Thursday, October 30, 2008

CT Trip Day3 - Table Mountain in Cape Town

5:00 AM - Beep, Beep. Beep, Beep... It was my alarm clock on morning of day 3 of our cape town trip. Read my first post and second post for previous day journey.

I got up from my double story bed and opened door to get ready. I was sleeping in an outside corner room of house and door opens directly on a field. It was very refreshing to breath in clean, cold, moist air in that open field. Anyway we didn’t have much time so I freshened up and start calling names for people to get up. Anand was determined to take wheels again and so he was the last one to get up from bed. We left Knysna around 5:00 AM and soon we were on road to George on same way back through which we came in. We thought of stopping at Dolphin point, on the way, but it was still not full light and no one was expecting any dolphin to pop-up in this cold and rainy weather.

We took Garden route from George to Cape Town. As expected, Anand was in his formula one driver suite on highway. On a down ramp seeing that there, possibly, should not be any camera, everyone shouted on Anand to cross 150. Before our shout could go down, their attention went on speedometer which was already above 150. He even touched about 180 but our cameraman was a bit slow in running car with a touch of fear in his mind and he could capture only a 170 snap (I am in no sense trying to advocate a high speed here. It is a very risky attempt we took which could be dangerous not only to vehicle over speeding but to others as well).
As sun came up, we were on a road stretch with large mustard fields, plant blooming with bright yellow flowers. It was looking like someone has placed a green and yellow bed sheet with dark brown dots at road side. We all went out and took some snaps to record this memory. We even took one Haldiram’s bhel packet out and made one special Indian dish bhel. It was a fantastic way of eating one Indian dish beside a field full of plants. It was an amazing feeling.

Rest of way was also nice with a lot of good scenes but we didn’t take another stop to save time. We didn’t want to leave our chance of seeing Table Mountain on luck. It was a bright sunny day and we were determined to use it for covering Table Mountain. We only stopped at one petrol pump when we were near Cape Town to fill tank. It also turned out to be good for us as we saw biggest chicken of our life in there. There were goats, lambs and pigeon we well but this chicken was taking all attraction from crowd. After this chicken encounter our destination was direct Cape Town and we made our entry in Waterfront as our stay was addressed near it. Now you need to follow up closely as most of us had a bigger adventure than Bungee jumping in reaching to the room for our stay in Cape Town.

We had paper map and map software on laptop to plan our drive through Cape Town. For this location as well we had a rough map sent by owner to help us. Somehow we could not relate given direction to any of our maps and could not take a direction except roaming in Waterfront area. We stopped at a petrol pump and asked on of taxi driver to help us find it. He was also not sure if he has heard about those streets we have in map. After trying many other people, we even tried traffic police which happened to be there on petrol pump, but in vain. Now what!…we called the owner to pick us up from that petrol pump while we wait there. After 30 min passed and we could not meet, Rajesh went on phone with her (owner was a lady) to give our location. He told her that we have a McDonald in front and a Holiday Inn hotel beside that Calson petrol pump. As per her she was there but could not see us.
What is going on???? Nikhil took phone and talked to her.
Ok! I am seeing McDonald in my front.
Yes! It is there.
On my back I have Ship.
Ship? …????
Ya! Two Ship.
Ship?...???? Where are you? There are no Ship in here.
We are in Cape Town.
And I am in Bloemfountein.

Talk went on for a while on why this confusion happened but it was not the time to go long on it. It was decided that we would talk later and first try some quick stay arrangement for living in Cape Town. Many of us called their friends and tried to take any contact which can help us. Luckily we got a contact in next 10 min and accommodation was available for 8 of us.
Thank God! Once we were relaxed that we have a place for us, everyone laughed full heartedly on this incident. All of who had done bungee jumping agreed that they had there heart beats going up more than they felt in jump from the bridge.

In last and short, we got a good place, settled, freshen up there. Had a quick snack and up, we were ready for Table mountain. New owner was kind enough t o give us directions for Table Mountain and what else we could do after that.

