|Week before leaving
-- (Jan 11-20)
Week 1 --
(Jan 23-Feb 1 Puerto Rico)
2 -- (Feb 3-9 Salvador,
-- (Feb 10-16 On the way to
4 -- (Feb 19-24 Cape Town
and African Safari)
5,6 -- (Feb 25-March 8 Mauritius)
Week 7 --
(March 9-15 Chennai, India)
8 -- (March 16-22
Penang, Malaysia and Singapore)
9 -- (March 23-31 Ho Chi
Minh City, VietNam)
Week 10 --
(April 1-6 Hong Kong, Guilin Shanghai, China)
Week 11 --
(April 7-13 Kobe, Japan)
Week 12 --
(April 14-20 On the way to Hawaii)
Week 13 --
(April 21-27 Honolulu, Hawaii)
Week 14 --
(April 28-May 8 Puntarenas, Costa Rica)
Week Four -- Journeywoman's
Semester At Sea...
19 -- Good Morning Cape Town
We were told that the pilot boat would be arriving
to meet us at about 5:15 AM. After so many long days of sailing
everybody was anxious to see the shore so most people were
up for the event. It was dark and cold on the deck; I wore
my sweatshirt with a thin shell plus my winter pull-on hat
to keep me warm. I definitely didn't look beautiful but neither
did anybody else. Some people wandered out in pajama bottoms
and sweat tops, one professor's wife wore her bathrobe, and
everybody maneuvered to find the best spot to take their photographs.
At first it wasn't light enough to see anything but gradually
the sun came up and there it was -- Cape Town's harbour built
right up against Table Top Mountain. All the buildings were
outlined with tiny white lights and my initial impression
was ... 'oh no - I expected Africa and was given Disneyland,
instead'. The complete harbour area was filled with tourist
kiosks, shops, restaurants, and the huge Victoria and Alfred
Mall. I learned later that this Mall is the best in Cape Town
and everybody does their shopping here (and so did I).
The immigration people came on board and checked everybody's
passports with the purser and his staff. We didn't have to
be there as we had already filled out all the necessary forms
and we were processed on mass and were allowed on to South
African soil very soon afterwards. It's amazing how quickly
750 people who have been cooped up for 12 days can clear a
The process of 'getting off' has become fairly routine.
We each carry our ID card which must be swiped through a machine
close to the gangway. That data base records that we are no
longer on board. Coming back on we swipe again and this way
the captain can tell quickly if anybody is missing and whether
we can sail again. Almost five weeks into our journey we no
longer refer to boarding as 'getting on to the ship' rather
most people will say 'we're going home.' This is our safe
haven from the tourist traps, problems and heat in the streets.'
the students disembarked they headed straight for the ATM
machines. There were lots of people ahead of me and before
I knew it the machine had been cleared of cash. Drats! We
had to find another cash source. Once we had 'rand' in our
money belts we cabbed to Green Market Square, a huge crafts
market in the city center. Most of the treasures on display
weren't made in South Africa at all. They were brought in
from other parts of Africa and China but it was so much fun
browsing through and evaluating 'stuff' all of which we could
easily do without. I bought a funny safari hat (which made
me look like the old cowboy, Gaby Hayes (circa 1940). Then
I bought a bracelet that was pretty but later stained my wrist
when it got wet. My total purchases amounted to $10 -- worth
that in entertainment value alone.
In the afternoon I joined an SAS bus tour that was called,
'Township Visit and District Six Museum' and it was all about
Apartheid. First stop was the District Six Museum, 'originally
established as a mixed community of freed slaves, merchants,
artisans, labourers and immigrants including Jews, District
Six was a vibrant centre with close links to the city. In
1966, it was declared a white privileged area and by 1982,
the life of the community was over. 60,000 people were forcibly
removed and their houses in District Six were flattened by
bulldozers.' My photos below tell part of the story. Next
we went to visit the Township communities. This is a place
one wouldn't want to go without a guide. Hundreds upon hundreds
of shacks built here, there and everywhere, some without running
water and housing underprivileged, black families too poor
to live any place else. We visited a few hostels, played with
the kids in the street and got a teeny glimpse into what it's
like to be poor and black in Cape Town. It was not a nice
Within all of these winding lanes was one small, irregular
house made of wood and corrugated tin called, Vicky's B&B.
