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Greetings From Cape Town Home of the 2010 World Cup

3 days to explore Cape Town and Surround

sunny 71 °F
View 2010 Around the World in 20 Days on marksrtw's travel map.

Smooth travels and with 5 hours sleep must get out to explore Cape Town. I will use the Hop on Hop Off Bus this afternoon to sightsee. Tomorrow I take a safari and on the last day I visit Cape of Good Hope. Time is wasting so fill you in later. See ya, Mark

Posted by marksrtw 03:37 Archived in South Africa Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Day One of Three in Cape Town

March 20, 2010

sunny 80 °F
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March 20 - I am now more half way around the world from all of you or approximately 14,000 miles and 9 time zones. As I write this it is 10 pm in Cape Town and 1 pm in Spokane still sharing the same day. This has been a refreshing stop for me as the experience so far has been amazing and I have been running on the adrenaline of anticipating of what’s next in this amazing adventure. My first day in Cape Town was a welcome relief from the language barrier and hectic pace of Buenos Aires and Madrid. My home here is a dramatic contrast from my hotel on the main avenue in Madrid called Gran Via and the noise of sirens and the pulse of a major European Capital. I now live in a quiet and charming neighborhood on Signal Hill just above the central business district of Cape Town and short walk to the Victoria Waterfront called the VA. My good fortune continues as the guest house (17 of Loader) upgraded me to a beautiful room decorated with antiques and its own balcony shaded by mature trees that give it a very private and calming feel. That is just what I needed as I have run out of gas. I spent my first day walking down to the VA Waterfront and once again taking advantage of the Red Double Decker Hop on Hop off bus. It was a great way to once again see the main sights without expending too much of my dwindling reserves. The weather cleared as I started exploring the area and soon was near 80 degrees. Of course, I sat on the top deck and soaked in the vitamin D. The city has a new airport and has probably never looked better as it prepares to host the biggest sporting event in the world, the 2010 FIFA World Cup Soccer Championships in June (the first ever in Africa). The new stadium is now complete and the waterfront is fresh and beautiful and will amaze the world when the city is discovered by the world. The bus traveled through the city past the church where Reverend Desman Toto summoned for many years. Past the old fort built by the British in the 1800’s complete with a moot and around the main square that will be the sight of the award ceremonies during the FIFA World Cup. The energy in this city is amazing and I think will only build as the residents begin to realize that what they have been preparing for for 6 years is less than 100 days away.
I hopped off the bus at the base of Table Mountain and road the Ariel tramway up to the top. The tram is nearly identical to the one in Palm Springs, circular and rotates 360 degrees as you travel up the face of the mountains steep slope so everyone has a perfect view of every angle by the time you reach the top. It was cooler at the top but still hot and very, very sunny! As I realized by the end of the day too sunny! Next we drove by the coast riche neighborhoods and multimillion dollar beach front and hillside home that is the most desirable area to live. Something similar to Malibu and yes, their own Venice Beach where all the beautiful and famous people go to be seen. It is also the most photographed in glossy magazines where world models have all been photographed with the icon Table Mountain as the back drop. Para gliders silently soared and circled above and landed on the beach. I would love to do a tandem ride as they are available but I just don’t have the time to devote to that amazing experience. I’m sure it is a amazing but heck, I can’t fit it all in unfortunately. We past close to the stadium the will hold 68000 crazy (anyone who knows world soccer knows exactly what I’m talking about) fans will paint faces, where their team masks and just go insane. It can be very dangerous and probably will be no different here.
We ended up back at the waterfront and the perfect place to grab a delicious seafood dinner of Calamari, Kate (local fish) and chips. As I was heading back to my guest house I could resist the offer to jump on a sunset cruise to see the city from the water as the sunset. It was well worth the 20 bucks and we actually had a whale breach right off the boat which was very unexpected and a perfect end to a perfect day in Cape Town. Well I’m exhausted so I will upload pics tomorrow and let you know how the trip to the Cape of Good Hope was. I’m sure it will be impressive. The weather is supposed to be another sunny one with highs in the upper 70’s and lows in the mid to low 60’s. Right now it is 64 degrees, the windows are open to let in the nice breeze and I am off to dream land and a good night sleep I hope.

