Saturday, March 18, 2017

Are we Lucky?

On Thursday, I woke up early after a terrible sleep. We'd landed late in Cape Town, were part of the throngs trying to get through customs (though, did so without a glitch), retrieved our luggage from the carousel, and almost literally ran into our hosts, Leslie and Celia. 

Leslie is my maternal grandfather's cousin. So he's my mom's second cousin. I don't know what that makes him to me :) I will likely refer to Leslie & Celia as L&C for ease. They live with their daughter and Celia's sister in a house in Mitchell's Plain, a suburb relatively close to Cape Town.

A not very good picture of the neighbourhood.

On our drive out to the house they talked about some of the changes mom might notice. She was in South Africa more recently with her friend Linda, though it has still been 7 years. The area has been flooded by refugees from the troubles elsewhere in Africa. Shack cities have popped up on vacant private land and people try to get by doing anything they can. Meanwhile, unemployment is so high for South African Nationals, it's a pretty dire situation. 

On top of it, there has been a drought in Western Cape, and the city is telling its residents that at this rate, there is only 100 days of water left. 

Canada clears snow drifts from the road.
South Africa clears sand drifts from the road!

It has been 22 years since I was in Cape Town. I remember so little, as it turns out. 

Early to rise and early to leave, Leslie mom and I headed out on an adventure to see the Boulders Beach Penguin Colony! Real live penguins in their natural habitat!! A first for this MASSIVE penguin fan :D

There were some stunning photo ops along the way.

Muizenberg and 9 mile beach.
Sadly we didn't see any. 



Looking towards the south, Cape Penninsula.

Coming into Simon's Town.
After a detour to Mineral World, where they sell things made out of the semi-precious stones found all over, we continued to our destination. 

PENGUINS!


MOAR PENGUINS!
PENGUINS EVERYWHERE!



There were so many of them.
People are confined to the board walk, so the penguins can breed and nest undisturbed.

NUGGETS!!!!
After Simon's Town, Leslie took us on a scenic drive around Chapman's Peak. The view was unreal. I missed M especially at this part, thinking of how much he'd enjoy carving around these corners on his bike.


Noordhoek Beach 

From Chapman's Peak Drive

Hout Bay

The Sentinel, in the background.

Some school children (in uniforms) danced along with the percussion band on the wharf.

This man would mug for the camera for tourists when they took pictures of his creation.

This guy made friends with a sea lion, who would pose with tourists for fish treats :)

I can't go near an ocean without sticking a foot in.
After a leisurely lunch we headed to Table Mountain. Much had changed since we were there.


The cable cars' floor rotated so everyone got a 360° view. 


One of the few things I remember, the Dassies, or Rock Rabbits.

Some sort of gecko?

View from the top of the world!



The fog was starting to roll in across the ocean.

Pied Crows. They reminded me of gigantic magpies :)


Losing steam :)

Protea, South Africa's National Flower.

On the drive home, you never leave the mountain behind.
the route we took
Throughout the day Leslie would ask, "Are we lucky?" when looking for parking, or walking towards a queue. His intent was to ask if we'd luck out with the lines, or find a spot close to our destination. Instead it helped to remind me what an opportunity this is. Every time he posed the question I answered an emphatic yes. Because even if we were last in long line, or have to park far from the destination, were here.

So yes, we are lucky.