Table Mountain was as big and overwhelming as we expected. We got our tickets and soon were in line for Cable way to reach on top. It was a superb experience seeing Cable Car going up and coming down. We were excited to feel what it would be like from inside Cable Car. It was not disappointing and we almost felt running like a child once it started moving. A good thinking was applied to Cable Car to rotate it while it was moving so that everyone will get to see each side. I especially found, sight of either start point or end point of cable car mesmerizing. I was just not able to take my eye off once I focused on either one. See below pics and let me know if you also feel so...

Once on top, Mountain was what you can call is magnificent. A huge stretch with a great height; it was a lifetime experience to be on it. Before one could start running on there to cover whole mountain, a good detail was given about history of Mountain and even routes were craved on a model to guide travellers for their planning. We spent more than 30 min, just to cover 3-4 points from where we could see look at Cape Town below. It was like seeing it in Google Earth. A lot of photo session took place and at one time our group was even trying 3 cameras to take snap of one point from different angles. Mountain height was driving us crazy.

Really, it was a view just to sit and absorb. Alas! Being on a trip we didn’t have luxury of spending days on it so we had to kept moving so that we could cover most of it. We walked major route on it while left a harder one as everyone was not ready to do some hiking and rock climbing to reach another corner of Mountain. While in our route, we tried many angels to capture our memory in camera with many weird positions. I am sure we made few other people happy by letting them watch our attempt to take a snap while person would climb on a corner of stair wall and stretch his hands like he is flying. You can see that Rajesh tried a place to stand for his photo which was the edge of mountain and next to this edge was a fall, bottom of which could not be captured due to its depth. Were we crazy or were we crazy? :):)
We took our time to relax on our way back spending few minutes to enjoy time to time cold breeze and watching other people having fun. Near canteen there were some statues which few of us captured along with us to keep a memory of that place. We took beer and cold drinks while sitting and sharing our feelings about mountain and how lucky we were to cover it on first day. While talking, laughing and enjoying our drinks, we ended our trip (only for Table Mountain, not to Cape Town, that is still to go 2 more days) and cheered our visit to Grand Table Mountain.

It was already evening and everyone was tired from morning adventure and long walks on Table Mountain. We went to Waterfront and just roamed around to look for various activities available in there. We also visited one mall just to see the crowd. We did some shopping and called it a day to enjoy a good night at our stay place. We called for pizza delivery and had some drinks along with it while talked about what all has happened and what is the next day plan. Once quite full everybody said good night and slept on their beds.

Our next day plan was a bit hasy as were sure about one part (Robben Island) while what we will do before that was in undecided state. See my next post for where we went and how did we like the Island.
Note: Did you like it? Please leave your comments to let me know.

Wednesday, October 29, 2008

CT Trip Day2- Jumping down the bridge

We started for cape town in evening and covered our way through George to Knysna where we were planning to do one day halt. Read previous post for Day1

We had our directions from owner of residence and it took us a while to realize that we have missed it and gone somewhere wrong. It was 6:00 and we felt it would be ok to call our lady owner and confirm the directions. What we found - we had already crossed city Knysna while our beds were long left before start of city :(. Anyway, take a U-turn and go back. This time we were alert and ultimately managed to find it. Owner was very helpful to come and show us around the house and we were all ready to do our cooking :). While few of us started freshening up, Anand went first on stove and put a pan for fried egg.

Our next plan, or for few of us planning was done to do bungee jumping. While at least 3 of us (Chandan, me and Anand) were sure that we are not going to do this madness, others were too much excited about it. They could not bear to leave me and Anand in luxury of bed and blanket and themselves face the fear of falling alone. So..they dragged us out of house and shoved us in car. It was fine till sometime and then I positioned myself at back seat for a nice nap. Colorful trees and a sunny weather could not let me sleep and after sometime I was again sitting straight, looking out of window. We passed a big bridge which was on a quite good height from ground below it. And there was the board for group who organises this stupid bungee jumping.. ok, ok.. not stupid.. but..what the h..
Thinking that it would be somewhere alongside the road, we kept moving until we crossed 5-6 KM and could not find anything to drive into. We called the group office and took another U-turn in a single day as we had missed it. All who wanted to do this stunt went ahead after enquiring fees.

