Posts from December 2004

56k dial up

Here at the Idube Lodge in the Sabi Sands Game Preserve they have a single computer with 56k dial up Internet access.

So no pictures until | get back to civlilization.

We are having a great time and seeing a ton of big game in the wild.  Great fun.

Happy New Year to everyone.

My New Year’s Resolution

I’ve blogged that blogging is an addiction.  And it certainly can be.

Our online life can be addictive as we all know.

I spent that past week offline and off my blackberry phone too.

And it feels great.  And when I am done with this post, I am going back to the offline world for a few more days.

My New Year’s resolution is to go offline and stay offline for at least a week every year.

I need an annual break from the constant communication.

Tsunami

We have been offline for over a week and have not read a newspaper in almost two weeks.

We heard about the Tsunami from our mountain biking guide two days ago.

It’s terrible news.

So I decided to go online today to get a sense of it and read Jarvis saying that 60,000 to 100,000 may have died.

I am glad we are missing this disaster.  It’s too terrible to comprehend.

The Garden Route

We’ve been on the Garden Route for the past week. 

It’s an amazing part of the eastern cape of South Africa with beaches, forests, mountains, lagoons, wildlife, and much more.

We’ve been having too much fun to blog about it.

If there is wifi in the airport tomorrow on our way to Kruger for a safari, I’ll post some amazing pictures of all that we’ve been doing.

The Cape Winelands

Hpim1211 This isn’t Tuscany, although it looks a lot like it.

This is the Cape Winelands where we have been for the past couple days.

The wines here are good, some are very good.

It’s hot here, hotter than the wine growing regions of France and Northern Italy.  It’s closer to the climate of Australia and Southern Italy.

Hpim1202 Thus the wines are strong and have more alcholol content.  But the tradition of winemaking comes from the French Hugenots and so the grapes tend to be of the french variety, Cabernet, Merlot, Syrah, Chardonnay, and Sauvignon Blanc.  They do have their own unique varietal here called Pinotage which was created by mixing Pinot Noir and Cinsaut (Hermitage).  I’ve tried Pinotage three times since I’ve been down here and I have to say I haven’t warmed up to it.  It is fruity up front but kind of smoky on the finish and I don’t love it.

Hpim1203 We visited three wineries yesterday and they were all great. 

We really liked the 2003 Chardonnay from a winery called Glen Carlou.   

This picture is the view from their tasting balcony.

Apparently Glen Carlou sold in the US so we’ll try to find some when we get back.

Hpim1209Our favorite was a brand new boutique winery called Lindhorst that just started making wines in 2002.  We bought a case of the 2002 Shiraz and a case of the 2002 Shiraz/Merlot blend.  Both were great.  We also bought a case of the Pinotage to have so we can give others a chance to try this uniquely South African wine.

Here is a picture of Mark Lindhorst giving us a taste of the 2004 Shiraz out of the barrel.  It was pretty good already.  We’ll have to get some of that in a couple years!

You can’t get Lindhorst in the US right now, but if you like Shiraz, email me and I’ll give you Mark’s email address and you can get him to ship you some.

Robbens Island

Hpim1165 Nelson Mandela lived in this cell, B block, cell 5, for almost 20 years before being moved to another prison in Cape Town where he stayed for several more years before being released in the early 90s.

We went to Robbens Island and it was the most emotional part of our trip so far.

You take a half hour boat ride out into the harbor to the Island which has sparse vegetation and must be cold as hell in the winter.

The view of Cape Town is great, but its hard to look at it and not think of what this view looked like to the prisoners who lived on this island for years without hope of getting off.

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South Africa is a wonderful country and its frankly hard to reconcile the niceness of the people with the pain and suffering that went on here so recently.  It’s also a reminder that many countries still practice the hate and segregation that South Africa has moved away from.

The Table Cloth

There is a very interesting weather pattern that develops in Cape Town in the early summer months.

Helmar, in his comment to my Getting There post, calls it the "Cape Doctor".

Whatever the name, its this killer wind that comes howling down from Table Top Mountain and the Tweleve Apostles.  It was blowing at least 50 miles an hour here in Camps Bay last night.

When this wind condition develops, a really cool thing happens.  The clouds just sort of hang out on top of the mountain and drift over.  It’s called the "Table Cloth" and we had a great one yesterday over the Twelve Apostles.  Very Cool.

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Jackass Penguins

Hpim1134 Josh’s math teacher told him to make sure he got to see the "Jackass Penguins" on his trip to South Africa.

Well a name like that is too good to pass up for an eight year old boy, so we stopped in Simonstown (a navy base on the Cape Peninsula) to see these penguins with the cool name.

Cape Point

Hpim1101 Growing up in history class we all read about the difficulties that sailors had getting around the Cape of Good Hope, so it was a must visit to see the southern tip of the Cape Peninsula.

It’s a day trip from Cape Town and we did it yesterday. 

It is an impressive sight.  The idea that there is nothing but ocean from this point south to Antarctica is pretty amazing.

It took us about an hour and a half to drive down there.

Hpim1100 We took this cool train thing they called a funicular up to the peak where the original lighthouse is.

And then we walked about fifteen minutes more to the tip where the new lighthouse is.  The walk down was a breeze and you pass these amazing cliffs.  The walk back up was a bit of an effort, but well worth it.

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The wind was blowing hard at Cape Point yesterday as everyone’s hair shows.

We had a great time and I would recommend this trip to anyone visiting Cape Town.

Driving in South Africa

Hpim1056 They drive on the left side of the road here.

So The Gotham Gal is handling the driving on this vacation. 

I have a problem with rights and lefts.  Always have.