With only two days left in Cape Town, it dawned on me that I hadn’t really spent much time in the downtown core. My hotel was situated right in the middle of everything, so I made some time to get to know the neighbourhood a little better.
The train station was just across the street, supposedly one of most dangerous places for tourists. I guess the dude in the blue shirt does kind of have a crazed look in his eye… Unfortunately this photo doesn’t really do justice to the hustle and bustle of the five o’clock rush — everyone’s in a hurry to get home and watch their soaps!
The Castle of Good Hope was only a block further down Strand Street. It’s South Africa’s oldest surviving structure, built by the Dutch in the seventeenth century.
Some mannequins dressed in various Dutch period uniforms. Inside the castle was a great exhibit chronicling the Anglo-Boer War. The Dutch had built this castle to defend against British invasion, but that invasion didn’t happen until the late 1800s, when gold was discovered in the region.
Here’s a model of a British blockhouse, a heavily fortified structure built to defend rail crossings and other strategic locations for the Brits. It worked.
Okay, enough history! I was pleasantly surprised to see that mobile mania has also taken over South Africa — here’s just one of many street-side accessory stands dotting the downtown area. Unfortunately South Africans are a little bit behind in the technology, and I couldn’t trick out my Fido with any of the goodies they had for sale.
I did, however, make a new friend. A chance visit to a small shop behind my hotel ended up in a lengthy political discussion about 9/11 and the Muslim religion. And if a love of cell phones can bring two ideologies together, then maybe there’s hope for us all :’-S