Here we met an extremely enterprising Muslim woman who opens
her home to travellers who want to get the full, uncomfortable
sense of what it's like to live in the Townships. She is a
star in this Township -- media write-ups line her wall. By
chance, later in the week I found a native painting that featured
Vicky's B&B and I scooped it up -- a momento of what I
learned about a dark era in South Africa's history.
That evening three LLL's and I had an African dinner in
a restaurant overlooking the harbour. It was lovely but my
tummy thought otherwise for a few days.
Cape Town in the
Shacks in the Townships
Grafitti in The Townships
District Six museum
Shopping for African
19 -- Meet the press...
morning I waited on board for Anne Taylor, a Cape Town freelance
journalist (about my age) whom I met through HERmail.net.
She offered to interview me about Journeywoman.com and Semester
At Sea. Nice lady! It will be interesting to see what she
writes in her article and where it will be published. In the
afternoon I went to the Jewish Museum (air-conditioned) with
the ship's art teacher and her husband, the poet on board.
I learned a lot more about Jewish immigration to South Africa
and then (related to yesterday's tour of the District Six
Museum), I also learned of the strong ties between Mandela
and this Jewish community (Did you know? The team of lawyers
who defended Mandela were Jewish, so was Helen Sussman, a
S.A. parlimentarian that fought to release Mandela). In fact,
there is a complete section of the museum devoted to the subject
and outside the building is a plaque dedicated by Mandela
for the museum's opening. The (illegal) synagogue pix I'm
posting were taken before I was told by some very officious
gent, 'no photography allowed' so I did not knowingly break
the law (says Miss GoodieTwo Shoes). By now it was over 90F
with no breeze at all but we bravely headed through the park
and over to the South African Arts Museum. So many of the
crafts sold in South African markets are from China and other
parts of Africa; I wanted to make sure that the wire basket
I bought in this country was an authentic example of their
art. Success! Our last stop before heading back to the ship
was at Green Market Square. I browsed and took photos while
my ship friends shopped up a storm. A fabulous day.
The Jewish museum
Museum dedicated by
No breeze and over
90 F. on our walk
Handmade Cape Town
Browsing in Green Market
21 -- Robben Island and Cape Point (Almost )...
A.M. I was totally on my own -- no group tour and no sightseeing
companions to chat with. I've gotten used to being taken care
of by SAS and today (with great anticipation) I became Journeywoman
again. To begin, I had a Robben Island visit on my agenda.
This is where Mandela was incarcerated for 16 years. How can
you miss that when you're in South Africa? Well, the ticket
sellers didn't feel that way. It seems I had to make a reservation
two days in advance in order to get on the ferry (unless I
was prepared to swim). 'I MUST see it', I told the young man.
'Sorry', he said. Clearly he had no interest in helping me.
Again... 'I MUST see it', I told the young man. 'Sorry', he
said, again.... This clearly was a job for JOURNEY WOMAN.
I stood on my tip toes (a height gaining trick all super heros
know about), whipped out my press pass and said ... 'I MUST
speak to your manager.' She arrived, saw the card and asked
me to come back for the 11 o'clock sailing. So, that's how
I got to Robben Island, a place I thought would allow for
some meditation on the apartheid issues. It was a complete
disaster. The guide for our group made himself the star with
his theatrics and mostly silly stories. Darn, I came to see
Robben Island, not this man! Yet,in the end all was not lost.
I did get a chance to see Mandela's cell and to be led through
the facility by one of the former Robben Island prisoners.
Hurrah! It was only a 95% loss rather than the full 100%.
Since I had extra time prior to the Robben Island excursion
I headed off to the Blue Crafts Shed to do some browsing.
There on the wall was a primitive rendering of Vicky's B&B,
the B&B that I had seen in the Townships a few days ago
(have you been paying attention, kiddies?) Perfect! It had
to be mine. And it was ... for $7.00. I firmly believe that
the Travel Goddess (in her infinite wisdom) delayed my trip
to the Island so that that painting and I could become better
acquainted (see pix below).
