Friday, July 20, 2007

Waiting for take off

On a trip like this, our last few days in any country are a little bizarre. On one hand, we're are still visiting the foreign country we are currently in. On the other hand, our minds start to move on to the next country we're scheduled to visit. In addition, inevitably we end up with a long list of simple "housekeeping" type chores to take care of (buying toiletries, doing laundry, making sure we have all the tickets and visa stuff for our next stop) on the last day. All this adds up to a weird liminal state not dissimilar to what Sarah described in one of her early entries.

Yesterday, we awoke planning on going to Robben Island, the famous prison island off the coast of Cape Town, where Nelson Mandela was held for most of his 27 year imprisonment. Unfortunately, it turned out that tours of the island were sold out through early next week, so we had to scrap that plan.

Instead, we decided to make our way to the waterfront, and wander around. It was a pleasant, sunny day, but we quickly decided to check out their aquarium: Two Ocean's Aquarium. As Sarah arelady knows, I enjoy a good aquarium. And, we'd heard that the Two Ocean's Aquarium was one of the best.

Capetown's waterfront, looking back at Table Mountain.

Statues of South Africa's four Nobel Prize Winners.

As the name implies, the Two Ocean's Aquarium features fish from both the Indian Ocean and the Atlantic. In addition, we had the good fortune of arriving in time to catch the seal feeding ("Dipsy, Daisy, Tea and Mullet. Up Mullet. Good seals!"), the penguin feeding and the predator fish feeding.

Rock Hopper Penguins. These penguins aren't native to South Africa, but a half dozen of them were stranded here, and taken in by the zoo.

A sea turtle. Most of my attempted to take pictures of fish and animals through the glass turned out blurry, like this.

These spdier crabs creeped me out. They're huge. Their main body is, like, the size of my head.

After that, we decided to follow up the aquarium with a trip to the movies. Sarah's been itching to see the new Harry Potter movie since it was released. And, with this being one of our last days in the comparatively modern (and English speaking) South Africa, and with the final book being released tonight at 1AM, we decided it would be a good time to see it. The movie going experience in Capetown proved to be pretty standard with teh amin difference being the fact that the items at the concession stands are still reasonably priced.

After the movie, we headed back to our hostel for pizza, beer and dominos. Since we left on our trip, we've been holding what we've dubbed the World Dominos Championship. Several times a week, on a slow evening or afternoon, we play dominos. We generally play to 100 points. But, in addition, we also have a running score with both country winners, continent winners and -eventually- a grand champion. Currently, I'm winning overall but Sarah has the lead for South Africa.

This morning, we awoke to overcast skies and chores to take care of. First, we had to pack up and check out, and arrange a ride to the airport. Then, after some tea, we had to go to the chemist to get medicine and toiletries. Then, not sure what to do with ourselves, we decided to have fish and chips and a Guiness at an Irish pub for lunch as the rain started to fall outside.

Now, we're in the Internet cafe again, finishing up our online business. Then after this, we have to go pick up our laundry then burn a few more hours until our flight.

First, we'll be flying back to Jo'burg, were we'll be in a bit of a bind. Our flight gets in right before midnight. But, our flight onward to Kenya doesn't leave until early the following morning. So, we're still trying to decide if we should check into an airport hotel for 6 hours, or just crash out in the airport itself - transit-hobo-style.

So, yup, that's how we've spent the last couple days in South Africa. And its pretty similar to how our last days in any country usually play out. Not too glamourous, but not bad.

I mean, you can't ride ostriches every day, right?


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