Hello everybody! I have “hope” that you will like the blog post I prepared for you today.
As you might have guessed, we went to the Cape of Good Hope!
This cape is a rocky headland on the Atlantic coast of the Cape and peninsula, South Africa.
A lot of people think that the The Cape of Good Hope is the southern most tip of Africa, but actually, Cape Agulhas is even farther south, so they are not correct.
The first European to reach the Cape was Bartholomew DS who named it the Cape of Storms, though it was later named the Cape of Good Hope by John II of Portugal because of all the optimism that happened by the opening of the sea route to India and the far east.
There was a lighthouse built at the top of the Cape Point, the southernmost point of the Cape peninsula, but when the fog rolled in, it was not visible and many ships crashed into the rocky shores, so they built another one lower and closer to the shoreline.
We took a really fun funicular up to the lighthouse and got an excellent view of the Cape and ocean.
There is a lot of cool wildlife there, too.
We make the most of all of our “fun-iculars!”
Have you ever read Moby Dick? Well during this trip, I read an abridged version and they sailed past the Cape of Good Hope! It was fun to read about a place that I visited.
Well that wraps up this post.
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The next day was warm and sunny, so my parents decided it was a great day to drive up the coast and do a little winetasting – yuk, not for me! (most of this particular blog post is written by my parents).
Tons of History in the South African Wine Farms
In one winery a fun woman, named Melissa, gave very descriptive details of every type of wine my parents were tasting.
The next winery, called Altydgedacht Estate was homey with a blazing fire and a wooden roof. I enjoyed snuggling up to a fire and reading my books!
Established in 1698, Altydgedacht Estate is a family wine farm. We talked to Oliver Parker, one of the owners for a while. He actually came to Sacramento and took a special course in Viticulture and Oenology at UC Davis!
Okay, a little game time, too!
On another rainy day we went to a humungous museum, The National Museum of South Africa.
The museum was so big we didn’t get to see the whole thing! We also saw a marine section with dolphins and sharks. We did see some of my favorites, including the whales!
The part we we did get to see had all the native animals stuffed, so it looked like they were standing right there! Most of them are huge; and, we look forward to seeing them live during our upcoming safari. This museum was really awesome! The next day we moved to another beachside condo – on the 11th floor. Anke and Tyl , and their manager, Boyson, helped us move. Anke and Tyl have a Kombi or VW Bus and they helped us transfer our luggage to our new place.
Thanks for All Your Help, Boyson!
Relaxing View from the 11th Floor Helps me Chill and Write My Two Books and the Blog!
Our host family, Anke and Tyl, treated us to a fantastic South African Welcome Braai – which in America means barbecue; and, Australia, means barbie. Anke is from Germany, and Tyl is a native South African, originally from Johannesburg. Both of them moved to Cape Town about 6 months ago.
Anke and Tyl are fantastic Hosts and now are our new friends!
Sometimes South Africans are shy people, so sharing the food (and drink) during a braai can help build a friendship. A braai is a big part of South African heritage. You can have a braai for any occasion. Birthday braai, Christmas braai, housewarming braii, Wednesday night braai, etc. A braai revolves around the fire, and the food. The food is cooked on (as the name of the gathering would suggest) a braai, which is basically a grill. But you won’t find gas on this grill. A major difference between the two types of cooking is that South African’s use wood or briquettes (charcoal) when they braai. This means it takes significantly longer to get a fire going and cook the food, but that’s the point. A braai is all about the experience, the company, and the quality of the food. It’s something to be savored, which we definitely did with Anke and Tyl.
It was fantastic as you can see in the photos – we have enjoyed so much local cuisine all around the world! Makenna loved the “Iron Brew” Soda and the traditional South African Milk Tart for dessert too……let’s not forget the “Wonder Bars,” in the original and mint flavors!
Wir haben viel spass! Viel Dank to Anke and Tyl.
Tyl has also been teaching me some of the native slang, like “Lekker,” (which means awesome/right on/very cool, all in one); “Just Now,” (which can mean I’ll tend to it sometime in the future, maybe near future, but not sure exactly when). We learned other fun things…….like load shedding, OMG!
Load shedding is when an area of Cape Town goes dark, in other words, no electricity for 2-2.5 hours. You have to have candles and flashlights (or torches, as they call them). Businesses, like restaurants all have big generators to run during load shedding. They do this because they don’t have enough electricity to go around. Load shedding happened to us four times during our stay in Cape Town! It’s actually kind of fun, but I don’t think the grownups think so. Another funny thing is that they go to a gas station or convenience store to buy electricity for their house! More with Anke and Tyl in coming posts.
P.S. We do have to find time on the road to do things like laundry and haircuts.
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After two days being lazy on the beach, we decided it was time to have an adventure! So we booked a tour and drove down to the harbor. Captain Mark sailed us past beautiful islands all around Phuket.