Posted by marksrtw 01:58 Archived in South Africa Tagged round_the_world Comments (4)

Cape Town Day Two and Three

March 21, 22, 2010

sunny 81 °F
View 2010 Around the World in 20 Days on marksrtw's travel map.

The past two days have been filled with really understanding the history and geography of the western cape region on South Africa around Cape Town. From the game reserve in Aguila to Robbens Island where Nelson Mandela was held to my today my last day here in South Africa traveling around the cape to see the Cape of Good Hope and all the bays and town around the peninsula has left me with so much to digest. The wild animals wher amazing, the visit to Robbens Island was very emotional and a very dark history of apartide. The beauty of this area is overwhelming and I highly recommend that you visit this place sometime in your life. I need to pack so I will leave you with the pictures to enjoy. Tomorrow I head to Johannasburg and on the Hong Kong, Mumbai and finally Delhi which will be quite a marathon. I only hope the good fortune of flights on schedule continue as I negotiate this very challenging part of the trip. I am sorry I am unable to upload the great video I have capture of the trip but the upload time is very slow and I simply don't have the time, patience nor want to pay the expensive cost as the internet has not been free.
Wish me luck on my journey's and you will next hear from me on March 25th or 26th in Mumbai after I have visited the Taj Mahal outside of Delhi in Argra.

Love and hugs to you all! Mark

Posted by marksrtw 11:52 Archived in South Africa Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

Final Thoughts From South Africa

March 23, 2010

sunny 86 °F
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It is always a relief to make to each airport safely, clear security and relax in the airport lounge before departure and that is where I am at this morning as I await my first of 4 flights on this segment as mentioned before.

First the Mac keyboard I am using at the airport sucks. Why on earth did MAC change the keyboard layout and put a ` where the space bar should be. Anyway, I just wanted to say that my impression of South Africa and its population seems in great termoil sorry again MAC has made it difficult to right click to do spell check. The president of SA seems very unpopular at least with the whites. He has multiple wives and many children all at tax payer expense. Sunday and Monday where holidays in the country in honor of SA Human Rights commemorating the roits of the 1960s I think where many SA blacks were killed.
As this country prepares to host the FIFA World Cup there is even greater stain on the society especially blacks to look within and their out prejudices toward people not of their color or culture. I would say at this point they are far from ready to host the world and wish them luck with that event and also their internal reconciliation toward a lasting peace and civility. There are many challenges including poverty, unemployment and crime! Maybe no different than most countries but for them it may even be a greater challenge and a very unique opportunity to overcome and enter the world as an equal.

Hurray for our new health care legislation. No one I have spoken to so far in my travels understand how such a country as US does not insure equal access to health. Thank God we care coming to our senses!

Love and hugs,

ps I miss my family dearly!

Posted by marksrtw 23:08 Archived in South Africa Tagged round_the_world Comments (2)

