It’s fantastic being back in Cape Town! A location that stole my heart during the first visit in 1987. The beautiful coastal city is surrounded by incomparable Table Mountain.
View of Table Mountain from My Gardens Apartment
I arrived on May 2nd after a series of flights beginning in Catania Sicily and passing through Rome and Addis Ababa Ethiopia – including two plane and terminal changes more tiring than the thirteen-hour flight.
Cape Town at Night – wpblink.com
During the flight from Addis Ababa to Cape Town naughty Indian children commandeered the aircraft running wild through the aisles disrupting everything. A passenger complained in a loud way and the children were forced to sit down and behave themselves. Upon arrival in Cape Town, they continued wreaking havoc in the immigration hall, running races through cordoned off lines, clearly undaunted by their reprimand on the airplane. Their parents seemed amused.
Victoria and Alfred Waterfront Cape Town – Rhino Africa
After Berlin, Dubrovnik, Kotor, Sarajevo, Belgrade, and Sicily, passengers on Ethiopian Airlines were more diverse than any of the places visited, except maybe Berlin. I’m still processing the time spent in Europe and the Balkans – a valuable learning experience with priceless memories!
Table Mountain from Melkbos – Discover Africa Safaris
When returning to Cape Town I always notice changes – some subtle, others not. I’ll be here through mid-June and then on to Hermanus, Onrus Beach, and Walker Bay.
Cape Town – Independent.ie
My apartment in Gardens neighborhood is in a high-rise building with retail and parking garages on the lower levels and residential above. I’m on the 17th floor and look out at Table Mountain. It’s thrilling to watch the mountain constantly changing depending on weather, wind, and sky. It almost seems close enough to touch!
Pink in Cape Town’s Sky that Artists Try to Capture
The building is secure and comfortable. Everything is within walking distance including a great choice of restaurants.
I have a rental car for day trips and places further away. After seven months without driving, it’s nice to be mobile again – even though South Africans drive on the wrong side of the road :)…
Table Cloth of Fog Over Table Mountain
Today the wind is howling – yesterday it was calm. Earlier the Table Mountain Table Cloth was visible as fog gently spewed over the flat-topped mountain. It’s mesmerizing watching sunrises and sunsets and spectacular scenery changes from foggy to clear and back again. Hiking on the mountain is part of my agenda.
The drought crisis is over but water and energy conservation are everyday concerns in Cape Town. Hopefully winter will bring significant rainfall. May temperatures are mild in the 60s and 70s but forecast to reach the 80s next week.
South Africa’s General Election is May 8 with another ANC (African National Congress) victory predicted. Elections are always exciting. South Africa’s economy and social inequalities create an emotional, volatile atmosphere with protests for change.
The massive Carr Fire near the California / Oregon border created terrifying “fire tornadoes“. They occur when a fire acquires “vertical vorticity and forms a whirl”. Fire tornadoes can “grow to gargantuan size with winds of over 90 mph”.
The Carr Fire ignited in late July. A month later, after “torching more than 200,000 acres,” it’s about 90 percent contained! Smoke from fires in Oregon, California, Washington, and nearby Colorado and Canada creates a surreal aura, bringing an eerie atmospheric haze, poor air quality, and vivid sunrises and sunsets.
Next Long Trip
I’ve started getting into the specifics of my next travel adventure. No matter what, this time I’m traveling with one piece of luggage!
Like in 2017, I’ll begin in Europe and eventually make my way back to South Africa. I decided to start in Berlin – a new city for me. I’ve studied Berlin’s East and West boroughs and have a few leads for rental apartments in well-located areas near attractions and transportation – Mitte, Charlottenburg-Wilmersdorf, Friedrichshain-Kreuzberg, and Neukölln. Rents are reasonable, and the apartments look comfortable.
Thankfully Day Zero in Cape Town’s drought is now pushed out beyond 2019, but the government’s move toward land expropriation without compensation is a concern. More than two decades after the end of apartheid, land ownership remains a “highly emotive” subject for South Africans – that may be an understatement. According to the ruling ANC government, white people own 72 percent of private land, black people 4 percent, and other ethnic groups 24 percent.
