Life is warm and sunny in Africa!

Trip Start Sep 30, 2006
Trip End Jan 16, 2010

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Flag of South Africa  ,
Monday, December 4, 2006

Arriving in sunny South Africa feels like getting into heaven. The sky is bright blue as in Tibet, but the weather is gorgeously warm without being too hot. I really enjoyed travelling through China, especially Tibet and Nepal, but by the time I reached the Annapurnas I was so over the cold. It's one thing when I have all my gear, but on my travel light philosophy, the cold was starting to wear down even this intrepid traveller. Considering that just last week I had to wear every stitch of clothing I brought with me to bed to avoid freezing in my teahouse to a place where I am not only allowed but encouraged to wear short sleeves due to the warm weather is a welcome change. I am also cognizant of the cultural shift - if it had been warm enough in Asia, the guidebooks cautioned women to dress conservatively. However, if women took cues from ads on TV and on billboards, this was terribly confusing as the women in ads were virtually no different from our own scantily clad salesgirls. But here in Africa there is no question. Bikinis and shorts are in, and except for my very hairy legs, I have obliged. Which means I can take all my cold weather stuff out of my pack, get it cleaned (WOW) and leave it here while I go on safari to Namibia. Now the worry is not the cold, but to keep my white skin safe from the African sun. I dug out my sun screen, hats, and shades so I am fully protected. Other than th sun to worry about, South Africa is in a word, convenient. I no longer have to squat in the bathroom, and I can flush my western toilet with toilet paper - oh did I forget to mention that detail? In Asia you have to buy your own and always, always have it with you as their is some sort of shortage, and you can't ever flush it, on those rare occasions you have a flush toilet, lest you cause a national sewage backup. Instead you place it in a trash can next to the john, making for some pretty smelly toilets if they are not cleaned, which is never.  So here in beautiful sunny South Africa there are modern toilets and it is even safe to drink water out of the tap. I have come from the middle ages (people dumping their shit out of their windows onto the streets below or into the rivers in Lhamsa, China) to 2006 in 24 hours. I also can get a fantastic glass of wine here for cheap cheap (5 rand, so less than a dollar!) whereas in China and Nepal wine was either nonexistent or very expensive for bad wine from Great Wall vineyards. South Africa has incredibly fantastic peanut butter here too, amazing. The traffic here is like home, which is to say, very orderly and organized because there are traffic rules and lights.  Since my China and KMD days, I can cross any street without fear no matter how big an intersection. Although yesterday I reminisced that the order kind of takes the fun out of it. Huh, never thought I would miss the run for your life aspect but  I guess it is the unexpected element to everyday life that I miss. No cows or goats in the streets here, no crazy rickshaw drivers. Which is why I'm going into the wilds to camp out under the stars so I can once again take a crap out in the open but this time not at 0 zegrees but to make it interesting with the lions, giraffes and elephants. So what does this place look like? A thoroughly modern city with an island-like feel. The Victoria and Albert Waterfront is lovely, with shops and wharfs and the expected boats and touristy street performers.
Some people have complained that it is too much like home, but I'm loving it. A Key West meets Baltimore inner harbor meets Amsterdam vibe. Lots of open air cafes and restaurants, with both Dutch and British influenced architecture. The Cape Peninsula and Table Mountain National Park are absolutely gorgeous, with plantlife unlike any I have seen before. Proteas, interesting multishaped flowering plants that look a bit like succulents, are flowering in colors from white to magenta to flaming orange and provide food for birds, mice and even babboons. The wildlife is as one would imagine, stunning. I saw several babboons yesterday, as well as common dolphins and Cape fur seals who frequent the harbor.  My favorite of course were the African Penquins, who flock to these protected shores for breeding. I saw literally hundreds on the beach, some swimming and others doing what they came there to do.

My Review Of The Place I Stayed

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Where I stayed
Big Blue Backpackers Lodge Cape Town
Read my review - 5/5 stars


gcnut7068 on

When you get home...
I think you should use your journel and write a book on your travels. Writing it should come very easy with your precious journal by your side.

Stay safe Dawn and God bless you.
Love, Auntie Carolyn

rdegennaro on

Where are the boats?
As a sailor who dreams of boating out of Cape Town, I request that you post a photograph of boats there if it's convenient. But I understand you're chasing critters in the bush right now.

