A Travellerspoint blog

East London-Arrival

We were picked up at the airport by Charles Benn and spent the afternoon with his wife Carol and grandson Oliver and took a tour of his plastics factory. We met Charles through Saville in Sun City.

Charles' "Slum Dog" came 20th in the Suncity Pigeon Race. He gave us a tour of his lofts, his coy fish pond and his wine cellar with his own label. It was great to hear some of his stories of places he has visited in the
world. He loves all kinds of birds and likes to fish. At the end of our visit I thought I had a conversation with my double. We seemed to have a lot in common and I think we will be friends for years to come.

Charles has a loft manager who takes care of the day to day operations of the loft. He also has domestic help for yard and another for inside the house.

His home overlooks an estuary river with lots of wild life and monkeys.
Many nets are set out to protect his fish and plants from the monkeys.

-Fernando

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Posted by travelDIAS 23:16 Comments (0)

Last Day in Cape Town

overcast 71 °F

Today, we started the day on a half day bus tour of the city.
This was the first "meh" moment of our trip.
After the excellent guide from yesterday, we were in a group where we were the youngest people there crammed into a bus with very little to do but listen. The guide was not interactive nor very entertaining.
The cloud cover was low, so we missed out on the Signal Hill and Table mountain viewpoints of the city and you can tell he and the driver were trying to figure out what to do to fill the time.
Best part of the tour was walking through the Longmarket Street where we saw many backpacker sites and it reminded us that the next leg of our trip was going to be to rough it up a bit.
We did get to view a statue of Bartholomew Dias - again got Fernando going about his seafaring heritage. The government honoured him as the first explorer to discover Cape Town and its advantageous location and climate for the Europeans.
I was not impressed with the ride on the side of the mountain where the drop was 1,000 feet down and the bus was not going very slow. I had to close my eyes and Fernando kept trying to make me look by saying things like, "ever neat" blah blah.

We were trying to figure out how to fill our afternoon differently and the weather made us not choose to finalize the booking on the champagne sunset cruise on a catamaran. Windy and clouds made is almost to the point of unpleasant. However, remembering that it was still above 20 celcius kept us from any complaints.
We ended up napping and reading by the pool. We took advantage of the robes and slippers provided by the hotel.

The evening was very windy. We walked about the Harbourfront and enjoyed the many street entertainers and a meal at a local taverned called Quay 4. Great band was playing and food and prices were great. Fernando enjoyed a Seafood platter for under $15.00

There is a bit of excitement on our floor of the hotel. Security guards et al because the King of Lesotho is staying in the suite across the hall.
This hotel has had many celebrities and political leaders stay and has a monument outside that commemorates the special visitors with plaques. Fernando tried to convince the concierge that he too deserved to be mentioned because he had two pictures posted in the Sun City Million Dollar Pigeon Race website. The hotel declined to so honor him. At least we didn't get the boot from our floor when the King moved in.

Tonight we need to get reorganized in our bags. We head to East London in the Morning and have to catch a ride to the airport quite early.

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Posted by travelDIAS 12:56 Archived in South Africa Comments (0)

Cape of Good Hope

sunny 93 °F
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The day dawned with heat in the air when we made our way down to breakfast at 6:30 in the morning. The view outside our room is of the Atlantic side of the Cape. Out in the mist is Robbins Island where Nelson Mandela spent 18 of 27 years in jail. The sunshine promised a 'nice one'. Ended up in the thirties with no clouds at all. Much hotter here than Johannesburg.

Today was one of guided sightseeing. We contracted a tour company to join a small tour and it turned out that we were the only ones on it.
The one on one service was amazing. We learned that everything was going to be "lekky" and practiced our Tsoski clicks...we're very bad and spit all over with them.
The beaches are amazing, but each one came with its own history of great white shark attacks. Most were suited for surfing. All had people swimming....anyways.

Cape of Good Hope is the southern most point of Western Africa. One of the "four corners" of the world.
But of course, Fernando was most impressed with the monument to Bartholemew Dias who is recorded to be the first who rounded the Cape in search of a route to the black gold...pepper in India.
Unemployment in the part is at around 24% so entrepreneurs do whatever they can to stand out and provide a living for themselves. The woodwork is amazing and I could just purchase suitcases and suitcases of the stuff.

There are many seal and penguin colonies along the route and wild Ostriches dot the various stops.

The small towns are are worthy of a look and we couldn't begin to properly travel this section in less than a month. But all the sighseeing is a bit of a blur when you try to do it in a day. I (foolishly) did not bring along the sunblock that I so carefully applied at 7 am and ended up getting quite a burn....a lesson to make sure that is in regular attendence on our hike.

The evening looms and we will spend it on the harbourfront where all the 'action' is. Lovely restaurants, shops, live entertainment etc.

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Posted by travelDIAS 11:36 Archived in South Africa Comments (1)

where is my lighter?

We have arrived in cape town and finally have cell service.
Whate a beautiful city. No good words to describe it. Spent the evening on the waterfront getting over our first big tiff of the triP. Suffice to say that the Palace hotel will be purolating Fernandos wallet to our hotel in Cape Town 2 hours planE ride away by Wednesday.

Posted by travelDIAS 13:26 Comments (0)

Rueben & the regular people

overcast 77 °F
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Rueben is the security guard who passes by our room each morning.
Fernando shares his Canadian cigarettes with Rueben and this has made him a regular visitor each morning.
Ruebens job is to chase baboons away from the rooms. He is equipped with a paint gun.
It is a highly organized operation with radios, reporting and surrounding the baboons once they are located and then ensuring they are removed without great harm to either guests or the animals themselves.
Apparently, baboons have been known to get into a room and make themselves at home.
Rueben tells us about a woman who was removed from her bed and how the baboons decided they wanted to take over the bed.
We learned very quickly to always check the double lock on our sliding doors.

Rueben is 43 years old with three children. His wife died three weeks ago after a short bout with pain in her stomach.
He makes about 2100 Rand each month working 12 hours a day 21 days a month. That's about $15 a day and $350 a month.
He had to borrow 2500 RAND for his wifes funeral and is seeking a wife who can help him look after his kids.

In general, our conversation with the locals both workers and SA Afrikaans have revealed that there are great discrepancies between whites and blacks in this country.
Where in Canada, we may have about a 20% welfare state that we are supporting, here about 20% are supporting the evolving social structure for 80%.
We've had illuminating conversations about AIDS and the need to provide medication but the lifestyles and attitudes that prevent people from receiving the treatment that is being made available. to them.
We spoke to a farmer couple who openly told us about their domestic help who they pay $120 a month for full time work. Among their peers, the servants are considered privileged and this family gives them far more that they could achieve in the regular workforce. So, to employ or not? It looks like they are providing good employment. Yet from Canadians perspective it is quite offensive at the wage level they offer.
The social norms are perplexing. We simply cannot apply our standards
here. Very eye-opening.

Well, we are off to pack and head to Cape Town for three days.

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Posted by travelDIAS 23:56 Archived in South Africa Tagged people culture city su Comments (0)

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