Friday, December 11, 2009

South Africa - Saturday, December 5

What a busy day! Instead of seeing animals, we went around Port Elizabeth to see some of the city and its historical and just plain interesting sites. Our first stop was St. George’s Park, which is home to a war memorial, a large cricket stadium, and a municipal pool, among other things—pretty much like any other big city: a park you wouldn’t want to frequent at night.

12-05-2009 004 St. George's Park St. George’s Park

Donkin Reserve is a spot overlooking the port; there is a memorial to Elizabeth Donkin and an old lighthouse. The memorial is in the shape of a pyramid for some reason and was built in 1820 by her grieving husband. One of the plaques on the side of the pyramid says: “To the memory of one of the most perfect of human beings who has given her name to the Town below.” Can I have that on my headstone?

12-05-2009 011 Donkin Reserve12-05-2009 017 plaque on pyramid

The lighthouse has 85 steps, and I don’t mean regular stairs. They were steep and scary, but Dorothy and I made it just fine. I didn’t know she was more afraid of heights than I am!

12-05-2009 022 Donkin Lighthouse12-05-2009 025 Donkin Lighthouse12-05-2009 036 Donkin Lighthouse stairs

On the street next to the Reserve is a row of homes that were some of the first built by the Dutch when they settled Port Elizabeth. On another street is the Edward Hotel, originally built in 1903 and in the process of being restored. There is also quite a bit of street art in the area; one of the paintings even has a guy wearing Converse All-Stars high-tops! Fort Frederick was built in 1799 and offers a great view of the port.

12-05-2009 010 houses by Donkin Reserve12-05-2009 039 Edward Hotel built 1903 12-05-2009 042 street art 12-05-2009 050 Fort Frederick 12-05-2009 054 Fort Frederick

After I’d had my fill of history, we headed down to the beaches to do some souvenir shopping. There was a large area with street vendors where I got some good deals and even bartered for Raymond so he could buy a fantastic carved Kudu horn. I was so proud of him for actually spending money!

12-05-2009 063 street vendors

We had lunch at El Greco in the Boardwalk shopping area. This whole part of town reminded me a lot of somewhere like San Diego—very touristy and upscale—but it was fun to look around. On our way back to the car, we went down to the beach just so I could touch the Indian Ocean. The wind was fierce all day, and I could barely walk straight, but I can now say I’ve been to the Indian Ocean.

12-05-2009 064 souvenir shops 12-05-2009 066 touching the Indian Ocean

Raymond drove us along the shore to the end of the road where there is a cannon, the last remnant of “The Sacramento,” a ship that crashed here in 1647. There were 72 survivors who came ashore and then tried to walk all the way to Mozambique—it took over six months and only nine made it.

12-05-2009 069 The Sacramento12-05-2009 068 cannon from the Sacramento

We headed back to town and went to the famous Pick ‘n Pay Hyper to get Christmas treats and mosquito nets for my trip back to Cairo. Can I just say again how nice it is to shop in a huge store? Anyway, after a long day of getting wind-blown and sunburned, it was nice to get back to the apartment so we could play cards again. Dorothy’s not winning very many games this week, and I’m secretly relishing the fact that I have actually beat both her and Raymond a few times! Last night I even “went out” with just 12 cards on the last round of Shanghai (with a lot of luck and a couple of jokers), something I’ve never done in my life. I’m regretting the fact that I didn’t get a picture so I could prove it!

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