Congrats for following the sun south!

mhamilt5 on

Did you know my neighbor, Joan, comes from South Afica? She misses it so much but her only child lives here & insisted she had to move here too! I'll show her the pictures once you post them. You were there 2wks ago! Where are you now??? Bethleham?... Hahahaha
Auntie Mo

mhamilt5 on

Just spoke with Joan regarding Africa & told her about your thoughts. She said her favorite spot is Durban Napal, where you see the Indian Ocean. She said in Cape Town they have like a Carnival, called 'Cape Town Coloured People' celebration which goes on & on in the streets. Have you seen it yet? When you visit me again, you can chat with Joan regarding Africa. She really misses her home town Johannesburg and her friends there.

It's wonderful that your friend Heidi is landing shortly to visit with you. That should kill your home sick blues!
What a great surprise!

Didn't I say you were going to have a Wonderful New Years, where ever you are!
Enjoy & HAVE FUN!....

cj5hamer on

Dawn Where are you?
Hello Dawn how was your christmas, we havent herd from you in a while. Where are you do we need to come and find you?

Love your family, Tom, Tracy, Kody & Brendin

scfoss on

Happy New Year!!
Hello Dawn!
I'm sure you had a wonderful New Year in South Africa on Safari!!
I'll be in London for a week end of January and then on to Stavanger, Norway for two weeks of NATO orientation for my deployment to Afghanistan. I don't think you'll be in that neck of the woods.
Cheers...we all await your next diary entry.

Love, Steve and Claudia

charmedlife on

I survived the safari
Helllooo everyone reading my precious journal. Boy, I have been busy here in Africa! So busy I haven't written much, I know. I will try to catch up in the next week or so. Part of this has been lack of Internet access, partly doing amazing stuff like sightseeing the incredibly gorgeous mountains and seas of this continent, sailing, wildlife viewing and meeting new and old friends. As some of you know, I was surprised by my good friend Heidi, who traveled across the ocean to celebrate New Year's with me in Cape Town. What a blast we had! We met lots of great people at the backpackers, and more than I was sad to see her go. Now I leave tomorrow and I must say I don't know that I am really ready to leave Africa. It is a magical place. I love and miss you all, Dawn

khamilton710 on

Kiss a lion for me:-)
Are you done in S. Africa? That seemed long were you there? How cute were the Penquins?!! Are those the little 'City Slickers' that you see on Animal they cruise all throught the city? Hope you had a good New Year...what's next??!! Have fun!!


smootha6 on

Dawn...Please tell Kerry there are 'no penguins' in South Africa..c'mon now!! funny. Your jounals are absolutely wonderful, and your articulation of impressive. Keep on, keeping on girl!! The backpack looks good..still full, and ready for many more 'safe miles'. Krystie leaves the Himalayas 1/13. She's sorry she missed you!! You know your mother has you scheduled for a 'Prescott Park' show when you get home!!..oh yeah! She also told me you were planning on swimming from Australia to
New Zealand, be careful of the gators!!
We love and miss you to the maximus,stay safe,

helpmerhonda on

happy new year!
Hello and Happy New Year!

Dawn, it has been wonderful to read all your adventures -- and I especially love checking out all the photos. You are missed in DC, but not missing too much (although the change on the Hill promises to be exciting).

Travel on!

cj5hamer on

AFC Champs, not this year
Dawn it was an awesome game but they fell short at the end. They had the lead at halftime 21-3 but somehow the Colts came back and won 38-34. We had a blast waiting the game at the condo everyone says hello. Cusins, Patty, Marygene, Tracy, Timmy, Uncle Mark and kids, Todd, Dad, Liane, Ryan, Sidney, Rylie and last but not least Tom, Tracy, Kody & Brendin

Love you and miss ya xxxxxooooo

mhamilt5 on

Hey Dawny Girl!.. PATS lost the Championship SO now routing for the COLTS for the SUPER BOWL! Spoke with everyone at the Condo the night of the Pat's game, they were SNOWBOUND but having a great time together. Wished I was there!
South Africa looks goreous! Great pictures of your Safari & Cape Town. You looked like you were truly enjoying yourself. When are you expected to come home? Everyone is missing you. Stay safe on your eternal journey and looking forward to your next posting.

Love you,
Mo, Shannon & Shamrock (meow, meow)

lovecapetown on

Cape Towns wineroute and winelands makes me think of a TV show called the Thirsty Traveller

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