Saturday, November 10, 2018

South Africa Day 6

As we didn't go shark cage diving or whale watching out at sea, there was little else happened on this day. I think there was a lot of driving in the coach. We passed by baboons. While we were in South Africa there was a story in the media about how an American game hunter had shot a whole family of baboons and he was photographed with his victims. I forget which day but I overheard an American tourist saying to his companions, "Yeah, I am easily pleased American tourist. Just take me out into the woods and I'll I find some baboons and I'll be right." I think he was being ironical...I hope so.

This may have been our hotel for the next night, roosting birds.

The national bird of South Africa is the blue crane. I believe this is one that I snapped from the coach.

Idiots carve their work all over the world, and in the case in an Australian gum tree in the wilds of South Africa.

We did stop off for lunch at a town I think called Swellendam. Pretty impressive church.

While most bought their lunch at a chain takeaway, we found a nice little cafe in a courtyard. The tea was so nice but I forget what we ate. The lady who served us was really nice too.

Nicely proportioned villa.

Yes, all over the world we have been taken to shops! Gold shops. Silver shops. Pewter shops. Floor rug shops. Jade shops. Stone carving shops. In this case it was a aloe farm production and retail outlet. It was quite interesting to learn about the magical properties of aloe, from curing cancer, liver disease, skin problems, asthma..........the list was very long. It is not the aloe vera plant and it grows wild on properties surrounding the factory and outlet. Farmers got together to turn the natural aloe cactus products into a business. At the insistence of the person giving the spiel, I did try the made for men moisturiser and it was not at all sticky, so I did buy some for $10. It's cured nothing yet, but I am using it sparingly.

More bloody Aussie gum trees.

We stopped for a bit at the Cape St Blaize cave and lighthouse. Some of the group climbed up to see what I suspect was just a cavern. There was some old writing on the cave walls, but covered with graffiti.

I contentedly stayed below wave watching. 

Often about five minutes before the coach was depart often our tour leader, an expert rugby player according to him, would start throwing the ball around to our group and anyone else who was around. It took me back to school days and remembering how to keep away from a moving ball.

We stayed the night at Mossel Bay. Each place we stayed I took photos of our room, but even looking at the photos, I can't remember the place at all. Some places had bar fridges, some did not. This one did, and a bottle went into the freezer for a quick chill. Perhaps the nicely chilled bottle is the reason I can't remember? Nah, we always made sure we had a dram of Scotch before we slept. A couple of glasses of wine at night is nothing.

Friday, November 09, 2018

For the record

Sunday before last, friend died.

Monday with Hairdresser Friend visit surviving brother.

Thursday, Bohemian Rhapsody.

Friday weekly shopping normally done on a Saturday then Sister stayed overnight after a work reunion. Dine across road at new Thai place. Very good.

Saturday visit four young great nieces and assorted relatives on Mornington Peninsula. Make sandwiches, walk to the park.

Sunday, back to work.

Monday, have day off for funeral. Take Hair Dresser Friend.

Tuesday, Melbourne Cup Day. Up and out early to place bets. Invest $22 for a return of $4.60. Visit Firefighting Nephew and Wife on Bellarine Peninsula. Joined by Oldest Niece, her two young ones and Ex Sis in Law. View where their new apartment is about to built. Nice lunch at Salty Dog Cafe. Joined by Mother, who is staying at Sister's as ABI Brother is having a hip operation, Sister and Little Jo for fruit pie and coffee back at Fire Fighting Nephew's rented house. Watch Melbourne Cup. Home.

Wednesday, Thursday, Friday - work. R visited ABI Brother in hospital. A little quieter this coming weekend with perhaps one social engagement and one visit to ABI Brother in hospital.

Mornington Peninsula. They'd be great nieces. 

Seagulls have no respect for art.

Opposite the funeral home. First time I have ever seen this plant and then lo and behold, there is one the same in Firefighting Nephew's rented home.

Bellarine Peninsula. Firefighting Nephew's beach near where their apartment will be built.

The local park. Good and sturdy padlocked gates but no fence. Oops. A bit of family in the shot.

Thursday, November 08, 2018

South Africa Day 5

We checked out of our Cape Town Hotel at about 9am after a good buffet breakfast. Can you see ET in this photo?

We travelled east toward Stellenbosch. Some housing is not bad.

At least there is electricity, an opiate to the masses.

Mule, ass or donkey? Dunno.

Before we reached Stellenbosch we stopped at a winery for a tasting and a brief explanation of wine making. I have attended such explanations in Germany, Canada and South Australia yet still I know very little about wine making. Some wine is aged in wooden barrels and some in stainless steel vats. We were urged to go and have a look at the huge stainless steel vat. I turned to walk with the others and then had a moment of clear thought. What am I doing? I don't want to see any stainless steel vat. I stopped. What a rebel I am.

We bought a couple of bottles and then had a wander around the lovely gardens.

We finished up with a large lunch, sitting outdoors, delightful.

On to the university town of Stellenbosch. Nelson Mandela's last gaol before being set free is nearby. This is the town hall.

Nice parks and with many university students in the city, it had a good vibe.

Next stop was another winery and more wine tasting. We bought another bottle. Don't worry, they did not add to our baggage limit by the time we flew again.

This one had some goats, always amusing to watch.

We arrived at our destination for the evening, Hermanus. It is a lovely seaside town and very popular. I rather wish we had more time there. Our hotel was built as a TB sanatorium in about 1900 but had been modernised and added to over the years. There wasn't a lift and someone thought it was a good idea to put the two old blokes on the top floor. It had one quite grand staircase but the one to the top was modern and narrow. We paid porters a $1 each to carry our suitcases up and then down again the next morning. I was a bit annoyed as in advance of us even booking, I had emailed the tour company seeking and receiving assurance that all our accommodation would have air conditioning and this one did not and it is only the second place. As it was, it wasn't hot enough to need cooling. Our views were to the rear.

While there were great places to eat in the town, we had cautiously chosen the option to dine with a local family. We did not know what to expect. Would we be sitting at a formal heavy oak table in straight backed chairs, shirts buttoned to the neck and have to say grace before eating? No, it was a braai, barbeque to us. South Africans love their braais as much as they love their meat. They barbeque quite differently, it seems, using wood as fuel and lots of flame. We sat around outside for our entree while the meat was cooked and the bread was made. The bread did have yeast and after being cooked it felt heavy, but it wasn't. It was really quite nice. We trooped inside to the large dining tables and were served our meals, with more wine from their bar. It was a nice evening. The hosts were chatty and friendly. He can be seen in the centre of this photo with the 'can't live without her' black help cooking the bread. He was not unattractive and when I went to say thank you as he was clearing my plates away, he winked at me. Go figure. Perhaps he picked up my lust interest vibes. They had two daughters who were absent on the night. When they first started hosting the dinners, the younger one was very much into it but the older early teen one stayed in the lounge room watching tv for the first one or two, but she did come to enjoy meeting all the people and having fun too.

We had choices the next morning. Rise at 4.30 for shark cage diving? Rise at 5.30 for whale watching out at sea? Or, be breakfasted and ready to leave at 10.00. Yes, we chose the last and had a very leisurely breakfast and then a walk.

Whale tail. The whales seemed to like this place too and were hanging around and not migrating at full steam as they are supposed to.

A red eyed pigeon.

More dassie to watch.