Monday, May 12, 2014

28: Cape Town...Carpe Diem!

Cape Town cradled by Table Mountain - very few cities can claim such a dramatic and recognizable backdrop.

From Mauritius, we were at sea for six days before we docked in Cape Town, South Africa.

But way before then, there was a frisson of excitement resonating about the ship when an announcement was made, calling on all students who act, sing, dance or play an instrument to sign up for a musical show that would be directed by our next Interport Lecturer, Michael Williams.

Michael Williams is the Managing Director of the Cape Town Opera. An engaging storyteller, Michael's first lecture delved into the rich complexity of South Africa - it's history, his childhood and coming of age in the Apartheid era, and the great hope - even joy - that welcomed the release of Nelson Mandela, a new constitution, and democracy. His second lecture was about making theatre in South Africa, in particular the role of opera in South African society, and how the great masterpieces are reinvented through the lens of South African sensibility.

Both talks were beautifully presented and thoroughly thought provoking. His love for South Africa was clear, and my curiosity was definitely peaked. A day or so later, Gary and I watched the documentary "Searching for Sugar Man," which was on the ship's TV loop. Wow. How is it that we Americans didn't know anything about Sixto Rodriguez when his music was the soundtrack of life for the youth rebelling against apartheid in South Africa?

In Pre-Port, Prof. Byerly spoke about how excited she was to be back in her native South Africa, how incredibly beautiful Cape Town was with the backdrop of Table Mountain...and that even when it was cloudy, it was beautiful still...Table Mountain was just draped with a white "table cloth"....

The city lived up to all we had heard. We docked on a beautiful crisp Fall morning. The temperature was perfect, the air fresh. And we had almost a week to enjoy it all, including a safari to Kruger National park, to boot!

Our dockside neighbor...

The V+A Waterfront is a happening place - full of interesting shops and restaurants.
They are geared toward tourists - but still, it's fun place to spend some time
after having been on a ship for three months.

Adjacent to the V+A Waterfront, giant concrete tetrapods are put to good use,  protecting the shore
by breaking up the wave energy of the South Atlantic Ocean. Cape Town's World Cup Football
(soccer) Stadium is at the left.

Proteus are sold in grocery stores!

Long Street in Cape Town.

Art Deco (The Mutual Building) in Cape Town

Cape Town Skyline.

The Castle of Good Hope in Cape Town was originally constructed along the coastline in the 17th century and moved
to its current location in 1936. It is considered to be one of the best preserved of Dutch East India Company castles.

Detail view of the tower gateway, Castle of Good Hope.

Forms, colors and textures at the Cape Town Docks.

On the recommendation of one of Gary's students, we spent most of a day in a lovely cafe - the Bedouin.
It's in an area of Cape Town called Woodstock (known for the Biscuit Factory) that is full of artists.
Internet was free, the service was wonderful, and the food delicious.

One last glimpse of Table Mountain as we left Cape Town...

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