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Day 5 Cape Town, South Africa

semi-overcast

Think about the LCBO aisles, there's a South Africa section, right?  Well we spent the day in the wine lands of South Africa, there are 300 wineries, who knew?  An hour drive from Cape Town brought us to the vineyards in the middle of mountain ranges and Dutch homesteads.  I'm not really a wine connoisseur so we could have just have been tasting wines in Niagara on the Lake but hey, it was a great setting. And to boot Stef and Simo joined us today so it made for some good laughs.  We went to three wineries, they each served 6 tastings, the first one started at 10am.  That's right we were sipping wine and eating cheese at 10 am and felt pretty tipsy and sleepy by 11.  The last winery paired their wines with different chocolates which was also very cool.  We had lunch at a culinary arts school in the second oldest town in South Africa called Stellenbosch, cute little place.  That's about it today, nothing too adventurous.  We parted ways with Stef and Simo after dinner as they head to Victoria falls and we leave for Tanzania in the morning, we'll miss our friends.

Posted by tanyatyler 22:50 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Antelopes at the side of the road, antelopes in my bowl

Day 4 Cape Town, South Africa

sunny

After getting all the history stuff out of the way yesterday we were excited for today.  We drove along the coast stopping at the various points of interest.  Its a winding road with mountians in the background.  The first stop was "Camps Bay" which is a bay off the Atlantic ocean, with white sand, and houses overlooking the beach, really nice.  The water is too cold to swim in at any time of the year so didn't feel too bad that it was too cold outside to jump in.  There is also the issue of sharks that are in the area too of course.  The next stop was Hout bay which was kind of a fishing harbor.  At this place, we took a boat ride 15 minutes off the coast to a tiny island of rocks which is called "seal island", which has thousands of seals lying on it.  The boat took you right up to take a look at them, pretty cool (and some sweet pics).  Next stop was the Cape of Good Hope and Cape point which is the south western most point of Africa.  They have a lighthouse to walk up to and admire the view.  Whale season is starting soon so I was trying to spot some but came up empty handed (I thought I spotted one and gasped but Tyler was quick to point out it was a large rock).  In this area, there are some wild animals running around so we caught a glimpse of some ostriches and antelope (tyler ate antelope for dinner as well). There are baboons in the area that steal food from tourists but sadly we didn't get to see any.  Next stop was the best stop, really random but in the middle of a residential neighbourhood there is a beach that has penguins!  You can't go onto the beach but you can watch them from the side.  They are so cute!!, we got lots of pics.  The last stop on the trip was to go to a botanical  garden, meh, it was ok but it's winter so there weren't any flowers.  The guide gave us 45 minutes to walk around but we were done after about 20, and that was pushing it.  We went back to the waterfront so Tyler could take pictures at dusk, and then he went back when it got dark so he could take more pictures at night.  We ended the evening with Stef and Simo again at a seafood place where we had sushi, and a fish called kingklip; I just googled it and they look creepy, I'm happy I didn't see that before I ate it because  it was delicious.

Posted by tanyatyler 14:03 Archived in South Africa Comments (2)

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"Pooh" Mountain

Day 3 Cape Town, South Africa

sunny

This morning we went on a city tour of Cape Town.  I've posted a pic of the waterfront in Cape Town and the mountain in the background is called table moutain.  After the waterfront it's the second most visited site in Cape town. We went to the mountain first thing in the am, and took a cable car to the top.  It's a nice view of the city but other than that there is not much to do up there.  Our tour guide told us he would pick us up in 1.5 hours.  Again, it is nice up there but it literally is just covered in flat rocks so we had a hard time filling the time.  It is winter right now so the weather is around 12-16 degrees Celsius so it was chilly at the top and started raining.  Tyler was not impressed and now calls it pooh mountain. The rest of the morning was spent visiting museums and different buildings of significance, learning a lot about the history of the city.  The Dutch were the first to colonize the city, but eventually lost it to the British.  Nowadays, a white person of Dutch descendants may be frowned upon if they marry another white person of English ancestry.  There are 11 official languages of South Africa but most speak English and Afrikaans (mixture of Dutch, and a bit of english).  We went to a market in a square and we souvenir haters have already bought one!  At the end of the tour I thought we were going back to the hotel but the tour guide took us to a diamond store, so random.  The tour company must get paid by them, I was not impressed and was about to speak my mind but I'm a coward (and Tyler is even more of one) so we went in, got our free champagne and little tour of how they make diamonds and went in our way (it was actually a bit interesting but totally not cool!)    We were then dropped of by our guide on "Long street" which is supposed to be a trendy street with shops and restaurants.  We had some Cape Town street food called a "Gatsby" which was a sub with chicken, sauces, tomatoes, lettuce and fries! (really healthy).  In the afternoon we meant to catch a ferry to go to Robben Island which is the island that has the prison where Nelson Mandella spent 18 years BUT we couldn't go because they weren't having any ferries this afternoon because it's low season.  Instead we strolled along the boardwalk at the waterfront which was nice.  They have street performers to watch, a mall and a ferris wheel to go on.  It's very picturesque.  A quick story, Tyler also spent the rest of the afternoon mad at himself because he did some calculations wrong.  When he was paying a cab he gave quite a hefty tip I must say, even the cab driver was taken off guard..lol.  Tyler thought the strange look I was giving him was because he wasn't giving enough.  Basically, he paid $14 for a $5 cab ride and told the driver to keep the change.  I might have to take control of the money situation here ;).  We went out to dinner at a restaurant called " Mama Africa" with Simo and Stef.  For the last few days we've been on different tours so its been nice to talk about our days together at the end of it.  The place had live African musicians and we ate some crocodile kebabs, tyler tried a traditional minced meat pie with raisins called Bobotie (he hates raisins and didnt know they were in there until I told him later) and I of course had lamb! 

