Archives for posts with tag: Cape Town

We did a lot of awesome things while we were in Cape Town, but a lot of it was just the regular chill type of stuff that you do when you go back home. I know when I go back to Tucson, I chill with all my BFF’s and eat at my favorite restaurants and drink at my favorite bars, specifically The Meet Rack. DELIGHTFUL.

We had many a braai with friends of Feller, people who love him and went out of their way to have us over to their homes. Good conversation, alcohol, excessive amounts of Savannah Cider (and Strongbow in the UK), fun people, nerding out, role playing, laughing, missing out on cultural references since since all my pop cultural comes from the US. Oh, there was many a time in South Africa AND the UK where I didn’t get a joke because it was unique to the location. And I kept joking that I had no idea Feller knew so many people who liked him so much; I mean, people FLEW IN from out of town to see him!, but he’s wonderful, so I’m not actually surprised. Plus I got to spend some time with a friend and her knitting group, which was a lovely way to spend an afternoon, and I bought some really lovely sock yarn that I can’t wait to work with

This trip really was FASCINATING because I’ve never spent so much time in foreign countries, and the fact that they were fairly close to what I’m used to seeing in the US made the differences that much more glaring. You know what the weirdest, most random difference was for me? All the toilet flusher handles are on the wrong side of the tank. Think about it! When you go to flush a toilet, you reach for the left side, but in both SA and the UK, the handles are on the right, if they’re not in the center of the tank. Either way, WEIRD.

Feller & I

Anyways, we spent a lot of time hanging out with some awesome people and Feller’s parents (who were also awesome). His mom took us to Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden, and it was beautiful.

Erica Fynbos III

Mum’s a tour guide there, so we got a wonderful (free!) tour of the gardens, with history and plant information. It was a beautiful day and so pleasant to spend that time getting to know Mum a little bit more.

Feller & I

We really hoped to go back again while we were there; they had an AMAZING sculpture exhibit that we wanted to see more of, but ALAS, life and vacation and SLEEP got in the way of our plans, and we never made it back.

Untamed

We also took the cable car to the top of Table Mountain and had dinner at Waterfront and drank excessively and watched TV with the Parents and went to Cederberg for a long weekend and some light hiking.

Hiking

Overall, this vacation was exactly what we were hoping for when we left. It was beautiful and relaxing and GLORIOUS. I’m TOTES looking forward to going back and spending more time with some awesome people.

(More pictures at Flickr, obviously. Click any of the pics to check the rest out.)

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Apparently, South Africa is WINE COUNTRY. WHO KNEW?! One of the first stops Feller and I made was at Groot Constantia wine farm, which is just a few minutes from Parents’ place.

LOOK AT ALL THE WINE

We went on an awesome cellar tour and learned a lot about the production of wine, which was super interesting, and actually handy information to have for all the many wine tastings we went on later. Like, did you know that red wine is only red because it’s fermented with the grape skins? So red wine could ACTUALLY be made out of green grapes with some red grape skins on top! How cool is that?

Fermentation

Pressing the red grapes

After the tour we had a tasting, which was quite pleasant, but I will admit that this was our least favorite of all the tastings we did.

Parents took us out one Sunday to Stellenbosch, which is the home of 150 wine farms, or something ridiculous like that. We stopped at three: Neethlingshof (which was our FAVE), Morgenhof (I still have a bottle of their cheap Pinotage Rose in the fridge!), and … one that starts with W that I can’t remember, and we didn’t like that much.

Wine Tasting

It was a fun day, and we tasted quite a lot of delicious wine. Feller bought a BUNCH at Neethlingshof and is storing most of it at Parents’. The taste guide at Neethlingshof was this great young guy who provided us with a ton of information about the wines and the area and stuff to do. He really knew his shit.

Wine Tasting II

Parents also took us up to Hillcrest Berry Orchard for delicious jam and the most amazing scones I’ve ever tasted. We brought home two jars of jam and worried every step of the way that they’d get smashed or confiscated, but thankfully, they made it safe and sound and will serve as my wine glasses once they’re both empty.

Berry Farm (2)

We also went tasting at Spier, after we pet some cheetahs. They have a GREAT Method Cap Classique (Champagne, but you can’t call it Champagne outside of Champagne, France; Cap Classique is South Africa’s version, made exactly as they do in Champagne), but I refrained from buying any (I may try to pick some up online). Our last day, we stopped at Steenberg in Constantia for a quick tasting before we headed to the airport. They had some REALLY delicious wines that we would have bought had we not been leaving in two hours and already at our wine limit, though we did pick up a couple bottles as a thank you for Parents’ hospitality. We’ll DEFINITELY be going back here.

