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Friday, October 18, 2019

Cape Town, Days 6 and 7: Hoping for the best

Bottom o' Africa, Ma!

Friday - our last full day in South Africa. Also, our last day to make full use of our rented Toyota Yaris. This was the day to visit the "Cape" in Cape Town, namely the Cape of Good Hope, a 90-minute drive from the city. The road leading to the cape ran parallel to False Bay for much of the way:

Entering the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve, we passed by some local fauna:

At the actual Cape of Good Hope. It's not actually the southernmost point in Africa (that would be Cape Agulhas, 150 kilometers/90 miles to the east-southeast), nor is it the spot where the Atlantic and Indian Oceans meet. The Cape of Good Hope, however, is the point where ships begin to travel more eastward than westward. The first Europeans to round the cape were the Portuguese in 1488:

Climbing up to get a better look:

Driving from the Cape of Good Hope to Cape Point, we passed some more local wildlife:

At Cape Point, overlooking the waters of False Bay:

My wife didn't feel like walking, so we took the Flying Dutchman Funicular up the 1859 old lighthouse:

My daughter may be going through puberty, but she still doesn't care much about her hair, except that she refuses to have it cut:

Some natives taking advantage of the fine weather to take in the fine views:

From Cape Point, we began the drive back to Cape Town, but not before stopping in Simon's Town to have lunch at Fran's Place:

Afterward, Amber and I took a walk along St. George's Street, while Shu-E rested in the car. The local mosque is hidden away down a side street:

We stepped into a secondhand clothing shop, and I walked out with a rugby jersey, that of the Golden Lions. At least I think it is, as the woman who rang up my purchase wasn't sure:

One of Simon's Town's most popular attractions is the Boulders Penguin Colony, home to some 3000 African penguins. Visitors can get up close and personal with the aquatic birds via a boardwalk that also serves to protect the penguins from getting too close to the tourists:

We also encountered some dassies while walking along the boardwalk:

The penguins apparently were once known as jackass penguins - this short video clip should answer the question as to how that name came about:

A bit of browsing in a local shop before heading back to Cape Town:

Our final dinner in Cape Town on Friday evening included some Peking Duck at an Asian fusion restaurant called Haiku:

Our last breakfast on Saturday morning at the Dutch Manor Antique Hotel:

Posing in front of the tackiest representation of Nelson Mandela I saw during our stay. Kitschiness aside, my one regret from our trip was not having the time to visit the Robben Island prison site where Mandela was imprisoned during the worst years of apartheid:

A Soweto Cherry Ale while waiting to board our Ethiopian Airlines flight to Addis Ababa - "Ohh so childishly delicious":

Farewell South Africa:

What my wife bought while we were in Cape Town:

Same continent, but different worlds - being in Cape Town was much like being back in the U.S. or U.K., with its infrastructure and standard of living. Throughout these blog posts, I've purposefully avoided the subject of politics. I'm old enough to remember the protests against apartheid, and the campaigns to disinvest from South Africa and to free Mandela from imprisonment. I can also recall when Mandela was finally released, apartheid collapsed and majority rule was introduced to South Africa. The country today still has a long way to go in becoming a more equal society, but few would argue it was better off during the days of segregation.

Cry freedom, cry the beloved country. Wishing a brighter future for all its citizens...