Posted by tanyatyler 09:52 Archived in South Africa Comments (2)

No sugarcoating here...

Day 2 Cape Town, South Africa

all seasons in one day

After a 12 hour flight we have arrived to Capetown.  We flew with South African Airways and it was seriously one of the best airlines we've been on, they had tender lamb stew for the meal!, so yummy.  Tyler slept like a baby, I had to check three different times to make sure he was breathing since he seemed to be sleeping a oddly large amount of time.  We were exhausted but we had an afternoon in a township. I've actually been procrastinating with having to write this entry because I'm not sure what to say.  This might be a depressing post, I apologize, but I dont want to make it seem like we're in a perfect country on a perfect little trip..no sugar coating here.  A little background info about "townships".  Prior to world war ll, the white people wanted the black people to work in Capetown but didn't want them to live here, so basically shanty towns sprung up in the outskirts of  Capetown (aka townships) where the black people set up shacks to live in and commute to work.  In 1948, the government that was voted in basically made the segregation between blacks/whites/coloureds the law and black people were not able to come into the city without passports from employers stating that they had a reason to be here or were arrested.   The segregation included things like school/healthcare etc.  This was the apartheid  and although it ended in 1994 the inequality and these townships still exist.  Capetown is a beautiful city, really pretty buildings, milllion dollar houses, fancy 5 star restaurants but literally 15 minutes down the highway are townships where millions of black people live in shacks.  We went to one of the townships with a white lady who has become close to some of the people and families there.  I am not exaggerating when I say there are hundreds of thousands to millions of huts made out of corrugated iron, basically 4 walls, no electricity or running water.  There are communal permanent porta potties and water stations to use.  There are little kids running on the dirt streets, no shoes, ragged clothes  and garbage all over the place.  Having said that, the children were super cute, and were excited to see us, fought to hold our hands and made Tyler take tonnes of pictures of them.  We felt a bit intimidated walking through their living quarters but everyone were very nice to us.  There are lots of hair salons, school, and stores in shacks.  It was awful. These people have to pay to take a taxi to the city everyday to work and back and have very little to spend afterwards.  Apparently the new government has been very good about the school and education but not with the housing.  They have a 30% unemployment rate and there is no social assistance so people have tonrely on family members for help and of course crime is high.  One of our black tour guides said that if you have enough money to move out of the townships, and move into the city, then you are regarded as a traitor and sometimes shunned by the township people.  Apparently most white capetownians have never been to a township even though you drive by them on the highway all the time.  Were we scared at times? Yes but we are happy we went.  There were lots of uplifting stories and people we met.   We judged the white Capetown people for letting this happen right in their backyard but Tyler soon pointed out that the first nations people  in Northern Ontario live in drug riddled communities with no opportunities, so we felt pretty guilty all in all about everything. It was an eye opening experience, one that we'll never forget.  Now we feel pretty guilty because now we can picture where every waiter at a restaurant, bell boy or taxi driver is potentially going home to at night...out tips are getting bigger thats for sure.  Ok sorry for being so depresso.  Don't worry parents we feel safe in Capteown.  We went out to dinner with Simo and Stef for from true African food (I had lamb once again, you'll see that this is a recurring theme).  Goodnight everyone, thanks for reading this one.

Posted by tanyatyler 15:00 Archived in South Africa Comments (3)

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