Saturday, August 31, 2013

Capetown, South Africa

First, apologies for the delay in posting! Internet has been a little less reliable lately, and sometimes even nonexistent. When it does exist, it's often metered, which makes uploading lots of photos a challenge. I'm going to try to get caught up as best I can, though I may only have internet (sort of) for the next two days and then possibly none for two weeks. We'll see what I can get done!.

Capetown is often described as one of the most beautiful places in the world to have a city. The views are stunning, absolutely, and the weather is lovely, and the ocean very blue. It's an incredible gateway to southern Africa.

The first time I ever visited Capetown was in 1999. It was my second trip to South Africa (the first was in 1997, not terribly long after the end of apartheid), and I was startled by the land of contrasts that it was then. There were tall buildings, beautiful homes, great restaurants -- and also shantytowns, and people who were homeless, and a lingering sense that all was not yet well.  More than a decade later, the country seems to have emerged from its rough patch and is moving steadily forward. Not that people don't have complaints about the way things are being run -- no government is perfect, after all.

Thursday, August 15, 2013

Australia, part 2 (Cairns, Sydney, and the Hunter Valley)

We did so many amazing things in Cairns that I didn't even have time to fit them all into the last post! On our third full day in Cairns, we went on an evening safari. The safari started in late afternoon, and our guide surprised us by first turning into a nearby suburb. We soon realized why he'd taken us there: we saw hundreds of wallabies just hanging about in people's yards and in vacant lots.

Thursday, August 8, 2013

Australia: Melbourne and Cairns (part 1)

Apologies for the length of time between posts - my mom came to Australia to travel with us for a couple of weeks, and we had so much fun that I didn't have much time to work on updating the blog.  This was actually our second time in Australia on the trip. We were here about a month earlier and spent most of our time driving around in the wine regions north of Melbourne. This time we started in Melbourne and stayed a few days.