Wednesday, May 11, 2011
Pie Land and Penguins
Today was our long long bus ride. We had to get the 7 hours from Oudtshoorn to Cape Town, and our bus got pretty tiring after a while. Fortunately we broke up the day with stops at craft stores and coffee places (many of which are weird blends of, for example, motorcycle shops and coffee cafes, etc). We stopped for lunch at a place called Caledon, and many of us went to a funny little place called Pie Land, which was, as you might expect, filled with many kinds of pie. Only here, when South Africans refer to pies, they mean meat pies. Not a sweet or fruit one in sight. We got our pies and sat out on a bus stop at a corner and ate and ate and ate.
We also stopped pretty much at the bottom of the whole continent of Africa to see a penguin colony. These African penguins (also called Jackass penguins for their bray) are little guys, about a foot tall, with wide black and white stripes, and pink stripes near their eyes. The colony is protected, and we walked out on wide boardwalks to look at the penguins while they nested (this is nesting season). One of the male penguins showed us the egg he was hatching, and we did see some rather large chicks covered in grey down. The colony is in a bay surrounded with high black mountains, with large rocks tumbled down the the shore. The smell of the ocean was very strong, and, I must say, the smell of the penguins was even stronger...
Fortunately Kasey brought out her iPod with a rather large mix of 90's music. The iPod was linked into the stereo system on the bus, and most of the students sang along for much of the ride. The professors, who were actually alive in the 1990's, barely survived another tour of the decade. But we made it.
And we are now in gorgeous Cape Town. We rode into the city about dinner time, coming over the mountains and down into the main part of the city right with the rush hour traffic. Table Mountain, with its long flat top looms over this city, and some of our students have rooms in our hotel that will let them wake up to a view of the mountain in the morning. Just after we arrived, a huge rainbow formed down the mountain into the city, sparkling in the twilight mist.
More adventures begin tomorrow.