Sunday, December 31, 2006
Saturday, December 23, 2006
Anyway, our third day in Capetown was our most shala, because we went to the wineyards to...ta-daa...do wine tasting. Yes, you heard it here first folks, we are now wine connoisseurs. We went to two wine estates, Boschendal (for the wine tasting) and another one (I cannot remember the name. Just know it sounded very French) for the view and lunch.
Boschendal is in the border of Stellenbosch already (or beyond). It is a big wine estate and thus they offer cellar tours and wine tasting for only 25 rand!!! Very cheap. So we went on the cellar tour first. Thankfully, they didn't require advance reservations or bookings so we were able to get in. I thought the cellar tour would be the underground cellars, very old fashioned ones. But unfortunately for us, it was made up of hug machines (thought they would get the grape juice like stomping on it. like that Keanu Reeves movie.). But anyway, they had this one room with barrels and barrels of wine. The guide was talking about wines and everything, pero picture picture nlng kami ni Paui.
After the cellar tour, nag wine tasting kami! oh di ba, feeling naman namin makaka differentiate kami sa texture, color, etc ng wine. hehehe. So we got 14 glasses (7 glasses each). It was more of wine drinking than wine tasting for us actually. hahaha. Thankfully, matagal malasing itong si Paui so he could still drive. Then we had lunch at another wine estate known for its food and its view. We already expected the shala-ness of the price so di naman kami masyado na shock. But the food was good, the view was good and so was the company. And the weather was cooperating too (it did actually for the whole four days). Haay, if mayroon lng sila duyan, natulog na ako dun.
After our lunch, we decided on either going back to the city area and go to Camps Bay or chance a whale watching at Hermanos. Not knowing that Hermanos was millions of miles away, we decided to drop by Hermanos and say hi to the whales.
Dyos ko. We spent almost 2 hours on the road going to Hermanos. And Paui had to use his driving skill to negotiate two steep and very challenging mountain passes. Nag heart attack ako nun when I thought we were lost because Paui's voice contained a tinge of panic in it when he said 'Baby, tingnan mo mapa! baby, wala na tayo sa coast. Tama ba ang daan natin?????'. Pero the road offered no point of return so we were stuck in our plan to go to Hermanos. We spent approximately 10 minutes in Hermanos to see a whale wagging its tail in the air (i guess its called beaching) before Paui urged that we head back as soon as possible before dumilim. hehehe. ga panic akong baby.
Thankfully, we returned to the city center safely. For dinner naman, we tried a restaurant in Long Street. Long Street is like Khao San and Malate. Apparently , malaki daw gay community sa Capetown. We parked in this place na may pink neon sign na 'Sex Videos for Rent'. hehehe. grabe. di sila shy dito.
We went to the Long Street Cafe and had some pizza and yummy chicken and some Long Street Iced Tea (parang Long Island iced tea). Paui wanted to order some macho beer thing. But I convinced him to take a cocktail koz beer he can always order anywhere, but yung timpla ng cocktail minsan is nag iiba from place to place. hehe. So ayun, ang bf ko tuloy ay may drink na may payong. hehehe.
In our last day in Capetown, we went to Robyn Island, the island which housed political prisoners during apartheid like Nelson Mandela. Astig dahil our guide was himself a prisoner there . So it lent more authenticity to the place. We went to the prison cells, heard the story then we had to take the ferry home because we had to check out and catch our flight home.
It was really sad to leave Capetown. Paui and I had such a fun time from the planning to the actual implementation (hehe. parang change request ba). And the place was so beautiful. Pag honeymoon ko, gusto ko bumalik dito. hahaha. Or maybe in another part of South Africa like sa garden route or Port Elizabeth. hehehe. parinig...parinig... hahahaha.
After a full breakfast, off we went to the tip of the Peninsula. Paui actually mapped out the route we would take and even made a little codigo so I know which signs to look out for (he knows how inept I am with a map...girl scout training and all. haha. I think were we to go join the amazing race, we would always be the last team to arrive). It was Sunday so the streets were not so full of people. We passed by one road where it looked like downtown Capetown. I got quite scared at that point because I imagined someone ambushing us on the road and just robbing us basically. It was a really long drive, albeit a straight one.
Finally, we got to the coast! Ganda. The roads they built were very close to the coast so I was able to enjoy the view while Paui drove. Picture picture nalng ako so Paui will get to enjoy what he missed during the drive.
