A Travellerspoint blog

Day 21 Final Day in Cape Town

The mad rush

sunny

So as planned, there was a lot of "business" to take care of the last day. So we starting some packing, did the mall one last time to update this blog and check emails, etc. Next we drove to the V&A Waterfront for lunch and one last visit. One of the other things that I had done (incorrectly) was to order tickets to the Quarter Finals (Germany vs. Argentina) for Saturday - obviously we will not be here. However, originally, I was hoping to move our flights/extend our stay and/or that the USA would finish 2nd in the group and then win (the Germany path). None of that happened of course, so we were left with tickets to sell for the game. The Waterfront seemed like a good area and the Paulaner is down there as well. It was also a good place to do some last minute shopping and get an extra piece of luggage. We carried around signs that we had tickets for sell. There were a lot of people interested and one guy wanted them but then chickened out because of a ticket scam there - I never heard the details of that, but heard something about it.
The problem is that all of the locals can get the cheaper tickets and they did not realize that as the games progress, the ticket prices go up. So, it was unlikely that any South African would pay face value for our tickets. We also learned that "face value" must be an American term. Anyway, after a few blotched attempts, a couple of guys finally bought 2 of the 4 tickets, so at least we had half of our money back.
Time was running out so we headed back to the cottage to finish packing up, take showers and check out. We were cutting it a bit close, and then the landlady wanted to chat more about our stay, impressions, etc. Eventually, we had to cut that off. We also had one last goodbye to Wilma and drop off a few USA items for them as a thank you for hosting us for dinner. Now we were really late. The airport is fairly close, except we were trying to get there during rush hour and the traffic was bumper to bumper for some of the way.
Checked in the rental car, then checked in for flight - seems like some people were have issues, so that took a while. They oversold the flight, so they were offering $375 cash to get bumped. After that, we went to the FIFA ticket booth at the airport to see if there were any options to return the tickets for them to resale. No such luck, but the agents were extremely helpful in helping us to get them to someone else as well as helping to verify the tickets were real. After a few false starts - people that wanted them but had trouble getting enough cash. We finally found a couple of guys that just came in - they hit the ATMs to get rand and we then hit the exchange burro to convert all of our rand to dollars. And then hustled to the gate in order not to miss our flight - but we were fine in the end as the gate closing time was really the boarding time.
The flight to London was really nice as that leg was business class again. I'm writing this final entry from the BA lounge. Even though it is quite nice, we are quite exhausted and a bit run down; we will be glad to be home soon. Sorry for the lack of pictures for this entry, but nothing new to show. I guess this will do it for 2010, so until 2014, ciao for now.

Posted by wc2006 00:47 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (1)

Day 20 – Doubly Sad day

No soccer and last night in Cape Town

semi-overcast 60 °F

This is the first day without any soccer games as these are the rest days leading up to the quarterfinals. And unfortunately, this is our last full day and night in South Africa as well. Gwen and I head out along the coast of the false bay towards Hermanus and hope to see some whales (still a bit early in the season for it). It’s a nice day, but a bit overcast and some threats of rain, but we’re going anyways as it’s our last day.
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There is some beautiful scenery along the way as we make our way along the coastline. At Gordan’s Bay we get to see a small whale but unfortunately only caught a small glimpse on camera (maybe this doesn’t even show up here?). Just after we packed up and got back on the road, it was more active with lots more parts showing – not a real breach but lots of fins and the tail.
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Along the way to the road to Hermanus, we took a route (accidentally) through a shanty town, the slums if you will. Houses or dwelling made of leftover materials, patched together with plastic and rocks. You’ve probably seen the pictures and it seemed rude (and perhaps dangerous) to stop and take pictures. It was really quite sad to see such poverty. On the return trip, we took a different road which took us through yet another shanty town, this time after dark and there had apparently been a power outage – no street lights either. And we had to drive slowly to avoid the pedestrians as well. Gwen as really relieved when we found the main road.

Jump back a bit, in Hermanus we walked the shoreline cliffs a bit and stopped for a wonderful lunch as at a very quaint Bistro where we stared out at the ocean hoping for additional glimpses of whales. The lady before us said she had seen some jumping around. The meal was great, the ocean relaxing, but no whales for us. On the walk back along the shoreline, we approached a lookout and saw the tops of whales as we had seen at Gordon’s Bay. We hurried to the peak to get ready for more photos, but I guess they were camera shy and we should’ve taken pictures before the lookout point. Oh well.
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Hermanus had a very nice open market where we picked up a few more things and strolled through the town. We found an internet café there and then headed back to town. We had thought about catching the sunset on the Altantic Seaboard but soon realized we were probably too far away to make it. So we took our time getting back, stopped a few times along the way and Pringle Bay (southern most part of the east side of the False Bay) for the sunset. It was quite spectacular from this vantage point. Though the “sunset” was very quick, it was nice because once it passed the mountains on the Cape, it was still light enough to see and make our way back out of the area a bit.
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We did not realized that the gorgeous shoreline road we had taken over was void of any street lamps for the return. But at least about half of the way, it was not really completely dark and the ocean was quite nice at dusk as well. Luckily, the trip home (even through the shanty town) was uneventful. We had a nice dinner at the Limoncello to finish off our last night.

