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Daily Archives: November 12, 2011

Good Bye Cape Town

Author: Amy, Kendal, Keegan and Steve

Amy –  Coming to the end of our stay in South Africa.  Wow!  Have we learned a lot!  For one the kids started Virtual School here – and yes, they are learning.  Our naïve perception of Africa as a whole and the many countries here, including South Africa has completely changed.  I’m so happy to have had this experience for myself but I am doubly excited that my kids, at their young age, have had the same experience.  My perception of Africa will forever be changed and theirs will be molded on first hand experience that has been so beautiful and positive it’s just very exciting.  If anyone is contemplating a trip to Africa I say – go for it!  You will NEVER regret it and it’s better than anyone can tell you.  That’s not to say that every corner is safe and wonderful, unfortunately with bad people and bad leaders – which are in every country, there are bad pockets.  Our opinion has been formed over the 90 plus days we have been here.  I know I was very cautious at first and waited for the negative to overtake but that didn’t happen.  We found the goodness in so many people.  Our apartment has a wonderful staff – they are short term rentals and we became one of the longer stays for them and we all got know each other.  They said that we are now a part of their family which is one of the biggest compliments we could have received.  Their priority was to make sure we were happy and had everything we needed – they spoiled us . . . thank you Lawhill Apartments.  Steve took a chance with his cooking class and met some great people.  The kids and I met incredibly nice families while swimming with the swim team. We have learned so much from them and are so sad to leave them.  I believe we will see them again either in the United States or back here in Cape Town (yes, they said we could come back!).  Their Swim Coach, Csanad treated them like one of the squad.  Also, we were able to see a school in action while the kids took Hip Hop dance class.  All the kids wear uniforms here – not just a polo and shorts to the knee.  Real Harry Potter type with high socks, blazers and vests even ties for the older boys.  Kendal can’t pick a favorite she loves one uniform more than the next.  They would leave Hip Hop and say – the kids are soooo nice to me and to each other.  They adore their cool teacher Mandy – the epitome of Hip Hop.  We feel so blessed to have had this experience and to take all the love and goodness with us on the rest of our journey.

Kendal –  My thoughts on Africa before we got here was, oh geeze this will be an…interesting…adventure, why would my parents bring me to Africa??? Back home you hear of all the scary stuff that happens here. But the thing is, what we thought was wrong.  We have met so many kind people here, and we have been to so many nice places. I have come to think of Cape Town, South Africa as my second home. I’m so lucky to have so many second homes, Germany, Greece, Croatia now South Africa.  Thank you to all the people who have made this visit extremely better than I thought it could ever be.  I hope that all the new friends that we made will come visit us in America someday, because they are always welcome!

Keegan – Before I got here I couldn’t wait to go home – I thought I was missing out on starting school with my friends.  Now that I’ve been here I can’t wait to come back.  Africa is wonderful and not scary like you might think it would be.  The safari was awesome, Victoria Falls was amazing and Cape Town is a spectacular place.  I love being outside and Africa has so much to do and see.  Thanks to all the nice people that made my visit better than expected.  Come see me in America!

Steve – I feel blessed for the great friends we have met in Cape Town and that they are now a part of our lives . . . thank God for Africa!!

The kids with Coach Csanad

Out at dinner one night with good friends; Skyela, Brandon and Amicah

Dinner with friends - Nicci is hiding

The kids were lucky enough to get a picture with Australian Cricket player, Mitchell Johnson; one of the top cricket bowlers in the world and a really nice guy.

Here I am with my dazzling friend Nicci - she's the one hiding behind me in the dinner picture

The kids with Hip-Hop and choreography superstar Mandy!

Here with my good friend Christine with traditional face paintings at Moyo Restaurant

I had to throw this picture in - on our way to swim we stalked Steve on one of his long runs on Beach Road and Kendal took this picture from the car. Steve loved that run.

