Monday, April 2, 2007

Cape Town South Africa 2007

Well ok, sorry it’s been so long. One of the things I found out about South Africa in general and Cape Town in particular is that internet access is very expensive. Relatively few people have private DSL. I’m writing this from the dining room table looking out over the ocean. I’ll then take it to the internet café and upload it.

So here we go.

Here are some pictures of the Place we’re staying. We were very lucky to get this place. The views are stunning, there is plenty of room and it’s close to most everything that we need to get to.

This is the main living area above.

Here is one of the views from the balcony.

And another looking up the beach.

Above is a picture of the place we’re staying from the beach.

We didn’t start taking pictures until David and Brett showed up on Sunday. Dave and I kind of kept a low profile until then. We had dinner with Simon and went out to the local gay bar – The Bronx. We also got invited to a very Afrikaan’s event on the Saturday before everyone else showed up. Mark, the owner of the property where we’re staying invited us to what I can only call a high-school dance with a bar in it full of youngish Afrikaners. It was a blast and not something everyone gets to do who’s visiting.

Here are some pictures from the first day of having everyone here.

This is us having a drunken lunch on the first Sunday where everyone was here. It’s at our favorite restaurant in Cape Town, Paranga. This is our friend Andy who came out to see us from Mumbai India.

This is everyone on the deck this Sunday. Tall Simon has his back towards us. Little David is the one in the bathing suit. I’m behind him with the sun glasses on. Brett is lying down and Andy has his back towards us in the background.

Monday we tried to go to Robben Island but they were sold out so we went to the top of Table Mountain instead. This is one of the most amazing views of Cape Town you’ll ever see. We froze to death while we were up there. Tony and Kiat went on Friday and almost burned up. Depending on the day you can do either.

Behind the smaller mountain in front is where our apartment is.

This is a view of downtown Cape Town from Table Mountain.

A good picture of me with the view in the back ground that I was privileged to witness.

David and Andy looking down the mountain. Kind of scary.

On Tuesday we had tickets to go to Robben Island at 5 that day so Dave and I decided to work out while Little David went to the beach and others just hung around the deck. We then got the call from the Robben Island people that it was too windy to go that day and that we would need to reschedule which we did to Saturday. So we just ended up going to diner and then out to the Bronx again. We went to bed early and woke up early the next day for a long day out. Cheetah petting and wine tasting. (Sounds kind of like lawn mower repair and cappuccino doesn’t it?)

We rented a van and a driver for the day, that way everyone could partake of the wines and we would all get back safely.

After getting everyone up and ready (getting 8 gay people to be ready to leave early in the morning is a lot like herding cats) we first stopped at Spier. This is where the cheetahs are, it’s a conservation area for the cheetahs and they make their money by letting people go into the cages with the Cheetahs and pet them. Look below.

Little David, Andy and myself petting a young male Cheetah whose name escapes me.

After petting the pussy cats we went to a nice long lunch at Reuben’s in the city of Franschhoek. This is like having lunch in the Napa Valley. Below is the menu. This was one of the best meals that I can remember having. Brett chose the most wonderful wines, the oysters were to die for and the duck was just amazing. After we got back to Cape Town and started telling locals where we went, they told us it was one of the best in the country. Way to go Brett for making the suggestion.

Tne thing to remember is that you get 7.5 Rands for the dollar and 15 Rands for the pound so going out to eat for us was cheap. What would cost 40 dollars in the States would be 12 in South Africa. I’m talking about some of the most amazing food too. It’s also hard to spend more than 30 dollars on a bottle of local wine. I guess I’m just saying that I’ll need to go on a serious diet when I get back.

Above you’ll see the gang. We have Kiat, Little David and Brett on the left and we had Tony on the end. Daniel, Andy and Dave are on the right with Dave in the Back. I’m taking the picture.

Chris in his natural habitat.

Kiat, David and Brett.

Here we are boarding the magic mystery bus after visiting a lovely winery.

Belly up to the bar, at yet another winery. Very cool place.

See Dave and I did travel together.

A size for everyone.

We go to another vineyard and then off to Stellenbosch to waste a little time before we head up to Tokara for dinner.

Before I show the pictures for Tokara you need to know a few things. We have a few world travelers in our group. Kiat and Tony are regularly doing fabulous trips to Asia and beyond, Brett has been known to be sent to amazing places for work. So, when we got to Tokara for sunset drinks on the porch overlooking the valley going back to Cape Town and they were speechless I was thrilled. It made me feel great that I was able to show them something like that.

