Archive for » July, 2013 «


Playing can be very hard work.

We had to get up at 5AM, drive 2 hours in the dark. Then a choppy boat ride with very large swells, cold and windy since it is winter time here in South Africa, a rain storm dumped on us, then we had to get into the super cold water.

Cold, choppy Indian Ocean

Just then, a 12 footer Great White swim right next to us, close enough for me to touch it. That was an amazing experience.

I saw a Great White!

Shark Cage Diving in South Africa

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We flew 15 hours from SFO to Dubai, then another 10 hours from Dubai to Cape Town, South Africa. We have never been this far away from home before.

Far from home.

We are loving it here. South Africa is a beautiful country.

We are staying 4 nights at the upscale beach town of Camps Bay. The Beach side is lined with fine dining restaurants, cafes, and shops. Gorgeous homes with million dollar views cover the sea cliffs base, with the famed Table Mountain as a dramatic backdrop. Our 2 bedroom apartment is just across the street of the crashing waves of the Atlantic Ocean.

Camps Bay, South Africa

Below are some photos that show off the different flavors of Cape Town:

Lamb Pizza

South Africa is a great country for foodies. It offers westerners fine dining experience at casual eating prices. This large lamb chunk pizza was around $10 US dollars. Hubby ordered this dish for lunch at a beautiful winery in Somerset West.

Cheetah walk on the beach

South Africa’s meow

Atop of the Table Mountain

View from top of the Table Mountain. We took the cable car up. The hike up is not for people like us.

Flower of South Africa

More beautiful flowers

Our summer is South Africa’s winter. But it is a nice 60 to 70 degrees weather, with rain showers here and there. It is very green with flowers in full bloom.

Penguins in Boulder Beach

Oh, they have penguins on the beach.

Ostrich on the road

And Ostrich along side the road that wanted to race us.

Cape Point

Camera happy at the Cape Point.

Chapman's Peak

Picturesque Chapman’s Peak drive.

Cape Town’s many townships are where black South Africans live in extreme poverty. It was only a 20 minute drive from Camps Bay, where we are staying, and it sure feels like a whole world apart.

Lango Township of the Cape Flats

A second township we visited on our Township tour

Just another 15 to 20 minutes car ride away is the upscale V&A Waterfront. Huge malls with expensive brands, and harbor view restaurants.

V&A Waterfront Wharf and shopping mall.

Victoria & Alfred Waterfront Wharf and Mall.

Our fancy South African lunch at the Waterfront

Our fancy South Africa lunch at the V&A Waterfront Wharf. I have no idea what this dish is called…

Ostrich Steak

Ostrich Steak is so good. I thought it looked kind of dry, but it was so tender and juicy. Great spices…delicious.

Camps Bay

Back at Camps Bay.

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It was still over 100 degrees at 7:40PM, with 50% humidity in the air. This sauna is called Dubai.

Dubai from the Tallest building in the world

We were in Dubai for our 2 day layover on our way to South Africa.

This is the first time we have ever set foot in the Middle East, and in the middle of Ramadan! However, Dubai is nothing like the Middle East that we often see on TV.

Upon arriving the airport, we were whisked away by a female taxi driver! She wore a pinkish flower print head scarf, and has many friends. She kept getting calls and chatted happily on her cell phone most of the ride.

Along the way to our hotel, I noted how new, cosmopolitan, and extravagant this city is. I was wowing silently to myself looking out the window.

Dubai from the Burj Khalifa

However Dubai in July is not exactly a treat, being very, very hot and humid. So, we decided to stay at the Atlantis the Palm.

Atlantis the Palm, Dubai

This is the resort with the big famous water park, and an enormous aquarium that some of their water slides pass through.

Leap of Faith-Atlantis, Dubai

I have heard that Dubai is a very service oriented city, and the Atlantis certainly lived up to the reputation.

Atlantis’ staff to guest ratio is incredibly high. They are everywhere to be helpful and smile. Doors are pulled open for us with a smile and greeting, when we arrive at the guest tower lifts, a staff would already push the elevator button for us, and hold the door open for all of us to get in. Just about everywhere we went, we were immediately greeted and offered assistance.

They do all these without the expectation of a tip.

At the water park, life guards are stationed everywhere, even better, they have staffs stationed in the water whose job is to give you a little push or pull, and when the lazy river split into different rivers, staffs will be there to ask you which way, and send you off to your desired river.

The resort also built several water escalators that take you up to big water slides, so, guests are truly lazy on their lazy river.

Aquadventure - Atlantis the Palm

We graciously allowed ourselves to be served in Dubai, and was sorry to leave.

Burj Khalifa - from the 124th floor observation deck

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“Mom! I had this dream last night!”

I turned from my coffee machine, and saw my 12-year-old quickly approaching in her pajamas.

“What did you dream about?” me, re-directing my attention back to making my first cup of coffee.

“I dreamed that we were the family in that wife swap show!!” 12-year-old.

I chuckled. Wife Swap is one of our family’s few guilty pleasures. It is a reality TV show, where two polar opposite, dramatically different families swap the wife/mom for two weeks, and experience living with new rules and lifestyles.

“What happened in your dream?” me.

“Our new mom’s rule is no homework!! We can not do any homework for the week!!!!” 12-year-old all wide eyed.

“Ha, ha, ha, that’s quite a dream.” me.

“So, I went to school and told all my teachers about my new mom’s rule. But no body believed me!!” 12-year-old.

“Ha, ha, ha, ha!!!” I laughed even more, “so, is this a DREAM or a nightmare for you?”

“hum….I can’t decide….”12-year-old, thinking to herself rather thoughtfully, “But it is definitely a nightmare for you.”

“Why me?!” me, still chuckling.

“Because! It means your new kids never EVER do their homework, and you are going to make them do homework for a week!” 12-year-old.

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