Cape Town, South Africa

Day two of our “vacation” tours started at 8AM when our tour guide picked us up at our hotel. He introduced himself as “Superman.” That’ll get your attention at that early hour. Don’t remember what his name really is, but everyone – and I do mean everyone – knows him as “Super.” As a knowledgable tour guide he was indeed super.

We were to do 2 half-day tours. One was a Cape Town tour and the 2nd was to be a tour of a local vineyard. We ended up combining the two into one day long tour as the other couple that was with us were also scheduled for the same two tours.

Our morning started with a stop at Table Mountain. Fortunately the winds were low and the cableway was open. After a 30-minute wait in queue to buy a ticket we were off to the next queue to get onto the cable car. The main feature of Table Mountain is the level plateau approximately 3 kilometres (2 mi) from side to side, edged by impressive cliffs. Two of the pictures detail the specifics of the cableway. The views in all directions  were absolutely fabulous (see some examples). The car turns 360 degrees on its way up and down.

The “cute” little furry creatures are Rock Hyrax’s or what the locals call a “Dassie.” Interesting note… These little “guys” have the same DNA makeup as the African Elephant! That’s got to be one weird Family Tree. Family reunions must be fun.

From Table Mountain we traveled to the picturesque Malay Quarter of Cape Town on Signal Hill. The area is also called the Bo-Kaap. The residents’ homes are, as you can see, very brightly colored. I ask you, is the paint chipping image (recognize it? – Hint it is one of the continents.) accidental or planned? (No, I did not scrape away any of the paint.) The residents of this area are primarily Muslim. The Mosque was just down the street from the pictured homes.

Next stop, the Castle of Good Hope. It was built between 1666 and 1679 by the Dutch East India Company as a maritime replenishment station. The Castle of Good Hope is the oldest surviving colonial building in South Africa. Their front door is very effective at keeping out solicitors. Those are heavy duty spikes.

The statue is in “The Company Gardens” in the city. As we headed toward the wine country we drove by the spot where Nelson Mandela first spoke after his release from prison.

Stellenbosch has an interesting take on “parking meters.” They rely on “Parking Marshals.” You park and they are right there to collect the appropriate parking fee.

As we travelled around the Cape Town area we saw many “Shanty Towns.” People living in shipping containers, or houses built from sheets of corrugated metal or other scraps. Very poor areas. Most did have satellite dishes and the government provides free electricity and water. Super told us that the government is building homes for these people, but most, when they get their new home, rent out the new home and they stay in the Shanty Town.

Why? We asked. In the Shanty Towns the government pays for their electricity, water, all other utilities and no rent. If they move into the new government provided home they have to pay rent and pay for all the utilities! Most residents are either unemployed or have very low paying jobs.

All-in-all it was a “Super” day of sightseeing. Day 3 coming soon…

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