Our first stop was at Boulders beach. Here we saw the African penquins. Ang cute cute nila. They were just living there on the beach, one whole group of them. They were very small , just up to my kness lng. The penguins were located in a coastal town named Simon's Town. We were planning to have lunch there in one of the small and quaint looking hotels overlooking the ocean. But we nixed that idea and decided to eat at Cape Point instead.
We then stopped at one point on our journey for a bit of whale watching. But di kami prepared koz we didn't prepare binoculars. So while the people around us where ooh-ing and ahh-ing that they saw whales and very big ones, we just saw water. We comforted ourselves with the thought that yes, we did see a whale in the harbour yesterday.
We drove on again. Near the Cape of Good Hope National Park, we stopped by because there was a weird sight to behold: baboons, hordes of them, coming down the mountains. And they were apparently in heat because their butts were as red as ever. We have dire warnings on our guidebooks to not feed them nor walk around with food when they are near. They actually kill the baboons that the tourists feed! Crazy huh. And one woman in the car in front of us, got out of her car (against the rule to stay in the car and close the windows) and took pictures of baboons. Well. A rule breaker. If she gets mauled by one baboon, then it's her own fault . Hmp.
Finally we arrived at the National Park. Since we were dying from starvation already ( we simply lacked the foresight to bring packed lunches), we ate at the pricey but well situated Cape Point Restaurant. We ordered burgers (which were the cheapest ones on the menu). Once done, we decided to go up to the lighthouse first then go down the Cape of Good Hope hiking trails. Since going up was going to be so much trouble for our exercise-challenged bodies, we bought a one way ticket to the funicular instead. A funicular (I think that is how its called) is like a train going upward. And since this particular one was steep, it felt like a ride at Enchanted Kingdom or something. hahaha. Needless to say, I enjoyed it.
We went up the light house and they had this cool signpost which pointed to the exact direction and gave the exact distance of famous cities like New York, Paris, etc. Bakit kaya wala ang Manila or Cebu dun? hahaha. It was quite windy up there so may kaguluhan mga pictures namin. And from up there, you can see the tipmost point (not officially the tipmost, just the most famous tip) jutting out and they say that if you run a straight line and point southwards, you can reach the antarctic region from there already. And that area is the meeting point of two oceans, the Atlantic and the Indian. Which would explain the strong currents and why so many ships get shipwrecked around here. In fact, they even have hiking trails towards the shipwrecks (there is even a Chinese vessel marooned here and the wreck is still preserved.
In fact, I think that either Dias or Vasco da Gama got shipwrecked here in Capetown after going from the Philippines in search of the spice islands. Weird huh. I was standing on a spot mentioned by my history teacher during social studies class. hehehe. Well, I can't remember half of the History lessons I have had, but these two names do sound familiar. ;)
Then Paui and I walked down to the actual tip sa peninsula. I swear. The winds were so strong that I was afraid it would blow Paui or me to the sea! I actually chicked out the first time we came down as I felt the slope was too steep. Paui talked me into it and after five minutes, I went down to the tip. He kept on offering to hold my hand but I was afraid if he did, he would be walking far too close to the edge then it would be my fault if he fell . (okay, i am a bit paranoid. hehehe. sakit naman siguro ni). So finally we reached the tipmost point and saw the new lighthouse (they had to create a new one because the one on the cliff kept getting hampered by fogs and thus was not so effective). We spent a few minutes wondering how in the world were they able to create a state of the art light house on the edge of a rocky cliff with angry waves crashing on the shore. I mean, the logistical nightmare! This should be featured on Discovery under one of their construction shows.
Then Paui and I back down (we only bought one way tickets for the funicular). And had our picture taken again by a farang. hehe. Then after energizing ourselves with water, we went for our second hike, the one to the other point. This one, I am ashamed to admit, I was already plain scared. Just imagine, they built wooden pathways at the edge of the cliffs without railings. The winds were strong it was literally picking me up and throwing me off the trail. And there were times when the path took a steep turn and I couldn't see beyond it anymore. I panicked and stopped several times, testing my baby's patience to the limit (heck, I felt like I was going to be on the front page of tomorrow's daily "FILIPINA JUMPS OFF THE CLIFF IN DESPERATION").