Captain Mark and Assistant Captain Makenna
Departing From the Harbor
Anchors Away My Friends
Does it get more beautiful?!
Our tour guide took us into two different caves. The first cave was full of bats and had a really strong smell of bat poop.
Holy Stinky, Batman!
The Caves are Amazing!
This cave was awesome – we were in there by ourselves until we were exiting.
We are Learning About Calcites in 4th Grade
Isn’t the outline of this photo interesting?
After that, we went into another cave called the “Ice Cream Cave.”
Off to go Speluniking!
It is called the ice cream cave because that is how the rock formation looks like an ice cream cone with caramel topping! Don’t you agree? At the end of the tunnel, there is a small opening where you can see a hidden Lagoon.
I wonder how many people make it to this place?
The Blue Lagoon
We also had a beautiful look at stalagmites and stalactites – some hanging down from the ceiling of the cave and some of the calcification forming below and joining it in the middle. It was fun seeing the calcites, because Mrs. Perry taught us about them this year in fourth grade. After the caves, everyone was hungry, so we retired to a little bay, where we took a dinghy to a secluded beach to have lunch.
Our Sailboat and Little Dinghy
It was our own private beach!
Lunch included Tom Ka Chicken Soup, made out of coconut milk, one of my Thai favorites! While the cook was cooking lunch, we were definitely preoccupied by this crazy and hungry little monkey who tried to steal our food.
After lunch, we headed back to the harbor– but not without some excitement: First, I got to jump off the top of the boat!
This was high – jumping from the roof of the cabin!
Second, there were two big storms on either side of us, so we lowered our sails. We motored into the harbor just at the edge of the storms…. And then it was sunny again. https://youtu.be/0pkSh1QHPw0 Look for more posts from your Junior WorldTrek Reporter Keep Calm and Travel Around the World
Hello everybody from around the world. Since the terrible and tragic earthquake in Nepal, we have decided to lengthen our stay in South Africa by 12 days instead of going to Nepal. Fortunately for everyone we were planning to spend time with in Nepal, things are okay – no one is hurt at our trekking company! All the people at the hotel Mandela are safe, and also, the girls’ school where we were going to volunteer. We are so thankful that everyone, including my friend, Seema’s, family is fine, and no one is hurt.
We had a very long plane ride and my Mommy and I got food poisoning when we arrived in Cape Town , via Doha, on Qatar Airlines. Sometimes really unpleasant things happen when you are not in the mood.
Our first adventure in Cape Town was going on the hop-on/hop-off bus. It reminded me of the red double-decker buses in London.
We Took the Blue Route the Next Day
Camps Bay, back side of Table Mountain
We stopped in different places all over Cape Town. We did this mainly to get the overview of all of Capetown to see ere we where wanted to spend more time — I will tell you about this in future posts!
The Working Harbor at the Waterfront
Cape Town Center has a New Orleans look and feel to it!
Lots of Day Activity at the Waterfront
And Fun Night Activity on the Waterfront
One place we stopped on the second day of the bus tour was the World of Birds.
Have a look and listen to what this fantastic place is all about on this video:
The world of birds is the largest bird sanctuary in Africa and is one of the top destinations in the world for ornithologists.
You will notice that there are no fences in between us an the birds!!
It was awesome!
Instead of having the birds in cages, you can walk with them – really walk with them!
Come on it is not every day that you go walking with peacocks, or owls for that matter!
As you can see, this place in Cape Town South Africa is not just for the birds!
It was a big day! Thank goodness we had a great place to stay, right on the beach and our Airbnb hosts were wonderful! More on our hosts in coming posts.
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Now we have experienced the golden Thailand!
Ploy took us to one of the most amazing places, a gianormous surprise…
The reclining Buddha!!!
The temple that has this humongous statue behind the gates is called Wat Pho, or if you want to sound really sophisticated, it is called Wat Phra Chettuphon Wimon Mangkhlaram Ratchaworamahawihan.
There were beautiful buildings everywhere.
The reclining Buddha is about as big as a whale, and is laying down saying that, “it is okay,” as he lays down in his final days.
After we tore our eyes off this wonderful statue, we walked to the other side of him, to try and see the 108 auspicious characters on the bottom of Buddha’s feet. Unfortunately, this area of Buddha’s feet was being restored so we could not see the characters, like flowers, dancers and white elephants.
There are 108 bowls representing the characters and In each of the 108 bowls you drop a coin for your good fortune. The money also helps the monks maintain the wat.
Did I mention that every day in Bangkok it was very hot – over 100 F. In fact, the day we went to the Grand Palace it was even 110 degrees!
They were constantly restoring their historical sites.
Simply amazing sites and sights.