We 3 (Anand, Chandan and myself) stayed behind with all jacket, purse, watches, camera and what not, as it was not good to take these things on bridge, from where one will make a jump.
It was hard to identify who is standing on that bridge but Rajesh was the first one in his bunch to try. Very brave of him, I really do think so!So it was easy to identify that it is Rajesh on that bridge. I tried taking snap of him with 12X camera. Though I was not sure that time, it came quite good. You can see Rajesh below jumping down the bridge.

I tried for other people as well but instead wasted memory on some other random people who we don't know. While it would be a very thrilling experience for them to jump from a 260 m height, watching them live was also a very exciting experience. Once everyone was through this excitement, we realized that we are hungry and morning breakfast has faded to no existence and body is demanding another feeding. We went into a McDonald for a burger and fries with some shake to subsidise this hunger.

Once filled we spent rest of day finding a beach and walking, sitting, jumping on it. At one place it was all rocks and you need to climb a bit down to touch water. With everyone refilled with McDonald's energy it just took few seconds when our whole group was sitting on rocks just next to Water. You can see below myself trying to go as much down, without getting me wet, as possible. It was good to sit and relax on rocks while seeing sea splashing it's salty water on these rocks.

Second beach was having sand shore and we tried a nice walk along footpath beside it. We also put our foot in water but it was too cold to stay in it. Bravo to those who were neck deep in water and playing with it. We also played but it was a catch-catch with a tennis ball on sand shore.

We went back to our residence and Rajesh, Chandan, Bhushan, Nikhil were fast asleep in no time. Thinking that it would spoil our sleep in night time, me Anand, Dinesh and Pratyush stayed awake talking about many things. After some time we were in drawing room drinking beer with peanuts as snacks. It was Rajesh's birthday next day and we were planned to have a blast in Knysna to celebrate it. IF you are not familiar with how Indian college celebrates birthday, it would be a shock to you. We had all arrangement done with cake, sparkling wine and cameras in place.

Rajesh cut the cake and as soon as he was finished taking a bite, cream was all over his face. People took turn (not to give him another bite of cake) to paste cake and cream wherever one could find a place left on his face. Then it was time to open the bottle and take sip of wine. With alcohol in body, now it was time for bumps. You know? not.. ok keep reading and take some hint from pictures below -

In this four (or three or two) people hold the person on hands and legs while others kick him on hips. No of kicks are supposed to match birthday boy's age or if he is unable to take as much. Rajesh went down much before we could reach his age but anyway it were quite a good number he could handle.

With this celebration we wished a good night to everyone and went to bed for an early start on next day to Cape Town. Read my next post on what an adventurous journey it was till our stay place in cape town and how magnificent Table mountain was in there.
Note: Did you like it? Please leave your comments to let me know.

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

CT Trip Day1 - Starting from Jo'berg

Few weeks ago we made a trip to Cape Town. It was a fantastic journey where we not only enjoyed heights, sea and penguins but also long hour drive (16 hours) with only one of us driving all the way, interesting.. :). Trip is so long and there would be so much to cover that I might cover each day in a post. So be ready to read through 4 posts if you want to return from Cape Town...
We started on 19th (Sep) evening from Johannesburg. There were 8 of us in a Volkswagen 8 seater. You can see 4 of us ready for this trip in photo on left (from left-Chandan, myself, Sudish, Nikhil and Bhushan, Sudish was helping us putting stuff in car as he ditched us by staying home all alone....or may be not alone???).
Our formula one driver, Anand (right), took the driving seat and rest all of us were navigator trying to control steering wheel from back. Starting was boring as it was evening traffic on highway and it seemed like we would never get out of city. But hey, there our racer showed his expertise and took that closed side lane where few others were also going, may be after a lot of frustration. Wola! and we are out of city in no time and our car was racing towards Cape Town.. Oops.. correction, racing toward Knysna. Knysna, where our dare devils were planning to do bungee jumping.
Beer cans were being opened in back, being passed to front (not to driver, we drive safe) and everyone was in a jolly mood. We stopped at side of road to get some fresh out of city air and prepare ourselves for a long stride. You can see rest of group in this photo on right (from left - Prityush, Anand, Chandan, Nikhil, Rajesh, Dinesh and myself, Bhushan is taking snap).