Cape Town-Johannasburg-Hong Kong-Mumbai-Delhi

MARCH 23 & 24, 2010

semi-overcast 76 °F
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I left what will certainly be a very hot day in Cape Town and I feel satisfied that I have seen and done all I really intended and wanted to do. Had a very clear and good view of Table Mountain as we departed to the east flying over False Bay so named because of the many confused ships in the early year reaching the Cape thinking this was the point to turn north to Cape Town only to be trapped in of course False Bay. For those Alaskans reading it would be the same as Captain Cooks naming of Turnagain Arm in Cook Inlet.
I am now awaiting my Cathay Pacific flight to Hong Kong which begins boarding in less than 30 minutes. I am traveling on the upper deck again of the magnificent 747. Seating will be different with single seats angling out toward front center. The upper deck seats actually have longer beds according to my research and are supposed to be truly flat beds and I will be using that bed tonight to get as much sleep as possible as I have a marathon of 4 flight to get to Delhi through Johannesburg, Hong Kong, Mumbai. Had no choice if I wished to see the Taj Mahal and I did in my insanity to experience it all. It is quite hot and semi overcast and fells humid, something I did not experience in Cape Town thank goodness. I had an uncomfortable incident with the cab that was order by my B&B. I clearly asked if 220 Rand would be enough (about $30.00) and the manager said yes. Me the cabbie a very friendly conversation on the 15 minute ride to airport. Upon exiting he asked for 280 Rand. I told him I only had 220 Rand and the guest house said that was plenty. That is one thing about Cape Town people is they are very in the clouds and will give an answer whether it is right or wrong. It also seemed that the many waite staff and service people seemed to be in training. Can’t believe everyone is new to their job but rather a mentality of the culture. They’re going to go nuts when the less tolerant World Cup visitors arrive but I certainly wish nothing but good will. I gave the disgruntled cabbie my 220 apologized and he mumbled something about I will talk to the Guest House. Good luck with that chap! Good bye for now. Mark
I know that that past few years have been very hard emotionally for our family. First, the loss of my dearest sister Gail. We had talked about doing an adventure just her and I somewhere where we could just leave our illness and challenges behind for a while and truly enjoy the moment. Gail gave me the spirit of spontaneity and the understanding that sometimes you just need to throw caution to the wind and do your own thing, but life can be all to fleeting. My cousin Margie who I never considered a cousin but a very special aunt who I think first planted the seed of travel in me. I remember how truly amazed I was that her family had traveled to the edges of my known world (a tiny spec in the Pacific called Guam). I relished the stories of sandy beaches, coral and of course the air travel which back in the 60’s was truly an amazing thing with the beginning of jet travel we take for granted today. By the way, my jet has just past the island of Mozambique and has begun our long stretch over the Indian Ocean to the Asian Continent. Margies dream to the end was to visit Scotland and I loved how passionately she spoke of that dream but alas, life is far to fleeting. Margie and Gail will always travel with me in my heart of hearts and give me the courage and strength necessary to follow my dreams no matter how impossible they may seem including completing this very physically and mentally challenging life dream. If this shared experience does only one thing, I truly hope that it will inspire all of you to dream big and live large because alas, life is truly far to brief. These long overnight flights really give a time to reflect I guess.
There, I have my second wind now and my adventure and my dream is far from over so stay tuned for Asia and Exotic Continent that so eluded the white adventures for so many centuries and that those brave men who challenged the religious concept of a flat earth and a cliff at the end of Africa that would swallow any ship that darned come near! The Cape of Storms as it was known is more appropriately now named the Cape of Good Hope.
Next stop is Hong Kong and here’s a little known personal fact: I have been an avid, NO NOT THE RIGHT WORD, fanatical that’s it, Flight Sim enthusiast for nearly 14 years! My partner Rick gave me my first version of Microsoft Flight Sim in 1997. I honestly don’t know how he knew that it was something that would change my life but he did. My first flight on Flight Sim was a takeoff, over flight of the incredible skyline of Hong Kong and landing at the old Hong Kong airport (make that crash landing) with its famous right angle approach over buildings that gave it the reputation as the most exciting and dangerous landing approach in the world. I remember fumbling trying to figure of how the heck to control the plane because from the very beginning with the simulator I flew by the seat of my pants and I remember never giving up and how excited I was when I landed my 747 safely. Yes, I said 747 my first aircraft I ever flew in FS. Now, maybe you will better understand how thrilled I am to finally arrive in Hong Kong on board my real 747. Unfortunately, they have a newer and much safer airport but the experience still gives me goose bumps as I am only 7 hrs away. Wish me luck as I land this Queen of Skies (Hay, not me the airplane) in my mind. Between you and me I honestly think I could land this baby all by myself but they won’t let me in the cockpit but I’m ready just in case! Time for sleep before I arrive.

Made it to Hong Kong to heavy air polution and 90+ percent humidity and enjoy the pics because I'm out of this place nun to fast for me. Next stop Mumbai and fnally Delhi.

Posted by marksrtw 22:26 Archived in China Tagged round_the_world Comments (1)

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