Friday, January 7, 2011

Elusive Table Mountain in Cape Town (Nov. 21, 2010)

We were up pretty early and saw that Table Mountain was cloud-free. Yay! It looked like a nice day…but by the time we went to the gym, had breakfast and got off the ship, the clouds had moved in. They aren’t working on our time schedule!

We walked over to the Hop On, Hop Off bus…

Here is Table Mountain…or it’s there somewhere!

Nobel Square with statues of Nobel Peace Prize winners—Albert Luthuli, Desmond Tutu, FW de Klerk and Nelson Mandela. What's with Lego Man in the background?

It's Elliott the Coca-Cola crate man. Several of these have popped up in Australia. It shows what you can do with recycling!

There is a dry dock facility for refurbishing ships...

We saw a few people looking at something on the dock so we went to investigate. Seals…

These are African fur seals and differ from “true” seals in that they bark, have thick fur which they moult once a year, and can lift their bodies off the ground when they “walk” rather than dragging themselves.

Some very nice boats here!

And some that have been around for a while! The one on the left is covered in birds and bird poop.

We decided to buy a two-day pass on the bus and do the blue line bus tour this morning, which doesn’t go to Table Mountain. Hopefully, tomorrow the weather will cooperate. The blue line tour does a tour of the peninsula and stops at Kirstenbosch Gardens. The first thing Jim saw was a nice car!

We passed by the statue of Bartholomeu Dias, the first explorer to arrive at the southern tip of Africa in 1487. He was looking for a way around Africa and his two ships were badly battered by gales. He reported his findings back to Portugal calling it the Cape of Good Hope, which was better than the Cape of Storms.

It was Sunday and it was quiet in the downtown area. We were cautioned that once the office buildings vacate during the week and on weekends, it’s not the best place to be.

Part of the art deco architecture…the Purple Turtle was a tattoo parlour in an undesirable area, but they have cleaned it up and it is now a comedy theatre.

Some of the lovely homes…it was getting foggier as we carried on…

By the time we arrived at Kirstenbosch, it was pouring rain. We finally had to give up our seats outside on the bus and move under cover. We heard that Kirstenbosch is beautiful covering over 1300 acres, but in the rain, we decided to pass on it.

The next stop was Imizamo Yethu Township, one of the poorer areas of Cape Town. The tourist guide said it has a unique feel and is part of the South African culture. If you get off here, a guide will meet you and tour you around the town. Not part of the town you should be doing on your own.

Our next stop was Camps Bay which is a cute little marina. It was starting to clear by now and we moved back outside on the bus. We decided to just do the complete loop for today.

Jim spied a 1950s Mercedes in excellent condition…

Lots of little bakeries and fish shops and some nice houses on the hill…

It was clearing off nicely now and we had a good view of Lion’s Head with the houses going down to the water.

No wonder so many ships have wrecked here over time.

The Twelve Apostles are remaining hidden. Turns out there are actually 17 of them and no one seems to remember why they were called the Twelve Apostles.

We’re coming into the pricey part of Cape Town in Bantry Bay. It's known as the wind-free area in Cape Town so it's highly desirable.

Nice beaches… It wasn't unusual to see workers taking a rest. They don’t like to rush things!

Sea Point with lots of beautiful condos and restaurants and the place to party at night. It's the only high-rise area available along the whole Cape Town shoreline.

These look like townhouses. Must be great to have the tour buses driving past your house every half hour.

The Sea Point promenade…very popular area for walkers, joggers and sunbathers…

The lighthouse at Mouille Point…in French a mouille is a breakwater. In the early 1700s, a breakwater was started in order to protect the ships. Construction began in 1743 using slave labour, but after 3 years and high seas, the project was abandoned with only 100 m built.

And it was back to the waterfront. By now we were starved and looking for a place to have lunch.

We sat outside and enjoyed fish and chips, a glass of wine, the people passing by and the warm sun. I was in search of a pharmacy, so we walked to the nearby mall.

Getting Advil was an exercise. You can’t get it over the counter and we were quite surprised when they asked for our names and a phone number when they gave it to us. Then they got out a little cage and locked it inside. We were looking at each other and trying not to laugh. It’s Advil! But things are different here. We headed with our little cage to the cash.

And wandered back to the ship. The clouds were still covering the mountain.

The waterfront at night…

And a full moon…we’re hoping for a sunny day tomorrow to see Table Mountain!

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