Finally, Paui convinced me to take his hand and we we walked the trail together. It is cheezy and corny, but walking that path hand in hand just gave me a certain stability inspite of the howling wind. Sure there were times we had to stop because the wind was too strong and were pushing me towards the rocks, but I felt safer holding his hand than if I was walking alone. :P Corny and senti ko...pero paki nyo, blog ko ito eh. hahahahaha.
And we finished the walk, with matching rock climbing pa ito. All in all, we walked almost a total of 4 hours. Work out na ito! hahaha.
Exhausted and tired, we drank cokes and were walking back to the car when who should be walking towards us but (psycho music please) a baboon! Not just any baboon, but a big one. And we had drinks in our possession. Would it maul us in order to get the drinks? Should we scream and run like poorly paid actors in a B horror Hollywood flick? Finally, we decided to walk quietly past (and we were ready to throw our Cokes in case it approached us). Once we were a little distance away, we ran. hahaha. Shameless cowards, I know. One of the more unfortunate vehicle owners had a baboon sitting contentedly on top of their car. I wonder how they will manage to drive away .
We were going to try to catch the sunset again at the waterfront, but once again, we failed and we had to content ourselves with the stars twinkling in the distance. We ate at Spurs (this restaurant which serves the best chicken and beef kebabs). It was Paui's favorite resto and would explain the considerable increase in his girth so nagbigay pugay kami dun. I had my favorite Savannah Dry (kaya sarap tulog ko. hehe).
It was a perfect day. We had the beautiful scenery, exotic animals (baboon included) and of course, spending it with my man. ;)
Usually, what you see in postcards and guidebooks isn't exactly what you get when you actually arrive at the place. But in the case of Capetown, my gosh! the city is friggin beautiful dyud. With the beautiful bay fronting the city and the Table Mountain and Signal Hill shrouding the city from the back, the result is a city which looks like vacation haven (and is actually) for many. I wonder why Siemens just didn't put their main office there. I would have volunteered to actually stay in this crime-infested country.
Paui and I (with the help of guidebooks like the Rough Guide to South Africa and a very detailed Capetown map which Paui bought from CNA) put up a rather compreshensive itinerary. Rather, I made the itinerary and Paui gave the final approval after checking the maps if the plans I made were rather possible and we were not rushing from one place to another for 30 minutes in the span of a hundred kilometers.
Our first day, we woke up at 4 am, readied our bags and drove to the airport. We parked at the parking area near the airport which cost us around 80 rand per day. :( Paui was actually a bit bummed about it, but what can we do? We had to park at the safest parking area possible.
We then met up with Thai friends at the airport and we all had breakfast together at Wimpy's. But as we booked separate flights, we had to leave earlier to catch ours. I am ashamed to say that I got into a bit of bad mood because I thought we were going to be late and showed a tad bit shade of jealousy (at something I really don't want to just explain here now). Jealousy isn't attractive (on me anyway) so I quickly dropped that and made up with him (this took place in about 2 minutes. What can I say, I am so easy to placate and he is getting very good at soothing my ruffled tempers).
Two hours of smooth flying later, we arrived at the Capetown airport to overcast skies. Obviously, just minutes before we landed, it was raining in Capetown. Puddles of water were still visible on broken sections of the pavement. Unwilling to let our spirits be dampened by the weather, I muttered a quick prayer to God for sunny days while we were here. I was not willing to let 5000 rand go to waste just because of a bit of rain! (and strong winds :P)
We encountered our first problem at the car rental. Due to budget contstraints, we took one of the cheapest cars -- a red Chico. It was a bit small and looked ready to fall apart at the slightest provocation, but it was fine. The real problem happened when we were driving out of the airport. Because the car in the middle of humming along smoothly to the traffic, just slowed down --- and stopped. Paui started the car again and we drove on for about 1 minute, then it stopped again! In the middle of the intersection! In a country where bad driving was almost a norm! My normally placid and patient baby was not sputtering with reined in anger and frustration. We made it back to the car rental office after stopping four friggin times! Then we changed our car and upgraded ourselves to a blue Toyota Corolla which was a more dependable car at any rate.
First stop, we checked in at our hotel. Since it was still morning (we had over estimated the distances and time when planning our itinerary. We didn't expect Capetown to be small and accessible) and we can only officialy get into our rooms at 2pm, we decided to go to the V&A Waterfront first.
