Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Cape Town - Day 1

(posting by Andy)

We are finally in Cape Town, South Africa!  First of all, for those of you who don't know much about Cape Town (I was certainly one!) it is the oldest city in southern Africa and is regularly heralded as one of the most beautiful on earth.  It has mountainous slopes sustaining the world's most varied botanic kingdom (like 9,000 species) and it overlooks lush green valleys carpeted with vines... the drive into Cape Town first was a modern freeway surrounded by slums but that turned into a modern city surrounding Table Mountain which kind of looks like Diamond Head in Hawaii.
Cape Town is physically separated from the rest of the continent by a barrier of mountains.  The look is kinda like California, but once you see the people, you know you're not in Kasas anymore!! 
The flight here was long, though.  Heathrow airport was easier to get out than we expected (not out of Terminal 5 for you news junkies, thank God), we did not have our bags checked and, for the most part, it was easy to get on the plane.  The 12 1/2 hour flight here was long but we made the best out of it and slept as much as possible.
Today in Cape Town we toured Green Market where the locals sell everything from art work, wooden sculptures (like masks), statues of warriers and other sellable goods.  At first it was really cool but then became overwhelming because the eye is so stimulated with all this stuff that after some time, we had to just walk away.  The art of negotiations is key here.  Everyone selling tells us that we are "the first customer" or they "will give us a good price".  In all a bit overwhelming and we are certainly not at Macy's nor Nordstroms any longer.
We still have not seen any animals but there is plenty of time.  For now we are in a big city but later we will adventure out and see more....the people are very nice so far. The combination of whites and dark Africans is common here in Cape Town but later we will certainly stand out in the crowd.
Nicole (Rhett) and I have rented a lovely apartment that is near the water and although some of the luxuries we have become accustomed to are missing, the overall experience has been worth it even with the loss of a bellman and roomservice.

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