Location: Cincinnati, Ohio

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Cape of Good Hope

With Heather in the hospital in Maputo, I decided to take a tour to Cape Point which is at the end of a peninsula south of Cape Town and is the most southern point of Africa. When Portuguese explorer Bartholomeo Diaz rounded this point, it changed history because this would be the new trade route between Asia and Europe. I have to thank Nuno for suggesting this.

We were an international group that morning on the tour bus. The guide, Hein ("just Hein") who was an Afrikanner, the black African who was our driver, a couple from Ireland, a Chinese couple from Malayasia, a Japanese man, an Australian man, and three women who had been attending an international mining conference in Cape Town who were all living in Canada - one was a black woman from Ghana who lived in Toronto, another woman was Russian and lived in Vancouver, BC, and the third woman was just Canadian and also lived in Vancouver.

I was picked up at 9 at the guest house and we returned at about 5:30 so the trip took all day. The wind, which had spoiled my trip to take a tram to Table Mountain, was a constant adversary when we stepped out of the vehicle.

The route we took led us through suburban Cape Town along the coast, a quite wealthy area. As we got further out of town, the road hugged the coastline alongside mountains and looked something like taking the coastal highway in California. Beautiful little towns sprawled through little valleys. But there were be crowds of black men at the intersections just sort of waiting, an example of the problems clouding South Africa. The driver said that because of the high employment the men wait at the intersections hoping that someone will offer them work, perhaps odd jobs for the day.

There are great contrasts in South Africa. Shiny suburbs like those we drove through but also villages of shacks between the airport and Cape Town. Similar shanty towns surround Jo-burg. These places represent immense challenges for South Africa's future.
At the top is the famous Cape of Good Hope, the most southern point of Africa. The guide noted that originally this was named Cape of Storms rather than the Cape of Good Hope and the wind we experienced shows why that could be. Next comes Hout Bay and the mountain known as the Sentinel. Then I wanted to show you how this road often just hangs on the edge of the cliff. Next is just a scene along the coast. Nice drive. At bottom, we visited the penguin colony at Simon's Town. The wind was really howling. You can see I was kind of hanging onto the railing to stay upright. It almost ripped the camera from my hands. The poor penguins were laying with their rear ends into the wind for protection.


Blogger bart said...

just passing through, good story, nice photos.

keep well...

10:48 AM  

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