Saturday, May 22, 2010

SA: Cape of Good Hope

I never figured out what's so hopeful about the Cape, but I enjoyed seeing it anyway. We drove south out of Cape Town (with Matt, Allen, Vien and myself in the dinkiest car this side of a Tata Nano) down the West coast of the peninsula, crossed over to the east coast, and continued south until we ran out of land.

The first thing we saw was the rocky coastline studded with multi-million Rand homes. This is where the west coast rich live, and since the rich are almost entirely white, so are these cities. Most of the homes are protected by walls topped with electrified fences, but as ugly as that is, the beauty of the coast still overwhelms.

Our first scheduled stop was the famous Boulders penguin colony in Simon's Town. The penguins there are content to live essentially on main street, and though an official viewing area is offered (and charged for), we saw many wandering around on the open beach (and in the road) nearby. They were no less cute than you would expect.

Do you see how small this car is?

Baboons! That's the sign that greets you as you drive down the peninsula. We thought the local roads authority was being a bit dramatic; they were not. Those monkeys were everywhere!

We made it through the baboons, but it was getting late before we arrived at the Cape. We had spent a long day in the car (did I mention how small it was?), and I was relieved to arrive at the most south-western point in Africa. Wait, what? I had to travel all that way before I learned Cape Point isn't even the tip of the continent. Let that be a lesson: it's all in the marketing. That info, perhaps in combination with the large pot of mussels and cream I had for lunch, probably caused the scowl below.

The Cape has seen many uses, as the various relics left on its shores can attest, but its beauty has been marred only slightly. Between the jet lag, overwhelming views, baboons, ridiculous car, and South African accents around me, I wouldn't have been surprised to wake from a bad-seafood induced dream.

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