blaauwberg

4.29.2010


Because we were staying right by the this beach, we ended up visiting it quite a few times while we were in South Africa. Apparently, the boat in these photos ran aground and there were talks of blowing it up - it was still there when we left though. That would have been a pretty neat thing to watch, although, we're not sure that that sort of thing is typically the standard procedure.

big bay beach

4.28.2010


Bloubergstraand is a residential community sporting one of the best beaches in the area. Not only do you get the "classic" view of Table Mountain, but you can see tons of kite-surfers, almost daily.


Neither of us have tried kite-surfing before, but it was hard not to be inspired to try when we saw all the others on the beach. There were a couple of shops offering lessons at obscene prices. We recalled our pitiful attempt at surfing, and thought that our money might be better spent trying to improve regular surfing before we started flying in the air on surf boards. So, we just hung out with the kids on the beach. It was fun just watching the pros do their thing from the shore.

simon's town

4.26.2010


Forty kilometers south of Cape Town lies the village of Simon's Town. When we read that Boulders Beach (located just outside Simon's Town) was renowned for it's African penguin colony, we knew we had to make the trip out.

After a short train ride, we were making our way through Simon's Town, in search of Boulders Beach. Although you can spot penguins on surrounding beaches, it's best to pay the entry fee for the beach (which is maintained by Table Mountain National Parks).


We went down walkway that was built for penguin viewing and saw one or two of them hiding in the bushes. Suddenly, a few steps later, we were surrounded by hundreds of them ...


...waddling, lying around, swimming, squawking - in addition to some seagulls that were eyeing the penguin eggs. Penguins look ridiculous when they move around and we couldn't stop laughing at them.


As we walked away, we saw a seagull steal a penguin egg:

We felt kind of sad - but c'est la vie, right?
After monopolizing the best photo spots, we finally left and headed down the coast to the sheltered swimming beach. The beach is still part of the national park, but it gives you the chance to actually swim alongside the penguins (watch out, they bite). In reality the penguins and humans tend to leave each other alone - the beach was filled with families who seemed oblivious to the penguins sunning themselves on the rocks nearby. Although there weren't hundreds of penguins at the beach, there were a handful - swimming around and hanging out on rocks, but they weren't actively encouraging human interaction. It was quite nice to see the families enjoying themselves and the penguins being left to their own devices. 

district 6

4.24.2010


South Africa is often associated with the struggle for human rights. The rise and fall of the apartheid regime is well documented in Cape Town museums. The most sobering and informative source, for us, was the District Six Museum.

District Six was a residential area within Cape Town which, during the 1970's, was subjected to the forced removal of more than 60 000 of the residents (after it was declared a "whites-only" area), and the bulldozing of their houses, due to the apartheid laws.




The museum itself honours the lives of the former residents. Traditional recipes that were cooked by former residents are framed along the back corridor of the museum. The upstairs features displays describing jazz bands, dentists, and other former residents. The barbershop featured the original hair styling tools used in District Six prior to the relocations:


In addition to the documentation of the cultural history of District Six in the 60's, the museum also describes the events leading up the forced removal, and the aftermath. It's shocking to think how recently all of this occurred (apartheid only ended in 1994).




All of the civil rights museums in Cape Town seem to have a similar theme: hope. They don't attempt to soften the facts or dwell on the heinousness of the events, but rather they see the museums as a way of moving forward, together, as a united nation.



Since the fall of apartheid some former residents have been relocated back into the neighbourhood but ongoing efforts to redevelop the community have been moving slowly. Large areas still remain undeveloped:

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