Travels with Dad

I have been a little more remiss than usual of late in posting to the blog. My dad is visiting from Canada and we have spent the past week touristing it up to the max. So far we have visited Table Mountain, Robbin Island, the V&A Waterfront, Camps Bay, the Cape of Good Hope, penguins(!!), Camps Bay, the Slave Lodge, the vineyards of Stellenbosch, the aquarium, and all about Cape Town’s wonderful city center. We are both exhausted! The weather has been wonderful, apart from one day where we had a kick-ass storm that truly demonstrated the power of winds that blow unimpeded across the ocean from Antarctica.

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The view from Table Mountain

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Dad at the aquarium

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Nobel Square

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Mandela’s cell, Robbin Island

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Trying to avoid killing the penguins

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The Cape of Good Hope, from Cape Point

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Standing at the edge of the world

Our travelling about the city has also included some time spent in the Townships. I was eager to get back to reconnecting with people after my segue in Thailand, and Dad was curious to learn about the places that I was aspiring to work in. We arranged to join a tour that was being offered through a local not-for-profit organization. This was the first tour that I have encountered here that was a side project whose stated objective was to support the community building efforts of the NGO, as opposed to being primarily about tourism. The tour took us to three different Townships and four community projects: a community garden, a women’s economic empowerment collective, a creche (pre-school), and a senior’s group.IMG_4138IMG_4143

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The kids really enjoyed Dad’s bionic knee

IMG_4148 This is the audio of the senior ladies singing us out. I thought we were going to have to drag my Dad out of there.

I think Dad had a really great experience in the Townships, and has been talking a lot about how startling it is to see these communities and the degree of poverty that is visible as you drive down the highway from the airport, and then to contrast that image with the warmth and welcoming nature of the people that we met.

For me, it was great to get a chance to reconnect with the people that I hope to work with over the next few months, and I was able to give five cameras to people who have agreed to take photos in support of my research project! Back in Canada, friends and family donated ELEVEN digital cameras to me before I left to give to people in the Townships. People are so awesome 🙂 The idea is to ask Township residents to take photos of their experiences of tourism in their communities, both good and bad, and then tell me about the photos they have chosen to take.

I am VERY excited to see what people will choose to share with me. I have explained my objectives as clearly as possible, I think, while also trying to not proscribe what I want people to tell me, and I’m trying not to stress about ceding control of what information gets produced.

One young man said to me the other day, “I wonder what they [the tourists] think about us.” This is exactly what I wonder too, only from the other side!!! We are going to have some fun chats he and I. Can’t wait to see where we go from here.

So, only a few days left with Dad, and then back to work full time. We’ve been cooking a lot in the Mouille Point apartment that Dad rented for his visit. Tonight’s dinner consisted of an oddly-gendered beer (am I allowed to enjoy it, seeing as how I am neither a champion nor a man?), South African staples of samp, spinach, and sausage, Dad’s dessert, and a sunset over the ocean 🙂

9 thoughts on “Travels with Dad

  1. Looks like a wonderful visit for you and your dad. The photos are great. I especially love the view from Table Mountain and the children examining your dad’s bionic knee! I hope you actually got to see some penguins (not beneath your car of course). I think that would be quite a treat.

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    • Thanks Nancy! We did see penguins, which even when you have seen them in the aquarium or at the zoo, somehow seeing them right on the beach is so breathtaking. I didn’t add any photos to this post, because there were some in my post about seeing them a couple of weeks ago, but I’ll add one now 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  2. I’ve been thinking about you and your dad … insanely jealous that I couldn’t go to spend time with you too!!
    This is so wonderful that you’ve been able to share this experience with him and it sounds like your time together has been jammed packed with activity. He’ll be telling stories for a looooong time 🙂

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    • Sorry about that 😉

      I sure wish you could be here too – it’s such a magnificent place. Dad keeps trying to put his finger on it, to get to the essence of what South Africa ‘is’ and is all about, but I think you could live here a lifetime and never really understand it thoroughly. At any rate, you would definitely love it here. I’ll make sure I have a ticket for you next time!!

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      • From what I’ve experienced through your posts, it sounds like the essence of SA is *contrasts*. You touched on it in this post – the poverty contrasted with the warmth and generosity of the people. I’m sure you could easily define so many of these contrasts that go well beyond wealthy vs poor.

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  3. I’m loving all of the experiences you and dad are having and appreciate seeing it through your posts and photos. It’s the next best thing to being there, knowing that you and dad have this amazing opportunity to share together. I’m fighting off the envy and loving you both even more than ever!

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