Ganda. It was like Clark Quay in Singapore but only better and not artificial looking. It was an actual harbor on one end and on the other end was the big V&A mall with restaurants serving sea food on the side. The skies were still overcast and we were debating whether to go on and climb Signal Hill and Table Mountain which would be a waste since if its cloudy and foggy, we wouldnt see a thing from up there anyway. Not to mention the treacherous drive. So we killed time by walking around the waterfront area (and Paui posed with some African dancers). Then we saw this ad for whale watching. Guaranteed daw you get up close and personal with whales. But it was a hefty 400 rand (3200 in our Philippine pesos) kaya pinag isipan pa namin. Then we saw a cheaper one (40 rand) for a tour of the harbor. So we went on that one. Not bad for a ride which cost 40 rand only.
The tour in the beginning was very boring actually. The guide just made snide and witty comments (altnerating) about the places around the harbor, about himself and his partner. We saw lots of seals resting on the pier too. But just as we were going back, wham! Things began to get exciting when Paui spotted a whale! Yes ladies and gents, a real live whale in the harbo and just meters from our boat. We saw it spouting water and slapping its tail. It was very exciting and frightening. The guide only had us stop for five minutes before we were off to shore and he had to warn people that there was whale in the harbor (Whale in the Harbour soon became the shout to sell their harbor tour thingies).
Then Paui drove us (me) up to Signal Hill after lunch time when the sun miraculously shone again! God is really good!!! The route was extremely scenic. Ganda ng placement ng backdrop ng mountains tapos the ocean across and the city just below us. When God made the earth siguro, he had some favorites which he granted with all nature has to offer and one of them is Capetown. And in fairness, the roads were well maintained. Even the park up Signal Hill was very clean. And NO ENTRANCE FEE! After taking a few poses (ang nagpakapal muks so someone can take a pic of both of us), we drove down the mountain and up another one...the one with a cable car.
Ayaw aminin ni Paui ngayon, pero that time he was hesitant in taking the cable car because he was afraid I would scream and shout and basically be a nuisance on the way ( i have a fear of heights--> remember the cable car at Genting?). But anyway, the cable car here was a two minute steep climb to the part of the mountain overlooking the city. And it could fit up to 20 people and it rotates. Astig talaga ! (choz ko, nakuha ko na ata vocab ng bf ko). So we took the cable car. During the ride up, a really irritating Japanese tourist (a whole horde of them was in the car with us and they were so noisy) just elbowed me and a little kid out of the way so he can get his stupid frigging picture. Wala man lng excuse me or at least a Japanese equivalent for that. And he was sweaty pa and all. Argh.
When we arrived at the top, it was still foggy. Feeling ko nasa set ako ng isang horror movie and a hand will just materialize out of the fog and grab me and want to eat me alive...hahaha. Or nasa set ako ng Okay Ka Fairy ko and nasa Engkantada kami. hehe. Eventually, the fog gave way and we got beautiful views of the city below. So picture picture and lakad lakad uli. hehe. They even had their own 12 Apostles stone structure here (favorite ni Paui dahil dami ata nya pose dun). Some people were kind enough to offer (offer ha...we didn't even have to ask) to take our picture. I guess they thought we were a cute Asian couple out on our honeymoon. hahah. cute as in maliit ha. hindi cute dahil cute. hahaha.
So nag coffee muna kami sa taas (it wasn't starbucks, but it would have to do..what can I say, coffee addicts kaming dalawa eh) and then back to lakad lakad and picture picture uli. I will post the pics once I upload it sa net. Paui just put them all in a CD kasi. Then that night, we officially were checked in, freshened up and went back to the Watefront to enjoy the sunset. That night we were feeling shala, so we ate at the Greek Fisherman restaurant which was just right beside the water. So we had a good view of the harbor while eating our food. We ate outside so we felt chilly. But it was a romantic spot. And medyo pricey ang restaurant pero ok lng. Libre naman ako ni Paui. hehe. thanks baby!
We downloaded our pics, reviewed our itinerary for tomorrow (gawd, organized pa kami ha. hahahah) then went to sleep thinking of the surprises tomorrow would bring.
Oo nga pala, God, thanks for the great weather that day. It was just perfect! :)
Hahaha. I know my blog's lay out still looks incredibly amateurish, but hey, I am still experimenting. And I am not so good with HTML code (ok, so my knowledge is almost zero in this area). I usually take whatever template I can get and have my cousin put in some additions. But I am feeling industrious today so I gave my blog a slight makeover.
Medj magulo tingnan, pero pwede na. hahaha. Merry Christmas to all from me and my blog.