A vicious penguin
We went from twelve people crowded into a seven-seater minibus with no seat belts (and more potholes than road) to a Mercedes minibus and a spare seat! Oh, but we LOVED Zimbabwe and wouldn’t have changed a thing!!! How could we thank Debbie Brennocks and her beautiful girls enough for helping us experience such an amazing ten days?
We are now staying in a lovely place called Noordhoek in two cute little cottages, with Morag and Lance next door. It’s been fantastic having Morag and Lance to share the boys with. For the past two days we have done a lot of sight-seeing in beautiful Capetown. Yesterday we drove around to different places that Andrew, Morag and Lance remembered from their childhoods.
One of these places was “The Scratch Patch” where the kids were able to rummage through beautiful piles of polished stones and pick out a bagful for a small price. For the equivalent of fifty cents they could buy a chart that tells you what stone is what – they loved it! Next we found a market selling all kinds of African crafts very cheaply. Unfortunately our suitcases are already very full and many of the items were made of materials that are banned in Australia. We couldn’t believe our eyes when we saw an extremely obese seal sitting out the front of the fish market being patted by passersby! Of course we had a pat too and a man standing nearby showed us how to pull its whiskers so it would open its mouth and show us its teeth! I could feel the blubber through its skin – poor thing…what chance does it stand for a healthy BMI when it sits outside a fishmarket?!
Our only disappointment for the day was that we really wanted to catch the ferry out to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was incarcerated for twenty-seven years. However, when we went up to the ferry terminal ticket booth and asked to buy a ticket, the man laughed at me (in a nice kind of way) and told me the ferry is booked out weeks in advance!! What a shame! We had even watched the movie, “Invictus” in preparation.
Today we headed off to the Table Mountain National Park, despite the fact that it was rainy and overcast. We weren’t sure how long we’d last in such weather but we ended up staying nearly all day! We traipsed up mountain paths to see the lighthouse, drove down to the south-westernmost tip of Africa and felt the temperature of both the Atlantic and Indian Oceans – freezing!! We bundled the boys back in the car before they had a chance to go swimming.
We were awed by the gracefulness of an ostrich as it ran alongside the car (I think it was pretty terrified but it needn’t have been – we were only shouting because we were excited). We pulled into one of the look-out spots only to find a colony of quite large penguins residing there. They were quite tame as long as we stayed behind the low wall and didn’t mind us taking pictures and gawking at them. Of course some people have to go that step further and try for the ultimate wildlife experience – the touch! At Antelope Park last week Joseph had sneakily put his hand through the fence and touched a lion’s mane, so he thought reaching out to touch a harmless little penguin would be a cinch. He totally underestimated the huge canine teeth that penguins possess and was savagely bitten on the finger (slight exaggeration on the canines but it was a nasty bite). Tomorrow Joseph and Lance are going on a ‘cage-diving-with-sharks’ (Great Whites!!) experience so I just hope Joseph doesn’t try to pat one of those……
The rest of us are hoping ‘The Tablecloth’ will have lifted off Table Mountain so we can catch a cable-car up and see it in all its glory. After that we are off to Somerset West to stay with Uncle George and Aunty Shirl, who are Andrew’s parents’ life-long best friends.