bridge to the jetty for the ferry to Robben Island. This is where Mandela and many other political prisoners were held, some for 27 or more years. The prison was originally built by the Dutch, and used as a leper colony as well as for criminals. Recently it was used for political prisoners. The tour around the Island by bus, with stops for pictures, with a large group of people reminded us why we like to travel alone, or with friends. But, the tour inside the prison given by an ex political prisoner was awesome. He really made us feel what it might have been like to be locked up in those tiny rooms for so long. Nelson Mandela’s cell looks just like all the others.
The ferry was a bit late arriving back because we encountered some whale activity and stopped to watch. I was not sure what kind of whale we watched. It might have been a right whale. There are also lots of seals around – really stinky ones. Almost as stinky as the thousands of Cape Cormorants that are all over the beaches and docks of Robben Island.
After a quick but lovely lunch of leftover last night’s dinner, we headed off to the cable car up Table Mountain. I know, I know, some people walk up. It’s too hot for that, and its too far and too high. We saw the stairway from the nice big windows in the cable car, and they don’t have railings, so I would not have been able to do it. I had a hard enough time up on top of the mountain and tried to stay clear of the edges, some of which had no railings of any kind. I heard a guide tell his guests that they “lost 2 or 3 people” each year. I have no doubt, watching people clambering over the rocks to take selfies.