Monday, November 2, 2015

November 2, 2015 - The Great Cape (Town) Escape Part I

We are now back in Dar after our Cape Town vacation.  It was fun and exhausting, in equal parts.  Cape Town itself is incredibly beautiful - much more so than I could have imagined.  And there is SO much to do and see and so many places to be!  When we first got off the plane my immediate thought was: am I in Europe?  There is quite a European feel to Cape Town (I can't speak for the rest of South Africa!) but also reminders of Africa all over the place. Cape Town is super developed with access to all the comforts of "home" that we often miss here in Dar...but it is just as much Africa as Dar or Nairobi. 

Let me rewind a tiny bit to say that our trip didn't start off so well.  We were supposed to leave for the airport at 4:30 in the morning.  Went to bed around 11:00 pm the night before after packing and all that.  At 12:30 am Aya woke up screaming horribly.  I couldn't get her back to sleep, couldn't figure out what was wrong.  Nothing seemed to work. Then she started vomiting around 2:00 am.  So that explained the crying.  But we had to clean her up, clean her room, clean me up, and get her back to sleep.  By the time all of that was finished (and a load of laundry!) we couldn't go back to sleep before our early wake up.  So we started the trip on 1.5 (me) and 3.5 (Kristoffer) hours of sleep. Not cool!   

But the trip itself was mostly fine. It was Aya's first time flying since she stopped nursing. The flight to Johannesburg was 3.5 hours and she never slept until the last 27 minutes.  She was overtired. Grace and Noah were mostly fine - but we did really miss being on a bigger airplane with personal TV screens!  

Second flight to Cape Town was also fine - I think Grace and Noah might have slept. Can't remember.  Our arrival was met with some rental car trouble - nothing serious, just took an hour and a half to sort out and our kids had sort of lost patience by that point.  So we promised them that we would go to a toy store right away, which we managed to find without too much difficulty (considering the rental car company did not have a working GPS and our phones were useless until we could get a local sim card) at an ENORMOUS mall.  We ate really bad mall food - huge bummer since Cape Town is a total culinary hub - but they each got to pick out a new Lego box and we bought staple supplies for our apartment and diapers for the week. 

On our drive to the apartment, Aya started screaming again.  Sure enough, she started vomiting all over herself in the car!  ACK!  That was not lovely.  When we managed to get to our flat, showers and baths were the first priority.  The kids building their new Lego sets were a second priority.  We were all asleep early. Aya's bug seemed to pass.

Day 2:  super windy so our morning trip up Table Mountain was delayed.  We found the closest playground - big! creative! awesome! - and played for a long time.  Then we found a divine coffee shop that our friends recommended (Cafe Neo at Mouille Point) and took some lovely drinks to another awesome playground.  It was a really fun morning! 

The wind died down enough for the cable car to be going up the mountain.  So away we went!  We let Grace and Noah take most of the pictures on this vacation, which is why we didn't really notice that our lens was really dirty.  We did not get AMAZING pictures (maybe just a few really good ones) but hopefully you get the idea.

Waiting to go up the mountain!
 The cable car coming to get us...
(note: if you go, buy your tickets ahead of time online! It saved us at least 45 minutes of waiting in line!)

 Noah's view from inside the cable car...
 Table Mountain Lizard
 A view from the top!
(note: Aya fell asleep in the cable car on the way up so it was both hot but also there was a wind chill, and I was carrying her in an Ergo.)

Because we had a VERY HARD TO GET lunch reservation, our stay at the top of Table Mountain was shorter than we would have liked. If we were to do it again, we would eat lunch at the cafe that's up there at the top.  But it was breathtaking - I mean, just incredibly beautiful.

But we DID have these VERY HARD TO GET lunch reservations at The Potluck Club, which is an incredibly trendy restaurant that serves amazing tapas style food. We wanted to go just the two of us, but when I wrote to make a reservation one week before our trip I was told that all dinner reservations were fully booked UNTIL THE END OF JANUARY.  But they could squeeze us in for lunch on this one day of our trip.  Well that just made me want to go even more!  So after our morning at the playground, and our trip up Table Mountain, we showed up 15 minutes late for our super fancy lunch looking like something the cat dragged in.  With three tired, hungry children.  Super classy. 

Aya was a great sport and tried some of the fancy food.  Grace and Noah were less adventurous and mostly ate bread.  But we were determined to love that glass of wine, dammit, and that amazing food!  It cost a fraction of a high-end meal here in Dar and was better than almost any food we've ever eaten here as well.  Minus the moment when Kristoffer was served a "fish slider" in stead of a "tofu slider", it was perfect.

To end this big day, Kristoffer and I hired a babysitter to stay with the minions at the apartment while we went to see a musical theater production.  Obviously I bought these tickets online without knowing the venue or turned out to be at quite a fancy hotel, but in an old, small function room.  There was a very small stage for a cast of 7 actors and 4 band members on the side.  The audience had maybe 50 chairs in it and about 35 of them were filled.  We sat front and center.  It was a musical based on the Alexander McCall Smith series "The No 1 Ladies Detective Agency", set in a Botswana.  I have read the light, sweet, amusing series over the years and thought it would be fun to see.  We ended up being thrilled to support local artists and were really impressed with their acting, incredible voices, and creative take on the first book of the series.  It was so fun!  And the kids did great with the babysitter.  

After our first full day in Cape Town, we were exhausted, but at least nobody was throwing up (...) and we had big plans for the days to come.

Stay tuned ;)

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