Slowly beer effect start taking place and few of us started feeling sleepy. I was also taking a nap as we would swap places for keeping our travel continue over the night. Our racer was in his full mood and there came a flash from nowhere... What happened!..
something shiny was there..
Hey! You have been clicked...(for over speeding)..
Bravo! Bravo!...
Everyone started congratulating Anand for his first medal of driving. When it was all absorbed that speed was just above by 2-3 km/h only, cheering subsidised that he might not get anything for proof of it. Isn't it wonderful how much free you feel when in a joyful group.. That were us at that time, ready to take anything whatever it would cost... good to go :)

Now when sleep is away, we need to do something for passing time. What about Anthakshari (it is a game where you sing two line of a indian filmy song and whatever letter it ends, opposite party will sing a song starting from that letter). It have been long when anyone of us played this game. It was a total fun singing in full voice and whatever tune you could remember for a song. Sometime we don't even know full 2 line of song and still we make it look like we sang it.. a lot of time trying to repeat same song which have been used and being criticised by others for cheating.
After about 6 hours when we stopped to fill gas, it was decided that I will navigate rest of way while Anand was not ready to leave his comfort seat. Ok, all other in back with full planing to sleep as better as possible and we two on front (left photo, you can see our car, is it good or good?). I tried to start our game again but could not succeed. After 2 attempt I also gave up. Me and Anand started talking about general topics to keep sleep away. We had only map in our hands for route and missing a singly point could mean a horrible night so we were sure to pay full attention.

We had already crossed 19th (it was over 1:00 in night). We succussfully identified our first diversion from beafourt to George and we were happy about it. This route was much deserted and as per map there would be many turns and joins of roads at turn from George to Knysna. Luckily we could spot few other direction boards saying George 350 KM. We are on right track. We kept our conversation going on the way.

It was about 3:00 and we were nearing George. Road went in between hills and we felt like going down the hill. And Wow... what a sight. All greenery (whatever we could see in that dark), hills on every side and a clean curved road in between with drop, looking like a black hole, at one side of road...amazing. It was just amazing. I was just wishing that we had come to this road at day time and enjoyed the view.

3:30 AM - We were crossing last hill on our way to George. As we reached on top of hill and around the corner, there it was - a fantastic view of lights from city with a heavy darkness surrounding it and making it more beautiful. It was surely a scenic view as we could see a spot for stopping and looking at it at ease. We woke everyone at back of car and as we were sure, each one was showing his feeling by a cry, Wow or a quick jump out of car. Nikhil was so enthusiastic to take a snap of this view that he got down of car without any slippers and not sure how did he manage to click camera while jumping all time due to a freezing cold ground.

We reached George near 4:00 AM. We had booked a self catering residence in Knysna for our stay and wanted to have a quick meal before we could do something else. Not sure about what we will get in Knysna, we stopped at a petrol pump for filling fuel and doing some shopping for eggs and bread. It was just not upto our satisfaction to keep going on muffins, fruits and juice for too long. Some bread with fried and spicy stuff is a must for us. Our path from George to Knysna was also quite scenic. It was a road along sea side with only few vehicles on the road. Here and there we saw few 60 KM speed signs and were asking Anand to keep those in mind and not try getting another snap from traffic department at a high cost. It was drizzling which made the whole view more like a movie scene. A curved road with hill on one side with greenery and sea on other side, making splashes, creating noise and time to time few birds chirping. Try imaging it and I am sure you could feel the happiness we were enjoying at that time.
Continue to Next Post.........

Note: Please leave comments with your feedback on how you liked this trip. Am i making it interesting for you to read? what would you like to see more or change in it?
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