Wednesday, June 14, 2006

Civilisation? Maybe not.

I wrote a post called back to civilisation. Ha! The day after I wrote that our car got broken into. You can keep civilisation! We were in a seaside suburb of Cape Town called Muizenberg. We decided to use it as a base to explore the surrounds of Cape Town before taking the car back.We went to Rondevlei a nature reserve, and Kirstenbosch Botanical gardens on the 1st day. It was a lovely day. Rondevlei is a lovely reserve right near the city. It is a wetlands and has 100's of species of birds and even hippos which were reintroduced in the 1980's after becoming extinct to the region in the 1800's (as is often the case. Man has a lot to answer to) Unfortunately,we didnt see the hippos as they are very elusive, but just knowing that they are there was enough for me. Hippos are responsible for more deaths a year than any other animal in Africa, so maybe it was a good thing we didn't see them!

In the visitors centre part they had reptiles and display boards.After egging on a chameleon to eat a locust which was passing him ( Maybe thats my carnivore instincts coming out) we headed off to find the botanical gardens. It took a while as we didn't have a very good map. Tim got annoyed agin and said we should give up. I have learned on this trip that Tim does not like having insufficient maps (refer to Tim's post of Lonely planet misdirections)and being unable to comprehend where we are. I reckon we could just ask, but no, we can't do that.( Anyway, we eventually found it and I am glad we persevered as it was beautiful. Set on the slopes of the east side of Table Mountain, Kirstenbosch botanical gardens are probably the most beautiful botanical gardens I have been to. The mountain stunning as a backdrop. We walked round for a few hours taking photos and enjoying the sun. From one part there was a view of the cape flats area, which is where lots of townships are (settlements for black and coloured people displaced during the apartheid era.) It was a clear sunny day, but over the townships was a thick smog.

We headed back to Muizenberg. We had wanted to use the internet but there was a power cut (these happen often as the western cape region doesn't have the generating capacity). We sat and watched the surfers for a while and then went to a bar and ate tapaz. After this we went on the internet, and this set the tone for the rest of the evening; negative.

We went on for an hour and the man charged us for being on 2 seconds over . Only another rand but it was the principle. We felt him to be very unfriendly and we went away in bad moods to our hostel. Throughout the night I felt very edgy and whenever I heard anybody I flew to the window to check my car. I was unable to sleep and finally when I did my car alarm went off. We looked out and couldn't see anything suspicios so thought that either the wind caught it or someone tried the handles and disappeared. In the morning we got up really early in order to go up Table Mountain as that is the best time to go. We went out to the car and my heart sank as I realised the back passenger window had been smashed. I felt angry and violated. My waterproof coat was missing (they left Tim's!) a bag of leaflets had gone and the car ashtray! We went back into the hostel and the receptionist phoned the police. He said we should not have left anything what so ever in there. We knwe this, but think had got complacent. Plus we didnt think the car would get broken into for an old coat. Another man we spoke to said that it would! I just can't belive they left Tims. Obviously his was the wrong size or something!

Tim decided to go to the police station rather than wait forever for them to turn up. We only wanted a crime number for the hire car place. Eventually he came back and we drove to the cityto return the car. I drove into the forecourt, nearly scraping the car on the entrance and forlornly explained what had happened. They were fine about it. Apparently it happens alot! I think the man felt sorry for us though as he drove us to our hostel (which he didnt have to). We arrived at a nice hostel in Greepoint near the Waterfront of Cape Town. I instantly felt more positive as it was a love;ly place and it seemed friendly and relaxed .

I am still annoyed about it now though. Not because of anything which has been stolen etc, but because they spoiled our plans of going up Table Mountain. It was a perfect day to do it and now the weather has turned and the mountain is covered in the "tablecloth" (the term they use for the cloud that descends over it) so it looks like were not going to get to go up. Oh well. It could have been worse. At least we are ok. Oh yeah, and at least someone is warmer now. (On the way back from the police station Tim saw a woman wearing my jacket. She was in a park and he said she looked homeless). I couldn't stay too angry for long.

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