Sunday, June 13

Paula: Rain in the morning encouraged us to look for some indoor activities, and we decided to explore the South African Museum located near our hotel. The area surrounding the museum includes the parliament buildings and a park devoted to Cecil John Rhodes (the man who established the famous Rhodes Scholarship Program to Oxford University and made his fortune here during the diamond rush).

The park is lovely and we continue to be surprised to find palm trees here on the tip of the African continent. Despite the rain, the temperature was still quite mild for winter and the climate here is comfortable (by our standards) through the whole season. We enjoyed the museum and focused our attention on the natural history of South Africa (especially the Peninsula) and the cultural heritage. There is a wonderful exhibit of rock and cave paintings from as long as 70,000 years ago.

After the museum, we walked through the Greenmarket Square, a popular outdoor shopping area. We were surprised to find it deserted - in fact the whole City Bowl area seemed unusually quiet. As it turns out, the city has laws which limit retail activities on Sunday and encourage a day of rest. The area is pretty but a high level of security is obvious in all the areas we have visited so far. There is a security parking attendant watching each block of street parking because crime has been such an issue. We have been given clear messages about traveling safely (e.g. keeping windows closed) through the city to avoid problems.

After lunch, we traveled back to Camps Bay to have tea with Hillary and her family. Hillary is a friend of a friend of a friend (amazing how the network of friends has connected us to wonderful people) and has lived in Cape Town for the past 10 years. Tea and great conversation rolled well into the evening with appetizers and wine. Before we knew it, we had spent six hours talking with Hillary, her friend Steve, two daughters and a family friend. We had fun discussing our traveling experiences and learning more about South Africa. Hillary and her family provides us with a wealth of knowledge and opinions about how to spend the rest of our time here, and tomorrow we will need to beginning sorting this out and finalizing our plans.












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