Africa | South Africa – bunny chow and babboons teeth..
so Chris and I made it back to Capetown alive and well, and began bustling around the town to get ready for my friends to arrive. I was a bit nervous since I had never actually traveled overseas with anyone i knew before!! haha
we found a great little hostel overlooking camps bay. It had a balcony surrounded by treees and birds and a gorgeous view of the beach. Chris and i tried a local experiment for supper called Bunny Chow. I guess bunny was a name the rich people used to call their chauffers and this was a common food they used to eat. It consists of a loaf of bread with the middle scooped out and some soup and vegetable poured inside. It was very yummy and we watched the sunset as we ate – it was gorgeous.
We got up early the next morning to meet Carmen’s flight. She was a friend of a friend who i had never met before, but Laura had emailed me a photo which i studied carefully in the cyber cafe. She said she would be wearing a white top and jeans. This was quite hilarious as I proceeded to jump in front of and shake a sign saying Carmen in front of 3 totally innocent blonde ladies in white shirts and jeans before she got off the flight. Laura and Angela arrived on a later flight. I assumed that everyone would be plumb tuckered out from their journeys and want to go back to the hotel for a snooze. Laura and Angela had travelled 40 hours including a 12 hr layover in germany!! I should have known better!! Everyone was so excited that they couldn’t sleep so we drove around the city giving them the car window tour and even went out to dinner sampling kudu, springbok, ostrich, trout, warthog, senegal chicken, and crocodile tail. The girls had plenty of enery in reserve to stay up and dance to the music of the african band. Go girls!! It was awesome to have a group of giggling girls in the car!! and chris, the lone englishmen, did an excellent job of chauffering 4 goofy and sometimes rowdy american women around south africa.
Hiking up table mountain is a rite of passage for every traveler to south africa. It rises about 3000 feet about capetown and the hike is straight up all the way!! The views are truly amazing though and the plant life is so different to anything back home and it feels like you are hiking on another planet! This large plateau drops off quite abruptly around the edges so you do have to be very careful not to walk off of a cliff. A couple of tourists died this way during our stay in capetown. The mountain is high enough to have an unpredictable weather system and fog sometimes blows over it like a blanket – known locally as the ‘tablecloth’. These tourists couldn’t see a thing. If it gets foggy when you are up there you are encouraged to just stand still!! Luckily our weather was good though so we had no trouble seeing the edge!
We followed the hike with our township tour which i described in an earlier letter, and ended the day with a sunset sail. It was a full day!! The sailing was great – with free unlimited wine (and handsome staff)!! We discovered that when you looked back at the shore and viewed table mountain and the city lights through your wine glass it was reflected upside down in the glass!! honest. I have witnesses and photos. No i hadn’t had that much wine to drink!
Next morning we were off to the Cape of Good Hope. It seems my optimism had led to a bit of poor judgement when it came to fitting everyone in the car. ” Oh… no problem i’m sure we will fit!” turned into 5 people in a family sedan with boxes on their laps!! i had so much stuff jammed into the space where my legs should have gone that i had to ride with my feet in the dash – or crossed indian style! oopss!!! sorry guys!! and of course i couldn’t complain because everyone ELSE had packed quite sensibly. i still haven’t got a handle on this packing thing 8-/
We stopped first at Simonstown home of the jackass penguins. It was lovely to watch these little guys waddle and swim around. They sure don’t sound cute though. The noise they make sounds exactly like a donkey braying!! You can’t believe that such a loud obnoxious noise could come out of a cute little bird; and I will never get used to the fact that penguins live in holes in the ground. I was in simonstown twice a month and a half apart. It was interesting to see the change in their behavior with the seasons. When i was there in october they were swimming, and walking around and braying like crazy. In November however they had begun to molt. THis is a stressful time for penguins since they are not waterproof so they can’t stand the cold of the ocean. They have to stay out of the water for like a whole month which means they can’t catch any fish to eat. Their survival depends on their having built up enough fat stores previously that they can live off those. They just stand there huddled up in lines with their feathers falling out at the edge of the water, staring at the ocean and looking miserable. Bad time to be a penguin!!
the cape is beautiful and we had lots of sunshine – and also the wind which it’s famous for. I reckon this is one of the windiest places on the planet – even beating out the sand dunes in namibia!! it was just ridiculous – you actually had to watch which way you stood sometimes or a gust would push you back a few steps. This made for great photos though with everyones hair imitating punk styles standing straight up on their heads!!
We were hoping to see some wildlife there and we weren’t disappointed!! We were watching some babboons from a respectful distance taking some photos when suddenly one turned on us and chased us back to the car!!! Then it was better than a 3 stooges routine as we all scrambled to get in the car with all of our ridiculous boxes and luggage – i thought i was safe and sound when i looked behind me and saw the monkey crawling through the back window!!! i panicked – you see babboons have a habit of biting people and their teeth are even sharper than lions teeth!! i shouted to angela who was in the passenger seat to get out quick but she didn’t move i guess she didn’t see the monkey in the back – so in a panic i jumped over her and fell laughing and scrambling on the ground !! everyone was jumping out and back in again while the monkey ran around and over the car.. we couldn’t seem to get all the doors closed at once!! laura had the closest call – – after finally managing to get the door shut with all the stuff and herself inside she realized her window was wide open – – she screamed and tried to become a part of angela who was now in the middle back seat while the monkey stuffed his head through the window threatening to bite her bum!!! luckily chris in the front was a quick draw with the driver side window control and got the window up before he could sink his fangs into american a**! the other tourists just sat safely behind their rolled up windows laughing at our screaming and scrambling antics. We laughed hysterically for a few minutes and had to dry our tears and nurse our aching sides before driving on. We were VERY respectful of the babboons and gave them a VERY big personal space after that episode!! Laura couldn’t be coaxed out of the car if one was anywhere near – understandably so!
The cape of good hope isn’t actually the southernmost point in africa – but it looks like it so who’s measuring!! all you can see from the lighthouse is the rough ocean and the howling wind. ok so maybe you can’t actually see the wind but im sure that’s just because it was a nice day. i would hate to see what a storm is like!!
well that’s it for this chapter!!
tune in next time to hear about our experience with the local medicine…