After we finished this, my parents had an authentic Thai massage (they will tell you about it), while Ploy and I got ice cream. A 1-hour massage costs about $14 and my Mom said the massage therapist walked on her!
Thank you, Ploy (and Pear), for the wonderful tour of Bangkok. We would have been lost without you! We look forward to seeing you both when you come to America!
Even their airports are beautiful. All around Bangkok, we saw pictures of the King and the airport was no different. They sure LOVE him!
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Saw was dee, (Hello) everybody! We are still in Thailand.
Today was our second day in Bangkok and a pretty fun day too, you can be sure of that!
Ploy and her good friend, Pear picked us up from the hotel and then we took the Sky Train.
Pear was also an exchange student in the US, in Pennsylvania. We went to two museums, which both taught about Thailand’s past.
The first one was called Suan Pakkad Palace and had artifacts like spoons, jewelry and pottery. This museum used to be the palace for Prince Chumbhot Paribatra of Nago Svarga and Princess M.R. Pantip Paribatra.
It is a very unique and extensive collection of Thai houses relocated from their original location, each with a different group of objects collected by the prince and princess. The houses were first used as a reception hall and a place to display their collection. They opened their home to the general public while still living there, which had never been done before in Thailand.
It was a truly exciting museum.
The second museum taught us about the history of Bangkok, Thailand, in the heart of Old Town. It was called Rattanakosin Exhibition Hall.
It had different exhibits, each dating from a different period In Thailand.
I was fascinated by all the wonderful kings of Thailand. The king who is rulng now is king Rama IV, and is one of the greatest Thai Kings of all! He is still very popular. He is on the Thai Baht – the money of Thailand. His mother truly made me feel connected to the way Thailand is meant to be, because she taught the current king and his brother to always help people and to be kind. She raised the kings as a single mom.
After Rattanakosin, we were getting hungry so we decided that we should go to Chinatown via a Tuk-tuk– and yes, there is a Chinatown in Thailand.
We went to get a nice dinner. Walking through China Town we saw lots of cats and dogs, and lots of seafood, too.
We ate at a delicious place that had shrimp, duck and vegetables.
We let Ploy and Pear order for us, knowing they would choose the best!
It was late now, so we retired to our hotel, after taking in the views of Bangkok at night and taking public transportation home back to our hotel.
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Khob khun – (that’s thank you in Thai) for reading another blog post! We left Japan and are now in Thailand! We are staying in Bangkok and our tour guide is our friend, Ploy, who was an exchange student last year back in Sacramento with our friends, the Colby family. My Mom taught Ploy how to swim at the Natomas Racquet Club last summer. We arrived late at night and had a peaceful sleep in our Renaissance Hotel. In the morning, we had one of our many delicious breakfasts in the concierge lounge. They had many things to choose from because so many people from different countries stay there. Then we met Ploy in the lobby and started today’s adventures. We took the Sky Train and walked for a little bit and got on a boat which took us on a tour by temples, houses on stilts, and farms.
These are the “long tail” boats. It was a great fun ride
Life along the river is very interesting.
Check out these videos:
I was amazed to see what a different lifestyle people have in Thailand. Many houses are made out of wood and metal sheets and everyone has to cook, clean, and work.
They use boats to get around.
After the boat ride, we arrived at a floating market.
It was awesome – everyone was cooking, eating, and trying to stay cool!
They prepare the meals on the boats parked along side the market
There were many shops and stands with food I didn’t really recognize, like spiky fruits called Durian. And this fruit called Rambutan or Ngor.
I loved the rambutan.
They also had an interesting way of keeping Popsicles frozen in this burning hot weather – they used a tool that they turned with ice water so each popsicle would freeze.
We enjoyed a few of these to help us cool down
After the floating market, we got on a cool motorcycle-car-thing, called a Tuk-Tuk.
They weaved in and out of the taxis and got us there in no time.
Aren’t the tuk-tuk’s fun?!
By the way, this is why we decided not to drive in Bangkok!
We took the Tuk Tuk to the Grand Palace. The Grand Palace is where all of Thailand’s kings and queens have lived over the centuries. It was beautiful! The current President has been ruling for over 60 years and I learned he is very popular.
The rooftops are pointed up high in the air and were shining with gold. Everywhere you look there is gold, green, or orange buildings and beautiful mosaics.
My Mom’s had to wear these skirts to cover their skin.
In one temple where royalty prays, there is an amazing Emerald Buddha. Long ago, this Buddha was covered in plaster and was thought to be just like any other Buddha, until one day, a man noticed the plaster was peeling off its nose. They took off all the plaster to reveal what they thought was emerald for a long time, until it was discovered as actually being made of Jade. That’s the story of the Emerald Buddha.
We were also hot that we decided to go back to our hotel. I hope you like this post. Hope to hear from you soon.
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