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Posts tagged ‘Cape Town’

MY JOURNEY SO FAR – A HISTORICAL PERSPECTIVE

“Forgiving is not forgetting; its actually remembering–remembering and not using your right to hit back. Its a second chance for a new beginning. And the remembering part is particularly important. Especially if you don’t want to repeat what happened.”
– Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town, Anglican Church of South Africa

I loved learning about the history of Cape Town during my time in South Africa. I was grateful for the time I had to reflect on my journey thus far. I especially enjoyed fitting the pieces of the historical “world puzzle” together in a new way while I was here.

Learning about the age of exploration while in Spain and Portugal just a few months ago had a great influence on my understanding of world history while I was in South Africa.

Now, I was able to hear the other side of the story. Now I had a chance to hear the side of the story from a country that was explored. I was able to gain new insights of the effects of the explorers from the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries on these other lands. The lands where the riches and gold were taken. The people were taken.

One thing I finally realized during my time here is that in every country I have ever traveled, there was a people who were injured, wronged and even wrongfully put to death. Sometimes the victor becomes the loser, and sometimes the wronged become the oppressor. I also realize at some point, for the cycle to stop there must be forgiveness. The countries where I have seen an end to cycle of revenge proceeded through a process of forgiveness and reconciliation.

Unfortunately, all over the world we are reminded of peoples that have not forgiven the past and do not seek peace. Demond Tutu also said that “Without forgiveness there can be no future for a relationship between individuals or within and between nations.”

Countries must forgive to get past hurts and move forward. And, likewise, individuals must have forgiveness to move on from the past. I think this is something we all should consider as we move into a fresh new year and do our part to spread peace.

“Do your little bit of good where you are; it’s those little bits of good put together that overwhelm the world.”
― Desmond Tutu, Archbishop of Cape Town, Anglican Church of South Africa

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Experiencing Total Distraction In My Shiny New City

I had so much time to get things done in the final two weeks of my African adventure. I thought that I would just stay a while longer in one spot instead of trying to navigate through the Garden Route along the coast of South Africa. Instead, I was excited to rest in the summer warmness before heading to the cold snowy season of my hometown back in the states.

Sure, there were things I wanted to “get done.” The museums and the top tourist attractions. But it is so easy to get “off track” by the glam of this city where there is always something to do; I found myself often distracted and the time seemed to slip away.

I amazingly I did get to all the major tourist destinations during the time I spent in Cape Town. Table Mountain, one of the seven new wonders of the natural world. The tour to Robben Island where Nelson Mandela was held as a prisoner for eighteen years. I also fit in viewing the penguins that sit on the shores in South Africa.

I explored the castle built by the Dutch when they “set up shop” here during the age of exploration. I witness the key ceremony where they continue this daily formal tradition when opening the castle gates. I traveled up to see the noon cannon fire at the top of Signal Hill. These cannons happen to be the oldest functioning cannons still in daily use in the world. I spent time in the city center, in the company gardens and the famous, yet touristy, Long Street. Additionally, I spent an entire day exploring the wine region north of the city.

I was also able to fit in a couple of “off the beaten path activities” during my time in Cape Town. Such activities included attending two lectures at the planetarium and attending Sunday mass at St. George’s Cathedral. St. George’s is well known as the cathedral Desmond Tutu served as arch bishop. It also was where the peaceful marches of resistance started that would change the social and political course in South Africa. Below the church I visited the tribute open to the public to remember the acts of courage during the anti-apartheid movement of the eighties.

Cape Town sits on several harbors and the smell of the salty air reminds me of my college days in Seattle. When it is nice outside it seems as though everyone is “out and about.”

The when the wind picks up the locals are not deterred. It is amazing to watch the cloud swirl around in the sky when looking up toward Table Mountain. Looking down, just off the beach, the wind somehow causes the water near the shore to mist upward to the sky like it is raining from the ocean up toward the clouds.

I loved wasting time just hanging out at the waterfront and watching the creative artists and musicians display there talents. It was almost more fun to watch the everyday people at the waterfront than anything else. The lights from the giant ferris wheel and the holiday decorations made the waterfront seem magical at night.

There is a wide range of non-tourist activities from outdoor music concerts and markets to an outdoor movie theater in one of the botanical gardens. I loved watching Forest Gump while sitting under the stars. It amazed me that no one talked during this outdoor showing. Even the teenagers sitting in a group beside us were totally quiet and intensely watching the show. On another day of city discovery, we just rented bikes and cycled up the coast past the lighthouse.

I loved all the “must see sights” but I think I just loved hanging out in the city and enjoying the entertainment it had to offer. And oh….The restaurants! And oh…The fresh seafood! If I would have stayed another month in Cape Town I am sure I would have gained ten pounds!

My favorite day included taking a drive along the coast of Cape Town. It is apparently very easy to rent a classic car or motorcycle here. I have a new friend and fellow traveler who rented a Cobra, and I was happy to ride in the passenger seat. The car seemed as through it was made to take the looping bends around the hills and the coastline at high speeds.

Back in the city, I laugh as I notice that most women on the street do not notice the car until my friend revs the engine. However, the eyes of all the men seem to be drawn to it. What is it about fancy cars and men? All I know is that riding in a fancy car with the wind blowing through my hair on a warm summer’s day seemed to be the best way to take in this breathtaking part of the world.

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