This afternoon was a hoot and it made up for the dismal
morning! One of my South African readers, Pat Dreyer picked
us up at the ferry harbour (I invited the ship's doc and one
of the mental health workers to come along) and she drove
us around the Cape coast with lots of local commentary and
photo stops along the way. She was great, a no-nonsense lady
who told it like it is about apartheid then, and race relations
and politics, now. We didn't have time to drive down to the
farthest point in Africa but we did see it in the distance
(absolutely fine for us), we also saw the baboons, penguins,
ate fish and chips in a (where else?) small fishing village
and ended up touring Pat's home and mini menagerie -- horses,
dogs, chickens, geese. Then she piled the two dogs into the
car along with us and took us back to the ship. NICE lady.
P.S. There was a full moon that night.
Boarding the ferry
for Robben Island
Scenery on Pat's Tour
Penguins at play
Pat doing some bargaining
Print of Vicky's B&B
in The Townships
22-24 -- South African Safari...
is the time I was waiting for -- twenty of us were flying
to Elizabeth Town and then busing (80 minutes) to Kariega
Lodge for our African Safari. I had had many choices regarding
where I wanted to go on safari and I chose Kariega because
it was malaria free and because it promised 'safe walking
amongst game'. (And how might I do that without being eaten?).
Silly me! Anyway, I had pictured much more of a 'wild animal'
experience so I admit I was initially disappointed when I
got to Kariega Lodge. But, this disappointment was my fault
completely. It's called, 'you better learn to read your brochures
Obviously I knew nothing about safaris. The
first clue should have been the name of the place -- Kariega
'Game Reserve'. A game reserve is not necessarily a 'wild'
place. In the case of Kariega, the 'big five' were bought
and brought to the reserve. So the elephants and giraffes
I saw came from farther away but were transported to this
'not small' area of 6000 hectares. Once I started asking questions
I learned that generally the 'wilder' safaris are not in South
Africa, at all. You have to go further to Namibia, Tanzania,
Kenya, Rwanda and Uganda to experience those.
That said, this was an absolutely wonderful
three days. Our guide was a delight, the food was delicious,
the air was so clean and the view from my verandah 'very,
very African.' Did we see animals? Yes, absolutely, ... up
close and personal. We saw lions, giraffes, rhinos, a hippo's
nostrils poking out of the water and lots more. One day as
the sun was setting we came across the elephants -- mama and
her kiddies, one a youngster who still wasn't sure what to
do with his trunk. And because they knew the jeep we were
in, and because no one in a jeep had ever harmed them, they
continued to do what they normally do and they let us watch
and take lots of pictures. I, silly lady, was so intent on
getting good photos that I lost myself in the moment and heard
myself whispering to the elephants as if I were a wedding
photographer... 'Great, that's good...come on, face the camera...let
the baby get through... yes, perfect. It was a magical moment
I won't soon forget. I've posted a few pix of the many, many
shots I took those three days because words can't explain.
I loved my South African safari even though it wasn't a 'wild'
The warthog and wildebeest
Watching from our
The view from my veranda
Some sort of buck
Giraffes are REALLY
Rhinos are REALLY ugly
Mama and babe
Very old giraffe
Black with white stripes
or white with black stripes?
The food was great
Sunset at Kariega
24 -- Goodbye South Africa...
We got back from our safari at 5:30 in the afternoon.
On-ship time for everybody was 9:00 PM and we were scheduled
to sail for Mauritius at 11:00 PM. I ran out to do some last
minute shopping at the V&A Mall and was back in time for
supper. Then, to encourage everybody to be back on time an
award-winning South African choir from the Townships came
on board to entertain us. By now all of the students were
well aware that those living in the Townships don't necessarily
have the same opportunities as those in upper class neighbourhoods.
Forget all assumptions. These kids have a fabulous teacher,
support from their community and the desire to be the best.
That made us appreciate their efforts even more. Oh my goodness
they were so incredible to watch and listen to. They sang,
they danced, they talked. They got students from the audience
to come up and dance along with them. We must have begged
for at least five encores. Too soon the choir had to leave
the ship so we could prepare to sail but not before they received
a standing ovation from the student body. As usual we all
went out to say goodbye to the city and then the heavy fog
started rolling in. Oh, oh ... that meant we couldn't get
permission to leave the port in that weather. I guess that
if we hadn't begged for more music we could have left in time.
Never mind. It was all worth it. We sailed early the next
morning and still arrived in Mauritius on time.
Glorious South African
Too much fog to sail
away from Cape Town
Pilot boat arrives
to guide us out in the A.M.
End of Week