Here is the view from the deck.

More wine. It’s a lovely rose sparkling wine.

I would like to have more pictures for the food and the inside of the restaurant but at this point we were tired and DRUNK. So I do have one picture but it’s so blurry you can’t make anything out.

After dinner we crawled to the magic bus and went home. Most of us slept but Tony and Daniel had a fascinating discussion about satellites the whole way back. I learned quite a bit in though my dreams. LOL.

The next day was the day of my birthday, the big 40. Now the only problem is that we tasked Tony with the picture taking and well, he’s not here anymore so I don’t have those pictures. We’ll just say that we ate at 95 Keerom and had an amazing time. They put us in our own private room and closed the doors. Thank god.

Here is a picture of little David and myself before going to the restaurant on the deck of the flat.

It’s a hard life but someone has to do it.

Our friends Brian and Dale, who we met in Rio, live in Cape Town and were lovely enough to invite us to an amazing cocktail party at their house on Friday. Little did we know that we would be in store for.

Unfortunately we didn’t think of bringing cameras and I’m really sorry for it now. In Cape Town they have an area called the Bowl, it’s mostly down town and has most of the business district along with residential along the top going up the mountains. We arrived at their place after going up and up to a gated community. We followed the road up to the end and there sat the most amazing place I think I’ve ever seen. In Cape Town there are lots of houses on the hill sides and most of them are being overlooked by other houses. Not this house. It was at the top.

The front of the house was all glass and it had a deck with a pool and Jacuzzi that overlooked all of Cape Town. Think of the pictures that you see of the house in LA that overlooks the city. We had views of Table Mountain, which is lit at night. The inside was something out of architectural digest. I wish I had pictures because I can’t express in words how amazing it was. We stayed there until about 2 in the morning.

The next day was Saturday and now we’re off to Robben Island, now I’m not sure if I’m spelling it right because it’s Dutch and means the Island of the seals. This is the island where Mandela spent 18 years of his life during apartheid. It’s about 12 miles from Cape Town by way of ferry. We first did a bus tour of the Island where you could see all the famous areas where they made the political prisoners do manual labor. The funny thing is the island has lots of wild life too. We saw springbok, penguins and get this, rabbits, lots and lots and lots of rabbits. There are no natural predators on the island to curb the population. Here are a few pictures.

This is inside the prison where Mandela stayed.

This was Mandela’s cell where he stayed for 18 years. Amazing what people can live through.

We stayed there most of the day and then went to eat in the V.A. Water front. Kiat and Tony left at this point. They had to catch a plane that evening.

The next day is Sunday and it’s time for most people to leave. The only problem is they need to go by 5:30 in the morning and we’ve stayed up until 2 the night before. Actually, little David didn’t go to sleep but he had someone to help him stay awake but that’s another story for another time. Dave got up and helped everyone get out, I had said my goodbyes the night before so I wasn’t about to get up.

Andy didn’t wake up so there was a 15-minute rush to get him packed and out the door. I had a hunch he might have trouble because he stayed up and edited some of the photos that you’ve seen in this blog until about 1. Anyway, no one showed back up because they missed their plane so it all worked out.

We spent the day taking it kind of easy; it was a bit of a relief to have everyone go if not a bit sad. Dave and I walked to Paranga for lunch; they have this huge bicycling event that was happening on that day so we had to walk because the roads were closed. There were 42 thousand bicyclists and it started at 6:30 and went on to 6 at night. Huge event. We then came home and Daniel moved in and we went to eat in De Waterkant. That was pretty much it so far.

I do have some pictures of when Kiat, Tony, David and Andy drove down to the end of the cape on Thursday before my birthday dinner. Dave and I had gone before and I didn’t realize that Tall Simon had set up a birthday surprise for me so I was at the spa for a facial and pedicure. Enjoy the following pictures.

The boys on the cape.

They have baboons at the cape; here is a mother and child.

This is the light house on the cape.

Another view of the cape.

And now for a few parting shots of everyone’s time here.

Wine with friends.

Chilling with friends.

I have to say, all in all, this was the most amazing holiday/birthday I think I’ve ever had. And I still have a few more days to go.

I also have to say that I feel blessed to have friends that would travel halfway across the world to spend my birthday with me. That’s the best present in the world.

I’ll be updating the blog again in a few days, maybe from the Frankfurt airport. We’ll see.

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