Sunday, February 28, 2016

Cape Town - South Africa (Day 1)

Another love rekindling travel of ours, trust me, I didn't expect South Africa will be where I will be landing (Copenhagen & Bergen). Never, not at all in my slightest moment I would have imagined I will be stepping foot in South Africa. Oh-my! What a joy. A joy which kept playing on my mind for the last one year or so, ever since we started planning for here we are coming to get you South Africa (Rome & Verona/Milan). By the way, lemme tell you that exploring South Africa was not bestowed because we knocked on heaven's door. Knocking on heaven's door may have gotten to god's ears, but without us relentlessly working our butts out, South Africa most probably would have remained unshaken forever as our life long travelling mission. Basically, we saved as much as we could. Saving and not by fluke shot for this rather pricey South Africa 10 days 7 nights holiday. 

Not cheap. Imagine travelling from one corner of the our Malaysian world to across to another continent? Honestly guys, if you are a Malaysian, I am certainly not referring to the elite Malaysians, I am talking about us, the ordinary Malaysians, unless you can save, or money is growing on trees for you, I doubt you can afford to explore South Africa. Of course South Africa can still be your said destination if you don't mind roughing and toughing for accommodation without fussing, if you don't mind any mode of transport for going from one place to another in South Africa and if you have no qualms in getting in and out from as many airports. For us, don't get me wrong, I am not bragging, neither am I trying to impress any of you, we are those who prefer to travel in comfort. Comfort for literally everything. All paid and taken care off group tour travelling, local and foreign tour guides to our assistance anytime, nice hotels, meals in decent restaurants and air cond coach for sightseeing. That's us. Otherwise, like I always remind my other half-half, no point stinging, lets just stay put at home. 

I actually had just returned from my Myammar/ Chiang Rai/Chiang Mai trip just two weeks back before this trip took off. Therefore packing was really crazy. I literally rushed through. Clothes from my previous trip had to be washed and dried, and then packing again. Packing when you are older mind you can drive you up the wall too because you are worried what if you have forgotten to carry the must have essentials. For me, my skin care, shoes, slippers and under clothes are my always my priority. Not to forget my electronic chargers and passport. These were put aside each and every day each time it rang on my mind that these must be packed, till I finally zipped and locked my luggage. My luggage did bulge further since we were told to carry some thick clothes in case summer in South Africa gets chilly to our bones. All set, ready, steady and go, the day arrived, consequently, after almost 20 hours all in all, including for transiting from Singapore, we made our way into South Africa by late morning. Toilet call and what not for the next 20 minutes at the airport, off we were transported to Victoria & Alfred Waterfront at the heart of Cape Town for lunching in Ocean Basket. Frankly speaking, if I didn't come this far, I wouldn't have known of the existence of Ocean Basket. A quick check with our Hong Kong Chinese lady guide who is based in South Africa for the last 10 years or so, I found out that Ocean Basket is one of South Africa’s most loved seafood restaurants. 

Stylish ambiance and blue is their color theme, our set lunch consisting of soup, fresh salad, seafood platter, dessert, coffee or tea and free flow of water was pretty much a decent meal. Seafood platter paired along fries indeed showcased the fresh water catch but portion was way too big for two person sharing. Such a waste. Most of us struggled in finishing up and later after lunching, we stood outside Ocean basket for catching a glimpse of the back view of Victoria & Alfred Waterfront for the next 20 minutes. 

Subsequently, 3 hours of retail therapy at our whims and fancy. I did glimpse at some of the products in the outlets, honestly, nothing special, nor we can't get them in Malaysia or in other countries I have visited. 20  minutes most to most, I had enough of this whole thing to wandering around aimlessly in a shopping mall. Not for me. Instead, I walked out and sat outside for viewing, as far as my eyes could take me through, at this part of Cape Town which is world known as the cosmopolitan and stunning African landscape and water paradise. A beautiful view I won't deny, but not one I am totally alien to. My jaw didn't aw-wow drop. Remember I've been to other parts of the water world in other parts of the world as well (Bangkok Thailand, Halong Bay Vietnam, Fremantle Perth & Phuket Thailand)?   

Departing from Victoria & Alfred Waterfront, we passed by the huge houses and bungalows of the rich and famous South Africans, additionally, mind you, some of it is owned by other world popular figures. If I am not mistaken, I was told that UK royal family do make their presence known here, obviously because they are the owners, though I can't tell you how many of these exclusive houses belong to them. Our drive along this road eventually had to be paused because Table Mountain was closed due to misty, cloudy and windy weather. So, we detoured to Signal Hill for the scenic, mesmerizing and nature high on the skyline of Cape Town view. In fact, the most stunning had to be the helicopter view against the backdrop of the mountains, suburb Sea Point and Greenpoint World Cup Soccer Stadium.  

My-my! Utter gutter stunning point of view. Who on earth then wouldn't click as many as they can picturesque? I definitely went in full force. An hour well spent for nature breather, we then journeyed to the Malay Quarters. Another place world renown, a pit-stop in Malay Quarters I was already told by my friends before I left Malaysia is a must. I sure did. Nestled against the hill steep slope, Malay Quarters is one of the oldest parts of Cape Town which is still retaining some of its historical characteristics. Our stop was for no other purpose, no visit to any of the houses, instead, our fifties minutes at Malay Quarters was basically for seeing the artistic designs of these earliest Malay settlers. Absolutely unique exterior architectural of the mostly single storey houses with flat roofs, painted in various pastel colours. We also didn't miss out on taking a 360 degrees turn to view the surrounding area and of course, automatically, you should click as many pictures. 

Back into the coach again, our next stop took place in Castle of Good Hope. Again, just a couple of minutes of stop for the outside view of this 17th century fort. Built by the slaves and concluded as a symbol of oppression, slavery and land dispossession at the hands of the brutal colonial regime. Completed in 1679 and replacing the older structure constructed from clay and timber, this granite castle is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa. Today, Castle of Good Hope is a showcase of Cape’s early days and also a popular museum.  

By 6.30pm, day one sightseeing came to a draw. We then had dinner at Tao Yuan Restaurant. What a a lavish 8 course Chinese meal. Food wasn't a splendor, nevertheless, it made our tummy happy. Sincerely appreciated. 

Next change - Cape Town Part 2

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