South Africa: Day 4 (Waterfront and Red Bus Tour)

This is the second time I've written this post. . . my other draft disappeared right as I went to post it last night. I honestly cried. If you had any idea how long it takes for these pictures to load, you would understand. The font size is off and I can't figure out how to fix the spacing, but at least it posted. 

. . . . . 

The idea with our hotel room was that Steve and I would sleep on the bed, Derrick would have the couch, and then the kids would sleep on the floor. However, that first night, I woke up with three kids in bed with me. And Steve was on the floor. Not the best night's sleep, but at least we weren't on a plane. 

The kids were pleasantly surprised to find out that our hotel had the Disney Channel, providing them with all of their favorite television shows. I was unpleasantly shocked to find out about AT&T's international phone and data packages. International roaming phone calls are billed at $2.50 per minute; we knew that well before we left on our trip. But when I called to change my texting package (from 200 to 600), I asked a few other questions and found out that we get charged for phone calls, whether we answer the phone, or not. WHAT? Missed calls count as a minute of airtime. Do you have any idea how many phone calls Steve receives in an average day? Not to mention the fact that when we misplaced Steve's phone that morning, we had Rachel call it with hers until we found it. So that little incident cost us ten bucks. 

I decided I better add calling packages (in addition to our previously purchased texting and data packages). That will bring the cost per minute down to $2.00 per minute, but I'm not excited to see our bill after this trip. With data, we have the option on our iPhones to turn Cellular Data and Data Roaming off to avoid charges, so I asked the AT&T representative if there was a way to "turn off" the option to receive phone calls. He told me the only way I could do that was to turn off my phone. But we use our iPhones as cameras, notetakers, and, most importantly, to entertain our kids. We have been doing a lot of texting and need to be accessible for emergency phone calls. 

I'll be honest, after I got off the phone, I had a bit of a breakdown. I said things like, "What is wrong with this place?" and "This is exactly why we didn't like South Africa last time we came!"

The roaming phone charges were really just the icing on the cake; most of my frustration came from the internet situation. Our hotel advertised "free WiFi", but like most places, the amount of data is limited. We have to go downstairs to the lobby each day and request a new code, which gives us 100 mb of data. And even then, our internet is so very slow. There is a difference between an internet connection and an internet connection good enough to upload (or download) photos. 

It brought back memories of when Steve and I came to South Africa in 2002. We were told we would have internet access so we could complete our online classes through Utah State, but it didn't work out that way. The Internet Cafes were slow and often kicked us off in the middle of online tests. Lack of adequate internet access really was one of the main reasons why we came home early. 

That was eleven years ago. Just think how much more dependent I am on internet now. Especially when we travel. Our itinerary and other files were all created in Google Docs. I use the Maps app on my phone for navigating. And how are we supposed to know how to dress for the day if we can't access our Weather app? We use tripadvisor to search accommodations, yelp and urbanspoon to choose restaurants, and more than anything, we use wikipedia to learn about the areas we travel to. 

A few minutes later, Derrick suggested, "Hey, why don't you just put your phone on Airplane Mode?" Sometimes he surprises me with his good ideas. . . the AT&T representative really should have thought of that. 

Without an internet connection, we had to resort to using brochures and maps. Like the real ones that you unfold. I am a decent navigator with my iPhone, but it turns out that I am terrible with a paper map. Especially when the names of the roads are in a different language (Afrikaans), some maps are not drawn to scale, and when there are road issues like this: 

I keep trying to quit my job as navigator, but Steve says if I'm not going to drive, then I have to help him figure out where to go. (He hates driving.)

We started out at South Africa's most visited destination, the Victoria & Alfred Waterfront: 

Everyone else ran ahead, but I talked Steve and Adam into stopping for a picture: 

We ate lunch at McDonald's. Where you can swop your fries for corn in the Happy Meal: 

The projector dance room was a huge hit with the kids: 

I didn't mind hanging out for a while because they offer 15 minutes of free WiFi. 