Tomorrow will be filled with last minute shopping, ticket sales, packing and getting to the airport – perhaps nothing to blog about, so this might be the last entry. It’s been a great ride that we enjoyed thoroughly – we can’t wait for Brazil in four years.
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Quip of the day: All of the Nike "Write the Future" stars are now out of the World Cup at the QuarterFinals stage. Well done, Nike.

Posted by wc2006 01:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (0)

Day 19 – Exploring Cape Town again

A Historical Look

rain 60 °F

Since today is a game day, we used this one to explore the remaining areas of Cape Town that were on our list. We travel on foot to a brand new area as we visit the District 6 museum. This rather small museum portrays the history of apartheid and its effects on ordinary people (some 60,000 people were evicted from their homes and their homes and neighborhood was bulldozed to the ground). You can imagine our surprise as we also ran into Katie Couric there as well. The floor was also quite interesting as it was a hand drawn map of the area.
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From there, we walked to the Castle of Good Hope. It was perfect timing as we got to witness the ceremonial changing of the guard. The drummers were quite impressive – have you seen the movie Drumline? The grounds were very interesting and included some displays regarding their Carnival (Mardi Gras) as well.
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Next to the Castle, was the Fan Fest and we thought for a moment about staying there for the Paraguay vs. Japan game. However, it was starting to rain, there was a line forming to get in and we still had other things to see. So we walked across town to the Bo-Kaap (Muslim) area for lunch. It poured during our very long lunch at Biesmiellah; which serves traditional Cape cuisine (which seems like Indian food to me, but we’ve been told repeatedly that it is not).
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We watched the first half of the Paraguay vs. Japan game at the cottage as we dried out our clothes and bundled up for the cold and rainy night game night. But since it was no longer raining and the taxis can’t get that close to the stadium, we made the stroll again. We stopped the O’Driscolls Irish pub to check the score and the last minutes of regulation time. But it was way too hot for the amount of clothes we had on, so we continued on towards the stadium. We found a nice Canadian and Italian couple to take our extra tickets and got inside for the game extremely early.
The seats were good, about the same as the first game. They showed the penalty kicks from the Paraguay/Japan game on the stadium screen. We were really excited to see Spain as we know a lot of their players and have never seen them play live before. They really play well as a team and really dominated the game as Portugal rarely got the ball forward.
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In keeping with the theme of seeing new sights in Cape Town, we accidentally walked out of the North gate instead of the South and added an additional ½ mile to the long walk home – as we were quite tired from all the walking this day. But luckily, it was a bit cooler, but no rain from the time we set out from the game, so at least we were dry.

Quip of the day: “I know this Cape Malay food is totally different from Indian food, but I just can’t tell you how.”

Posted by wc2006 06:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (0)

Day 18 – Wine Tasting in Franschhoek

More of the Cape Winelands

sunny 68 °F

Gwen and I got a late start since my cold/flu/sinus infection finally caught up with me. But we did get out and to the Wine Region before noon time. We drove to Franschhoek and made our way back to Cape Town. First stop was Cabriere. They were nestled on the Franschhoek mountains and displayed the gorgeous weather well.
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We walked through the cute little town and had a nice lunch outside. There were many interesting buildings in the town.
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Next was La Motte vineyard. This was a very nice one with immaculate grounds and an impressive tasting room. Their wines were quite good as well and we picked up a couple of bottles from here.
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Next was Boschendal wines. They had a very lovely outdoor place for tasting. However, they mixed up the order of their average (but cheap) wines, so we weren’t positive which wines we were tasting. But the gorgeous grounds and day made it a completely enjoyable experience nonetheless.
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There were two vineyards left on our wish list, but the daylight was fading as was our resolve. So we chose the one that we came upon first, Delaire. It was very, very high end as far as the grounds, restaurant and tasting area. It was very modern, matching their production process (mostly steel vats instead of oak barrels). . The server was very informative as nice, but was quite busy with unexpected party. Though quite manicured, their wines were very reasonably priced. Unfortunately, we had reached our limit of bottles to try and take home
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Between the late start, slowest of the last place and some unexpected traffic jams, we only caught some of the Netherlands vs. Slovakia game on the radio. It gets dark here a 6pm which is about the time the first game ends. But they replay all of the games in both their full version as well as a long highlight version. We had dinner at the Chef Pons Asian place around the corner and just watched the Brazil vs. Chile game at home since we were both very tired from the day.

Quip of the day: It's too bad that South Africa is so far away, it would be nice to visit each winter.

