Category: South Africa, Malawi 2016

Sightseeing in Cape Town

May 10
Dinner last night was at a local Italian restaurant, called Cafe Paradiso. The meal was good, but the walk over felt a little dicey, so we taxied back. Retired early, and slept rather well. Think we should be over the jet lag by now.  

After a sumptuous buffet breakfast at the hotel, we’d planned to take a cable car up to Table Mountain, but the weather did not permit that. So, instead, Rudi drove us around Cape Town, pointing out important buildings and neighborhoods. We drove through a Malay area with colorful houses that were government owned and let to people with little income. 

We stopped above the area near the airport that was called District Six, inhabited by some 60,000 coloured and blacks who in 1966 were driven from homes and businesses they’d had, sometimes for generations, when the area was declared a white area by the government. 

From there we made an important stop at the Apple Store to get the correct plug that would allow me to download photos to my iPad and blog. 

We walked by the old fort that had been the first home of important Dutch people and proceeded up to the District Six Museum. Our stop with Rudi to see the physical area encompassed greatly enhanced our appreciation of the museum. 

This is one of our favorite museums in the world. Carol and I had been moved by seeing it 13 years ago and were equally moved this time. Housed in an old church, it tells the story of how 60,000 people were displaced. Using old photos, maps, newspaper articles, poetry, artifacts and excerpts from interviews with people who had lived there, it conveys starkly and sensitively the horror and inhumanity of what occurred, emblazoning it in memory with the hope that doing so would prevent a recurrence. 

After the District Six museum, we drove to the modern Jewish museum, which recounts the history of Jews in South Africa and the important roles they have played in politics, civil rights, the arts, business, sports and other aspects of South African history. Nearby is a beautiful old orthodox synagogue that is still very much in operation with 800 members and daily services. 

We drove down to the waterfront area, which is one of the chic areas of Cape Town, with fancy shops, restaurants and hotels. We walked through a humongous, expensive, vulgar mall of the kind that now grace cities all around the world. We stopped for a light sandwich lunch, then went on to a big outdoors-type shop that our travel agent had recommended to us. I was the only one who got anything, a shirt and some socks. 

We made a dinner reservation for tomorrow at a restaurant in the wharf area called Harbour House, and stopped by the hotel our safari friends Jill and Bob had just checked into to tell them the plans. 

On the way back to our hotel, we stopped at Signal Hill, which affords a great view of the city and of Table Mountain. We watched hang gliders take off from the mountain and tried to convince Zoe to give it a go. I don’t think she was comforted by my assurance that they wouldn’t charge us if the parachute did not open up. 

Back to the room to get ready for dinner, blog, rest, etc. a very good dinner at Societi Bistro, a couple blocks from our hotel.

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