After lunch, I made everyone pose for a picture with the waterfront in the background: 

We stopped for a while and listened to some tribal singing: 

The kids posed next to the statues at Nobel Square:

All four of the Nobel Peace Prize laureates played a part in leading South Africa to democracy after decades of apartheid. Nkosi Albert Luthuli was the first African to win the Nobel Peace Prize. He was awarded the prize in 1960 for his non-violent opposition to apartheid. Desmond Tutu is a social rights advocate and a retired Anglican bishop. He received the Nobel Peace Prize in 1984. F.W. de Klerk, the seventh and last president of apartheid-era South Africa, engineered the end of apartheid and helped transform South Africa into a multi-racial democracy. He was awarded the Nobel Peace Prize in 1993, along with South Africa's most well known citizen, Nelson Mandela. 

Apartheid "the status of being apart" was a system of racial segregation enforced by the National Party, who was the ruling party from 1948 to 1994. The rights of the majority black inhabitants of South Africa were taken away and white supremacy was maintained. Racial segregation in South Africa began in colonial times under Dutch and British rule. However, apartheid as an official policy was introduced following the general election of 1948. New legislation classified inhabitants into four racial groups: Native, white, coloured, and Asian. Residential areas were segregated, sometimes by means of forced removals. Non-white political representation was completely abolished in 1970, and that year, black people were deprived of their citizenship, legally becoming citizens of one of ten tribally based self-governing homelands. The government segregated education, medical care, beaches, and other public services, and provided black people with services inferior to those of white people. Apartheid sparked significant internal resistance and violence as well as a long arms and trade embargo against South Africa. Sanctions placed on South Africa made it increasingly difficult for the government to maintain the regime. In 1990, President Frederik Wilem de Klerk began negotiations to end apartheid, culminating in multi-racial democratic elections in 1994, which were won by the African National Congress leader Nelson Mandela. The vestiges of apartheid still shape South African politics and society. (I didn't want to write this section again. Thank you, wikipedia.)

We also checked out the Coca-Cola 2010 FIFA World Cup Crate Fan, constructed out of Coca-Cola crates:

Of course. . . the one time we tell Derrick to pose with a peace sign, he doesn't:

My friend, Miriam, suggested that we take the red tour bus around town, so that's exactly what we did: 

Miriam played a big role in the chain of events that led us to South Africa in the first place. I was roommates with her at Utah State for a semester in 2000, when I was taking Nick Eastmond's honors course called Race and Communication in the Republic of South Africa. At the same time, Miriam was enrolled in a class through BYU that took her to East London the semester before me and Steve. (She just went back to South Africa with her husband last year.) 

The kids all thought that riding on top of the sightseeing bus was pretty cool. Some of them actually listened. But not Adam, "I do not want that person driving this thing talking in my mind!" 

We got off the bus at Greenmarket Square, which was built in 1696.

Over the years, the square was used as a slave market and a vegetable market. It is currently being used as a market for selling African crafts and souvenirs: 

I have never been to New Orleans, but this is what I imagine it looks like: 

Someday, when I have regular internet, I will add the video. Until then, you'll have to imagine Kaleigh busting out some moves and then Adam joining her with his Russian-style dancing: 

I learned. . . or possibly re-learned a valuable lesson. Don't ever buy from the first vendor you talk to. I'm pretty sure we got ripped off. (We paid R100 for a small mbira.)

These hats made out of soda cans look like they came from Las Vegas, not South Africa. But Lucy couldn't resist. She is hoping that her new hat will help her win "Coke Fan of the Game" at a Weber State Basketball game this year. 

It was really fun just to watch everyone interact together: 

Here are the four kids with their souvenirs. (I've decided buying a souvenir at the beginning of a trip can be a good thing. Because then every time someone asks to buy something, I remind them that they already picked something out.)

