Tuesday, November 5, 2013

A visit to UCT and then to Simon's Town

Monday morning and the sun was shining.  Business to attend to:  walk to Rondebosh (this is the University town), buy more airtime and talk to the car rental guy.  I decided that I wasn't comfortable driving the "student" rent a car on the Garden Route so I arranged to rent a new vehicle and needed to be back to the B&B by 11:30.  I had a lovely breakfast, packed my bags and went to check out.  When Yves tried to put through my credit card it was denied.  Funny I'd gotten a call from one of the other hotels I'd booked on the Garden Route saying this same credit card was also denied.  I thought it strange, just paid with a different credit card and then walked into town.  It was an easy 10 minute walk. It felt good to walk.  This was the first time since arriving in Cape Town that I was in a place where I felt comfortable walking on the street.  I went to the Vodacom store and purchased another 40 rand of air time.  I couldn't talk to the car rental guy because he wasn't going to be there until 2.  
When I arrived back at the B&B, I got online to check my Wells Fargo Credit Card and saw that it had in fact been "temporarily shut down" and I needed to call to see what was what.  I used my local phone to make the call, because on the back of my credit card it said it was a free call.  Good thing I just bought more air time, because 1/2 way through the conversation I was cut off.  Even though it was technically a free call, anything international gets charged.  So I used my iPhone to call again.  During the first call I learned that there are been charges made on-line that the fraud department thought looked suspicious so they shut the card down.  Thank you fraud department for being on the ball.  One of the charges was $790.00 worth of cosmetics, that's  funny, obviously the thief doesn't know me. The man on the phone said Wells Fargo would fed-ex a new card to me in South Africa but I decided not to since I have 3 others.  Best to keep that one clean for now.  Oy, what can I say.
The new car rental company came to the B&B to deliver a nice new VW sedan.  What a difference and I feel so much better about taking this car on a long distance drive.  They even have road side assistance for any problems.  It's only money, but safety is important, especially in this country.  
The safety issue here is the hardest part for me. Not being able to walk alone for sure at night anywhere and even during the day in some places.  It is their way of life and I'm glad I don't have to live it and in my jaded mind don't think anyone should have to live this way.  Most houses have gates, the windows have bars and don't ever think of leaving anything visible in your car.  Not for me, thank you.

With the morning sorted out I was now free for a few hours to walk around the University Campus, UCT, I think I previously called it CTU.  Emily was taking her last exam so I wanted to see the campus.
The campus is magnificent, built under the mountain.  
I wanted to find the student store to buy a UCT sweatshirt.  I took the Jammie (the local UCT bus to the upper campus.  The University is split into Upper, Middle and Lower campuses.  I met a nice girl on the bus from Kenya.  She was kind enough to show me where the store was.  Unfortunately there wasn't much choice so I wasn't able to buy any momentos.  I did enjoy taking photos of students and others congregated outside the food hall.

 The courtyard outside the food hall.

lots of smokers, great faces.

These trees are from the lower campus.  The trees fill the campus and make it a beautiful place to study.  The mountain hugs everything in Cape Town.
Emily fininshed her exam and was completely done with her semester.  Hard to believe she only has 1 1/2 more years before graduating.  
We had a bite to eat at Cocoa Wah Wah then drove over to visit with Eunice (she's the one who heads Sister's for Sister's) .  We were a bit later than planned and when we arrived, Eunice asked us to take her to the plastic store, not far from where we were, so she could buy little bags for the bracelets they make. She recieved an order of 500 bracelets that needed to be delivered by the next day.  We drove her to the plastic store where she was going to buy 500 bags but when I discovered that 1,000 was $6.00 I bought her the 1,000 so they could have another 500 after this order went out.  She was so happy she just hugged me and thanked me profusely.  I felt great to be able to do this small gesture (for me but grand for her).  On our walk back to the car I told her her price was to wait while I took some photos of this water faucet sculpture inside the "Community House" grounds.  She obliged me.

On the opposite wall was this mural.  My observation is that there is no shortage of space for people to draw and make statements here in Cape Town.

After our short visit with Eunice we headed to Simon's Town, a small town about 1/2 hour (with no traffic) outside of Cape Town.  It had been the British Navy's headquarters until they left South Africa.  Now it is used by the South African Navy.  The other attraction is Boulder's Beach where Penquins live.  
Because we left during rush hour traffic it took us nearly an hour to get there but it was a lovely drive along the coast.  We passed through the beach towns of the Western Cape:  Muzenburg, St. James, Kalk Bay, Fish Hoek, and then Simon's Town.  This is the road that continues to Cape of Good Hope and Cape Point.  Some think that this is where the Indian and Atlantic Oceans meet, but in fact it is not.  There is another place further south called Cape Agulhas.  As much as I would like to, I doubt I will get there.  I'll have to be happy with Cape of Good Hope.
Once in Simon's Town we found our B&B, The Chariton House high above the town.  A great view.  I had thought it was going to be on the beach for some reason, but not to be.  Actually, I've worn more of the clothes I brought for Europe, long sleeves, because it's been raining and cold.  I was hoping for summer but it's still spring.  
This is the door to our room.

Our hostess, Denise was a bit strange but very hospitable.  When she asked us what time we wanted breakfast, I said, "10", half kidding and she said how about "half past 8".  A little passive/aggressive.  Then we saw that the hours of breakfast were posted as 7-9.  She then explained that she didn't like people to come at 9 because then they stayed until 10.  We just shook our heads and said we would try to be there at 8:30.  Really, I'm a traveler and want to sleep in!!
A very sleepy town and seasonal to boot.  When we asked what restaurants were open we were told "Just Sushi" down at the harbor.  Many restaurants were closed on Monday some on Tuesdays and many Mondays and Tuesdays.  We were lucky because Just Sushi was fabulous.
these are called sushi sandwiches.  i'd never seen them before.  they were so good we had to have another order.  Then we had what they call "roses", not only are they beautiful they were delicious.
Not much to do after dinner but back to the B&B and get ready for another day of adventure.

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