Tuesday, November 15, 2011

penguins, baboons, and golfers, oh my

We've been unofficially judging Cape Town's road signs and today's "Look for penguins under your car" narrowly nudged out "Baboons!" for front-runner (also in the running: "Watch for golfers"). The penguins are a colony of African penguins that really shouldn't be here, apparently 25 years ago two of them made landfall and there's over 2,000 of them packed in now (I guess including under your car). There's a viewing platform on one section of the beach with a platform full of tourists, but there's also an area further down that hardly anyone was at where on a good day you can swim with a penguin. We didn't get quite that lucky but we did get one random penguin who waddled right down the footpath, across the beach, and up to his nest, all while being chased by Nate and Aya... It's just a really funny experience to be lounging at the beach and then say "There goes a penguin!".

The baboons inhabit a few parks in the interior mountains, including the national park at the tip of the cape where we saw a family of them. We were told to keep the windows rolled up and that they will actually open your car door if you leave it unlocked. Yes, these baboons will carjack you. We also spotted some zebra later on and got out of the car to make sure Davi could see and to photograph them, then thought that maybe the baboons send the zebra to lure tourists out of the cars so they can carjack them. Fortunately or unfortunately the image of the baboons driving away in our car, giving us the finger, was only in our imagination and made us all laugh quite a bit. Aya added that our car would have been particularly good for them since the baby baboon could have sat in Davi's car seat!

There's also a city here, we visited the main downtown area on Sunday, some nice mid-1800s British buildings and churches but nothing quite so exciting as baboons and penguins. Tomorrow we'll take the cable car up to the top of Table Mountain and visit "The World of Birds", which is famous for its squirrel monkeys and should consider a new name.

Our house is in a beach town about 20 miles from the downtown area towards the tip of the cape, in a really, amazingly beautiful setting, a 270 degree bay surrounded by huge mountains. Having a house has really blurred the transition from real life to vacation in a weird way, almost like we're in some alternate reality where you drive on the wrong side of the road and you say "Yees" instead of "Yes", but very familiar like we never left home. Somehow we avoided jet lag and sleeping hasn't been an issue, Nate and Aya have their own room (and similarly spend their only hour of the day with no arguing after lights-out) and Davi has her own room, so that's helped. Davi's having a great time and seems to enjoy the traveling experience as much as the rest of us.

No comments: