Monday, January 28, 2008

Cape Town

Here's part two of "What I did on my Christmas Vacation." But first, updates.

Jorge managed to make it back to Malawi unscathed on Saturday. Somewhat miraculously, he did not lose his passport or any money on this trip. Just the plane ticket (he lost mine, too). But we managed to get it sorted out. He brought lots of gifts, so I have decided to forgive him for abandoning me. Not before giving him a hard time for a few hours, of course.

I have just FOUR WEEKS of work left! So I am all a-dither trying to finish things off. There is just so much to do, both here in Malawi, and back in the U.S.

So Cape Town was nice. I thought it was a nice city, with a beautiful setting. Sort of like Baltimore, or Philadelphia, with good topography (before anyone takes that as an insult, let me just say that I really like Baltimore, OK?) The city itself is not much to write home about, although it has some interesting museums and some nice neighborhoods. But I loved being so close to hills and ocean again.

We had a terrific place to stay, right in the center of the business district, close to a lot of great restaurants. This was view from our little apartment, with the clouds covering Table Mountain:

Before going to Cape Town, everyone will tell you that you must go up Table Mountain. Then you will get to the ticket office, see the two-hour line for tickets, and ask yourself whether it's really worth it. It is. On the mountain, we were given a free guided walk by a volunteer, which was so interesting - she pointed out all the indigenous plants and took us to see the best views.

The waterfront area has been revitalized over the last few years, and is now sort of a big sprawling shopping complex. Malls sort of freak me out now, since the biggest shopping area in Malawi is about the size of your average supermarket back home. All those people! Just spending money like it's going out of style! In Malawi, you go shopping because you need something. And then it still takes you about 3 trips to different stores because they're all out of at least one item on your shopping list. The concept of shopping as entertainment is sort of lost on people here. But the best thing about the waterfront was getting out on a boat for a cruise.

And that's where the best views of the city are.

On our last day in Cape Town we drove down south along the coast. The highlight for me, as expected, was seeing the penguins. Dang cute, those birds. And very used to visitors, so you can get very close and just watch them. I especially loved watching them walking (and hopping).

Finally, Jorge and I took a walk out to the Cape of Good Hope. The wind was a bit scary, and a few times I thought I might just get blown off the cliff! But it was nice to just have a good walk.


Jesse said...

That is one stinking cute photograph of a penguin, my dear! Hard to believe you'll be off work waiting for your babe to arrive in four weeks!