Posted by wc2006 01:38 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (0)

Day 17 – Goodbye Fellow Texans

A day at Camps Beach

sunny 70 °F

Well, time flies, as this is Phil and Kate’s last day, even though they do not leave until late tonight. We have plans to meet Jim and his wife for lunch at Camps Bay. It is an extremely nice day – almost hot even as I finally wear my shorts out for the day. Gwen is still suffering from a cold or sinus issue, so we get some things from the Pharma for her.
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Jim, Ruen and their 9 month old daughter, Maya, come by the house to caravan to the restaurant. The Ocean Blue restaurant was very nice with very good food including good chips (fries) – most fries are undercooked here. The seafood meals were quite impressive.
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Then we took a stroll along the beach in the gorgeous weather. Plenty of swimmers and sun bathers enjoying the day. Even in shorts and a short sleeve Germany shirt, at some point I sweated a little. Phil even worked in a soccer kick by returning a ball to a group of kids playing on the beach (I think he’s ready to come out of retirement – he just hasn’t realized yet).
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We headed back to Cape Town to catch the Germany vs. England game – it was a great game as we thoroughly enjoyed cheering on Germany. We regretted that we did not stay in Camps Bay for the game though, as we almost stayed at a restaurant that offered a free beer for each Germany goal – schade.
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Off to the airport to take Phil and Kate back for their flight.

Quip the day: Hope Gwen can handle a few days along with me :)

Posted by wc2006 01:35 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (0)

Day 16 - Relaxing again

Can you say potjie?

sunny 63 °F

Solo run up to the mall for supplies and blog writing - still quite nice, but very windy today. We were going to do something with AJ and Chrismarie today. The plan is to go to their apartment for potjie. So back to the mall with Phil to get drinks to bring over. Last night, Roger had given Phil a vuvuzel with had logos of Bafana Bafana and Castle beer – so he was finally converted, as was Kate.
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We followed them to their apartment and met AJ’s sister, Martienetta, her boyfriend, Francois and their cat, Mango. It was a very nice apartment with a large balcony. We watched and tried to learn a bit about Rugby as we saw South Africa slaughter Italy in a test match. It was interesting. There was a wide variety of snacks as AJ was preparing dinner. Martienetta showed us her photo portfolio as she is a photographer; she had some very nice work. We caught the last of the Uruguay vs. Korea match as we listened to some Afrikaans music. The music was something like a mix of Cajun, bluegrass and polka music – yeah, hard to describe I guess.
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The potjie was fantastic. It is basically an Africa stew cooked in a big black pot. AJ typically likes to cook it on an open fire, but they are not allowed to have fires at their apartment. It is served over rice or porridge, but most of them liked it over rice better so that’s what we had. They also had sweet potatoes, which although they were green, tasted much like ours. AJ had a wide variety of different hot sauces for us to try as well – some homemade and some store bought. After we were completely stuffed, they brought out the melba pudding that Marinetta had made along with cream pudding from a carton. It was very delicious as well.
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Full and happy, we were optimistic going into the USA vs. Ghana game. Singing the pledge for our African hosts. We tried to explain some of the details of the game to them as they had shared with us about the Rugby. As we complained about the starting lineup, sadly, it became all too evident quickly that we were right – if only we had the coach’s ear. A sad night indeed for soccer in the USA as the team played with very little heart or emotion and got knocked out by Ghana once again.

Quip of the day: At least an Africa team gets through to the next round.

Happy 21st Birthday Emily!

Posted by wc2006 01:36 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (1)

Day 15 - A quieter time

Evening Braai

semi-overcast 66 °F

image092.jpgSad indeed, as Tobias and Sina, come by in the morning on their way to the airport. We had a great time with time. It was wonderful to see Tobi again and great to meet Sina. It was superb that they made the trip. Of course, we wish them a safe and uneventful journey back to Germany.

Since we had been trying to cram in many events in the past few days, we took it a little slower and easier today. And with a lack of a real plan, we did not get out until late. We thought we might see the Muslim area (Bo-Kaap) and some souvenir shopping. We had not gotten very far from the cottage when a vicious green trash receptacle lunged out and attacked Kate. Just kidding, it was a quirk that she snagged her pants as she walked by it.
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We skipped Bo-Kaap and just did some shopping in the downtown Green Market area with the local craft vendors. We also hit some department stores. We had a lamb kebab at a little café. We returned to catch the Brazil vs. Portugal match and prepare for the evening out to Cape Flats to have a braai (cookout) with the people we had met the other day. We caught the second half at the hotel and waited for Wilma as we were going to follow her to her house after she got off of work.
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Wilma and Roger were so incredibly gracious hosts. We could not believe these people were inviting us into their home and prepare an excellent meal for us. We had just met them a few days ago; it was quite something. We also met their daughter, Germaine, her boyfriend Ryan, and a nice couple Christopher and Shana as well as some others. They prepared snoek (a white fish) on the braai as well as biryani and homemade roti with curry. Then, her sister brought over samosas that were excellent as well. We found it to be very Indian like food, but they insisted it was not.

Part of why we got to know them is that they were peaked about us being from the DFW area. Their son played soccer in the Dallas Cup and Roger had been their with his son. We caught the Spain vs. Chile game and enjoyed a wonderful dinner and very interesting conversations. They were so gracious and friendly that when we finally left, after midnight, they caravanned us out of their neighborhood and about halfway home even though we were sure how to find our way back.

Quip of the day: “South Africans are the most hospitable people in the world.”

Posted by wc2006 01:34 Archived in South Africa Tagged events Comments (0)

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