Monday, February 6, 2012

Love from Cape Town

Okay... I confess... we've been back from South Africa for four days (this is day five), and I'm only just starting to THINK about blogging. I've been feeling guilty that there hasn't been a blog yet, but I haven't been able to find the right words. In fact, I've only just started to go through my pictures from our trip, and it made me start to cry. Cry good or cry bad? Both. Because the fact is, like my visit to Egypt four years ago, I'm still processing it all. I had such an amazing time - but I saw some things that will be forever imprinted on my heart and my mind. And I'm not sure that I'm quite ready to talk about them yet. Not just yet.

So, for this post, I'll keep it light. For those of you who are wondering what we were doing in South Africa, here's a quick recap: My dear friend Steph is a teacher, and for the past four years she's been teaching in Africa. The first three were at the American High School in Egypt (for the children of diplomats and wealthy Egyptians), the last year has been at Bridges Academy outside of Cape Town. Bridges Academy is a boarding school for Orphans and Vulnerable Children out of the Townships in Cape Town, where all of the students accepted are provided a quality education in a safe, beautiful location, all free to them. And in the years since Bridges Academy opened, they've have a 100% graduation (matriculation) rate. That's unheard of! It's an amazing school, and Bridges of Hope is an incredible organization - as soon as I have the words to really tell you about our experience with the school and their organization, I will. In the meantime, however, here are some of my favorite photos from our first weekend in the Western Cape.

Views of the back of Table Mountain from the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden.

Views of Cape Town from Kirstenbosch.

Jason doing his thing at the V&A Waterfront. To see his final images, click here.

Steph and I encounter a giant beaded Elephant at the V&A Waterfront.

South Africans for some reason have a particular interest in Native Americans (whom they call the "Red Man" - I'm not kidding folks) and the American West. In fact there's a restaurant chain with TONS of locations that's ALWAYS busy called SPUR - and it's "Red Man" and American West themed.

We enjoyed a Braai (barbecue) and a night in Camps Bay at Steph's friend Sara's house. We woke to storm clouds that would impede our plans to go to the top of Table Mountain, but here's the view of Camps Bay from Sara's apartment.

In the Nemo tank at the Two Oceans Aquarium.

Some of the many colorful houses in Cape Town's Bo Kaap neighborhood.

Steph and Sara in Hout Bay.

Tug Boats in Hout Bay.

Yachts in Hout Bay.

At a vineyard outside of Paarl (very close to Steph's house) where we went to do some wine tasting. If you look carefully, the garden area surrounding the Scarecrow is planted to look like the South African flag.

Ever since I started doing all the gardening at the ranch, I've become very observant as to how and what others plant. I loved this combo of Dwarf sunflowers and Dahlia-blossomed Zinnias.

Jason and I before wine tasting at Fairview with the wine country of Paarl and Franschoek laid out behind us. One of the Fairview wines, Goats do Roam can be purchased in the States at Trader Joes if you're interested in a little taste of South Africa!

At Fairview, where they make Goats do Roam, they have (fittingly) Goats. This one was super hungry and literally dove right in!

So that's the recap of our first weekend in South Africa. What I didn't post about was our Friday visit to the Lion Rescue right near Steph's house (incidentally, did I mention that Steph lives in a house on a Wine Farm?!). That's because I forgot my camera when we went there (I know... lame...), but fortunately for you, Jason created an entire post about it! So, go check it out and check back here soon for another installment of our South African adventures!

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