And here we are, Part II. Unfortunately, I don't anticipate any Morgan Freeman references herein, but who knows, ask me at the end.
And before you begin, in case you missed Part I, you should start here.
We left New Orleans the morning of June 3rd, relatively refreshed, certainly showered and heavily packed. A honeymoon condition of mine, regardless of where we went, was that I be allowed to pack ALL the clothes I wanted without grief or groveling from Goose. Like, ALL the clothes I wanted. And he obliged, grief- and grovel-free....initially, at least. So we were ceremoniously dumped at the New Orleans airport with four extra-large suitcases, two medium carry-ons, one massive purse, a backpack (Did I marry a college student? What in the world?), a hat bag and a "I'm sneaking on an extra personal item, just TRY me, airline lady" mini-purse. Please store away in your mind for a future post that *most* of our suitcases were hard-sided. You'll need that for later. Basically, in sum, we looked like a yuppie freakshow as we started out. What wonderful forbearance.
We caught a flight from New Orleans to Houston. In the opposite direction of the African continent. And where we live. Well, that's strange.
Then we proceeded to New York from Houston. If you'll remember, I almost missed a honeymoon flight because I was determined to stuff my face with french fries. New York french fries, to be exact. Not exactly the best way to start out your overseas flight - overheated from your mad dash to the gate and overstuffed with grease and salt. But, at least we were off, again.
London. June 4th. Luckily, one of the 823953029 details I managed to coordinate between May 31st and June 4th was the reservation of a pod for us in the London airport. Complete with neon lights, R2D2 look-alikes and a shower. Amen. During our day-long layover, we managed to get in a short nap, a quick rinse, and a new face of makeup.
|Our pod in Heathrow. And R2D2, because obviously.|
Finally, on June 5th, we arrived in Capetown in the same clothes we left New Orleans in on June 3rd. Yummmmmmy.
And that's where the real, "We're married forever!" story begins...
Actually, this is where the story begins...Goose driving a stick-shift. On the opposite side of the car. On the opposite side of the road. Mother of all things holy, please help us.
Our Hotel - We stayed at the Queen Victoria Hotel at the Waterfront. It was amazing and had a stellar restaurant, which worked out quiet well for us. Apparently, the travel agent forgot to tell us that winter in Capetown meant clouds, rain, snow and torrential storms. Of the 15 meals we had in Capetown, about half were at our hotel. Bummer, but tasty.
|"Hey girl. How you likin' the rain?"|
The Elusive Tabletop Mountain - I'm not much of a climber. Yet somehow, everywhere we go, I get suckered into climbing something. Mexican pyramids. Notre Dame. The stairs at my office. Regardless of where it's at, I tend to not be very good. So, imagine my *disappointment* when Tabletop Mountain was closed every single day. Our days went like this: (1) Wake up. (2) Call front desk. (3) Front desk calls Tabletop Mountain for weather reports. (4) Front desk calls us to report weather reports. (5) Goose cries. (6) I secretly sigh with relief to live to see another day.
In all seriousness, Goose was very disappointed we never got to climb the mountain, even though we stayed at the base of it. I was....slightly disappointed. We did, however, get some good pictures. Please note the top - it's the best luck I've had in awhile that I wasn't in the middle of that mess.
Robben Island - There are two stories here. Let's flash through the first to get to the second. First, I almost died by way of drowning. We fought LITERALLY (like, literally) 30 foot swells on a tugboat-ish thing to make the 45 minute trek to the island. Suffice it to say that they then proceeded to cancel all remaining tours to the island due to high seas and rough rains. Oh wait...what's that, you say? We have to get back to Capetown in same said high seas and rough rains? No thanks. I'll stay here. Send the helicopter, I'm not getting back on that boat.
|Sending an S.O.S. postcard in case we don't make it back alive. Nelson looks concerned for me.|
Unfortunately, that argument did not work with Goose. I did, in fact, get back on the boat. (For the record, karma is a mean-spirited witch whom I love. After forcing me back on the boat, Goose narrowly missed getting vomed on by our neighbor, who was in worse shape than me. Raha, I win.)
Second story, one which I will fail to give due justice. Robben Island, where Nelson Mandela was imprisoned for most of his 27 years in prison, was very emotional. To witness a country so newly fresh in its independence, still bravely displaying its scars of apartheid, was heart-wrenchingly inspirational.
|Robben Island Prison and The Apartheid Dummy.|
Our guide was a formal political prisoner himself. He spent seven years at the prison, many of which overlapped with Nelson Mandela. Although his stories were heartbreaking, he told them with a sparkle in his eye. What an amazing man. (I wanted to ask him if I could bunk with him overnight to escape the stormy trek back to the mainland. I thought it was a fair question. Goose did not.)
|Our guide, and his sleeping cot. They slept on those winter, summer, rain or shine.|
As I said, Nelson Mandela, South Africa's first black president, was imprisoned here as a very young man. He spent 27 years in jail, most of them at Robben Island. He planned the overthrow of Apartheid from these walls, in this room, looking out that window.
|Nelson Mandela's cell.|
And, perhaps most emotional of all, here, in the lime quarry where the prisoners worked day-in and day-out, year after year, chipping rocks by hand, lies a symbol of forgiveness and hope. This hill is formed by a stone laid by each of the surviving political prisoners who gave their youth to Robben Island. The base rock was laid by Mr. Mandela himself. If that doesn't give you chills, then you need to turn down your A.C. and try again.
Falling into Life - I'll leave you with these, the remainder of our time in Capetown. None require any particular explanation, other than that Goose and I were falling into life. Learning to live as a married couple, happy, carefree, and half a world away from the real world. And we liked it.
|South African Geese!|
|Our first South African waiter's name was Simba. I lie not.|
|Lettuce, I die.|
Next up, Stellenbosch. Less rainy, a little more golden and a lot more sloshed.