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in South Africa

 

Friends in Cape Town

Authors: Keegan and Kendal

My sister and I had a request to write about our awesome swim buddies and Hip Hop friends, we were going to anyway, how couldn’t we they were so great!  We have made some awesome friends along our journey and we would like to say a special thanks to our new friends in Cape Town.  We probably would have begged and begged to go home by now but we honestly want to stay here forever. Our swim coach was Hungarian and spoke very good English, but with a strong accent.  We loved his voice and his comments always made us laugh!  I would tell you some but this is a family blog hahaha!  The kids on the squad practice a ridiculous amount of hours a week – all because of Coach Csanad.  They are good – we’ll be looking for some of them at the next Olympics representing South Africa – you know who you are!  Our skills improved while being here, Coach Csanad told us and the team when we left (it’s fun if you say it in a strong Hungarian accent) “at first these kids here were drowning and could barely swim but now look at them!”   Okay, a little dramatic but we have definitely improved a lot. Thank you Csanad and Mandy!!

The last practice we had a “Fun Friday” and did swim relays – Keegan and I were captains and picked teams (I hate that part, I don’t want to hurt anyone’s feelings).  Each team had a t-shirt that the swimmer had to wear and when the next swimmer was up they had to put the wet t-shirt on.  Talk about drag!  My team pushed me in the water when I had the shirt only half way on – amazingly it went on better once in the water.  We all had such a good time; it was a blast!  It was hard to leave them; we will miss them all very much and never forget them.  As Keegan also told you we even took a hip-hop class. Keegan took his class with kids his age and I took a class with the college kids (high school kids in SA terms).  I learned a lot of moves so I guess you could say, “I’ve got the moves like Jaggar” 🙂 (lol).  Mandy our teacher was great and wow could she hip-hop!   She even made a surprise good-bye party for both Keegan and me. The kids in our classes were all very nice and warm and welcoming.  All of the friends that we made on this stop of the trip were amazing.  Thank you friends for making our stay in Cape Town incredible!

Here we are with some of our good friends from the swim squad.

One of our final days at swim with great new friends.

Here I am with one of my college friends, Brandon, breaking it down, that's Keegan in back.

Here's our final Hip Hop class with a good-bye party after - we all had a great time!

 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in South Africa

 

Castle of Good Hope – Cape Town

Author: Steve

For anyone coming to Cape Town I would recommend a visit to the Castle of Good Hope on the front end of your holiday.  We ended up doing it on the back-end but I think it would have been even more impactful if we had done it on the front end.  It’s a very informative tour that explains the powerful history of Cape Town.

The Dutch East India Company originally built the castle as a replenishment station for the long treacherous sea trips from Europe to the East.  (If you remember from my last blog, wine was served…this replenishment or supply station is now modern-day Cape Town today.)  It was built between 1666 and 1679 and during that process they made the decision to build a more fortified fortress foreseeing a possible conflict between them (Dutch settlers or Boers) and the British.  It is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa.  Surprisingly it never needed to be defended as no conflicts ever took place there.  I could have stayed there for hours checking out the exhibits and reading all the historical data.  Quite interesting was the data regarding the Second Anglo Boer War that took place between 1899 and 1902.  Only 87,000 Boers, all unpaid volunteers, took on 450,000 trained British soldiers.  At that time the British were a colonizing country that looked to conquer other, mostly third world, nations to help manage their natural resources.  The British adopted a “scorched earth” policy and destroyed over 30,000 Boer farmhouses, several towns and slaughtered hundreds of thousands of livestock.  Of the casualties over 26,000 Boer women and children died in concentration camps.  Over 75,000 lives were lost before the British finally won the war.

It was about a 45-minute guided tour and then you are allowed to walk around freely to check out the Castle Military museum and the Iziko Museum.  If you plan it right you can see the military ceremony performed by a traditional Cape Regiment at noon and watch them fire off a small but very powerful cannon.

At the entrance of the Castle of Good Hope

The ammunition room leaked so they incorporated a hole to drain the unwelcome water. However they were so close to the sea that water came up from the hole.

This is an entrance to one of the prison cells that held up to 20 inmates at a time, very tight quarters. We also stood in the gruesome torture chamber and got an education on how that all went down...you could almost hear the walls screaming.

Solitary confinement cell - I couldn't see them when I took this picture, it was pitch dark the flash lightened the room. As you can see Amy was not very comfortable.

Traditional Cape Regiment Ceremony - check out the family watching on the bench

The kids are resting behind a XHOSA WARRIOR

These are 2 great pictures outlying some Cape Town history

We are on top of one of the 5 bastions overlooking the city - the clouds are always awesome to look at as they blanket the mountains


 
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Posted by on November 12, 2011 in South Africa