Boat Trip to Robben Island and Waterfront
Cape Town Travel Blog› entry 10 of 41 › view all entries
Friday morning we woke up late. We had stayed up late Thursday evening chit-chatting and laughing again at random stories and experiences.
We woke up around 9:30 am. We ate breakfast then got dressed and went to tour our hotel. We went to the pool, to the deck and to the beach front property grounds to take pictures. After that, Sha's co-worker picked us up at 1:30 pm and dropped us off at the Clock Tower, near the waterfront, where we could catch the ferry to Robben Island. Robben Island is the "Alcatraz" of South Africa. It's where many political prisoners were sent. Nelson Mandela, himself, was imprisoned there for 18 of the 27 years he was imprisoned.
The ferry ride was rocky!!! I have never been sea sick until this ride.
From the boat the waterfront at Cape Town looks just like the Inner Harbor. It's very pretty and touristy. It looked like a hot summer day in Baltimore City's Inner Harbor. We got to Robben Island and got on a bus for a bus tour around Robben Island.
The tour itself was just okay. It was not great, but it was decent. The tour guide kept trying to make jokes, but some of his jokes were not as funny as he thought they were.
Then we got off the bus to get an actual tour of the prison. The prison tour was guided by a prisoner, who we later learned had been in there for 5 1/2 years for sabotage, treason, possession of armed weapons and I can't recall what else. He was sort of quiet and shared highlights of the prison.
Seeing Nelson Mandela's cell was amazing. I've always admired him as a public figure - how he stood up for what he believed in. The cell was about 4 by 4 feet. I can't imagine ever being stuck in a cell that small for 18 years. Wow! How depressing.
Once we were done the tour, we took the ferry back. Connie and I decided we were starving. She kept talking about a burger. I was in the mood for some yummy beef. I miss home cooking.
So we walked into a restaurant right on the waterfront.
My taste buds could taste that good, yummy, fatty, dark brown (but slightly pink on the inside) beef! Yum! It was going to be our "one nice" dinner in Cape Town. A little while later, the waitress came out with two plates. I looked at Connie and told her my burger looked undone. "It looks too pink.", I told her. She responded, "That's because it's Bologna!". Oh boy!! We laughed so hard. She also got a bologna sandwich. We each received two big slabs of pink fried bologna. Yuck! It was so nasty. Before Connie started her meal, she said, "Man... I'm going to need a drink before I can eat this." So she ordered a beer, and I ordered a glass of wine.
Oh.... that Bavarian Meatloaf was so gross! It reminded me of an incident I had with Shazia in Detroit when we ordered Vegetarian Meatloaf and got something completely "vegetarian". Imagine that!
Connie started singing, "My bologna has a first name, it's O-S-C-A-R; my bologna has a second name, it's M-A-Y-E-R!". Then the rest of the night we laughed and sang the bologna song! I couldn't stop singing it.
We walked around the waterfront shops for a while, until our cab driver picked us up. We went home, packed and prepared for the morning flight back to Johannesburg.
Yesterday, we took an all day tour of the Cape Town. We saw so much. It was an intense day. There’s so much to write about (I took 2 pages of detailed notes), so I’ll have to sort through my notes and type all that up when I have more time.
But in the meantime, I had a few good friends ask me a few questions about my luggage, so I thought it would be neat to respond to them in my blog.
To answer the first question I received, the picture of me with the backpack and the red carry on bag is exactly all I took with me on this trip. There were no other bags.
In my red bag, I had my netbook - a mini laptop that weighs like 2 pounds, my small wallet that had my checkcard, credit cards and 40 US dollars, a few wallet sizes pictures of Larry and me and a prayer card; my passport; a cell phone; a chapstick; a lock; a small bottle of hand lotion; a pack of hand wipes; gum; my iPod; a South Africa tour book; and finally a clear Ziploc bag with travel-sized hairspray, mousse, conditioner, shampoo, soap and detergent.
In my backpack, the front pocket had a tour book for India, the one side pocket had a travel-sized tripod for my camera (which I have yet to use) and the other side’s pocket had a small bag with miscellanous stuff like anti-malaria pills, deodorant, band-aids, a travel-sized bottle of Tylenol and Excedrin, and a few other random little things.
The top part of the backpack had my camera, my mouse and power-cords and converter for the electronics I had brought along.
The inside of the bag contained on pair of khaki pants, one pair of black Capri sweat pants, one pair of black shorts, one pair of khaki shorts, one pair of black dress Capri pants, one pair of leggings (in case I get cold at night) and one pair of sweatpants to sleep in.
The other thing is, I’m going to be in each city no more than just 5 or 6 days, so I really won’t have time for too many “nice” dinners, so I think two dressy outfits should suffice.
I also had underwear and socks in my pack.
Finally, I wore, one pair of jeans, and layers on top consisting of a tank top, long sleeved shirt, black sweater and my purple and white jacket (for when it rains). I wore my sneakers since they were big and bulky to pack.
So the first few countries I will be in have reasonably warmer weather. All of the clothes should suffice in those countries. For the day I travel to Japan, the first “cold” country I will go to, I have the leggings to wear under my jeans, the long sleeve shirt I packed plus the layers I wore on the plane. I arrive in Japan at 8 am and Larry will meet me in Japan at 2 pm on that same day. Larry is bringing me a black corduroy skirt, two other leggings, one turtle-neck, my winter hat and gloves, and my warm boots.
We’ll exchange a few things once we meet up and he’ll bring back all the winter stuff I won’t need for Thailand before he comes home and I go on to Thailand on my own.
Though I did leave a little room for small souvenirs, luckily, Connie is helping me out by taking some of my souvenirs from South Africa back home with her. She brought a big suitcase and is checking it in, so this will help tremendously. Because she offered to do this, I did buy more souvenirs than I anticipated I would in South Africa, but still tried to keep it reasonable, as to avoid burdening her with my stuff.
So that’s it. That’s what I packed. In re-reading all this, I actually feel I packed a lot. Definitely a lot more than what it looks like!
Feel free to e-mail me if there’s anything else you want to know about on this adventure!
During our tour of the Cape Peninsula yesterday, I learned that I have been referring to two things incorrectly.
The tour guides' accents here is very hard to understand sometimes, so although we're trying to learn as much as possible, I want to ensure we represent our learnings accurately.
In that spirit, two corrections I want to point out are:
Pork Piltong, which I mentioned we tried on Tuesday at the Nature Reserve tour, is actually Pork Biltong. "Biltong" is the correct word. Biltong, strips of game, beef, or ostrich is cured with spices and dried and is sold at farm stalls and butcher shops throughout the country.
Quarter Camps are actually "Squatter Camps". I mentioned the informal houses and "quarter camps" we've been seeing throughout the country in a previous entry. They call the people that live in these houses squatters and the accurate terminology is "squatter camp".
Though the people here speak English very well, the accent is difficult to understand at times. There have been many times I've asked the tour guides to spell something for me, because I just can't make out what they're saying to us.
This has all been a great learning experience!