Land expropriation is said to be “the most pressing social issue in the country”. However, some think high crime, corruption, and the “triple-time-bomb of poverty, unemployment, and inequality” are the real issues keeping South Africans awake at night.
Kayelitsha Township Outside Cape Town – Dan Kitwood Getty Images
Julius Sello Malema Leader Economic Freedom Fighters (EFF) – blouinnews.com
South Africa’s EFF – founded in 2013 and led by outspoken Julius Sello Malema – is a self-proclaimed “radical leftist, anti-capitalist, anti-imperialist movement that draws inspiration from the broad Marxist-Leninist tradition”.
My extended South African visa expires in 2020 – a regular entry (tourist) visa issued at the airport is good for 90 days. I haven’t decided whether to pursue the rigorous renewal process. The “retirement visa” has allowed me to make long trips (up to five years) to explore and better understand South Africa. I especially enjoy the Western Cape, hiking Table Mountain, volunteer work with young children, and vibrant Cape Town – a special and dear place to me. South Africa is a strikingly beautiful but complex and sometimes difficult country that can’t possibly be understood without spending extended time there.
During this period of rapid change, the National Development Plan (NDP) is the country’s detailed proposal addressing key issues for uniting South Africans.The lofty NDP goals to eliminate poverty and reduce inequality are to be implemented by 2030. What little I know of the NDP, it seems overwhelming, but I’m digressing – back to Berlin…
Clouds Over Table Mountain from Signal Hill Cape Town – Erik Pronske Getty Images
The NDP’s goal is to “unite South Africans, unleash the energies of its citizens, grow an inclusive economy, build capabilities, and enable the state and leaders to work together to solve complex problems”…
Berlin State Opera Staatsoper Unter den Linden – Wikipedia
Berlin This Fall
I plan to arrive in Berlin in September. Their fall weather is much like Oregon’s with cool but mild temperatures. When winter comes and it starts getting really cold, I’ll move south – not sure where yet. I’m considering exploring new places versus returning to more familiar areas. New countries of interest include Romania and Albania, but Italy and Spain also have moderate winter climates.
I’m looking for a three-month rental apartment in the Berlin-Mitte borough, the central section of former East Berlin. “Before the war and division of the city, Mitte was the center of Berlin. It’s regained its former pre-eminence to such an extent that many visitors never see the western side of the city.”
Mitte is the oldest and most historic part of Berlin with many cultural attractions and “ever-expanding restaurant, club, and arts scenes”.
Lindiwe Mazibuko unseated incumbent Athol Trollip and became the new Democratic Alliance (DA) Parliamentary Leader at elections held behind closed doors at parliament this morning (see October 11th and May 18th posts).
“A signal that the 31 year-old had won came from the sound of ululating that followed a burst of applause from behind the shut doors of Room E249 in the National Assembly building.”
Mazibuko’s campaign over the last month succeeded in persuading a comfortable majority of the DA’s 83-member caucus to back her.
Mazibuko said she was “humbled and honored” and “excited about the future”. She paid tribute to Trollip. “I am grateful for his warmth and support.”
She said she was looking forward to continuing in the tradition set by her predecessors in continuing to build the party as an effective opposition (to the ruling ANC party), and more particularly, as a government in waiting.
It is expected to take decades before an opposition party has any chance of taking over political power from the ANC.
Although the ANC only lost a few percentage points in the election, Secretary-General Gwede Mantashe told reporters in Pretoria that “Any loss is a wake-up call for a political party.” Mantashe pointed out that many voters don’t participate in local elections.
…a lack of basic services in many townships is beginning to weaken ANC support.
The DA increased their support in major cities already controlled by the ANC. Cape Town remains the only major DA-controlled city. ANC support dropped in Johannesburg, Pretoria, and Durban indicating increasing strength for the DA. The ANC has won every election since 1994 and many black supporters remain loyal to the party because of its long fight against apartheid. However, rising unemployment (one in four people are without jobs) and a lack of basic services in many townships is weakening ANC support.