Thursday, April 10, 2008

Cape Town - Day 2 - a tribute to Deena

Photo of African acapella group singing - a tribute to Deena

(posted by Andy)  
I am writing you today from a little internet cafe in the middle of a place called Green Market.  Very popular at the moment because almost all the ancient computers are being used.  This is where many backpackers and hikers send letters to their loved ones as I am also doing now...
Yesterday was both wonderful and also somber to both of us.  We are finally getting to the point where our jet lag is starting to go away but it is still very visable due to the late start to the day.  We have rented a cute little car that fits us perfect!  We packed it up and traveled south to the farthest tip of S. Africa, the end of the line so to speak.  More about that in a bit....
The first place we stopped was at Rhodes Memorial where we enjoyed the majestic views of the city and had breakfast.  This place was erected in honor of Cecil Rhodes, the man who made his fortune in diamond mines and became prime minister of the Cape in 1890.  He pretty much owned Rhodesia - or Rhodes-esia after his name which later became Zimbabwe.  Here diamonds are one of the main sources of income for the rich; the poor just work to death (literally) to dig them up from the mines.  Many people here have died in the name of furtune in diamonds....for those of you who are movie goers....see "Blood Diamonds".....your perception of diamonds may change from good (or you ladies great) to not so good.  Anyways, the memorial is an inposing granite staircase flanked by giant lions and and overlooking the Cape Flats and Table Bay.  We then had a simple English breakfast and enjoyed the view from atop and then took off. 
Now for some animals....of which we have see little to none so far!!  We drove about 25 miles to Boulders Beach.  Here is where we viewed the large breeding colony of jackass (African) penguins that settled here in the early 1980s.  No, I did not make up the jackass part, although I giggle evertime I think about it.  It was a main attraction and worth the drive.  Here you see hundreds of jackasses wondering the beachside, some laying on their egg, some walking about, and some just enjoying the African sun.  They are very cute, we took photos to share with you but as most of you know, being here is much different than any photo we can take.....after the visit to the penguins, sadly to say we received some horrible news from the States via text that I have been waiting for and news that once received, is harder to take than one ever expects....
Our dear and most loved friend Deena has passed away and I still tremble typing the words because I believe I am still in denial since I am so far away.  As I was told by Rhett the news the world got very small, and I couldn't understand it and it was very hard for me to hear.  Just as I was in the middle of my somber moment and in my own solace, a group of African men started singing the most beautiful African song acapella.  The timing was such that I felt that they were singing it to us, to comfort us in our time of sadness....I sat in front of them with tears starting to fall, the words I did not understand, but in my own mind and sadness, I understood the meaning as a farewell the a good friend of ours, a friend who I will not forget and who I carry her spirit with me here at the tip of the world and in the land of South Africa.  It is impossible for us to leave for this, since we are so far and we had known of her illness prior to leaving....We did go to the hospital prior to our departure and said our farewells.  Farewell to you Deena, we love you and hope that your spirit lays in a better place.  We thank you for your friendship and for your laughter.
Soon afterwards, we had to leave the little town with the little jackasses and off to another place where as stated earlier, to the tip of South Africa in the Table Mountain National Park.  The place is called Cape Point and it is the end of point of Africa - only to be separated by the Atlantic Ocean (and Antarctica) finding South America.  Glorious and majestic are the views, with mountains, babboons (which we DID NOT SEE, only plenty of signs warning us), birds of plenty, and the ocean.  Here the Cape of Good Hope Nature Reserve is most famous for Cape Point, the farthest tip of the Cape Peninsula.  The usually windswept reserve can be pretty bleak, but the coastal views are arresting and the beaches are almost deserted.  We stayed there until the park closed and could have used a couple more hours just to take in the beauty but we had to leave as it was getting dark and we didn't want to drive back through any shanty towns.
Along the road tip home we did see ostriches and impalas which roamed along the landscape as we would see deer in the States.  Very cool and very "National Geographic".
We finally made it back to Cape Town and had dinner at this place that was suggested by our landlord called Tank.  The restaurant/bar had a giant TANK located in the middle with the ambiance of a modern color mix of blue and white.... I had pasta (shocking) and Rhett had ostrich (probally one that we had seen earlier alive along our trip - he did say YUMMMMM as we drove by them come to think of it) , even more shocking for me...but a typical meal here in South Africa.  In fact the eggs of the birds are used by the artist to paint on and sell to toursit.  I hear the egg itself is delicious but I will not explore the opportunity nor we I eat the meat.  Rhett really enjoyed it and I believe he would eat it again should he have the chance. 
This was a long day and now we are off to the wine country of South Africa to try some local wine and take in more sites.
Bye for now and wish us luck on our next journey....

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