Tuesday, June 20, 2006

Table Mountain and District 6 Museum

I said in the last post that we wouldn't get a chance to go up Table Mountain because of the weather. We went up anyway! The clouds weren't as thick as they has been on previous days, so we went into the city so we could keep an eye on whether the Mountain was visible. As we waited we went in to District 6 Museum. This is a very moving tribute to the residents of an area of Cape Town called District 6. District 6 was a multicultural, albeit poor area, where people lived in peace and were happy. This all ended in the late 1960's when the government declared it a 'whites only area' and residents who were not white were forced to live on the Cape Flats, on the borders of the city, in tiny accomodation, some not even being placed anywhere. The result was separated families, broken homes and broken hearts, crime and worsening poverty, which is still evident today. The museum appears to be a place where ex residents are reclaiming their past. There are hundreds of names and tributes to the community of District 6 written on massive sheets and a giant road map on the floor. This gives the feeling that they are reclaiming their community and place in it. It was moving and humbling reading and imagining what their lives must have been like and what is worse is that it isn't even that long ago.

After the museum we walked around the city and through Company gardens a welcome relief from the hustle and bustle.As we walked through the gardens we had a lovely view of Table Mountain and were pleased to see that the cloud had lifted slightly. We could see the cable cars going up so we quickly found a taxi and raced up there. As we paid for our cable car ticket, the lady said, "no view", having to say it several times as I could not understand what she was saying. When we finally realised what she said we replied, "never mind we will go anyway!" We weren't going to let a minor fact like there was no view from the top of the mountain put us off. We were there and we were going to go up that Mountain.

We boarded the cable car, joining a big tour of Japanese tourists who were pinned around the sides of the cable car, blocking most of the view. As we climbed the Mountain, I held my breath, not because of the amazement of the stunning scenery, although that was nice, but because of somebodies bad breath. I saw a window through some Japenses tourists heads and attempted to take photos through it. I gave up as everywhere I moved , a mans head followed. The view gradually disappeared and all we could see was white as we moved into the clouds. Somebody said, "Is this heaven"? I thought , "Stuck in a small space with Japanese tourists with bad breath;Heaven? Can I try Hell instead please?

As we got out of the cable car, it was like we had landed on another planet. The mist of the clouds was rolling round our feet. We walked around and realised the lady had been right. There was indeed no view. Where kilometeres of view was supposed to be was just thick white mist. It was still good though. We enjoyed it. It had an eerie feel to it.

I have to say that though to make me feel better, as when we woke up the next day, guess what. Yeah you've guessed it, not a cloud in the perfect blue sky. A perfect day for going up Table Mountain!

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