Thursday, February 28, 2008

South Africa - Table Mountain

The weather was perfect this afternoon. So, after work I took the opportunity to head up and visit the top of Table Mountain. I'm really glad I had the chance to do this. The views from there are incredible. You can see all of Cape Town as well as Cape Point and the Cape of Good Hope. I was up there long enough to see the sunset as well.

Cape Point in the far distance.

Lion's Head and Robben Island in the background.

View of the Twelve Apostles

Overlooking Cape Town

Sunset from Table Mountain

Tuesday, February 26, 2008

South Africa - Sunday (Feb 24)

While I'm sure all of you spent your whole day waiting with bated breath for the Oscars I did get a few things done. Mark planned for us to go out to Cape Point today and see that area. His friend Wes Hutchinson was in town visiting and went with us. Additionally, Alister and Storm, two other friends of Mark's from Cape Town went along as well. (As a side note, Wes is a good songwriter and musician who's been working at "making it" for quite a while. He's got some really good tunes that are worth checking out -

So, we drove south from Cape Town via Hout Bay and out toward Simonstown. Really fantastic countryside with incredible ocean views. Lots of cyclists out too. They are training for the upcoming Argus, which is a 100+ km bike race around the Cape in a couple weeks. It's a really neat cycling event akin to Atlanta's Peachtree Road Race, just with bike's. It's a very athletic country. I think it would be really hard to live here and not spend as much time outside as you possible could. Anyway, here are a few pictures from our drive down to Cape Point.

By the way, the beach above has got to be the single largest piece of sand that's not a desert I've ever seen. If you look close you'll see some black specs on the beach. Those are horses. The more amazing thing is that it was a very beautiful day (80 degrees or so with almost no wind) and the beach was empty.

After an hour or so drive we did reach Cape Point, which actually isn't the farthest south point in Africa (Cape Agulhas has that honor). News to me. Anyway, upon reaching the Point our first stop was to get lunch at the restaurant perched over the Indian Ocean. The crazy thing is that there are baboons everywhere. It's a national park so they don't really contain them that much. They just try to keep them somewhat away from the tourists, etc. We actually had one jump on to the deck while we were eating, run across some tables, and grab some food off another table before being chased away by the waiters.

After lunch we hiked up to the Cape Point lighthouse. It was pretty cloudy as we got up there so not too much to see. Did take several pictures though.

So, after spending a few hours at Cape Point we started heading back to Cape Town. Along the way we stopped off at Boulders. This is another part of the Table Mountain National Park where African Penguins live right on the beach.

That was a very full weekend. Back to work for the rest of the week. Next weekend planning to see some more of the countryside.

South Africa - Saturday (Feb 23)

Well, the weekend arrived and I was able to get in some relaxing time and see some really fun sites too. Got up early and got going with a quick stop off for coffee. There's this really good chain of Portuguese coffee shops here called Vida e Caffe.

No, Woodstock does not come with the coffee. He's one of Ben's friends. He travelled along with me on the trip and I will occasionally take pictures of Woodstock doing something I'm doing and send them to Ben. He really seems to like it.

Well, after getting some coffee I tried to head up to Table Mountain again but it was even more windy this day than the previous Sunday. Looks like I'm striking out on going up Table Mountain altogether. I did get some good pictures from the base of the cable car though. Here's a picture of Lion's Head (left) and Signal Hill (right). Cape Town is below these to the right/north. From the water Lion's Head and Signal Hill together apparently look like a recumbent lion sitting next to the city.

After striking out at Table Mountain I drove back over to Camps Bay and walked the beach and checked out the storefronts for a while. I then found a good place to sit down and just relax with a smoothie for lunch and soak in the atmosphere.

For the afternoon I drove around to the back side of Table Mountain and took in the Kirstenbosch Botanical Garden. This is a really big garden. Something like 1300 acres. It was good to just walk around and take in all the flora from the different parts of Africa.

South Africa - At work.

The first work week here was very much like any other work week at home. The people we are working with here are extremely nice and accommodating. They really have gone out of their way to make this an enjoyable and productive stay.