We had so much fun doing wine tastings all over Cape Town, and it’s really given me a new appreciation for wines. We live so (“so”, relatively speaking) close to wine country up here, and I would really like to make the effort to get out and do tastings more often. It’d be such a great weekend trip if we needed to get away for a coupe of days, or even just a fun long day trip. Two Buck Chuck from Trader Joe’s just isn’t the same, delicious though it may be.

You know, after the previous dive didn’t go so well, I was a LITTLE apprehensive about diving in a tank full of SHARKS, but as I already said, they wouldn’t let people do it if they died. That was my mantra leading up to the dive. They wouldn’t let people do it if they died. I even said that to the guy who took us on the dive; “I’m a little nervous, but I figure they wouldn’t let people do it if they died.”

Eagle Ray

And imagine that! We didn’t die! Despite being a NOT THAT LARGE tank of water with five sharks and untold numbers of other predatory fish. Who KNOWS what would have tried to eat us! But there are also eagle rays swimming around, PREGNANT ONES!, and turtles and fish that look like grumpy old men, and sharks teeth in the gravel we could seek & find and take home (we got THREE teeth, none of which I found).

Shark RIGHT THERE

But there were also GIANT! FUCKING! SHARKS! RIGHT THERE! IN THE TANK! WITH US! SWIMMING RIGHT OVER MY HEAD! *RIGHT THERE*! There were several times I was swimming merrily along, minding my own business, checking out the rays or looking for sharks teeth, and I happened to glance up and THERE WAS A SHARK! RIGHT THERE! RIGHT OVER MY HEAD! I could have touched the damn thing had I stretched my little phalanges out, but I wouldn’t, because the guy warned us that a shark might mistake stretched out phalanges for food. I like all my fingers, thankyouverymuch.

Turtle

The dive was SO COOL though. It was amazing to be so close to all those animals; a couple of times I thought a little male ray was gonna run into me. And I got to pet turtles! It was amazing! But you know what the best part was? Looking at all the kiddos through the glass of the tank. I really wish Feller had gotten some pictures of the people looking in at us, because seriously? My favorite part. I can remember what that kind of experience would have been like for me as a kid, so I can sort of imagine what the kids I waved at were thinking as they watched us in full scuba gear swimming with crazy huge fish.

After the dive, we wandered around the aquarium together, and checked out, well, everything, but ESPECIALLY the baby mantas that had been born the week before. They were SO CUTE, and they obviously knew that people in front of their separate tank (so they wouldn’t get eaten) meant FOOD. They swam right over to us and stuck their little lips out of the water looking for a treat of some sort. If there hadn’t been a sign right in front of me (in RED) that said NO TOUCHING, I would have pet those cute little suckers.

Diving Together

It was an amazing day, and definitely one I look forward to revisiting next time we’re in Cape Town.

When we were planning our Epic Vacation, Feller was all, “LOTS OF DIVING WHOOO!” And I was all, “NOT THAT MUCH MONEY HOORAY”, and so we decided to spend just one or two days diving, including a dive at the Two Oceans Aquarium, about which I was a little apprehensive, but I figured they wouldn’t let people do it if they DIED. In hindsight, it’s interesting that I was worried about diving in the aquarium but TOTALLY chilled out about diving in the ocean. The cold, murky ocean, not the warm, crystal clear ocean of Hawaii.

Feller sets up our dives with a shop that’s been recommended to us, and he’s all, “TOMORROW, WE DIVE.” So there wasn’t a whole lot of time to think about the things I might need for this boat dive, namely Dramamine and ginger. This bitch gets seasick like whoa.

So we wake up the next day, and Mum makes us a delicious, filling breakfast, which was awesome, and we head to the shop to get geared up. Now, I don’t know how many of y’all have ever worn a wetsuit, but that shit is HARD to get into, which is sort of the point, I know, but they just don’t have enough give in them for my kickin’ curves, so not only do I have to tell strangers how much I weigh, I then have to say “Actually, yeah, this wetsuit doesn’t fit. I need a bigger one.” Which isn’t embarrassing AT ALL. To make matters even worse this time around, the water in Cape Town is cold, which means, thick ass wetsuits, or in our case, two wetsuits each, and hoods.

Now, I have a Thing about shit around my neck. I don’t like it. Most t-shirts really bother me, and I end up spending the entire day tugging the collar away from my neck. Unfortunately, wet suit hoods are DESIGNED to snuggle up on your neck and keep too much cold water from getting in your suit. I actually discovered during the pool portion of my scuba class how much that bothered me, and I was able to rent a larger sized hood for our ocean dives. This time, however, the hoods were built in.

