Monday, July 4, 2011

Geek In Cape Town

July 4, 2011
We just arrived in Maputo this afternoon after a week in Cape Town, and I am enjoying the first steady internet supply of the trip. We've had a great time in South Africa, where the weather is cool, the mountains are flat, and the vegetarian cuisine is bountiful.

My dad, Caleb and I began our journey on Sunday, June 26 at 7 am, and after one delay and a total of thirty seven hours, arrived at our hotel in Cape Town, South Africa and met up with my dad's friend John.
The main attraction in Cape Town is Table Mountain, a huge mountain with a naturally flat top so that it looks like a table. On Thursday, we went to the top of the mountain in a cable car, and enjoyed the incredible view. Caleb was constantly snapping photos, and we got some excellent pictures of the landscape. 
Earlier the same day, we went to Kirstenbosch National Botanical Garden, and even though it's winter here, it was still filled with beautiful plants and very entertaining sculptures.

Caleb was forced into an arranged marriage to an unappealing woman.

July first was a full day--my calendar is totally covered in pen where I jotted down what happened. It was actually the warmest day yet, so it was an interesting coincidence that this was the day we chose to see the African penguins at Boulder Beach. They were lying around, since I suppose it was a bit hot for them, and at first it was sort of depressing because we thought some of them were dead, but when a couple of ducks waddled into their territory, they hopped to attention!
Next, we decided to go to Cape Point National Park for a long hike up a mountain for some more great views. On our way there, we saw a sign with an exclamation point in the center, and underneath, the word “baboons.” I thought the sign was funny and hoped to see a baboon, but didn’t expect much. But as we rolled down the left side of the street, more signs came into view. “Please do not feed the baboons;” “baboons are dangerous and attracted to food.”  When someone spotted one, we pulled over to take pictures, and very soon began to notice more and more! There were more than six baboons in our sight, and they were fascinating to watch.
After Cape Point, we were faced with a decision: go back to Cape Town, or stay in the little town of Hermanus for an opportunity to go whale watching the next day. Of course, whale watching was very appealing, but it meant we needed a cheap place to stay. This is where you get one of those situations where someone says "we'll laugh about this someday." The innkeeper was Rina, a very friendly Afrikaner woman who, when we arrived, showed us the room and asked if it was okay. Shivering, we gave our approval--it wasn't big or ritzy, but it would do fine. She gave us a tour of the whole place, a little place made up mostly of patio; I guess it must have had about three or four rooms including ours. We finally had to ask: "is the room heated?" "Ah," she replied, "well, there was a gas heater, but we were afraid that people would die in there with the heater on. Would you like a hot water bottle for the lady?" I guess there was a gas leak or something, but needless to say I accepted the hot water bottle. With all the blankets Rina so graciously provided, it wasn't so bad.
Saturday's whale watching excursion found us on the tumultuous seas without a whale in sight. We were out for about two hours, and the wind and rain were dreadful. The boat was tossed around so much that those on the outer deck got soaked and seasickness was experienced by the majority of the passengers. I did see a whale spout, but it was mostly, as my dad said, more wave watching than whale watching.  This is the most whale we saw.

 Caleb has decided not to shave for the duration of this trip, and wants my dad to do the same. When my dad warned him that he was planning to shave his beard on Tuesday, Caleb pointed to his wily scrap-tee. "Do you think I think this looks good?" He demanded. "This is not a fashion statement, it's about being a man in the wild."
By the end of the trip, they will both look like this guy!

To conclude this post, I'd like to note a couple of cool things about our South African experience:
South Africa has great food, vegetarian and otherwise. At almost every restaurant we’ve been to, there has been a vast selection of different animals you can eat, such as ostrich, warthog, kudu, or springbok, but there are also more options (such as spanikopita-type dishes in filo pastry, caprese pizza, and excellent seafood) for lacto-ovo-pescetarians like myself.

There's more than one way to flush a toilet. The toilets have two buttons to flush them, one bigger than the other, so that you can use less water or more water if you need to. I had heard about this phenomenon in other countries, but I was filled with a very geek-ish delight at the reality.
Look what's crossing the road! Instead of the occasional squirrel or possum, you might see the occasional baboon or antelope. This guy might be a female eland. 


  1. In the picture where Caleb is kissing the sculpture, he looks just like your dad! I've heard baboons can be really nasty. I'm so glad you're having fun. :o)

  2. If you add/enable a Followers gadget, I'll be your first follower!!

    Miss Tammy