Most evening after work I have been heading down to a place called the V&A Waterfront. Basically, it's a mall that happens to be down at the docks. It's pretty cool. The good thing about it is there's plenty to see and do. Also, lots of different restaurants to try.

On Wednesday I did go our rock climbing with Mark at a local rock climbing gym. That was really cool. It's kind of a Wednesday night tradition down here for a few guys. Afterward we went to the "best" Mexican restaurant in Cape Town. Let's just say I miss Cinco... Still a good time hanging out and getting to know some folks here.

The rest of the week was pretty standard. Lots of fun stuff to write about as we head in to the weekend though.

Monday, February 25, 2008

South Africa - Week 1 - Sunday (Feb 17)

On Sunday Mark picked me up and went driving around Cape Town to check things out. We actually managed to get a lot in this first day. First we drove out to Camps Bay and had a really good lunch at a restaurant on the beach.

After lunch we cruised up to Table Mountain, which overlooks Cape Town, but it was too windy to take the cable car up to the top. So, we drove across to Signal Hill and took and got a pretty good view of the city and bay from there. Here is a view of Table Mountain and Cape Town from the road up Signal Hill.

After seeing the sites Mark drove us out to a nearby vineyard called Speir. I guess it's more of a vineyard lite. More of a multi-purpose attraction with wine tasting sprinkled in. Still, it was fun to see. Afterward we returned to grab some dinner in Cape Town.

South Africa - Getting There...

Now that we've gotten past the recaps of December and January we can get to the visit to South Africa. The first week down here was really good once I got past the inevitable jet lag. As everyone has told me twenty hours on an airplane is wayyyyyy too long. Anyway, one cool thing did happen on the way down here. My flight from Johannesburg to Cape Town was on South African Airlines. For some reason they decided I should get an upgrade to business class for that flight. So, that was a nice change. Just too bad Delta didn't feel the same way for the flight from Atlanta to Johannesburg.

Mark, one of the guys I work with, picked me up at the airport and then got me settled in at the hotel. I pretty much crashed once I got checked in. More to come...

Sunday, February 24, 2008

2008 Starts Off Right

Well, Lisa and I kicked off 2008 with a really fun trip out to New Orleans to watch UGA "play" Hawaii in the Sugar Bowl. Ben stayed back home and got to spend a few days with his Grandpa and Grandma Heinz. We did miss Ben but it was good to get away together for a few days.

Shortly after we got back from New Orleans it was birthday time again. Like Christmas we ended up celebrating three times this year. Craig, Shannon and family were over on my birthday. Then we went out to Pampas for some great steaks and time with family as George & Olive and Leo & Mavis were all in town and able to join us. Finally we celebrated Micah and I's joint birthday later in the weekend. Very fun time all around.

The other big event of January for us was we had some minor accumulation of snow. Ben had a really good time playing in it though. We were even able to get a few snowballs together!

December, where did you go?

Okay. So, basically, we are really bad bloggers. For those handful of you who might actually notice we updated the site here is some info from December and January. Both months really seemed to just disappear in to thin air. I think we left off last time shortly after UGA beat the Jackets (had to throw that in).

Anyway, the first part of December is pretty much a blur at this point. One of the really cool things we were able to do with our small group this year was visit Children's Medical Center in Atlanta. It was good to expose Ben to giving at Christmas time and kind of really helped kick off our holiday season. At least it did for me. We also had a very good time attending a Christmas party for some of Lisa's former students. It was a lot of fun and Ben seemed to really enjoy his time there too.
My parents arrived on about the 14th of December. Then, before we knew it, Christmas was on top of us. We had three very different celebrations this year. The first was a more casual affair at Lisa's parents with just her family (minus K&B, unfortunately). Then we did our Christmas Eve dinner with my parents and finally headed to Cartersville for Christmas Day with just Lisa's parents and grandmother.

No, my mom isn't quite that short. :) In the course of taking pictures for Christmas we completely messed up and this the only shot of my parents together on Christmas Eve that we have. Funny stuff though.

The biggest news was the Ben finally got to play with Grandpa's tractor.