We got back on the red tour bus and drove past things like the South African Museum, Cape Town High School, and the Parliament Building: 

The next stop was at the District Six Museum, which was on Gcobisa's list of suggested things to do in Cape Town.

District Six Museum serves as a memorial to the people who were forcibly removed from their homes during the 1970s, when District Six was declared a whites-only area. The small, interpretive museum includes artwork, handwritten notes, photographs, road signs, and stories contributed by some of the 60,000 former residents of District Six.

Here is an example of one of the personal stories that are displayed on the walls: 

I could write an entire blog post about my thoughts on this, but I'll have to save that for another time.
We walked out of the museum, barely missing the next tour bus. So we went for a little walk and came across a Charly's Bakery, which Gcobisa said was quite nice: 

Unfortunately, it was closed. But we admired the bright, colorful paintings on the building: 

This is a bad photo, and I think I might have actually taken it while I was running to catch up to everyone else, but I was surprised to see a Harley Davidson in South Africa: 

There are so many fun things to see on the streets of Cape Town: 

We walked back to the tour bus stop: 

And resumed our tour: 

These were the first buildings built after the razing of District Six. Some eighty percent of District Six, the area that was so crucial to the re-planning and revitalization of Cape Town, was never rebuilt upon. 

This is the Castle of Good Hope, which was built by the Dutch East India Company between 1666 and 1679. It is the oldest existing colonial building in South Africa and was declared a national monument in 1936. It was originally located on the coastline of Table Bay, but after land reclamation, the fort is now located inland. 

This picture shows Cape Town City Hall, made famous when Nelson Mandela spoke from the balcony on February 11, 1990, just hours after his release from prison: 

Then the tour bus made the drive up to Table Mountain. The weather was cloudy and quite chilly. One of the workers on the tour bus told us that the kids would freeze in their "short pants" and that we better come back another day to ride the cable car to the top. 

We drove by Cape Town's swankiest neighborhood, Clifton. I was a little slow getting my camera out, but need to post this for my mother: 

I wish the tour bus would have made more stops so I could take more pictures, but I had to take most of them while we were driving: 

Check out the public swimming pool, right next to the ocean: 

We drove past the white sandy beaches of Camps Bay. And stayed on the bus, despite the kids' pleas to get off and play in the sand. 

After the tour, we walked back through the Waterfront and went to Primi Wharf for dinner. It is a nice, sit-down restaurant with a children's area where the kids colored, played, and made miniature pizzas while they waited for their parents to order and eat dinner . . kind of brilliant. 

Grocery shopping at the Pick n Pay, and then back to our hotel. What a day. 


Rebecca said...

Wow! What a day is right!

Adam's comment about the bus driver had me laughing pretty good! It's probably good you are recording this as it happens because otherwise who knows if you would be able to remember gems like that!

And that guy you bought the souvenir from at your first stop has a guilty look on his face like he knows he's ripping you off!

byoung said...

I love seeing all if your pictures-my little brother went to Cape Town in his mission , but hardly took any pictures!! What an amazing trip!

Gloria said...

Not only do we get to enjoy the scenery and your trip we also get educated on the culture! Thanks!

Rachael said...

I am loving these trip summaries! Keep them coming!

Natalie B. said...

This is amazing...you have inspired me to get us traveling more! In the meantime, I can see why Steve loves Zion's....it was pretty amazing too. What a world we live in. Next trip you plan-we are coming along. Just imagine what your friend would have thought about that, instead of 7 children you could have had 13! hee hee

Keicha Christiansen said...

The District Six museum sounds so interesting. I hope you write a post with your thoughts about it.

Cape Town looks beautiful. My dad went on his mission there in the late 60's so I've only ever seen very old pictures of the area. I love seeing yours and getting a sense of what it looks like now.

beaded animals said...

The Coke hats are made by local crafters! Recycling cans to make animals, hats, bags, etc. is a common craft form in the townships of South Africa.