So we get all geared up and head out to the teeny, tiny, inflatable boat. And I was fine, if a bit uncomfortable, until the guy slowed the boat down and started circling our dive spot and got us all set up. That’s when the nausea kicked in. Then it was time to put the hood up. So I’m nauseous, I’ve got Shit Around My Neck, two wetsuits on, and about 10 kilos of weight so I fucking sink when I get in the water, and then the guy tells us we’re flipping over backwards to get into the water, which…is not something I’ve ever done. It wasn’t even TALKED ABOUT in my certification class! Once we’re in the water, I’m still PRETTY uncomfortable, but now I’m also disoriented, and I discover I’ve forgotten something Very Important.

In Hawaii, the boat dives were full service. They put our gear together, they helped us into our shit, they made it as easy as fucking possible for us. In Cape Town, they practically just threw us in the ocean, without a reminder to inflate our BCD’s, which ensure that we don’t sink until we want to, and having not dived in several months, I TOTALLY blanked on this fairly crucial step. AND THEN the button that inflates the vest is RED. I don’t know what red means, where y’all come from, but here in AMERICA, red means STOP! CAUTION! GO NO FURTHER!, so it didn’t even OCCUR to me to try pushing the red button. So now I’m sinking on top of everything else. And panicking. And basically acting like this is the first time I’ve ever done this, and causing Feller to lose HIS shit because I’M NOT OKAY.

The boat guy hauls me out of the water, I throw up the lovely breakfast I’d eaten, we tow Feller back to the dive location, since the water’s super choppy and we’ve drifted quite a bit, and then he’s all, “Actually….NO.” So we’re both sitting there pathetically while everyone else is having a nice dive, and Feller looks at me and says, “Um, how about we don’t tell anyone about this, okay?”

Don’t worry, baby, it’s our little secret.

We’ve been home since Friday evening, recovering from our awesome, if a bit excessively long and not terribly RELAXING, trip, and I have SO MUCH to tell y’all about! I almost don’t know where to start. We had SUCH a lovely time, and surprisingly, despite a couple of spats here and there, Feller and I still like each other! And still want to spend time together! It’s amazing! Parents were amazing and hospitable and kept us really well fed, and I am so grateful to them for putting us up for so long.

I actually have postcards that I wrote in the London Heathrow airport that need to be mailed. Whoops. But at least they were written overseas? A for effort? It’s just a matter of getting to the post office, but I find I can’t be arsed to put on clothes much the past few days. Tomorrow, I have a couple other errands to run, so I’ll mail postcards then.

Anyways, Cape Town was beautiful, and my pictures can all be found here.

RUNNING CHEETAH

Easily the best part of our trip was our visit to Spier Cheetah Reserve. We went early and got to see the volunteers exercising the cheetahs, and since we were the only ones there, the volunteers took us around to look at the other animals at the reserve. They had an adorable pair of meerkats, bat eared foxes, some sort of jackal, a couple of servals, and the prettiest, friendliest caracal ever.

Curious Caracal

And THEN, we got to PAT A CHEETAH. His name was Pedro, one of the cheetahs we saw running earlier that morning, and he was SO HAPPY to be getting scritchens and was purring up a storm. SERIOUSLY, like the cutest thing ever, just about. It was such an incredible experience, and I’m so glad that we dragged ourselves out of bed early for it.

Patting the Cheetah

In other awesome, animal related adventures, we drove up to the Fairy Glen Game Reserve in Worcester. Since we had to be there ASS EARLY, and it was about an hour and a half from Parents’ place, we spent the night before in a little love and snack nest. And APPARENTLY, Worcester is one of those dinky little towns where everything closes at sundown because it took us FOREVER to find dinner. Finally, FINALLY, we came across a liquor store and were able to stock up on the necessities and get directions to dinner.

The entire time we were in Cape Town, the weather was BEAUTIFUL. Hot and sunny and amazing, so naturally, as we crossed the mountains to get to Worcester, the weather was cold and rainy and windy. Which was super because Feller only had shorts, and I only had my flippy floppies. It was AWESOME. Thankfully, the ranger who drove us around gave us XXXL raincoats, which saved the day. I would have been a Grumpy Gus if not for that giant yellow coat and hood. We saw all the animals we were hoping to see, and most of them had little babies running around, including a brand new baby springbok (sidenote: springbok are DELICIOUS), which was so cool and ADORABLE.

Elephant RIGHT BEHIND US